Putting The Cocoa In Lights and Cocoa

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! With the Advent/Christmas Season just a few days away it's time to turn our thoughts towards preparing for the arrival of the Light of the World. If you are one of the many that downloaded the Lights and Cocoa Booster Pack (free until December 1st!) then you are probably thinking about light, warmth, and cocoa! 

Putting The Cocoa in Lights and Cocoa

One of the ways Chad suggested for building out this booster pack (as suggested in the BoostCast) for your youth ministry is to interview students on-stage during large group over cups of cocoa.

Interviews are so fun and a fresh alternative to a sermon presentation or master teacher format. It's different, it's warm, and it showcases the light of Christ at work in your student ministry. Interviews also serve a vital role in connecting your students to one another this holiday season. 

Check out the sample questions below and consider how you could invite students to connect and dialogue over a delicious cup of cocoa. 

Sample Student Interview Questions

  • Please Introduce Yourself: What's Your Name?

  • How Long Have You Been A Part Of Our Youth Ministry?

  • What Got Your Involved In Our Youth Ministry?

  • How Do You Enjoy Your Cocoa? With Or Without Marshmallows? Milk Or Hot Water?

  • What's Your Favorite Christmas Memory?

  • What Does It Mean To Be "Light Of The World?"

  • What Is Your Favorite Youth Ministry Moment Of This Year?

  •  What Is Something God Is Teaching You?

  • Where Do You See God Working In Your Life Right Now?  

Practicing Hospitality This Christmas

Learn To Practice Hospitality Wherever You Are.

Christmas is the season that we name that Jesus Christ has come! The gift of God wrapped in a manager. We celebrate God incarnate was born to us, and hey, Immanuel means "God is with us.” What a present/presence! Okay, that’s the last gift pun I will make today.

Managing To Walk Around

When I was an undergraduate, I double majored in religious studies and learned everything I could about theology, bible, and church history, but I also studied business management. One of the techniques that my management classes taught was "management by walking-around."

Yep. It was at simple as it sounds. You manage… by walking around. Like you literally just made sure to walk around the office space and see what people were actually up to, working on, and doing with the company’s time.

We read like a whole book about it. It was wild to the uninitiated mind, but what I realized is that few managers/pastors actually walk out to where their people are working/living and see how they are working/living. Immediately, I was taken aback for what this might mean for youth minister who cares deeply for the lives and habits of young people. We need to see them where are and where they are not.

This Christmas season I am encouraging my leaders and students to practice a ministry of presence. It is radically important for them to “be present.” We are going to start listening to each other better. We are going to get up and walk around on a Sunday morning. We are going to learn more about what other people are doing in our church.

Teaching Lights and Cocoa this Christmas?

Here are some practical suggestions for teaching hospitality to students. 

Make Some Space

In the places you frequent:

  • Hallways
  • Lunchrooms
  • Offices
  • Hang out groups
  • Chik-fila Nights

Wherever they are congregating, we are encouraging them to not stand in a closed circle. Let other folks know that they are welcomed into those spaces. 

Take The Time 

Give one hour this week to someone else:

  • Tutor 

  • Coach 

  • Mentor

  • Share

Whatever they are into or whatever skill set they have to share, even if they don’t feel like they are the greatest they probably know enough to pass it along to someone younger. Musicians, singers, athletes, gamers, academics alike share what you know with students younger than you who are intrigued. 

Break Your Routine 

  • Walk or Drive A New Route Home
  • Eat Somewhere New Or Different
  • Listen to Something/Someone Different

It’s true that we all like to be set in our ways. Routine is comforting for busy schedules and busy lives. However, it is really important for us to not get so comfortable that we forget that making space, taking, time and breaking routine are about creating discomfort for us for someone else/new/different/other to feel welcome.

We don’t just listen to teachings about hospitality and welcome this Christmas. We must learn to practice hospitality wherever we are and wherever we are going.

Go forth and teach and lead with grace!


This Christmas season I am encouraging my leaders and students to practice a ministry of presence. It’s hard to teach, but we must learn it.