Experience. Seems like a simple word. One with which we are intuitively familiar. But when was the last time you actually looked at the definition?
Experience is “practical contact; it’s something acquired; it leaves an impression.” Why is it then that the idea of “experiencing faith” has become a side note instead of an emphasis? For XP3, experience is not a secondary thought; it’s a priority.
Each series includes an XP component. The XP is designed to help your students move past the information of the series and into an opportunity to experience it. The XP will generally fit one of three categories—Individual, Small Group or Large Group:
Individual XP – This is something that is done by the student outside of the student ministry environment. It may be some quiet time material or a journaling opportunity. Generally, it’s something that prompts students to think through the idea behind the series in a more personal way.
Small Group XP – This is something initiated within the context of Small Group. For example, the XP may be a prompt for them to share “their story” or may be an accountability opportunity. Basically, it’s something that they will experience and talk about together as a Small Group.
Large Group XP – This is something that is designed for the whole group to work toward together and to the same end. A Large Group XP will be something like a service project or community outreach event.
All XP initiatives are designed to bring the students back around to the bottom line of the series so they can see how the great information we study within the Bible has a real-world, personal application.
For example, the XP for the series New Friend Request allowed for student ministries to plan a coffeehouse experience that doubled as a fundraising opportunity to partner with Land of a Thousand Hills, supporting coffee growers in Rwanda. For one group, their participation in the “Drink Coffee. Do Good.” campaign opened the door for them to reach out to the survivors of the earthquakes in Haiti. Take a look at how this particular church took the XP idea and ran with it at Orange Leader’s Blog.
Experience. It can make the difference between a student who “knows” about faith and one who “lives” in faith.