This is in response to a former article I wrote on DIY Student Ministry. This is the second of ten areas that I’m covering in this series.
Once again you find yourself trying to transition from a messy game to a serious message. As you wipe the shaving cream off your hands you ask the student’s to bow their heads and pray with you. As you disconnect your mind from your prayer…you begin drifting into thinking about how much time you spent on that game, how hard it was to set up and realize that you invested so much more time into the fun factor of the program rather than preparing a message that students can relate to…as you say Amen, you think “Well, here goes nothing.”
I’m have been guilty of this more than once. Some could blame procrastination or a lack of creativity, but games for students can be down right hard! Planning, preparing and executing games for a program takes time, thought and energy. Though you can probably do both the teaching and games…DON’T DO IT! Sometimes this can come down to a trust issue, “They can’t do games the way I do games.” “They don’t understand all the logistics that go into a group game for 100 students.” “This volunteer is not capable of putting on the fun hat and really getting the students out of their comfort zone.” While all of this can be true, you need to teach them. Lead your leaders to be great at games. Share the burden of the program with other dedicated volunteers and get away from doing both games and teaching. You can be good at both, but better at one when you empower someone else to own the other. Doing this will only help you get away from a DIY student ministry.
With that being said, I’d ask you to consider your student ministry philosophy of the program. What’s the purpose of a program? What’s the purpose of the game? Is it essential that I have a game in every program? These are some good questions to ask.
A few ideas when it comes to games:
- What leaders come to mind when you think games? Who can be recruited, trained, and own this?
- Have a night without the game, do something different.
- Flip that around and have a night of programming that is just fun and games.
- Don’t give away a prize every time someone wins, this can get expensive! Let them just have the satisfaction of winning.
- Do a current inventory on all supplies, what can you use for games, what needs to be tossed?
- Have a healthy mix of both up front games and group games.
- Messy games are memorable games.
- Practice communicating the game with fellow staff members before an audience of students, asking them, “Does this make sense?”