Tips on Being the Best Disciple Now Weekend (DNOW) Leader Ever
Oh…It’s DNOW season! I LOVE being a DNOW leader, and I pray that I will be the elderly woman that the staff has to pray, “How can we kindly ask her to stop signing up to be a co-leader and host home.” I asked a few people I love for tips on how to be an awesome Dnow leader. Mine is at the bottom. Enjoy!
People that come to Dnow weekends (most of the time - whether they admit it or not) are ready for God to be present to them in their lives. I was one of them. To lead them means to be engaged in the time and relationships that are beginning to develop or to the ones that are already there. I believe it means to look into the eyes of a student, whether they know Christ or not, and love them by sharing Truth from the Word with them and how it actually applies to their life.
I think it also means to laugh with them and talk about silly things that they find interesting. Now I believe that both boys and girls just want the freedom to be themselves for the weekend and this is how we are able to reach them with the Gospel. By being present, we are capable to know this, reach them where they are, and show them that there are older people out there that can follow Christ and be free to live a life full of obedience and adventure with Him. -Mattie, Student at University of Arkansas
I love to bring along a set of notecards and jot down a little note to each of my girls in my group before the weekend ends. I give them this the last morning as a note of encouragement and affirmation in all they wrestled through and experienced throughout the weekend. I love words of affirmation and encouragement so it's fun to give this as something the girls can walk away from the weekend with to remember all God did in their lives through DNow.- Mollie, Girls Minister Richardson, TX
I will lead a group for any event, but especially a DNOW! I want to win their affection as quickly as possible (we only have like 36 hours together!!). I always whip out my best and craziest stories when I introduce myself to the girls (get them all together so you don’t have to retell the story.) My go to stories are of course the time I literally almost ran over Justin Bieber with my car and when I met the Jonas Brothers at church one time. My celeb run ins are literally the best way to break the ice! It’s as simple as, "Hi Im Jessica, I am 24, I am from Texas and I love it, oh and one time I almost hit Justin bieber with my car." It works like charm, the girls go crazy and all the walls are broken down! Nothing beats it!
One of my spiritual gifts is gift giving. I love to pick up $1 journals or pens from target for each girl in my group, so they can write notes and keep up with what God is teaching them that weekend.- Jessica, Girls Minister, Benton, Arkansas
Make simple moments sacred. DNow is an incredible time to spend quality one-on-one time with your girls. Often we think these moments must happen on Saturday night after the powerful message, but they can also be while binge eating twizzlers while other girls come up with dance routines, in the car, or while playing soccer. Any moment could turn into an entry point to a deeper conversation!- Kaley, Girls Minister, Dallas, TX
My DNOW Leader from my freshman year was crazy awesome. When she talked to you, she was genuinely interested in what you were saying and every backstory involved in it. None of us were expecting much from her after, she was just any other college student that came in town for the weekend and was out of sight, out of mind by Sunday afternoon. But she was different. She refused to have DNOW just be another “spiritual high.” For the next year following that weekend, she would send us a verse to memorize and work through every week. It stretched us to spend time with the Lord outside of our normal routine and get into parts of scripture that some of us may have never have studied. I was able to use this after I did a DNOW in Athens, TX my freshman year. As this continued to happen, they challenged me with questions about scripture or just life in general. Morgan, Student at Hardin-Simmons
Start early. Being an awesome DNow leader starts early with prayer and preparation. Begin praying for your girls now! Ask the Lord to break your heart for them, to help you love them like He does. Ask Him to prepare their hearts to hear from Him, to be humble and teachable. You may not know who will be in your group, but the Lord does, so pray, pray, pray!
Be diligent to study the topic, lessons, discussion guide or whatever else you will be teaching from. Don’t wing it! Study early on so that when you’re exhausted on night two, you can still share something useful. And, don’t take the best bed. Ok, in reality, you can take the best bed, but go into this weekend with the heart and mindset of service. You are there to humbly serve your girls as Christ has done for you. One year at a DNow, I slept in the guest bedroom by my self while my girls camped out in the basement. I missed out on so many good conversations and bonding moments. The next year, I took the cot in the room with the girls, and loved every second of it!
Be intentional, but be smart. Do your best to have meaningful conversations with each of your girls, but don’t pull an all-nighter to do so. If you don’t have time to spend with each girl, set up times to meet with them after the weekend ends. This is a great way to keep those relationships growing and to help them remain accountable to the commitments they make over the weekend. Kate, Girls Minister, Dallas, TX
When it comes to being a DNOW leader, stay engaged with your students all weekend. You have a very short amount of time with them so why not take full advantage of it. Run the races with them during rec time because for one, it's fun and two, the students do notice if their leader is participating. -Madeline, Student at Univ. of Arkansas
I always liked to spend one-on-one time with the girls by braiding their hair or painting their nails! You'd be amazed at how the walls come down when there is a fishtail braid involved. Plus it's a great reason to learn how to do those cool braids. Also, I always gave my group a name and a special high five / handshake. We chanted it everywhere we went! It sounds nerdy, but they always loved it and were into it haha- JJ, Perch Blogger, retired DNOW leader.
As soon as we get to the home, I get the whole group together to let the host home go over any housekeeping things (use this bathroom, I’m making cinnamon rolls for breakfast, etc). Then, I share that during the weekend each of them will get 10-15 mins uninterrupted with me to ask anything they want- from Scripture or something they are processing that weekend. THIS IS SO FUN. Make the time intentional but not stressful/hurried for either one of you. Example, while you are putting on your makeup or drinking coffee with the one girl who likes to wake early not when everyone is about to load up in cars for free time. I have had some of the best conversations during these times. And, the girls always thank me for undivided attention. - Amy, writer at Perch blog (lol)
Hope you enjoyed these ideas! We would LOVE to hear some fun/intentional/sharpening ideas you have. Get excited…our next post is, “How to be an awesome Host Home.” - Amy