Refresh Old Games

There are certain classic games that your group loves to do. Chances are some of your favorites have been worn out because you over used them. Want to bring them back? Put a new twist on them. It’s not that hard. Just take the basic object of your favorite game and play it in a new way. Think of it as your favorite game on steroids. [don’t actually use steroids]

How does this work? Let me give you an example:

Take Ultimate Frisbee for example.

Just find another random object (one that won’t hurt) and use that instead. A few ideas: Ultimate Pillow, Ultimate Flip Flop, etc.

Rock, Papers, Scissors (Ro Sham Bo)

You know the rules, but change what the action is. There is a good chance you have played another version of this. Like Ladies, Hunters, Bears. Participants pair up and stand back to back. On 3 they turn around and pose as a lady (hand on hip and other hand on head saying “heeeyy” in a high pitched voice) or hunter (pretending to hold a giant gun under their arm and saying “BOOM”) or bear (both arms in the air yelling “Roooaaaaarrrr”).
Ladies beat hunters.
Hunters beat bears.
Bears beat ladies.
Loser sits down and the winner finds another partner until you are down to your final 2.

If it’s a tie they are both out. (this helps the game go by quicker).

Want to go really big? Play Monopoly, BUT use an entire room as the set up. Lay down cardboard or butcher paper and make a huge board. Then take a couple of square boxes and make large dice. Use cardboard sheets for your chance cards, etc. Find full size objects to be your game pieces. Playing the Game of LIFE? Use Tricycles or little kid cars.

You can make the most boring game turn into something exciting by giving it a twist that your students aren’t expecting. Don’t limit yourself. Look around in your game closet and see what you can put together.

What game have you refreshed that worked well?

This article was originally published at More Than Dodgeball.  Check out their site for more great articles.

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Do My Students Need Apologetics?

I have a confession. For years I had no real grasp on what “apologetics” were–not as a youth, but as an adult and even as a youth pastor. It had the word “apology” in it, and it had to do with my Christianity. Did it mean I was telling people I was sorry for being a Christian? I felt like people tripped over helping me understand. Then someone finally explained it to me this simply: It’s knowing HOW to defend your faith in Jesus. Ohhh…Now that made sense.

I thought of all of the questions my students have when it comes to Christ.

  • How do I know other religions aren’t the “right” ones?
  • How can Jesus be God and the Son of God all at the same time?
  • My friend is a Jehovah’s Witness. What do I say to them?

These fall in the category of “apologetics,” I discovered.  Then there came a strange fear in learning about other religions from my youth. I had students who weren’t sure about Jesus, but thought it was “wrong” to know about what else was out there. What if they wanted to start believing that? I always seemed to have at least one student who knew someone who had become a “blank” when they found out about that religion. Would it be OK to be this too if they wanted to be?

There were so many confusions for all of us between evangelism and apologetics we could no longer just answer questions of this type, “on the side” . It was time for me to figure out, how to have focused conversations with my students on understanding what they believe, why they believe it, and what it means for their worldview. They understood the idea of having a relationship with Christ, and about sharing what it meant for them, sort of. They did not realize that Christianity is the only “religion” that offers a personal, close relationship with the living God. More so, they still had a lot of questions.

I think I had avoided this topic before, because I thought that apologetics were really too deep for my students. What had never struck me was that by actually delving into the topic it answered so many questions. Sharing the good news that Jesus is close and offers us a relationship is important. Knowing why you believe what you believe keeps you grounded. This would help them combat outward questions, but more so helped with inner debates.

Knowing what the Bible says is vital. Understanding why it is the truth, guiding us in daily life is transformational. As we embarked on understanding Jesus, our worldview, and other religions, I assured our students they could rest. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” There is nothing else that offers for us to KNOW our God and comprehend what it means to BELONG to Him. In short, the Lord is big enough to handle these questions.

I believe confidence grows in our students as they grasp hold of their faith in a way that is definitive. Evangelism is being able to tell others about who Christ is and what our relationship with Him looks like. Apologetics is about being able to understand the world around us, what they think, what we believe exactly so we can answer questions.

I am finding my students want the deeper answers for themselves just as much as they want to be able to tell others. I think I used to misunderstand that this was a topic only important for those who had a deep faith. Instead, it’s helping those who falter stand on the truth.

Expect God to show up and He will.

This article was written by Leneita Fix and published by More Than Dodgeball.  Click here for more great resources from MTB.

Volunteers – Value Their Input!

I’ve learned that with every program or event that we do in youth ministry I think one of the areas we can always improve on is the way in which we make things better. The feedback we receive from our leaders is priceless. We use that info to make next year better for them and our students. I’m sure there are a lot of you who do the same. So for some of you, I’m preaching to the choir.

If this hasn’t been something that you’ve been doing, I would humbly advise you to start. It’s a value in our ministry that leaders serve with us and not for us. Also, we have to recognize that we don’t have all the answers. And being in youth ministry doesn’t make you an expert at it. So know that you can also learn from them. Remember, they are focusing on one task, so that already gives them more time to think about it then you. It also gives them the high probability of becoming better at it than you. Which is something you should take advantage of and not fear.

I try to incorparate my volunteers input either during the planning process or by doing a debrief. And it has been super great and has helped me a ton in a lot of areas. So I thought I’d share my top five reasons for doing so, in hopes that it would help someone else value their volunteers the same.

They Feel Valued – Giving them the opportunity to give feedback that may change the way things are done, says a lot about the trust you have in them. It also raises the value they bring to your ministry.

