PreEm is a formal event our church hosts to provide a healthy atmosphere for fellowship among Christian teens (ninth through twelfth grades) as a prom alternative. Its name comes from the word preeminence, based on Colossians 1:9–18. Verse 18 reads, “He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Having a prom alternative enables parents to help their teens make positive decisions to choose a healthy atmosphere during the prom season. We strive to help all teens feel welcome and comfortable whether they attend as an individual or with a date. We require modest dress for all.
The senior class, working with adult coordinators, begins planning the event in October. Seniors are in charge of organizing and carrying out all segments of PreEm with the goal in mind of keeping Christ as the focus of the event. We invite students from local Bible-believing churches and the Christian school. Registration fees and permission slips must be submitted prior to the event. We hold PreEm during a weekend that coincides with the local high schools’ prom season. The evening begins with a banquet in our church gym, which has been decorated to reflect the theme of the evening. Past themes have included “Bubbles,” “The Great Northwoods,” “The Old West,” “The Orient,” “Medieval Times,” “Under the Sea,” “Genesis,” “Taking Christ to the Four Corners of the World,” and “Light and Masks.” After the banquet is over, the seniors present a program for the teens and the seniors’ parents, including skits, PowerPoint, and drama. The program ends with a theme-related challenge given by a special speaker.
After the program, the teens participate in activities together. The guys and the girls then split up and spend the night in separate locations. The group meets back together in the morning for breakfast and another activity: visiting a state park, enjoying a water park, or going camping. We have managed to keep the cost of PreEm activities between twenty and thirty dollars. The weekend concludes with a potluck dinner. Teens and parents assist in tearing down decorations. (For more information, see PreEm Info and Forms for Parents and Teens).
Heidi Hartman, Youth leader
Calvary Baptist Church
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin