My Top 3 Favorite Sites to Get Youth Ministry Games

When it comes to student ministry, I’m not the most creative when it comes to games. The good news is that there are a tons of great student ministry websites that offer killer game ideas. So next time you’re looking for a game last minute or just can’t think of a creative game to play, check out one of these three sites. I have found that these three sites are my favorite place to find game ideas.

Youth Leader StashI discovered this great site a few months ago. The more I look at their game ideas, the more I like the site. For the past few weeks I have been going straight to this site for game ideas. What I like most about Youth Leader Stash is that they provide a quality graphic to go along with your game. So not only do you get all the instructions you need to do the game, but you get a good graphic to throw up on the screens during your game. I highly recommend this site if you’re looking for good games to do with your students.

Game Show BlogThis is a blog put together by the guys over at Digital Stache. There are not a ton of games on this blog and it’s not updated as regular as Youth Leader Stash is, but they still have some awesome games. Digital Stache is behind a lot of the media elements done at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. This site also offers a graphic with each game that you can use. This is a site I would encourage you to check out and maybe get a game or two from.

The Source for Youth MinistryThe Source for Youth Ministry is much more than just a site to get student ministry games, but is a site that offers great resources for training and other things in student ministry. But what I love about this site is they have a massive archive of game ideas. They are broken into categories such as large group games, upfront games, outdoor games, and indoor games. Also, these games are submitted by everyday student ministry workers. They give all the details you need to run the game as well as a detail list of supplies needed. This would be another site I would regularly go to when looking for games to do with your students.

There are many other sites I could have listed that offer great game ideas, but these are probably my favorite ones to go to when I’m looking for a game. Don’t think you have to always come up with a new creative game, use games that others have done and save yourself some time and energy to focus on more important stuff. Awhile back I shared a few thoughts on using games in student ministry here on my site that I encourage you to check out.

Book Review: As For Me and My Crazy House

This past year at SYMC, I picked up a copy of Brian Berry’s new book As For Me and My Crazy House. Like any good student pastor, I have a bad habit of buying too many books and never finding the time to read them all, but this was a book I knew I needed to find the time to read. I’m fresh out of college and still pretty new to vocational student ministry, but have already seen the toll ministry can play on my own walk with Christ as well as my relationship with my fiancée whom I am marrying next month! If you have been in student ministry for any amount of time you probably know the negative impact ministry can sometimes have on your own heart, marriage, and family. If you have experienced that or feel it being a problem in the near future, this book is for you! The subtitle should be enough to motivate you to read it-Learning to Protect Your Heart, Marriage, and Family From the Demands of Youth Ministry.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but this has been one of the best student ministry books I have ever read. That may come as a surprise to many because this book doesn’t reveal “the next big youth ministry model” or “a new creative way to reach students.” It’s simply a book that focuses on something so much more important than all of that-the spiritual and emotional health of yourself as the student pastor and your family. I absolutely love this because I believe the student pastor being where he needs to be spiritually, emotionally, physically, is the most important aspect of student ministry. Events, Bible studies, games, etc. can wait, making sure you are the student pastor God called you to be is more important. I recently wrote a post about this very thing (click here to view that post).

In this book, Brian helps the reader see three best gifts you as the student pastor can bestow: the best gift you van give your marriage is a healthy self, the best gift you can give your family is a healthy marriage, and the best gift you can give your community and ministry is a healthy family. Throughout the book, Brian shares practical insights on how to keep yourself healthy and your family healthy when life and ministry gets crazy.

I encourage anyone involved in student ministry to read this book. I especially encourage my fellow student pastors to read this. This book will challenge and motivate you to take better care of yourself as the student pastor and your family which will result in a better ministry. If there is a book you need to read this year, this is it! Click here to grab you a copy for a great price on Amazon.

You can connect with Brian on his blog or follow him on Twitter.

