Youth Ministry Games

games for youth group

Can I be honest? When it comes to my weekly youth meeting, I can nail the message, get my worship team organized and looking great, find serious and funny videos to show the students, and take care of all the administrative needs. However, the one thing I absolutely hate is coming up with games. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing them. I think having an element of fun is super necessary in ministry.

God made fun and we will have it in our worship service. However, when I construct my night, it is seriously the last thing I think of when it comes to planning my service.

So over the past couple years of doing ministry I have collected a number of bookmarks that I keep on my browser for my last minute game planning. Some of them I look ahead of time so I can grab gear for the game. Some of them I will literally open up within an hour of the service to find a quick powerpoint game to play with my students.

Some have hit…

Some have totally bombed…

One thing I have learned over the years is that a game’s success is contingent on a couple of things: The excitement and clarity of the person explaining the game and the personality of the students.

If you are leading the game, you need to be excited. Be goofy. Have fun. If the students see you acting goofy and excited, they will feed off of that. I try to act like a total goofball when I lead games. Even if the game is sorta lame, you can play it off as ironically funny and the kids will love it.

As for the personality of the students, you have to know what kind of games they might like. Are they more physical and want to run around a ton, or are they the type that do better with a fun 10-question powerpoint quiz? Also, if your group is more than 45, you probably should consider up front games where you bring a couple students to the front to face off.

Lastly, if you find your games nose-diving every night, consider getting donations or pulling some cash from the budget and get prizes. They don’t have to be nice. They could be silly stuff from the dollar store. If there is a prize, students will at least try. However, make sure you can maintain this. It will get really expensive really fast if you are not careful.

FREE

  • YouthMin.org - A bunch of indoor and outdoor physical games are in the “games” category.
  • Stuff You Can Use – As of this moment, there are four sweet games & game guides for free (including Giant Angry Birds).
  • The Source For Youth Ministry – The site might look outdated, but the games on this site have been served up to youth groups across the country.
  • Jubed – Again, don’t let the old looking layout stop you. Some of these games are relevant and still fun today!
  • Youth Leader Stash – Some great games have been found on here, but don’t wait until the last minute. You’ll need to prep for some of these games. It will be worth it.
  • YouthMinistry101 – A new site that has some sweet games.
  • Pinterest – I know what you are thinking, “Why is this handsome bearded man on Pinterest?” Well, I am married and enjoy Nutella. Also, there are a ton of good game ideas to be found.
  • EGADideas – Tons of games and ideas for your ministry.
  • YouthPastor.com – The site might be from 1998, but the games are for today. Check them out.
  • Pastor2Youth.com – Tons of games.

NOT FREE BUT AFFORDABLE

  • YouthMinResources.com – A growing library of games and fun.
  • Download Youth Ministry – I became a DYM member solely for this purpose. You get a free game every month and you can buy free games with the DYM credit they give you. Lots of fun ones here.

Did we miss your favorite site? What site do you find great games?

Wacky Words – Group Game

If you’re like me, you are always looking for a great up-front game that is flexible for any group size, easy to use and explain, and fun for everyone.  Sometimes, games like that are hard to come by.  So, we decided to create our own one evening, and Wacky Words was born.

Wacky Words is a crazy game focusing on the definitions of some of the English language’s craziest words, like Gardyloo, Widdershins, Bumfuzzled, and Gubbins.  In our group, we divided the students into teams, and gave them all a piece of paper and a marker.  We then show the slide of the crazy words and they try to come up with what they think the definition actually is for that word.  Once they have done their best to come up with definitions, you can go through the slides and show the definitions.  In the end, the team with the most correct answers wins.

Variations include doing this as a one-on-one sort of up-front game, having sections of the room helping “their” participant.  Or, you could even do it like Balderdash, where groups have to turn in their definition and gain points for every group that picks theirs.

You can purchase “Wacky Words” in the YouthMin Resources store HERE.

The Battle Room – Youth Ministry games

Growing up, I loved reading the book Ender’s Game, and I was thrilled when the movie came out this laster year. One of the key components that every reader loved about the book is the Battle Room, where armies practiced battle strategy in what can only be described as the greatest laser tag ever. So this past week, when this youth ministry game idea turned into the epicness that it did, I couldn’t help but think of how much it reminded me of the Battle room in Ender’s Game, though obviously there were no lasers , but because of the strategy I saw play out.

