How to Host an Innovative Silent Event
Are you looking for an event to draw students in and build momentum for your ministry? A silent event is a one of a kind event mixing technology and music to create a high energy atmosphere of community. Students wear wireless headphones and tune into their preferred channel, so at one venue there can be multiple styles of music being enjoyed simultaneously. Even if some of your students don’t enjoy dancing, they might really enjoy people watching and just singing along. With a little research and planning, a silent event might just be the next big event for your youth ministry!
Not all headphones are created equal. With a tech-dependent event, failing to research the rental companies can make or break the entire night. When we hosted our Silent Event we used the highly recommended Silent Events® Company (https://www.silentevents.com) and were blown away by their plug & play ease of use and attention to detail. We rented light-up headphones with 3 channels so students could choose which of 3 songs they wanted to listen to. Our students enjoyed controlling the volume of their headphones and it was crazy to see the wave of color change in the headphones as a song grew in popularity.
If renting the complete system is out of your budget, consider renting headphones that do not light up with only one channel or wireless receivers where students can plug in their own headphones.
Watch the videos and read the tutorials to fully understand how the equipment can work for your event.
Plan Your Venue
Does your regular meeting space create the environment for which you you are striving? Maybe you need to switch things up and add special lighting or decorations to your room. Or maybe you can take this event off campus and bring your students to a unique venue for their unique event. You might also consider hosting two events in one night to get the most use out of your equipment rental.
For our junior high students, we hosted a blacklight rave in a large, dimly lit room in the church and asked everyone to wear white. The students showed up to a room filled with black lights, optional blacklight face paint they all took advantage of, and the glowing LED lights on each individual’s headphones. Later that night, for our high school students we threw a throwback party in an old mansion downtown and asked the students to wear their best throwback outfit. Having two events in one day allowed us to rent a smaller number of headphones, keeping the cost down.
Bring your best party planners into the making of this event to ensure your venue adds to the fun.
Create Multiple Playlists
Renting the highest tier headphones, the unique technology allows for your students to listen to one of three channels. If you want your event to flop, only pick songs that you enjoy. If you want success, get help in creating your playlists. Ask students for input and research lyrics to avoid embarrassment. You have so many options to choose from so you might want to create a theme for your playlists.
At our silent event, we had these three playlists:
If you click:
The Party Playlist
https://open.spotify.com/user/kneecoalgrace/playlist/3q2wk4SFk00zfbTbQuAUpG you will see these are generic songs with more modern dance options.
The Random Playlist https://open.spotify.com/user/kneecoalgrace/playlist/4wFx4X7FbIgXnK2VK3UXQu is weird and fun songs to switch things up.
The Throwback Playlist
https://open.spotify.com/user/kneecoalgrace/playlist/5A03iAgkEAE9jKULtethFo includes popular songs from past decades.
Let your students know that if they don’t like a certain song they can change to another station on their headphones. Pay attention to how the songs will flow through the night and make sure you save a crowd favorite to end the night on a good note. Our last song for our high schoolers was “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi and the entire group sang it together at the top of their lungs!
Reach Your Goal
In youth ministry, there is always a goal behind your events. If you are using a silent event to bring in new students, how are you going to collect their information and get them plugged into your youth ministry after the event? If your silent event is to build community, how will you further leverage this technology to bring people together and how will you measure if it was successful?
The goal of our silent event was to unite and build up life groups, so in order to attend students had to be involved in one of these faith communities. At the event, we leveraged the technology by creating a Mp3 Experiment where students participated together in their small groups in an audio adventure. Students listened to synchronized instructions to complete humorous coordinated tasks. We started the night with the Mp3 Experiment, which made for an easy transition into the dance music. For ideas on creating your own Mp3 Experiment check out the amazing work of Improv Everywhere.
A silent event might just be the innovative event you have been looking for in your youth ministry. Take the necessary time to research and plan to ensure this event is something your students will love. If you’ve seen a fresh event that you would like to share with our readers, let us know in the comments!
Corey Jones is the XP of NextGen at Southern Hills Christian Church in Carrollton, Georgia. In his spare time, you can find him at a local coffee shop or fighting crime in Gotham. Corey wants to encourage and equip those around him and can be found on social media at @COREYRAYJONES.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.