We recently hosted a joint Back to School with God service on a Sunday afternoon in Helensburgh, headed up by myself as the Contraflow Youth Trust worker. We realised that some churches had been trying to use the material, but that no one had placed a big emphasis on it.
By hosting it jointly we filled the church and were able to have 20 people taking part in the service, from our primary school children right through to our retired volunteers. I felt that individual churches would have struggled to find people to fill all these spaces!
We ran it as a café-style service to that parents weren't worried about younger children, as they had things to do during the service.
We had a fantastic response! Over 90 people attended, both as family units and as congregation members who wanted to pray for young people and teachers. Many people passed comment on how great it was to start the school year in this way, and older members, in particular, liked seeing so many young people gather together and be involved in the service.
One pastor in the town made particular comment about the teaching and how good it was. It was accessible to young people but also spoke to all ages, so it didn't feel like a young people's service, but a whole church family gathering that considered the younger people within it.
I felt the material was very easy to use and although we had time to run the entire service, I liked that it could be adapted wherever needed to fit the pattern of an individual church fellowship.
The service also gave a number of young people the opportunity to share a little bit about their journey with Jesus for the first time. This was a tremendous encouragement to other young people and to others in the congregation. This was the first time I had used the material for a service, and would definitely do it again!