Two years ago we decided to plan a $3 Prom for our middle school ministry. It went well so we decided to combine with the high school ministry to make it even better. We weren't disappointed.
Since then, I've received emails and phone calls about the event. And the conversations have caused us to answer some important questions.
In college we learned to really think about the "why you do what you do when you do it" question. What is the objective of your goals? What's your strategy to meet your goals.
I believe the answers fuel the "way you do what you do when you do it" and helps you plan for "what happens when you do what you planned on doing".
Haha. I love words.
Anyway, here's a bit on why we do a $3 prom. It'll change as the students change so if you don't plan on doing a prom you might think about your biggest draw event. And ask yourself why you do it and think about the ways that you get it done and decide if the two match up.
In the fall and in spring, we plan to BIG DRAW events. Things that are fun events that teens can rally around and invite their friends to join. They're exciting to talk about, there isn't going to be a 45 minute sermon, things will be entry level surrounded by a lot of relationship building and memory making.
Why we do it:
Because we want teenagers to have an opportunity to see Jesus with skin on. We want teenagers to have a party that they can invite their friends to, even if they aren't able to have a party at their own home.
I loved going to parties as a teenager. We lived in a smaller townhome and every time my sister and I tried to have a party something would get broken or the neighbors would call the cops because we were being too loud.
So why not give them a party that they don't have to worry about getting in trouble for. Something safe, fun, clean, and ultimately leads to conversations that involve caring adults, other Christian teenagers, and learning tools that can help them as their growing up?
What we do:
- We talk about it for a couple of months in advance.
- We decide on a cause that teens can rally around. $3 for something they care about is their entry to the prom (Keep in mind that we don't really keep track. If a student doesn't pay, they come in anyway.)
- We utilize social media. All the while we are tending an viral-ness. We want foster an "you invite your friends because you are actually excited about going to this thing" type of feel.
- We get them excited about dressing up in tacky stuff, thrift store items, promish items are recommended but there really aren't rules to free or cheap. Just have fun with it.
- (Note: I usually wear something ridiculous the week before to get them talking and thinking. I'll give away my outfit to a lucky winner as a doorprize the week before and have a few other guys and girls outfits on hand to give away in advance.)
- We encourage the kids to ride together. There's a red carpet feel.
- We emphasize that you don't need a date.
- We ask a church member to be "the photographer" to do group prom pictures, set up a photo booth from iPhone/ instagram photos and provide props.
- We have cotton candy (renting a machine is cheap) and a "candy bar". Just look up "candy bar" on pinterest and recruit your biggest DIY dude or diva to pull it off for you.
- We recruit a DJ that plays music during the walk-in. It's good to pre-select some songs.
- We schedule a band that comes does some cover songs for us, clean main-stream stuff, and a few worship songs that wouldn't be too heavy for teens who are new worship.
- We have a short message, prayer, and one or two worship songs that a new student whose never been to church before can begin to understand and think about.
- At the end of the program we give students an opportunity to get to know God, to be forgiven if they'd like to be, or to be set a part, to recommit their hearts, or to let us know if they'd like to be baptized.
We love the prom in the spring, it's inexpensive, fun, a great entry point for teens into our ministry, and super easy to pull off. There's really not much fancy about it but the epic outfits that come into existence. I hope this helps!
Oh, and for the prom poster, I paid a designer on Etsy. $30 to make a poster and this year we paid $15 for last years to be updated.
- Feel free to shoot back some questions if you like.
- What types of draw events have you had success with?
- What's the best way to follow up with visitors or with those who show an interest in knowing Christ?