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The Middle School Pastor who invented 9-SQUARE-IN-THE-AIR!

 —  August 22, 2013 — 3 Comments

9square

Scott Rubin is back with another post:

 

This post will sound like I’m “advertising” something, which I sort of am, but I promise I’m not getting a dime for saying good stuff about this game.

If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for activities that just about every middle school student can participate – and that aren’t lame!   9 Square in the Air might be just what you’re looking for.   Not only that, the inventor is a middle school pastor!

If you haven’t heard of it, you really need to check out this web site: http://www.9squareintheair.com.  I’m fired up about this because our students have been playing it every week for the past 2 months, and the intrigue just continues to rise.   Seriously – it’s fantastic… and easy for almost every middle schooler to play, whether they’re super-athletic, or not-so-much!

We introduced this game to our students at our summer camp in June.   It’s become such a huge hit in our middle school ministry that I decided to call the guy who invented it — and found out that he’s been a youth pastor for 15 years, and the last 10 of those specifically working with Jr. Highers!

His name is Steve Otey, and his church is in a suburb of St. Louis.  A number of years back, he had a group of students in his ministry who loved to play volleyball … and another group of students who loved to play 4- (or  9-) square every week.   Every time he tried to get the volleyballers to play 4 square, or vice versa, he got resistance – so he hatched the idea of combining the 2 games.

Even though I think this invention makes Steve Otey a little like the Steve Jobs of youth ministry games, he says that his passion is really all about youth ministry – which is very clear as you talk with him.

He tells his students “if you can put 2 hands above your head… or even just let a ball bounce off your head… you can play”!   And for me, it’s been a blast to see a 4’6” middle school eliminate a 6’6” leader.    Every week for the last 2 month, students are lined up to play.   We even had a parents-open-house one week, and parents jumped in, too.

You already know that a good game can be a great “connector” for middle schoolers & leaders.   If it fits in your budget, you’ve gotta check this thing out.   (or use Steve’s “kit”, and make your own, like we did!)

Kurt Johnston

Kurt Johnston

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Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

3 responses to The Middle School Pastor who invented 9-SQUARE-IN-THE-AIR!

  1. We love this game. The set up / tear down is slick and the students love it. It really works great when you have that one leader or student who is the “guy to beat”
    Thanks Steve!

    • … and every leader has that “guy to beat”, don’t they Phil! It’s most fun when it’s a little 6th grader who knocks them out.

  2. Hi!

    I enjoyed reading about the evolution of Nine Square but I wanted to ask where you can get Steve Otey’s “kit” to try to make one of these. Looks like a great group activity!

    Thanks!
    Bonnie

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