Games are often used in youth ministry to reach out to middle and high school youths in a fun and innovative way. Not only can games welcome new kids and help existing members get to know each other, ministry games also help teens build their faith and use their spiritual gifts in a non-threatening environment. Plan on incorporating ministry games during the next youth group meeting or invite your teen’s friends over, interspersing games in the middle of fellowship.
Ice-breaker games reveal interesting tidbits about your daughter, her friends and new kids. Instruct each teen to write down one interesting fact about their life, such as “I once rode in a hot air balloon.” Put all the facts in a bowl, having each teen draw a fact. Tell everyone to match the fact with the correct person. Give each teen the chance to share what they learned about their designated person. Add a twist. Sit in the middle of a circle, reading the fact. Throw a small cushy ball to a random teen, telling them to shout out the name associated with the fact. If the name is incorrect, throw the ball to a different teen. Once a teenager gives the correct name, she assumes the middle position and calls out the next fact.
Host a chore ministry treasure hunt. Make a list of families who need household tasks done, such as raking the yard, planting a garden or cooking a meal. Make a treasure map containing addresses of families and the associated task. Direct your teen and cohorts to follow the map, performing each chore. Once they return, reward everyone with pizza, snacks and time to share what benefits were derived from helping others. Play a servant ministry game. Write down the name of each teenager along with an associated assignment such as massaging feet or wrapping a blanket around someone and giving them a hug. Call out each teenager, watching them complete the task.
Teach your teen and her friends how to pray using scripture. Personalize a scripture, inserting each teenager’s name in different spots. For instance, insert Sally’s name in Psalm 91:2, “Sally will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom Sally trusts.' " Place all scriptures in a bucket, allowing each teen a turn to pick a different scripture and read aloud the contents. Explain different types of prayer, such as thankfulness, praise and petition. Write a single word on separate index cards, such as “sun.” Hold up each card, picking a teen to say a quick prayer about the word, like “Thank you Lord that the sun helps vegetables to grow.” Repeat until all teens have had the opportunity to pray.
Jesus often used parables to teach His audience. Play a game similar to Seven-up. Pick a teen, representing Jesus. Instruct everyone to close their eyes, put their heads down and stick up a thumb. Have Jesus pick the first person, touching their thumb. When “heads up, Christian-up” is called out, the person who was picked joins Jesus. Repeat the procedure until everyone has been chosen and joins Jesus. Write phrases on a piece of paper, including “prayer,” “worship,” “rebellion” and “sin.” Put each phrase in a balloon. Play worship music as teens hit the balloon to each other. When the music stops, whoever has the balloon pops it, reading the phrase inside. Instruct her to place the phrase in one of two piles: actions that draw teens closer to God and actions that don’t. Continue until all the balloons have been popped.