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How to Mix Up Sundays With a (Not So) Late Night Show Format

How to Mix Up Sundays with a (Not So) Late Night Show Format

Does it ever seem like over time it becomes harder and harder to engage the kids at your church?

That’s a struggle we’ve had at our church.

So we began to think about what we could do to mix things up to re-engage kids.

This wasn’t about watering down the gospel or the message of the Bible; it was simply about changing up how they were presented, so kids could enjoy something different once a month.

We had been thinking of doing a late night show format for a while but hadn’t pulled the trigger on it simply because it was easier not to (I cringe sharing that, but it was the reality).

After we decided to move ahead with the idea, we contacted a volunteer who we thought would be an awesome host and would really enjoy being involved.

As it turns out, he didn’t just want to be involved, he wanted to script the whole thing and really own it.

I realize that at your church you may not have such a volunteer, but it’s simple enough that any of your usual hosts or storytellers could easily pull it off with only a little added prep.

As I outline each segment of what we call The (Not So) Late Show, you’ll notice that most of the elements are probably already in your service; they’re merely laid out and broken up differently.

Without further ado; here is what The (Not So) Late Show looks like for us.

Opening Monologue

Music is played (we use the opening instrumental for SNL) as the host comes on stage.

The music fades out, and the host tells a comical story that relates to the lesson for that day, sort of like a funny foreshadowing of what the story will teach.

If the storyteller normally shares a personal story as part of the lesson, this only changes when they do that.

If not, then this would definitely be something that would require a bit of extra work, but the kids will love it.

Word From the Sponsors

The sponsors for our (Not So) Late Show are normally the monthly theme and the monthly verse.

For background music, we use something that sounds like what would play during an infomercial.

So if the verse is John 3:16, the host would say something like, “One of the sponsors for today’s show is The Bible, which says in John 3:16…”

If the monthly theme is Contentment, the host would add, “Another sponsor is Contentment Incorporated, be happy with what you have.”


This will be done exactly as you normally do it.

We play music from a game show like The Price Is Right or Family Feud.

The host explains the game, and the kids play it.


For the story, the host interviews a character from whatever story you’re teaching.

We usually open with some silly questions and then go into questions that include scripture from the story and leads to it being told.

To end this segment, we have a Q&A time with the kids for them to ask any questions.

Sometimes the questions are serious and sometimes the questions are seriously funny!

Thank You Note

If you’ve ever watched the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon sometimes does a segment where he writes silly thank you notes.

We took that idea but went a more serious (but still on the light side) direction.

The host sits at his or her desk on stage (we play the Chariots of Fire Theme Song in the background) and pretends to write a thank you note to whoever they interviewed.

If the interviewee was Nehemiah, the host might say (while also pretending to write), “Nehemiah thank you for showing initiative to go to the King and ask him for permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. That was incredible. I wonder how I can show initiative this week… What could I do for my parents without them asking me first?”

The question that this segment ends with will then be the question that kids discuss in Small Groups.

The Band

After the interview, we bring up the “Band.”

For us, the band is simply the worship team that played in the adult service (they were more than happy to play a song in kid’s church) with the addition of two to three kids on vocals.

We have a fun name for the band and introduce them with music (we used Kirk Franklin).

We try to keep the song for this segment upbeat and faster to really get the kids moving and keep up their energy.

Dismiss to Small Groups

The host will explain what’s happening in Small Groups and dismiss the kids.

Small Groups are normally shortened to 10-15 minutes (our usual is 20-30) where the kids answer the question from the Thank You Notes Segment and share a prayer request.

And that’s a wrap on The (Not So) Late Show.

Application Question: What is one thing you could mix up once a month in your Large Group to keep kids engaged?

This article originally appeared here.