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Weigh In – Volume 31: Youth Group Isn’t Fun

Josh Griffin —  May 31, 2013 — 5 Comments

From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about youth group fun and games. I already answered him personally with a few suggestions but got his permission to share the question here, too. Hoping you could share your thoughts in the comments, too. Weigh in!

Thank you so much for what you do, I find myself coming back to MTDB again and again. I am a 43 yr old youth pastor, after doing the Big Church thing for 20 yrs God changed our direction and now we get to spend our time loving on teens. Recently our youth group flipped on us and we went from a large group of High Schoolers to a smaller group of Jr Highers.  One complaint I have heard is that we need to have more fun, so what does that mean?  Also any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thoughts? Weigh in!

JG

Josh Griffin

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5 responses to Weigh In – Volume 31: Youth Group Isn’t Fun

  1. Shannon Hutchison May 31, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I’ve found that giving the kids a quick survey about the types of fun events both in and out of church that they like to do is very helpful. That way, if someone complains, you can say that you are taking the things you do from the suggestions they gave you.

  2. the Big Church thing for 20 yrs God changed our direction and now we get to spend our time loving on teens. Recently our youth group flipped on us and we went from a large group of High Schoolers

  3. My suggestion: have a lock-in. Make stations for free time: 4 Square, Nintendo, boardgames, photo booth… Play some big group games like Murder, Sardines, noodle hockey. Maybe even a church wide capture the flag game. Have a SHORT devotion at midnight and get parents to come make pancakes at 7am. They will instantly demand that you do another one. This will be a great way to experiment too. If you try a game in youth group and it bombs then it kind of makes the night a low note. But if a game isn’t enjoyed at a lock-in you can easily move on to another one. Afterwards, the students will tell you which ones they want to do in youth group! Lock-ins give you a 7 hour chunk to hang out with kids when they have no other obligations. And the kids associate the fun they’re having with the church rather than with some cool place you take them.

  4. Well without knowing more of what your programming looks like here would be my suggestion.

    No two youth groups are exactly the same so take sometime with God and prayerfully consider what is unique about your group. Then look at the characteristics that you found and build on that as a strength not a weakness that prevents you from being like the other church down the road. Then start getting creative within those means first. Find games that meet those characteristics, plan trips with a style in mind, and bring God into that. My group for example is a group heavy into the arts (singing, acting, musicians) so we do a church musical and have the kids invite their friends and family. This event brings in 900 people into the church over a weekend which provides a great opportunity for evangelism.

  5. FUN is an integral part of any youth ministry. As we know most of the reason our students come to youth group is not our AMAZING teaching but has more to do with friends and fun. Barna did a study recently that showed around 80% of students come because of friends or to make new friends. Of course we know there is higher purpose than to just make friends and have fun but it’s OK that we lev-er-age (see recent post) this knowledge during our times together. Consistent, organized, fun activities not only provide a disarming atmosphere for those students not so familiar with “youth group” or “church” but also provide a very natural environment for students to meet and build relationships with other students and more importantly your adult leaders. Some of our most obstinate students have been won-over during a game of dodge-ball or mafia simply because the game creates a very natural and light hearted reference point that can be the beginnings of a influential relationship.

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