In the past I have worked in student ministries where they used games every week and also student ministries that rarely use games at all. Like anything else, doing games in your student ministry will have it’s pros and cons. After seeing some links recently about youth ministry games, I thought I would share some thoughts that will hopefully help guide you as you think about using games in your student ministry.
1. You don’t have to do them! Games are not essential to your student ministry. I worked in a student ministry that had a game every Wednesday night as part of their mid-week service. It got to the point where it became an “essential” part of the program. But what happened over time was the games became routine and boring to the students, leaders ran out of ideas for new games, and they started taking up too much time in the service. Eventually, we stopped doing games every week and started doing them every few weeks. The bottom line is, you don’t have to always do games. Student ministry is about building discipleship through teaching God’s Word, not having the best games every week.
2. Use them creatively. If you are going to do games in your student ministry, do it creatively. Here are two ways you can use games creatively. First, use games that force the students to interact. Use games to build interaction and community among your students. Get them into teams and force them to work together. Second, use games that build into your lessons. I try to do this as much as possible, but it sometimes is difficult. Use games that build into your particular lesson that night. Use the game has an illustration or an attention grabber for your lesson. However you use games in your student ministry, do it creatively. One last thing about using games creatively, make sure and do all type of games. There are various types of games you can do: upfront games where you bring a few students on stage to play, everyone plays games where every student gets to play, and indoor/outdoor games.
3. When it’s summer, go outside! One of my favorite things to do in the summer with students is water games outside. During the summer months, plan some large group games that you can do outside. One of my favorites is called slip n’ slide kickball. Basically you make a kick ball field with plastic kiddie pools being the bases and between the bases is slip n’ slides (I suggest buying the plastic from Lowe’s). You play a normal game of kickball, but when students are running on slick plastic and diving into kiddie pools, it gets crazy! Do games like this during the summer. I suggest that you do all your teaching and stuff early in the night then do your outdoor game at the end.
Here are some links that provide great game ideas:
YouthMin.org games page has some great game ideas
Rug Burn-E-book full of indoor games
Grass Stains-E-book fill of outdoor games
The Source for Youth Ministry-Games and Icebreakers