This past Wednesday night, we played a great game with our junior high students. I liked it so much, I wanted to share it here with you. Let me introduce you to, Bomb Squad!
When it comes to game time on Wednesday nights, leadership rotates among the leaders. We each take turns planning and leading games. This past Wednesday night, David N., one of our amazing leaders shared Bomb Squad with our students and it went over pretty well. I don't think this is an original game, so you've seen it in a book or on another youth ministry website, let me know.
Here's what you need...
General Game Play...
The goal is for the students to deposit as many "bombs" into the other teams drop box as possible, within the designated time limit. The team with the most bombs deposited wins. Bombs are defused when a player is tagged on the opposing teams territory and the egg opened and the paper or candy is removed.
Here's how we played Bomb Squad...
Our students were divided into 2 teams of about 10 each. Colored bandanas were given to designate the teams. We divided the room in half with each team claiming one half as their territory.
We placed the large part of the paper box as the drop box. This is where students would drop the live bombs into at the far end of the other teams territory. The lids of the paper box served as the Pick Up area that held the teams live bombs. These were placed off to the side of a teams territory. On "Go" students tried to grab their live bombs from the pick up point, one at a time, and run them to the the other teams drop box without being tagged.
To defend the drop boxes, players can tag the opposite teams "bombers" whenever they enter the teams territory. Once tagged, the bomb is turned over and diffused. (Open the egg and take out whatever you have placed inside. Since we used Skittles, the students could eat the Skittle.)
We set a time limit for play. This helps to create some urgency for the students. We also assigned points for every bomb that made it to the drop box. (10 points each.)
Depending on how you want to play the game, you can do multiple rounds changing the variables. Play with only guys only tagging guys, or only girls can carry the bombs, or divide the team as bombers and defenders. You can also do a quick reset by adding more paper or candy to the eggs, or simply play till your supply is exhausted. We did not use all of the "live bombs" that had been prepared.
Have fun playing this one!
PS - Special thanks to our amazing adult leader, Dave N. for bringing this game to our students!
This past Tuesday night, we wrapped up our latest teaching series with our high school ministry. We used, The Least of These, a four week discussion on poverty, published by my friends over at YouthMinistry360.com!
I love the materials that come out of YM360 for 2 reasons. 1. Excellent bible-based content. I know when I open materials from YM360 they will be biblically solid. 2. Easy to use with plenty of flexibility.
YM360 has consistently put out great materials that are biblically sound. I love that I don't have to worry about content or do a lot of extra study. Each lesson is cemented in a biblical text that is explained and reliable. The explanations and summaries are super helpful in getting to the heart of the text.
YM360 materials are easy to use. These complete lesson plans are super easy to use. Packed with ideas, questions, and content, each comes with tremendous freedom and flexibility to mix and match for the purposes and effectiveness of your group and context.
The Least of These, is an excellent resource for discussing the topic of poverty and the Christian response. In a culture where students are more aware of world wide condition, our socially aware students are looking for what our response should be when we consider issues such as poverty and need. In their 4-part series, YM360, tackles the topic starting with God's thoughts on poverty leading to our response as believers.
Where did poverty come from? And what does God think about those in need? From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the materials careful walk you and your students through verses that clearly present a god-sized view of poverty and how we are to move towards helping the needy.
This is my second time leading students through the materials, and each time I have been reminded of our responsibility to care for those in need. For my students, it has been an eye-opener to the realities of our faith and the idea of serving others.
This time round, I chose to use the materials in the leading up to our 30 Hour Famine. Now our famine has a greater backdrop for our response to poverty and the world-wide situation of need and ministry.
If you are looking for a curriculum that deals with a believers response to poverty or would like to show students God's heart towards the needy, The Least of These, would be a great resource to consider.
Note: The copy that I have is an older version of the the teaching materials. In the first weeks lesson, there are some statistics that are share to help paint the picture of poverty and need world-wide. I had to look up some more recent statistics an make a for changes to the lesson plans, but the changes were minor. Aside from week one, the materials are timeless.
You can pick up a copy of the materials on the YouthMinistry360.com. (Which, by the way, is currently on sale at 70% off. Regular price, $49.99. Sale price, $19.99. But there are only 3 days left to order!)
*This was an unsolicited review of a resource that I have used with my student ministry. I have received no benefit other than the materials themselves. In no way was I compensated for my endorsement, favorable review, or usage by the publishers or any of their distribution partners.
When in full-time ministry, there is a certain expectation of availability. If you are the youth pastor, or any pastor, I believe that you should avail yourself to those you serve. Not without limits, mind you, but when appropriate, I believe that we as youth pastors should work to be both approachable and welcoming!
So are you? Approachable? Welcoming?
Do people, students and adults, see you as someone they can talk to? Or, like youth ministry, are you elusive, tough to get a handle on, or intimidating?
Student ministry is one of those ministry careers where you can quickly isolate yourself from the rest of the church. It's all to easy to slip into the thinking that your ministry is strictly to students, with your focus is solely on your students. In doing so, you miss out on a much greater opportunity for incredible ministry.
Over the years I have found great joy and delight in learning how to be more approachable and welcoming to the congregation at large.
