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Youth Ministry Lessons From Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show

Youth Ministry Lessons From Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show

I am a big fan of Jimmy Fallon.

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The debut of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has been super successful.

Fallon is strategically appealing to the younger generation.  He’s making The Tonight Show relevant for younger views — and it is working.  I think youth pastors can learn from Fallon on how to better engage the younger generation. Here’s what Jimmy is brilliantly doing in order to attract the younger folks:

(1)  Jimmy knows and utilizes the internet.    Fallon is present on social media, building buzz for his show and cultivating a community of fans via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more. In fact, Twitter is an integral part of Fallon’s program, so much so that there is even a Tonight Show app tie-in, offering a more direct, Twitter-enabled connection to Fallon.  Jimmy understands the internet and hashtags and leverages it in a way to engage and build his community.

(2)  Jimmy has insane interpersonal skills.  Jimmy knows how to connect with his guests in a real and authentic way.  He is so sincere and knows how to make people feel so special and valued.  It seems like every person that comes on his show is someone he has known for years.  He hugs all his guest, he looks all his guests right into their eyes when he interviews them, he asks great questions, and he’s super kind to everyone.  Jimmy has this way of making people just feel good.

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(3)  Jimmy knows how to have fun.  The great thing about Jimmy — is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  He laughs at himself a lot.  Jimmy is always down to play an interactive group games with his guests (here is a list of all the fun games Jimmy has played on his show), willing to take up any challenge or dare (the mayor of Chicago challenged Jimmy to do the polar plunge and he did it), and does short comedic sketches that are witty, relevant.  Jimmy just values fun because he knows fun deepens and strengthens relationships.

(4)  Jimmy loves and values music.  The first week debut of the Tonight Show, Jimmy had U2 and Justin Timberlake on his show.  The fact that he went after both of these musical artists demonstrates to me Fallon knows his demographic.  U2 and Timberlake are the top two youth and pop culture icons. Plus Jimmy’s Tonight Show band is the Roots.  The Roots can jam and get down.  Bottom line Jimmy knows that if you want to reach a younger generation — constantly incorporate music.  Plus I love the fact that Jimmy has insane rapping and dancing skills.

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About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

4 comments

  1. I have been thinking about how much adults never get over stupid fun games. I want to bring lip sync battles to my group.

    Moreover I think running a midweek student ministry like a tonight show might be a very effective ministry method.

    It incorporates fun games. Audience involvement. Not a central speaker but rather awesome guest interviews. And it gives the student band something different than to do.

    • Zach,

      That’s an incredible idea. I never thought about how the Tonight Show format could lend it’s self well to a youth ministry environment. I think you are right. There are a lot of fun components that would appeal to students.

      • You should do it, than get doug fields or andy stanley on and do a lip sync battle with them.

        Another great idea free for the taking.

        Completely steal (I mean “borrow” with “permission”) from Acuff and write Thank You Notes to stuff christians like.

        Besides this think about incorporating using all them fancy big church cameras to take it and repost it for students who (are too lazy and) can’t make it to group.

  2. Seriously, we are on the same page here. When I need new ideas, I check out Jimmy. We’ve done the lip sync battles that started into impromptu dance parties. We’ve also done his Water War and Egg Roulette stuff. They have been huge winners for us. He is smart, funny and relevant and kids love him.

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