All-Night New Year’s Event Reaches Out to ‘Tweenagers’

Post a Comment » Written on January 12th, 2009     
Filed under: News
PADUCAH, KY (January 12, 2009) – Ninety 12-year-old girls participated in an all-night New Year’s Eve party that its originator hopes will become an annual rite of passage.

This was the second year for Club 12, which was started by Kimberly Futrell, a member of Four Rivers Covenant Church as a way to minister to girls who are at “such a significant age.” In just one year, the number of attendees grew dramatically from the original 38 girls.

Three churches participated in the first event. After hearing about the evening, members of other churches also wanted to get involved. This year, girls and volunteers from nine churches participated.

Study and reflection“There’s a huge need to reach what society calls tweenagers – the kids between nine and 12,” Futrell says. “Disney sees them as a prime market.” That means they are bombarded with images and ideas that frequently promote negative values and ways for girls to value themselves, Futrell suggests.

When the girls arrived on New Year’s Eve, they were divided into groups and then played icebreaker games. Later, they heard three messages spread throughout the evening prior to midnight.

A small-group discussion (top photo) and then activities related to the message followed each of the talks. The messages focused on beauty, celebrating uniqueness, and following Christ.

Futrell says girls need to know that real beauty is more than the skin-deep variety promoted in much of society. “When a girl believes she doesn’t have beauty, she believes she doesn’t have value,” Futrell explains.

Leaders also wanted the girls to understand that what makes them unique is what makes them special. “Your mission in life is to discover what excited God when he was creating you,” Futrell told the girls.

After the third talk, the leaders gave an altar call, to which 53 girls responded, says Futrell, who remains amazed.

The band Special D, which originates from Four Rivers and has shared the stage with top national acts, performed. Click here to read a previous story on the band.

The gathering then anticipated midnight and counted down the final seconds, beginning appropriately with 12, Futrell says. The rest of the event included a birthday cake so that all the girls could celebrate their 13th birthdays, a carnival, and numerous activities from which the girls could choose. Activities ranged from having their nails done to climbing a rock wall that already was part of the youth center. Click here to see additional photos.

As for the adults, “We just try to survive until the dawn’s early light,” Futrell says, laughing. The morning concluded with men from several churches cooking a pancake breakfast for all the girls.

FunFutrell says she was shocked when the idea for the event came to her several years ago. A friend who was getting ready to give a talk to 12-year-olds at a local school said she felt prompted by God to call Futrell at the last minute and ask for prayer. “As soon as she said 12-year-olds, something just really struck me.”

That night, Futrell stayed up late writing down the idea for Club 12. “It was totally God,” she recalls. “It was like I was just dictating.”

Futrell says the experience taught her to understand that even the smallest promptings from God “are a big deal.”

Despite the success of the first event, the second Club 12 almost didn’t happen. Two women who helped organize the first year would not be able to do the second, which meant Futrell would have to do it herself.

“I spent the first six months of (2008) totally petrified,” Futrell says. “I knew it was going to be far beyond my abilities.”

While at a church leadership retreat, she decided to not organize a second event, but did not have time to tell anyone. That was because at just about the same moment, Pastor Brad Henson told the group they needed to pray for Futrell and the next Club 12.

She was a bit embarrassed to tell him in front of the group that she wasn’t going to lead it, Futrell says.

As it turned out, however, the day before, two women in the church, LaDonna Butler and her daughter, Stephanie Felker, had discussed starting a public relations ministry to help people who could not afford such services.

“They are the kind of people that just make things happen,” Futrell says. “Within two days, I think I had 40 volunteers!”

Futrell already is looking ahead to a third Club 12, in part because. That’s because there are a lot of 12-year-old girls.

Futrell says she would like to write a curriculum that could help other churches put together similar events.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog