Everybody loves to have fun. Life can be fun. Fun in the dictionary is described as follows:
(fùn) 1. A source of enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure. 2. Enjoyment; amusement: have fun at the beach. 3. Playful, often noisy, activity.
God placed us in a beautiful world. He wants us to enjoy it. Man is made up of body, soul, and spirit. It is great to enjoy (have fun with) the life God has given us.
The question really isn’t whether fun is right for ministry. The question is whether it will help us achieve the goal of the ministry we have with young people. Don’t get me wrong – we all need to have fun. But the bigger objective is to bring young people to Christ and help them live for God in this world. That can be accomplished even in our fun.
To have fun God’s way, we must create an intentional plan for our group. It must have order to it. This teaches young people they can have a blast and still be in fellowship with God at the same time (meeting their spiritual need). The opportunity to interact with the other young people during the activity will address their physical, emotional, and social needs.
Since fun is important to youth ministry, it is important to do it right. Icebreakers and games should be planned with the same excellence as any other part of your youth meeting.
Invest time this summer to research and deliberately plan your icebreakers and games for this coming year. It will relieve the pressure of trying to find a game each week. Here are some ideas.
1. Recruit a team and begin the process
If you have other leaders or older students who have the interests or skills for this type of ministry, invite them to plan with you. Determine how many games you will need. How many meetings you will have this year? In most cases, you will have between 36-40 youth meetings in one year. Will you need games for all of them? What type of games will fit your group?
2. Research the resources available
There are more resources you can use to find games than you will ever need. However, you can explore games by category or interest. Since you know your group best, you can search for games and pick the ones that fit your group. If possible, search resources together with your team. Make a list, create bookmarks, or copy and paste the ideas that interest you. Sources include Pinterest, YouTube, your favorite search engine, and your Word of Life coach.
Suggested types of searches include, “games using ping pong balls,” “games using clothespins,” inside small group games,” “outside games,” “large group games” – the prospects are endless.
3. Organize the games you choose
Make a list of games you can use. Make a list of game props you already have. Then, collect props for the other games if you need them. Match the right games to your specific meetings.
4. Share the experience
Determine who you can trust to execute the games or icebreakers. You may even be able to delegate a game to others on a regular basis.
5. Be well prepared
Whoever does the game time needs to understand that it is not just an add-on to the meeting, but it is a vital part of the entire night. It should be done with excellence and enthusiasm. Make your game time the best it can be. Walk through the activity in your mind before the meeting. Visualize it (what do you want to see, hear, smell, touch, feel, etc.). Ask, “what will I need?” (For instance, will you need a drop cloth, someone to hit the lights, someone to set up props while you explain the game, or cleaning supplies for after the activity?)
If you execute your fun element of the meeting with excellence, it increases your opportunities to create an atmosphere that grows good friendships and earns the students’ attention for the other elements of the program. Do your best!
Steve Gledhill is the Word of Life Area Missionary for the Western and Gulf States of the United States. He and his wife, Susan, have served with Word of Life for 41 years. They currently live in Yuba City, California.