Our Youth group wanted to play dodgeball, but that would have been way too loud for a Sunday Morning in the room we meet in (we’re right across the foyer from the Sanctuary, which keeps their doors open). So we decided to play “Sit Down Dodgeball” and thats what this game is. We divided into two teams, and every had to place their chair within a marked boundary we made on the floor (so they wouldn’t be too far away to throw or be thrown at), and made the rule that if they got off their seat for ANY reason (including to get a ball on the ground) they were out. The game moved pretty quickly that first round, and it seemed like any other game, until we gave them the chance to move their seats to a new spot and one of the teams started epically strategizing, as in where to put their best thrower, the best way to place chairs so they would have the correct angle to block the most behind them, all of it. They destroyed the other team in round 2, and round 3 the strategy stepped up even more.

This is definitely a game we’ll be playing again in our youth ministry, and I’m sure your group would love it just as much as mine did. It’s best to play a few rounds, so the students can get more into seat placement strategy, and just know that as the strategy steps up, the likelihood of having one player on each team left at the end of the game for a 5 minute showdown goes up, so you might want some rules in place for that, such as 5 throws per side before its a draw, to keep things moving.

Star Wars Youth Ministry Game bundle

May the 4th only happens once a year, but let’s be honest – there’s never a time that’s not a great time for Star Wars related games for Youth Ministry. Over on YouthMinResources.com, we’ve got a great new bundle of games all focused on Star Wars that your group will love.

This bundle contains 3 star wars themed games:

Vader, 3PO, Skywalker – a Group game

Vadering Challenge – an instagram game for your whole group

and

Is this place from the Bible or Star Wars – A 12 question powerpoint game, great for a volunteer up front or a group elimination game.

So head on over and grab it now so you can use it tonight!

Youth Group Powerpoint game: BuzzWords

Buzzwords is a fantastic game for any size group, seriously, you can play with just 2 people or 200 people!

To play buzzwords, have students get in groups of your choosing to fit your total size. Can be played with two teams going head to head or 8 teams of smaller sizes.

Give out a letter and a category and give teams a 1:00 minute timer to come up with as many words that begin with the letter and fit the category.

Descriptor words don’t count if they are the only word that fits letter, but if the descriptor is pertinent to the word and begins with the letter, its two points. i.e. Sports Teams S – Seattle Seahawks would be two points, but Seattle Mariners wouldn’t be any points. If more than one team has the same word, neither gets credit for it.

You can purchase enough slides to play this game several times on youthminresources.com, or with this direct link to the Buzzwords Game.

Youth Ministry Game – Schism

Schism is a great Youth Ministry game for groups of at least 8. What is awesome about it is that even the students who prefer to just sit to the side and not participate in active games can have fun with this game, because its not as much about athletic ability as it is about team work.

Schism is typically played on a volleyball court with a normal volleyball net and boundaries, but you can really make your own boundaries big enough for your group to play in, and screen flex wall dividers (we know almost every church as at least one of these things) work great to be the middle barrier as well (not just for this game, great for battleship, too). Two volleyballs are used (for groups larger than 30 add an extra ball). The balls are thrown and caught (not hit as in volleyball). If a player tries to catch a ball but drops it, that person is out of the game. If a ball hits the ground, the person closest to where the ball landed is out (if an argument breaks out about who is out, both people arguing are out). If two balls land, the two closest people to where the balls landed are out. Players can catch one ball, and still be called out by the second ball hitting them or landing closest to them. This is where a team must work together to help each other, because the opposing team will try to throw both balls at the same person. If a player throws a ball and it does not make it over the net or lands out of bounds, that player is out. Players must throw the ball from the spot they caught it. No spiking or throwing in a downward direction.

A “schism” occurs when a team throws both of the balls and the balls collide in the air. If a team throws a schism, and both balls score kills on the other team’s side, this is called an “ultimate schism.” An ultimate schism results in two players being out on the side the balls landed, and the throwing team gets to bring back one player. Players must not hold a ball for long, and both balls must remain in play. The only exception is when one team is down to two players; then they can set one ball down and not use it. Play continues until all players on one side are out. Switch sides and reload and play again.