Freebie: FREE Book “Redeeming Leadership: Shoulder Pads”

Normally I share a freebie on Fridays, but the freebie I want to share is only free until midnight tonight! That means if your reading this blog about this free ebook, you need to grab it asap before it goes up to $4.99 tomorrow! The FREE ebook I want to share with you is called Redeeming Leadership: Shoulder Pads by Mark Riddle. I had the opportunity to meet Mark personally a few weeks ago at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I have not dived into this book just yet, but plan to in the coming months. From what I am hearing it’s an excellent leadership book that those in church leadership. One review of the book said, “This book should be required reading for church staff and lay leaders alike.” Here is a short review of the book by Tim Schmoyer:

Most church leaders deal with the issue of congregation members who expect the paid staff to serve them, provide services, and direct programs. For the most part, the congregation members are involved, but they’re serving the youth pastor in his ministry or the children’s director in her ministry rather than taking responsibility for THEIR ministry. Things like this happen because somewhere along the line the team player removed his or her shoulder pads and placed them on the paid staff member. Unfortunately, the staff member accepts them because “this is what I get paid to do” and before long, it’s a church of people with unrealistic expectations who also share no ownership in the outcomes.

Mark’s little book addresses issues like this and more as he talks about how we can discover our role in misplacing responsibility because church staff members do it, too. He also addresses how we can begin to give back misplaced responsibility that’s been delegated to us.

I hope these thoughts have wet your appetite to read this ebook. Below is the link to download the book for FREE from Amazon as a Kindle edition. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry! You can click here to download a Kindle reading app (for FREE) that allows you to read Kindle edition books on your computer or tablet.

Redeeming Leadership: Shoulder Pads by Mark Riddle

Search, Stay, or Quit

Yesterday here at SYMC, I was able to attend a few pre-conference workshops before the conference officially started. One of those workshops was called “The Emotionally Healthy Youth Worker” with Mark DeVries. Instead of sharing all my notes, like I did with a Duffy Robbins track in another blog, I want to share a section of those notes that I believe will help student pastors who may be reading this.

Here is the question that will lead the rest of this post: What do you do when the work you have been called to do as a youth pastor is different from what your senior pastor wants me to do? Unfortunately, many students pastors find themselves in churches or around a staff that may not see eye-to-eye with them about what they should be doing as a student pastor. If you’re not careful, this can cause frustration in your ministry. So the question is, what do you do when your view or calling in youth ministry is different from your senior pastor? What if what you want to do is different from what he wants you to do. Basically you have three options:

1. Search. The first thing you can do is start searching for another student pastor position that fits your better. One thing to remember if you go this route is make sure you stay on board as the student pastor until God opens a door somewhere else. Don’t start searching and leave the church before another positions opens up. I would encourage you to spend time in prayer before making this decision.

2. Stay. Another option would be to just stay. Mark DeVries pointed something out that grabbed my attention. He said if your senior pastor wants you to do youth ministry I way you really don’t want to, than spend some time doing it his way and let your way be worked into it. Eventually, you will be at a happy balance where you’re doing youth ministry your way and also making your senior pastor, whom is your boss, happy.

3. Quit. Some of you don’t like option 1 or 2. If you seriously cannot work in a church where the senior pastor may see youth ministry a little different from you, than the best thing for you and that church is for you to quit. If you do this, make sure you stay there until they find someone or have someone overseeing the youth ministry. Don’t leave them high and dry because you can’t work there. Be wise and smart with making this decision.

I hope if you find yourself in a spot where you don’t see eye to eye with your senior pastor when it comes to youth ministry, this short post has helped you. I will be sharing some more of my notes and parts of my notes in the next few days as I am here at the SYMC.

Teaching the Bible for All It’s Worth

As I mentioned in my last post, I want to try and share all my notes from this weekend while I am here at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference. This morning I was able to attend a pre-conference track with Duffy Robbins called “Teaching the Bible for All It’s Worth” here at SYMC. One of the things I loved about the workshop was Duffy’s passion about the Word of God. He spent a lot of time at the beginning talking about hermeneutics and Biblical interpretation. This was super encouraging for me because I believe the Bible is the starting point for effective youth ministry. The Bible is what students need. They don’t need our clever ideas or programs, they need God’s Word.

Because of the amount of notes for this tracks, I wanted to just post a link to the PDF of the notes I took. I hope these help you and help you understand how to teach God’s Word to students. Click the link below to see my notes from this track in PDF format.

Teaching the Bible for All It’s Worth (Duffy Robbins)