Thankful to Jason Walters for this guest post. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for YouthMin.org, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“One of the most effective ways to stay connected to your kids is to have fun with them.” – Reggie Joiner
It seems like a debate as old as time. “How much fun are we allowed to have in student ministry before we lose the importance of why we are here?” The fact of the matter is that many Student Pastors have some type of bias toward the super fun ministry or the super deep ministry.
Growing up in church, I have been involved in both. I have vivid memories of going through Youth Group University where we literally sat with miniature 3-ring Binders and filled in the blanks. I was bored out of my mind, but that’s what we did. There’s a part of me that wishes I would’ve burned that binder as an homage to boring youth groups everywhere, and there is another part of me that would love to go back and look through it.
However, I think most of us would agree that in reality, ministry calls us to balance. The reason I love that quote is because for us, fun is all about connecting with students. We want students to come and feel like they can be themselves. We want middle school students to be the ridiculously awkward pre-teens that they are. We want high school kids to come in with all of their “stylish” hair and hipster clothes. Think about the world students live in these days. We take students who are used to having a screen in front of their face 24/7 and set them in a lecture for 6-8 hours a day. When they come to student ministry, we aren’t creating school day number two. We are creating a safe place where students can let down their hair.
We want to tear down the barriers that keep students from Christ and start to form relationships that will ultimately lead them to the most important relationship. Here’s the deal: If that means shooting kids in the face with a leaf blower and flour, so be it.
Every student ministry is different. My students are the ones who want to eat nasty food and go home with flour all over them (I mean they begged me to eat nasty hotdogs covered in herring filets with mustard, spam, maple syrup, candy corn, and mixed vegetables). Your students may shudder at the thought, and that is ok. Fun comes in all shapes and sizes. Fun can come in videos, high fives at the door, Apples to Apples, loud music, or a rocking snack bar. Whatever that is for your students, just do it and do it with excellence. Fun is a bridge to ministry.
So what are you doing to weave fun into your student culture?
What more could you be doing to make your environments more fun?