Our church student ministry recently invested a weekend in fun: On Saturday morning, the middle school group went ice skating in Forrest Park and then went to CiCi’s Pizza Buffet. Then the next day, on Sunday evening, the Sr. High group went on the same ice skating excursion, then had dinner at Pi Pizzeria. It was cold. It was unusual. Lots of students attended.
We just had the semester kick-off overview gathering and I was impressed with fun things planned. Escape rooms, canoe adventures, meals, guys trips, girls events, etc.
Our student ministry also meets in weekly small groups, serves the church and community in various ways, and worships together. They end every gathering with circle prayer and the same blessing said in unison. In addition, there is an intentional element of fun planned on a regular basis.
Student ministries should know how to have fun. Relaxing and fun times together, especially in our driven and competitive world, is crucial for students.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money or have a huge student ministry or church to have fun with your students. But here are some reasons having fun can make a difference.
Fun times open up space for relationships to grow.
Students need friends and opportunities to learn what it means to be in relationships with others, especially in faith – in and through the church. When students can grow in relationships with each other, there is a strength that comes to the ministry overall. Students also have the opportunity to build relationships with the student ministry leader and other volunteers. This can also happen during regular ministry programming, but really flourishing during fun times.
Fun times can level the playing field for all types of students.
Not all students are sports kids, not all are the studious types, not all are at the same social level. Fun events and parties help level the playing field – everyone is involved with no strings attached. It’s one of the reasons fun events are usually great outreach opportunities. When friends show up to a bowling night with the student ministry, there is a different level of connection than if they just came to the regular program.
Fun times can help leaders form bonds with students.
Relationships grow through a series of different sorts of experiences. When leaders are with students during “unstructured” times, there is a freedom to visit, talk, ask questions, tell stories and bond with students.
Fun times help students see adults and leaders as real people.
During fun events, students can see adults relating to each other in healthy ways. They see a different side of their leaders from the usual small groups or regularly scheduled program times.
Fun times can help make memories in your student ministry.
It’s often the fun experiences, games, parties or trips where memories are made. I can think of countless stories that happened during those trips as a teenager myself. Nicknames were given, stories were re-told, and laughter still happens today when I’m with anyone from that period of my life.
Fun times and events can be incorporated into your regular routine.
It doesn’t have to be a whole weekend – it can be a game or other fun things experienced together during a meeting or gathering.
With all the stresses students experience these days, the church needs to become as comfortable with having fun as they are with being serious.
This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Ne 8:10b
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Get and Keep Students Connected using these four ideas!
This resources will give you four short video clips, topic outlines, discussion questions and action steps for these topics:
2) Incarnational Ministry
3) Community Of Participants
Plus other bonus videos to use.
This resource includes 12 One page PDF devotions and development concepts for student ministry leaders. Each page includes the topic, a quote, discussion questions, scripture and a prayer. It’s perfect for conversations during your leadership meeting.
1) How to watch for great leaders
2) Understand how most students leave
3) Combat student busy-ness
4) How to give student ministry away
5) The importance of a funny bone and more…