This year we’ve trying a fun new idea that we’ve been cooking for small groups – we’ve just launched HSM’s Life Group Leagues!

From time to time throughout the small group year we’re going to host a few casual sports nights here at the church where groups can participate in some fun activities like volleyball, ping pong or basketball. The games are all for fun, not highly competitive and simply give small groups a chance to take a break from the pace of the year and have some fun together.

I’ve always liked the idea of intramural sports in college and wondered if it would translate to high school ministry. We’re off to a great start so far – thought the idea might be a good one to share here, too!

JG

We’ve gotta start taking humor more seriously!

Psalm 126:2 and Job 8:21 directly link laughter as a result of God’s blessing. Even so, humor sometimes gets a bad rap in church and ministry circles because we’ve seen it used so many times in ways that don’t glorify God. When utilized within God’s boundaries though (see Ephesians 5:4 to read how much God doesn’t laugh at bathroom humor), laughter is simply too great of a gift and too powerful a communication weapon to not harness for God’s glory.

Laughter is one of God’s greatest creations. Used creatively and effectively, it can attract people from all walks of life to His truth and ultimately, the Gospel. I’ve seen God at work through humor firsthand. It’s one of the reasons nearly 20,000 young people from 84 countries have prayed to receive Christ on TheDougAndJonShow.com. Yes, we share the Gospel — but we win a young person’s trust first by sharing some laughs.

Laughs break the ice. When communicating, in some cases you’ve got maybe 30 seconds before a person, especially a young person, decides whether they relate to you and will listen to what you have to say. When you start a conversation with a shared laugh, you can break down invisible walls in an instant.

Laughs change negative perceptions. We live in a world full of people that believe Christians are all Mr. and Mrs. Judge-ingtons. Their perception is we want to yell at them because they have sin in their lives. One shared laugh at our own shortcomings can communicate we’re not all the sticks in the mud they perceive us to be.

Laughs can help effectively communicate hard truths. Recently I taught at a church from Proverbs 4:23 on guarding your heart. I used a funny illustration about how there’s a stretch on Interstate 40 in Texas that assaults your nasal cavity because of all the cow farms in the community. Somehow though, the folks that live there don’t smell it because they’re used to it. From there I turned the corner into Christians not being able to “smell” the kind of entertainment that is offensive to God because we’re so accustomed to it. I call communicating hard truths this way as “putting velvet on a brick.” You don’t water down the hard truth — but you get people thinking about it on a deeper level because you delivered it in an entertaining and unexpected way. Not every truth in God’s Word is appropriate to illustrate with humor, but it’s wise to consider utilizing humor in ones where it works.

So laugh a little, and invite others to crack up with you! It’ll bring a bright spot into their day, and it might even give them a glimpse into the joy that comes from following such a great Savior.

This guest post was written by Doug Hutchcraft, co-founder of “The Doug and Jon Show.” If you want to know more about their ministry check out their website right here: http://www.thedougandjonshow.com/



The amazingness of HSM’s killball tournament. Enjoy.

JG

Played this video as an illustration of how I feel about morning people during the talk about our daily routines with God. Students loved it – not sure of the source, but enjoy it if it fits with your talk sometime soon.

JG



I’ve seen Hasbro’s Cuponk for a while now – a simple game of bouncing a ping pong ball into a cup, with ever-increasingly difficult challenges. Then it hit me – how fun would this be as a fun little ice breaker with the teenagers in your small group? I love the idea that this could become an insider tradition where the group start out each night playing a little Cuponk then diving into Bible study and sharing life together.

Random idea, I know – I never said every post would be brilliant. Either way, I bought a couple of them at Target today to give away as prizes at our upcoming Life Group Leader Training Night. Thought I would share at least an illustration of small group fun with them.

Just as an aside, if you like the idea, I would spring for the actual official Cuponk game for $15. At first it seemed like a lot to pay for what a ping pong ball and red plastic party cup could do, but I realized there may be comparisons to beer games if you take the cheaper route.

JG