Do you have a couch that every one of your students is running for to sit on? Maybe you have a room filled with throwaway couches and so there is no special seat. Whatever your seat arrangement, you can set up a special seat in your youth room that can become something everyone wants. Enter, Upgrade Your Seat (or Audience Upgrade). A few years ago at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference they had a section they called the “Oprah seats” where Josh Griffin and Jake Rutenbar would come out and give away prizes to those sitting in a certain section. That was totally fun and a whole bunch of people got some cheap little gift, like a box of Mac & Cheese.

This is a twist on that idea. Most of us don’t have 3,000 students in attendance and making a section be the winner is not necessarily workable. BUT, we can make one or two students be the winners and get a nice seat while you are at it. The great folks over at GameShowBlog have a graphic you can use too. We used it at a recent retreat we had for high schoolers and had several different ways they could get their upgraded seat. Essentially we gave random students an opportunity to seat in a comfy seat right upfront and they had all sorts of goodies we gave to them.

How to give it away
We used twitter (even if your students aren’t on twitter, they can follow you on their cell phones by typing “follow your twitter handle” and sending that to 40404). We tweeted “the first person to grab the pen out of my hand gets to Upgrade Your Seat. We also taped a little alien figure to the bottom of one of the chairs. One time we had the first person to give us a note from one of their parents.

What to have there
Find a nice love seat or easy chair. Make it so it is big enough to fit more than one student. We got little end tables and put one on either side of the love seat. On each table there were all sorts of snacks (chips, cookies, cutie mandarins, popcorn, etc.). We also put out several different kinds of soda. You could put a hot, juicy steak there if you wanted to. Just make it worth it. You want students to want to win that prize.

What it does
It gives your students something new to get excited about.
It It makes someone feel special.
They get to bring a friend or a few and that is always fun.
Makes for an easy “game” when you really don’t have time for one in your session.