Okay, you’ve finished up the hustle and bustle of the pre-experience, and now it’s time to transition to the main experience. The main experience is meant to be a fun, vibrant way for a group of students to learn in a large group who they are in Christ and how much He loves them. For some students, though, the large group, loud music, and bright lights can be uncomfortable and intimidating.
When every student is supported enough to feel safe and participate in the main experience, they feel included and know they have a place to belong in their Switch community.
Use the strategies below to help your student feel safe and included so they can have a great experience with God and their peers too!
When It’s Almost Time to Enter the Main Auditorium
- Give a 2-minute warning.
- If your student is engrossed in playing a game or hanging out with others, let them know it’s nearly time to stop and go with the rest of the students into the auditorium.
- Try an early entrance.
- If your student has a hard time entering the auditorium with the crowd of other students, enter a couple of minutes early, find your seat, save some seats for your small group, and relax while the rest of the students enter.
In the Auditorium
Be sensitive to the student’s need to be included—or to have their space.
- If the student is able to sit with the other students, be sure they know where their group is.
- If they have a peer mentor, their peer can help them find their seat near them.
- If they do not have a peer mentor, you can stay with them until they’re comfortably seated with their small group.
- If the student is overwhelmed sitting with the crowd, find a less crowded place in the auditorium to sit together.
Offer Sensory Support as Needed
- Watch for signs that music or noise is bothering your student, such as delaying entrance to the auditorium or defiance when you ask them to go into the auditorium. Offer noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to help.
- If lights and videos seem over-stimulating, offer sunglasses to help.
- Offer a break in the lobby to your student.
- Maybe the music portion is too much, but the video feels fine. Try worshiping from the lobby and rejoining the auditorium when it’s quieter.
- Maybe the worship is fine, but the student finds the message too difficult to sit and watch. Offer the break, but try to extend the time you spend in the auditorium each week.
- Offer sensory calming and focusing items—especially during the message. Stress balls, fidget spinners, putty, stretchy or squishy silicone items, etc. can help keep your student’s focus where it needs to be.
It may take time for your student to become comfortable with all the elements of a Switch experience—and that’s okay! You’re doing your part to help them feel included and safe. Trust that God is using you to accomplish what He wants to accomplish in the student you’re working with.