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Weeds and Nerf darts

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youth ministry

Sheep, Shepherds and Wolves

This game involves lots of running, some hide and seeking, and a lot of fun. Listed here are our rules that have developed over the past 10 years. Modify to create your own fun in your context.

Goal: To find the “lost sheep” before the wolves catch all the sheep and shepherds.

Pick an object to be the lost sheep. We have used ping pong paddles, pot holders, kitchen towels, whatever you want. Pick one student to be the wolf (if you have an exceptionally large group or large space, you can have 2 wolves). The wolf will go somewhere in the building and hide the lost sheep.

Determine what your boundaries are for playing the game (are any rooms that are off limits, can they go outside etc).

Our general rules for hiding the sheep

  • The sheep has to be visibile
  • Nobody should need to climb to get the sheep
  • no hiding in bathrooms

How to play: Once the wolf is gone, pick two students to be the shepherds. When you say go, all of the sheep and shepherds are going to run (in your defined area) to find the lost sheep and bring it back to your designated starting point. If a wolf catches someone, they have to stand against the wall until a shepherd can come and save them (tagging them back in). If both of the shepherds get caught, the group is in trouble! If the lost sheep is found, the sheep and shepherds win! If your time runs out and the sheep is not found, the wolf wins!

This is a really simple game that can get complicated quickly, kids will run full speed, doors will fly open, someone will get knocked down. So think about the rules that you need to make the game safe, and have fun seeking that lost sheep!

On Starting Over

Starting over is hard. Moving to a new city, finding a new job, starting kids at a new school, learning to find a new favorite grocery store… its a lot of new, and a lot of tough stuff. This past year has been a year of starting over for us. We finally moved from outside Memphis TN to Decatur Alabama, where my husband had been living nine months prior to our move. We’ve spent the last year with lots of new in front of us, and its been quite the journey. 

Continue reading “On Starting Over”

Holy Spirit Prayer Stations

A few weeks ago our youth small groups did a lesson on the Holy Spirit from Francis Chan’s Basic series (great series by the way, you should check it out). The video went well, the intro to small groups was great, and then I talked to my leader’s afterwards and they said that it was crickets. Nobody seemed to have much to say about the Holy Spirit.

As we gathered a week later as leaders to discuss this we came up with a few reasons why our rooms seemed so quiet that night. Continue reading “Holy Spirit Prayer Stations”

3 Thoughts on Parenting (and Pastoring) “That” Kid

In youth ministry we often use the phrase “that” kid, to describe the one that frustrates us the most, or completely exasperates us. Sometimes its the child on the spectrum, or the one who can’t sit still and just listen for 5 minutes. Or its the sullen too-cool-for-school kid that sets the tone for the rest of the group, or the know-it-all who has an answer for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Often its the one who just doesn’t fit the mold of what we’ve decided kids should be like, and so they become “that” kid in our minds.

Well, I have that kid. He’s highly intelligent, speaks sarcasm like its his second language (can’t imagine who he got that from), and is a total nerd. To quote him, he is “so far past nerd”. I asked him what is so far past nerd and he said, without missing a beat, “2,000 lightyears past nerd” and promptly stuck his earbuds back in to finish his Dr Who episode.

Continue reading “3 Thoughts on Parenting (and Pastoring) “That” Kid”

Crazy Volleyball: Youth Group game with lesson ideas

If you have the ability to play volley ball in your space, then I hope you play it frequently. Its a great game and is awesome for team building. However, unless you have some seriously competitive volleyball players in your group, then they may struggle to just get it over the net, in which case, maybe crazy volleyball is for you! Continue reading “Crazy Volleyball: Youth Group game with lesson ideas”

Sweet Summertime… in Youth Ministry

Mission trips, church camp, national conferences, and retreats. Water gun fights, trips to Sonic, Monday afternoon Mexican food, and laser tag outings. All of these add up to summertime in youth ministry, for some the favorite time of the year, and for others the most exhausting. So far this summer I have done the following.

Continue reading “Sweet Summertime… in Youth Ministry”

I didn’t sign on for this

When you work with youth, you receive the privilege of experiencing a full range of emotions. You get the giggles and hushed whispers for hopes of a new relationship, and the utter heartbreak when the relationship dies off. You rejoice over touchdowns scored, awards won, and valedictorian honors received. You counsel and mend broken friendships, crises of faith, and doubts about calling and vocation. All of these life events are part of the day to day of youth  ministry, and it makes us feel pretty wanted and a vital adult in the life of an adolescent.

Continue reading “I didn’t sign on for this”

Coming down off of the Holy Week High.

In my professional life I have worked in three fields, bill collection (gross), ELL education, and church work. I love church work. It is the most rewarding, challenging, inspiring, and fulfilling profession I can imagine. As with any profession we have busy seasons, collectors have the end of the month, educators have testing periods and end of terms, and church workers have…

Photo found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hopechurchnorthpark/8601517475/
Photo found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hopechurchnorthpark/8601517475/

Continue reading “Coming down off of the Holy Week High.”

The Day Starbucks was Closed

So my driving foot is in a boot right now, for reasons that don’t pertain to this post but the short version is I didn’t listen to my fiance when he said “you should really have that checked out” and now three months later here I am. I say that so you’ll know that my driving is limited because its a pain to take the boot off. So yesterday my lovely partner in ministry Lauren from the church down the road came and rescued me for a quick trip down to Starbucks.

For reference purposes, we live in the boonies, so the closest Starbucks is 25 minutes away, and we spend a lot of our meeting times to discuss ministry and tend souls in the car to and from our chosen provider of all things caffeinated. So yesterday we made our trip down and back like any other day, and it was glorious.

So this morning I’m sitting in my chair with my giant boot, my own coffee, and beginning my Monday morning emails and I get a phone call from Lauren. She informs me that she was heading down to Starbucks (not even going to focus on the without me part) to finish her seminary work and the Starbucks was…

So she calls me, in an obvious panic, to tell me of this development. Apparently there were construction vans and the inside appears to be in the process of renovation. So this lead to an insane round of questioning on both sides of the phone call. “Why didn’t they tell us yesterday?” “Is it closed closed, like forever?” “Is it just renovation, and why it was fine inside?” “Seriously what are we going to do?” “The next closest Starbucks is like an hour away from town.”

At the end of our freakishly long conversation about the possible loss of our favorite latte location she decided to drive to the next closest Starbucks to finish her work and I went back to my work and at home coffee, life as usual.

But then I started thinking about the whole situation. In our churches, do we feel this way when someone doesn’t come to church? Or when a youth stops coming to youth group? Do we worry about what has happened or what we will do without them, or do we simply move on and figure they are probably fine? After all is it really our problem if they don’t come, its a free country, they don’t have to come if they don’t want to… right?

Or what about that kid that drives us nuts? The one who won’t stop interrupting, or getting in fights, or being generally defiant and argumentative, do we we silently rejoice when they don’t come on a Sunday night? Do we worry when we can’t find out why, or do we decide the break was great and surely he/she’ll be back next week?

People are messy. They don’t always make us feel warm and wonderfully perky like our morning (afternoon, evening) coffee. We can’t send them back when they aren’t made to our liking. But the wonderful thing is, we are all made to God’s liking, even when we are too bitter, sickeningly sweet, or even after we’ve gone bad. We aren’t perfect, but we keep working on it, and that kid, the one you just cringe at the thought of, he’s working on it it too. So maybe we start to care about each other as much as our macchiatos, and we can worry more about the ride, and less about the Starbucks at the end of the drive.

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