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Friday Night Live

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Several youth find it difficult to report to church for Friday-night services after long tedious school weeks. “Sometimes church services seem uninteresting and boring for youth,” says 17-year-old Todd Dozier, a member of Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lanham, Maryland.

    If this is the case at your church, putting on a Friday Night Live program may be an effective step for you and your church to take in your spiritual walk with God. Friday Night Live is a powerful program that’s changed Adventist Youth Ministries.

Imagine that you’ve had a very stressful week at school, full of tests, quizzes, assignments, trials, and tribulations. By Friday afternoon after your last class or extra-curricular activity, you’re absolutely tired from your fast-paced, never-ending week. You realize that you need something to uplift you mentally, socially, physically, and spiritually. Perhaps a sermon, inspirational music, personal testimony, or a dramatization would touch your heart as you bring in the Sabbath on Friday night. All these things can be part of a Friday Night Live service.

Friday Night Live is currently going on in more than 18 churches across the United States and has been for almost two years. It first caught on in the Long Island, New York area. Now several churches are bringing in the Sabbath on Friday nights in ways that are capturing young people’s attention.

“It is about time that churches had something for the youth on Friday night. We open the Sabbath too!” exclaims 16-year-old Brittany Bowens, a member of Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her church has experienced a youthful spiritual breakthrough as a result of their Friday Night Live services.

Since October 2004 Leslie Bridges, Seabrook’s youth coordinator, has aspired to do something powerful for the youth. “I was disheartened that young people weren’t coming to church for Sabbath programs, and I wanted to change that,” explains Leslie.

He started praying about his church’s need. Now, with the help of a youth council that consists of church members, the Seabrook church holds Friday Night Live every third Friday of the month.

Since Seabrook’s first Friday Night Live service, several youth from the surrounding community, schools, and churches have come to worship the Lord. “I invited one of my friends from my public school, and he loved the program and comes back to the service often,” reports Todd. This program is not only enriching the lives of the young people at Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church; it’s also becoming a powerful witnessing mechanism!

Charles Tapp, associate pastor of Seabrook, introduced a theme to the church for all its departments: “What If?” The youth department loved the theme and is using it as inspiration for discussions such as, “What if the Lord provided all the money for Friday Night Live for our church, what would we do? What could we do to enhance the program?”

Brittany Bowens volunteered to be the cohost alongside host Leslie Bridges for Seabrook’s Friday Night Live. “I wanted to show my peers that we need to step up to the plate as youth to worship God and to be living examples,” says Brittany. Her willing spirit is an example as to how the church can support young people in leadership positions.

Friday Night Live at Seabrook as well as at other churches never follows the same format. The services include lively praise and worship songs, testimonies, special music, poetry, T-shirt giveaways, sermons, plays, and much more.

“Every Friday that the service is offered, one will always see something new, the program lineup is never the same,” Pastor Charles Tapp points out.

The Black Student Gospel Choir from Columbia Union College was the featured special musical guests for Seabrook’s first program.

“Although the choir was ministering through song, we were also ministered to during the powerful sermon preached that night,” said Ralph Jean Pierre, director of the Black Student Gospel Choir.

Seabrook has successfully held several Friday Night Live services and will continue to do so. “This program redirects youth to the focus of worship, and we would soon like to partner with other churches in the Maryland area so all of the Fridays in a month are occupied with a Friday Night Live service,” said Tracy Ann Ambrose, the assistant youth coordinator at Seabrook.

The Youth at Seabrook are beginning to share their talents with the church as a contribution to the ministry. For example, with the help of his mother’s button ministry, Todd Dozier has made and distributed free “What If?” buttons during Friday Night Live programs.

“This program has given me something to do on Friday night that is positive, and it has also prevented me from doing things I should not be doing,” said Todd.

Friday Night Live is an excellent ministry that’s seeking youth who never knew that praise and worship could be so fun and interactive. This ministry is growing rapidly and may be coming to a church near you! This ministry is not temporary—it will be permanent through the power of prayer and cooperation from Adventist youth who are willing to take a stand to worship God spiritually, mentally, socially, and physically.

“I am looking forward to Friday Night Live becoming as big as the Pathfinder Camporee and General Conference session!” Brittany exclaims.

Genaye Channel just finished her junior year of broadcast journalism and political studies at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland. In her free time she enjoys singing, reading, and writing. Her home is in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania.

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