1. Leave Your Door Open.
- If you have an office and keep regular office hours, try leaving your door open during the day. It's always amazing to me just how many of the church family visit the church offices during the week. This is especially true if your church keeps regular office hours Monday through Friday. Whether dropping something off, or just popping in to say hi, more and more are coming to the church during the day. It would be super easy to just close your door to the commotion of the visitors, but I would encourage you to keep your door open! I have been so blessed by the number of people who pop their heads in simply to say hi, or to share words of encouragement and appreciation, or to pray for me! Sure it might get a little distracting at times, but the greater win is that people see you with your door open. That makes you approachable.
2. Be Free to Chat.
- I often write about the importance of being organized and scheduled. Here is where being organize can really help, because being organized can help free you to chat with visitors. There is something special that happens when a visitor comes by the church. It starts with a purpose; they're here to drop something off or to give information to the office. But then a conversation starts. Then the laughter. Then the joy knowing you have the greatest job in the world. Be free to chat. When someone comes into the office area, don't be afraid to say hi, ask them how their day is going, or to follow up with them regarding their family. Take the time to listen, really listen. And don't feel the need to counsel them. Sometimes they just need to get something of their chest. But being willing to chat, even for a few minutes, makes you both approachable and welcoming.
4. Keep the Office as Clutter Free as Possible.
- This might be hard for some of us, but a clutter free office speaks volumes!. Now notice, I did't say a spotless office, or a perfectly clean office. Those are hard to come by in youth ministry. Usually our offices are small and out of the way, leaving it easy to over fill or clutter up. But as much as you can, try to keep the clutter to a minimum. Why? Well, a less cluttered office is just better to work in then one that has stacks of books and papers, dirty juice jugs, and crushed cans of Mountain Dew. Second, a clutter free office is more inviting to parents and adults. Sure your students might be able to overlook the empty pizza box still in the corner from last months lock-in, but parents...not so much. A clutter free work space is a welcoming space.
5. Remember, your a shepherd above everything else.
- I'm not sure exactly when I learned that people were more important than programs, but I know that I learned it a number of years back. Before this lesson, I spent a lot of time developing programs and events. Hours were spent crafting messages and talks, creating games, and working out the most awesome media presentation I could design. Those were hours not spent with people but alone, in my office, by myself. We are pastors, shepherds, called to care for God's people, not God's programs. More than once, my day has be hijacked by people. In fact just recently, I spend an entire day with people, unexpectedly. It was the day of our high school ministry program. I had a ton to do to get ready for it. But the whole day got jacked. And you know wha? It was awesome! And amazingly, I still got everything done for the students later that night. My point, don't say no to people just to say yes to programming. Yes, there are times when you have to get things done. But as much as you can, be available to be with people; students and adults.
Being approachable and welcoming isn't a science. It just takes your willingness to do something that Jesus did frequently; he put others before himself. When we make ourselves more available to those in our churches, the more approachable and welcoming we become.
Don't allow your ministry or your time to become something that just uses the building. Be approachable and welcoming and watch how the church responds to you and the student ministry. Great blessings come when we live like Jesus in putting others before ourselves.
Tip: Establish a Quitting Time.
When do you leave the office?
When all the work is done, right?
There have been many a day when I found myself calling home to tell my wife I'd be late for dinner. Why? A student needed counseling? Nope. A school activity ran late and I was staying to the end? No. Because there was an emergency and I was responding to the need. Not.
The truth is, I was a borderline workaholic. And if it wasn't working late in the office, it was working late at home. Sometimes the extra hours came as the Spirit flooded my heart and head with inspiration. These times might lead you to putting in a few extra minutes. And if it only happens once in a while, it might be okay. However, the majority of my late nights were due to poor time management and procrastination and not knowing the importance of knowing when to end the day.
Consider these thoughts with me.
1. Set a firm quitting time.
- Set a time to serve as your quitting time. This should be a time that you, your spouse, and your senior pastor agree to. It should also be the same time for every day. Keep in mind school related functions and time scheduled to visit with a students. If you usually head to the school in the afternoon, include that as part of your "office/work" time.
2. Procrastinate Tomorrow.
- I am the master of procrastination. I love waiting till the last minute to work on a big project. Just kidding, I hate the stress and pressure that comes with delaying the inevitable. Procrastination haunts me. If I'm not careful, I can easily put off a weeks worth of work. Over the years, I have learned the importance of getting your work done and not putting it off. Each weeks comes with it's own deadlines. When your teaching every weekend, you have to be ready. Procrastination is something you have to deal with right away.
3. Manage Your Time before it Manages You.
- I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating. You have got to manage your time before it manages you. Each week I do my best to block out my office time. By doing this, I can prioritize what needs to get done. But I also leave time for the unexpected; a visitor to the office, some needs computer help, or unscheduled one-on-one time. Every week you can be sure, something unexpected will happen, so be sure to leave some flex time in your schedule.
4. Go Home and Stay Home!
- With the quitting time determined, the procrastination problem resolved, and an effort to manage your time, the only thing left to do is Go Home! Yes, Go Home! When the end of day comes, go home. And when you are at home, BE at home. That means you leave the computer in your computer bag, or even better, back at the office. If you are home, be home. Engage your wife and family.
Please sure your thoughts and comments. I'd love to know what you think!
*The following is a repost of a blog written by Jay Higham. This repost is part a big move that we are making from our old blog which is no longer in us, to the new blog here on our new host. This post has been updated and new affiliate links added. Original posted on 8.21.2012.