We all know a great host when we see one. But on the other end of the spectrum, we all know when your hosting time doesn't go as planned! We want to help you avoid falling into that category by giving you some tricks of the trade for student ministry hosting. Take a look at these three things to keep in mind when it comes to student ministry hosting straight from our friend and expert, Britt Kitchen.
1. Don't feel the pressure to be funny.
Some people are funny and some people aren't. That's okay! Hosts don't have to be funny to be good at what they do. There are plenty of super successful hosts who aren't high on the humor scale (hello Ryan Seacrest). Instead of trying to be funny, focus on what your job is: welcoming everyone, knowing the flow of the day, and handling the transitions. Do those to the best of your ability. And with confidence! Once you get more comfortable as a host you can start trying to find your funny on stage, but don't feel the pressure to always be a stand-up comic. It's only one of the many tools in your hosting toolbox.
2. Don't use a timer.
Most of the time, games are written with a time constraint in the instructions. Stage hosts assume that those timers should be placed on the screen for everyone to see. After all, won't that crank up the suspense and drama of a game? Maybe, but placing a clock on the screen for all to see automatically locks you into a timeframe and restricts the freedom you have to navigate the time. Rather than using a visible timer, announce to your students that someone is keeping time but just use a mental clock in your head. That frees you up to feel the moment. If a game is going well, you can keep it moving a little longer. But if it's not working the way you planned, you can wrap it up faster. This lets you as the host keep control of the energy in the room and guide the experience for your students.
3. Don't rely on video transitions.
A huge responsibility for a host is to handle transitions throughout the program. Whether it's the initial transition from hangout time to the formal start of the program, or the more difficult one from hosting to the next element of the program (typically worship), it's your job to make things move seamlessly. When hosts aren't sure what to do, they seem to default to incorporating video in to their transitions. And while I love a good YouTube clip as much as the next guy, I think video transitions on their own can actually diminish the vibe you've worked hard to set up during your program. If you play a funny video and then move right into worship, the job of refocusing your students falls on the worship leader rather than the host. Or if you share a camp promo video and move right in to music, there's no one there to give the details about camp while it's fresh on your students' minds. I'm all for a great promo video or a goofy clip, but be sure as a host to stick around and make the transition yourself, rather than treat the video as the transition itself.