I'll tell you a secret about myself. I hate games. For years, I've hated them. Games at Youth Group especially take preplanning, setting up, making rules, shopping, and thinking outside the box.
But at youth? I firmly believe games are a critical piece of our program.
For those of you who don't know, I'm a university student. Other students out there can probably relate when I say that my world is constant multitasking. While I sit in class, can I respond to emails, skim news headlines, eat breakfast, write this article and take notes? My parents would say that I can't, but I might beg to differ. ;) However, because I'm regularly dreaming up youth schemes at school, my university friends have begun to ask for a weekly recap on the latest youth games and shenanigans.
So why do we "play games" with students? Why do we eat onions and blend hot-dogs? Why go bowling and run around in a field with condiments and create messes?
Because games create fun, and fun builds relational currency. By doing silly activities, kids and adults from any background, culture or school can connect and create community. We need to play together before we can pray together. We play together so that we can pray together. As our leaders build relationships with students, and our students connect with one another, we gain the ability to go deeper in ministry. Games develop trust, and trust enables relationship. And creating relationships at Youth Group is a win.
Youth this fall has hit the ground running. We've done a lot, and it's been so incredible to connect with students who are both old and new to Youth Group.
This fall, our Jr. High are watching Youth Alpha, and the Sr. High are looking at Alpha. It has been a great springboard for conversations about morals, meaning and faith. We are so excited to continue walking through this series so that we can open doors for discussions and to create an environment where students feel safe to be real and invite their peers. Please pray for open conversations, for emotional walls to be broken down, and for continued connections to be made.
Silas Friesen (our new Youth Pastor) has now had two weeks in the office. It has been a pleasure to watch as he has begun to connect with kids and look towards setting vision. If you have not yet had a chance to meet him, please take the time to introduce yourself! Please be praying for wisdom as we transition and strive to lead well!