They Grow In Ownership – When they have a say in what they do, they grow in ownership of the ministry. Because they are no-longer serving for the ministry, they are now serving with the ministry.

They Make The Ministry Better – When you allow your leaders to take part in the planning process, you are making the ministry better. Because even if you don’t get super great ideas from them, you will at least get good ideas that could morph into super great ideas. Also, just bouncing ideas around is good for you. Especially if you are the only paid youth worker in the ministry. You need to plan and debrief with someone.

They Become Great Advertisement – Word of mouth is the advertisement that can make or break your ministry. And I’ve seen it happen both ways. I’ve seen leaders recuit others based on their experience in the ministry. I’ve also seen the opposite happen. The worse thing you can do is make a volunteer feel like hired free help. The volunteer that feels valued will sing the praises of the ministry, because they’ve become a stakeholder in its success. (Check this post out for more on this topic.)

They Stick Around – When I was just a volunteer I wanted to be somewhere were they valued me. There’s no longevity for a volunteer that feels like hired free help, but there is when your volunteers feel valued and needed. Listening to your leaders is valuing them, and it’s also showing a need for them and their wisdom or experience.

We just had our end of the year debrief meeting/dinner with our small group leaders. It was super great because they were given the opportunity to be heard, and to ultimately make us better. Allowing our volunteers to serve in this way, has done wonders for our volunteer ministry. And I hope it does the same for your ministry. And if you are planning and debriefing with your volunteers, leave a comment, and let me know how. I’m always looking for better ways to do things.

This article was written by Aaron Crumbley and originally published by More Than Dodgeball.  Click here for more great resources from MTB.

Dan Parker ECY Scholarship

Training ministry leaders is central to the success of youth ministry. Leaders who invest personally in ministry can be one of the greatest Christian influences in a student’s life. The General Evangelical Christian Youth Department recognizes the need for this type of youth leader. We believe that God raises up special people for this purpose. It is our privilege each year to award the Dan Parker ECY Scholarship for the purpose of training future youth leaders, pastors, and missionaries who will invest themselves in young people.

The ECY Department is proud to award the Dan Parker ECY Scholarship annually to a graduating high school senior who enrolls at Ohio Christian University. Any student who is member in good standing with a local CCCU church is eligible to apply. The application procedures are as follows:

1.Provide a written testimony of your spiritual journey and what has led you to apply and plan to attend OCU (around 750 words).
2. Provide an official copy of your high school transcript. This will allow our board to review your sincerity and commitment to higher education.
3. Enclose a letter of recommendation from your pastor or youth pastor.

The only requirement of the recipient is that he or she follows through with the intention to attend OCU. The scholarship will be given in two $500 awards following the successful completion of each semester of the first year of study and is eligible to be matched by Ohio Christian University’s Church Matching Grant. This results in a potential $2000 scholarship award. The recipient looses the privilege of the scholarship if placed on academic or social probation or any other related issues so determined by the college or the ECY board responsible for this scholarship. The ECY Department reserves the right to revoke this scholarship upon the sole discretion of the General ECY Board.

Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. If you have any questions, please contact the General ECY Office at 740-474-8856.

Parents: 7 Apps You Need To Know

This article went viral this week. We felt it was good enough to recommend. Read, enjoy, and leave a comment.  -ECY

Technology, especially if you’re a little behind the times, can be very deceptive. Your kids may be downloading Apps that you think are innocent and just a simple way for them to keep in contact with their buddies, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

To keep your children safe, it’s best that you monitor their phone. Look through their apps, texts and pictures. They may feel that you’re invading their privacy, but let’s be honest… You’re paying the phone bill, so you can do whatever you want! So, as you monitor your kid’s phone, keep an eye out for these 7 apps you may not be aware of, that in my opinion are very dangerous: Yik Yak, SnapChat, Kik Messenger, Poof, Omegle, Whisper, & Down.

Click here to read the full article.  We highly recommend it!  There is important information on each app.

What are your thoughts?  If you have a suggestion or addition to the list, leave a comment below!

Prezi: A Free Alternative to PowerPoint and Keynote

prezi-223x300Are you looking for a more affordable presentation softward option and you have “been there done that” with PowerPoint and Keynote? Try Prezi. It is visually pleasing and pretty easy to use.

When I needed to be mobile with my presentations (meaning I had to use my iPhone or iPad) I used Apple’s Keynote.  It was inexpensive, easy to edit “on the go,” and bonus…there was an iOS remote app.

Prezi has an iPad edit/create feature with templates. Previous versions were only viewers, you could only play presentations that were created on your computer. Now you can create a presentation from start to finish directly on your iPad. It is easier to navigate and create from a computer, but if you need to correct a mispelling or need to add a slide you can fix it from your iPad. By the way, Prezi is FREE.

The article was written by Brandon Early and originally published by More than Dodgeball.  Check out their website for more great articles.

Online Training Opportunity – Ministerial Conference 2014

On Tuesday, April 8, CCCU ministers from across the denomination will gather at Ohio Christian University for Ministerial Conference 2014. Ministerial Conference is an annual event focused on equipping, encouraging, and empowering workers on the front lines of ministry.  This is a great training event for all youth workers too!

This year the conference will be broadcasted live online. We invite you to join us! To access the live feed, visit: http://www.ohiochristian.edu/live.

The theme will be “Shepherding the Flock of Christ.” Special speakers include Dr. Tom Hermiz, Rev. Tim Throckmorton, Rev. Jonathan Morgan, and Rev. Wes Humble. The Conference begins at 9 a.m. and will end at 1 p.m.