At ETCH Family Ministry Conference, I’m leading a session with Micheal Walley from CentriKid Camps about how stage games we use at camp can be helpful in your ministry as well. We will talk through setup, preparation, and play some games too!
Here are 5 ways to make your games phenomenally fun—whether you play inside, outside, on a stage with a big room, or in a small group setting. Apply these principles and watch the fun-meter go up!
- Play more, talk less. Talking too much is the number 1 mistake leaders make with games at church, at school, even ball coaches at practice. The instructions are important, but spend more time playing than explaining the rules.
- Prepare variations. Some games require age-appropriate variations, but sometimes you don’t know how it will go until you play it. So anticipate potential challenges and have fun variations ready to extend the fun … but also feel the flexibility as a game leader make them up on the fly if you see an opportunity to make something more balanced or to simply make it more fun, or if a rule wasn’t clearly explained and the kids are having a hard time with something in the game.
- Make it memorable. Take advantage of the unique space or the specific group that you have playing games. When we are at CentriKid, we try to do things you can only do at CentriKid Camps … and there are unique things to the space where you will be, too. When you experience something “you can only do at church” it’s memorable, and hopefully draws kids back to church for those types of experiences again.
- Kill it before it dies. This is a phrase we use in training our CentriKid staff leaders to end something at its peak rather than running it into the ground. When playing games and using variations, the game leader has to know when to move on from an activity so it can be fun again next time you bring it out.
- Get the adults involved. As a leader, you should go all in with the games that you lead. Your enthusiasm can help capture kids attention. Don’t let the volunteers or other adults sit or stand with their arms crossed at the back of the room. Get them involved, and train them to bring enthusiasm to the game …at appropriate levels … don’t let leader involvement take away from the kids experience playing the game.
The adults should always engaged with the games you play because it makes the game more fun for kids—but more importantly, you want the adult leaders building relationships with the kids in your ministry. The informality of game-time can make the Bible lessons and spiritual applications connect when they are shared in other settings. That is why we do games at church in the first place: to introduce or reinforce the concepts we are teaching from Scripture.
For more game ideas and resources, we have two books available at CentriKid Camps and ETCH Family Ministry Conference in the on-site Event Store … Phenomenally Fun Stage Games and Recreation Rooted in Scripture.
I hope you can join us at ETCH Conference—we’ll host ministry teams from Preschool, Kids, Students, and Family ministries at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. Learn more at etchconference.com.
Jeremy Echols leads the CentriKid Camps team and manages the Lifeway Kids events. He, his wife Emily, and their precious daughter love their church, their neighborhood, and spending time together. Jeremy loves to read, watch sports, and grill burgers.