In my recent post 5 Things to make Church Work More Fun, I listed the following things as some ideas for how to overcome the mundane challenges that sometimes come with working on a church staff.
I promised to unpack them, so here is number 2 play together! Why are games important to youth ministry, because it creates space for youth to build relationships and common experiences with each other. In preparing for staff retreats or planning days, I always remember being asked to “do something that is fun and builds team.” I remember being offended the first time I was asked. Surely, I had something more to offer in leadership that games and team builders. I did and I did on the retreat. But what I found was that my youth ministry gifts were extremely valuable to our time together, because the games and team builders broke down walls, loosened people up, and create creative space just like they do in youth group.
Over the years, I have led lots of games with church staffs. Some of my all time favorite moments come from the following activities:
But my all time favorite was an idea by Paul Bonner my junior high youth minister. We worked on a large church staff with 60+ staff members. Paul convinced our senior pastor to play Gotcha! You may remember the 80’s movie (I guess actually most of you don’t because you weren’t born yet). Here’s how you play:
Everyone receives a piece of paper with a name on it(they should not have their own name and you need to make sure that two people don’t have each other’s names otherwise the game will end prematurely) and a water gun. Here are the rules:
Giving out names is key to a successful event, because you want to avoid an early end where someone gets their name before everyone else is eliminated. This happens sometimes if you have an even number of people. In the scenario below, you could end up with 2 winners who don’t know abou the other. An odd number of people and making sure two people don’t have each other eliminates this problem.
Our staff had a blast. Some took the game more seriously than others. But after 7 days, our pastors administrative assistant was the winner. She took me out on day two by simply telling me that the senior pastor needed to see me.
What other things have you done as a staff to have fun?
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.