Youth Group Game: Say the Same thing

Yesterday, I stumbled into a game on my iPhone that was both the dumbest thing I had ever played, and yet also the best thing I had played in a while. A conversation came up on the facebook group for Youth Pastor’s today that made me realize, this app would be super easy to convert into a great Youth Group game.

So simple, we could play it tonight without needing too much time to set it up.

The game is called Say the Same thing, and the app was created by members of the band OkGo. They do a great job of explaining how the game works in this video, which will be great to play for the students to set up the game before we play.

If you didn’t catch it from the video, essentially, two people say a word they are thinking of. Using those two words, they try and find a word related to the combination, using the original two words as clues to figure out what the other is thinking. The object of the game is for them to finally get to where they can say the same thing.

So tonight, we’ll get two volunteers to play, and we’ll have them play the game. We’ll have them on opposite sides of the stage with stacks of a paper and a marker, so they can write the words down and reveal at the same time. We’ll keep track of how many rounds it takes for them to say the same thing, and possibly have a few other sets of volunteers compete against the top score tonight, if we have time, or in future weeks.

I’ve been having a blast on the iphone app version of the game, and would love to play a round with you. Add me on Facebook and find me in the game!

Why Your Students Shouldn't Have Their Cell Phones During Youth Group

Jeremy and I decided to write articles today about the two options Youth Groups face when it comes to cell phones at church.  I loved writing my article after his so that I could read what he said and formulate my argument based on his post. I count myself as one who loves phones; my iPhone’s charge never lasts a full day because I use my phone just that much. I’m borderline-addicted to my phone: to taking and editing pictures, to reading tweets, to just holding it in my hand and staring at it.

So when my volunteers and I had the discussion of getting rid of phones during Middle School Ministry, I had a tough time because I knew that meant I had to get rid of mine during that time as well. But I’m a big fan of it. I think cell phones are a great thing; I love technology, and if I could leverage the phones that my students possess during Youth Group to further the kingdom of God, I would. I would love to have our students on their phones at Youth Group doing good. But right now, we’re not there. We’re in a place where we don’t allow phones, and I love this season, too.

What led us to this decision was one clear thought: that of course phones could be leveraged for good; and of course, if students are mature and trustworthy and we know they aren’t being distracted by their phones, we’d have no problem with them having them. We’d love to know that our students were Instagramming spiritual quotes from the message and not “running with friends.” But our students aren’t at that place, especially in Middle School.

So, although our students having phones during youth group is something we want to work at, if your students aren’t ready, then the inverse is true: it is too easy for phones to distract students. 

We also noticed that only about 10% of our students were bringing their Bible with them to middle school services.  And although I’m a huge fan of Youversion and their reading plans, we want to build into students the commitment to their physical Bibles.

We realized that with students (and us as adults): There’s just something about holding a physical Bible in your hands.

Beyond literally holding it, it takes a certain level of commitment to remember to bring your Bible every week. And though we don’t equate bringing your Bible every week with spiritual maturity, it is a small victory for our Student Ministry to see a 7th grader go from never bringing their Bible to bringing it every week; it shows it’s becoming more important to them.

The third thing that helped us start this rule and enforce the no cell phone policy at Youth Group was that it alienated many in our group. We have a few students that come from very blessed families and love technology, so they come in with their iPhone 5’s and iPad mini’s. I, as a tech geek, love that. I know that a few of these students totally would be ready to take over the Youth group Instagram account if I asked them, and on a lesser scale, could totally do a lot of the sweet stuff Jeremy talked about in his post.

However, we also have a whole crop of 6th graders that aren’t allowed to have phones, or even iPod’s yet, and many students that, rightfully so, would never get an iPhone for their first phone that they are going to lose or damage.

So although it would be great to have the few who could handle technology at Youth Group and excel with it, it would also create two distinct groups within our group and alienate those without.

And so that is why, for our Middle School Ministry in this season, we don’t allow cell phones, iPods, or iPads. We have a volunteer collect them all at the beginning and students can get them back at the end. Should every Youth Group get rid of cell phones? I don’t believe so. But at the same time, I do believe more Youth Groups could set a few more realistic goals with their students’ cell phone use. We’d like to believe the best in all of our students, but they can’t all be “Jarrid Wilson-ing” it at Youth Group.

Editors Picks 5.3.13 – Should you take the job of preparing Seniors for life

We missed last week’s editors picks due to being in Atlanta at the Orange Conference, where we had a blast meeting a lot of our readers and members of our Facebook Community. But we’re back this week, with a list of posts that our team loved reading this week.

Simplifying your iPhone and focusing on your life by J.C. Thompson

Should you take that job by Ben Kerns

How to prepare Seniors for the realities of life by Kolby Milton

15 truths from Brand against the machine by Ben Reed

Special needs and Student Ministry by Jeremy Zach

Impacting Students in a Digital World by Nathan Pawluck

Helping Youth Thrive by Rachel Blom

The Timex Standard in Youth Ministry by Darren Sutton

Free font: Brushy

Free font: Graham Hand

Editor's Picks – Post-Christian Villains, Social Media, and destroying our ministries

We asked our team this week to recommend one thing they wanted other Youth Pastors to know about it. Here’s what they gave us:

Working on an Island by Grace Stadler

Changing our Assumptions in a Post-Christian World by Ben Kerns

Making Villains by Jonathan Malm

Social Media plan for xp3 by Jeremy Zach (great tips for your sermon series regardless of xp3 or not)

How to wreck your Ministry by Ben Reed (not to be confused with Ben Read)

Social Media Communication Calendar by Josh Robinson

9 Free Fonts for you to use from webdesignledger

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Best Youth Ministry Blog Post of 2012 | The Final Four

We’ve had nearly 8,000 votes cast over the last two weeks to lead us to the Final Round, the Final Four.

For those who haven’t gone back to check out what the best blog post author will win, a registration to the 2013 Orange Conference is on the line, 10 hours of design work from the Marketplace is up for grabs, major gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon, and the crown jewel (in our minds) an iPad Mini.

So place your votes, and share this with your friends. Help your favorite blogger get this awesome prize and honor.

Once more, one vote per IP address per round, voting ends next Thursday, December 27th, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, and the top vote receiver will be our winner.

And while you’re here, subscribe to our site.

Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter to follow along with the contest.

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[poll id="6"]

Phil Bell – Three Youth Ministry Priorities for Mondays

Tom Shriver – 5 ways to improve your event marketing

Brooklyn Lindsey – The Temptation of Youth Ministry

Matt Lawson – How to ask questions and get the job you want