Get Your Game Face On! What if the teens don’t like the game? What if the game is a flop? How can I get more game ideas?
These questions are normal for anyone who has been working in the youth ministry for any amount of time. We want to focus on the most important thing, teaching the Bible. But many times, that means our fun factor doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This is especially true to anyone who is wearing multiple hats in their ministries.
This is one of the main reasons I started a YouTube channel, to help other ministries save time and frustration in coming up with games and youth ministry ideas. You can check out my channel here The Dig Studios.
So, how can I get my game face on?
PLAN IN ADVANCE
- A lack of planning is one of the most devastating things about any game time with teens. Have all your supplies ready and know every detail of the game you’re about to play. Many times, if it’s a new game, I actually test it out with a few people before trying it out as a group.
- Don’t be afraid to use the ideas of other people. There have been many times I have played a game I learned “as is” and many times I have played a game I learned with my own twist.
- Never try to be the Lone Ranger when it comes to your games. Get ideas from others. The Bible says, “Iron sharpeneth iron…” The internet is your friend – social media, blogs, videos…etc. The resources at your disposal are only limited by your time dedicated to research. You can also have your teens or workers help with research.
PLAYING A GAME EFFECTIVELY
- One of the things you want to try to avoid is adding rules. I’ve been working with teens for a long time, and I know this can almost never be avoided because they always come up with a crazy way to play a game that you had not considered before. But you still want to try your best to have all the rules in place before you start playing.
- Make the actual gameplay fast so that it doesn’t become boring. If your game involves them finishing a task and it starts taking too long for them to complete, then start a countdown and tell them whoever has finished the most will win.
- Always have winners and losers. One of the worst things you could ever do to the spirit of your teens is to have the mentality that “everyone’s a winner.” No. There are winners, and there are losers. If you’re wanting to give every player something for participating, I understand but always give the winners something on top of that. This helps not only their spirit but also their desire to play the game.
- An added suspense factor is playing game show-style music during the competitions. Most of the time, I have a pianist playing during our games.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
- I never play games that involve consuming something. I played a game one time where the contestants had to eat something before the other person. One of them started choking. From that day on, I never played another game involving eating or drinking. With all the allergies today, this has actually been in my favor, as I never have to worry about someone having an allergic reaction.
- Keep in mind that not all teenagers will want to play a game. If it’s a crowd game, I can easily get everyone involved. However, if it’s a game involving a select amount of contestants, I never force anyone to play.
Jonathan Wells is the youth and technology director of Parkside Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas. He has over 15 years of experience working with youth ministries as he traveled in child evangelism and has served as the children’s director and youth pastor at his current church. Jonathan is married to Heather, and they have been married since 2010. They have one daughter, Hallie.
You can find him and his creative game ideas on his YouTube channel “The DIG Studios” (click here)