The purpose of these Youth Ministry Games is to give teens and pre-teens a chance to belong to a group that wants to have fun, and is also interested in building faith, and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
These games for youth ministry are set up for both small as well as large groups. Some adapting will always take place by the group leaders to fit your space, to best fit your youth ages, and to match your desired outcome and your purpose for playing these games.
Before the youth ministry games are played, be sure to go over the rules and expectations for each group member:
- No put-downs or negative things can be said or done to any other person. The goal of these games is for every person to feel a part of the group. Winning is not as important as supporting and encouraging each other to live out their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Do not let anyone look down upon you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
- Decide before the youth ministry games begin, on a signal that alerts the youth to stop, or to come together at a specific place. Examples: a train whistle, a cheer that everyone can join in saying, a clapping pattern, a chant that everyone can quickly learn or already knows, or anything else that fits your group dynamics.
Don’t be afraid to establish and practice your “stop and listen signal” with your group. I tell my groups, “When I want you stop and listen, this will be the signal. When you hear the signal I want you to (sit quietly, move to a certain spot, or to come as a group and be ready to listen to directions). Let’s practice so that everyone will know what to do. Okay, everyone get up, move around and talk to each other. ” Give the signal. Most of the youth will move where they were directed, but several won’t.If the behaviors you are seeing are not what you want, practice it again. I say something like, (with a big smile), “That was pretty good, but you can do much better than that!” And, we practice it again.
- Let the youth know that any group member whose behavior becomes a problem for other group members; will be taken aside to be warned about behaviors that need to be changed.
- If the problem behavior continues, and becomes a negative force for the youth ministry group or the leaders; that person will be asked to sit out of the games for a few minutes. When the person is ready to join the games with a better behavior, he or she may rejoin the games.
Table of Contents
The Walk of Faith
- Players are put into groups of three with the middle person blindfolded. The three players must stay in a line, in front and in back of the blindfolded person. The people in front and in back must guide the blind person through an obstacle course or through rooms in a house.
- When the three players get back to where they started, the blindfolded player must follow the same path alone,trying to remember all of their turns and footsteps, while still blindfolded.
- If the blindfolded player is successful and makes it to the end of the obstacle course, the team wins. If not, the players come back to the start, and another player is selected to be blindfolded with a player in the front and back; and they once again go through the obstacle course or rooms of a house.
Remember to change the obstacle course pattern, or change the course followed in the house for each new team.
An obstacle course set up with chairs, cushions, and other “obstacles.” Rooms of a house may also be used if that is easier.
Several blindfolds – one for each team
To make it a greater challenge, use a stopwatch to time each blindfolded person, to see who can run the course with the fastest time.
Take time at the end of the game to talk with all of the teams about the importance of friendship, and that with God, nothing is impossible, especially if done with the support of friends or family.
Have the blindfolded team members share the things they learned as they did this youth ministry activity. There are some powerful lessons to be learned and shared during the playing of this game.
If the blindfolded people have a hard time describing the experience, remind the group how important it is to have good friends that will help each other make good choices.
Choose Ye This Day
This is a fun youth ministry game that serves a double purpose:
- To remind the youth players of things that strengthen or weaken their relationship with God;
- To have fun as a group of young people who are building their faith in Jesus Christ.
Leaders will have blown up about 40-50 balloons of various colors and shapes. The leaders will write phrases or words that remind players of some of the ways they can be closer to God on half of the balloons. On the other half of the balloons, leaders write phrases or words that pull all of us away from God’s influence. Keep the “good” and “bad” balloons in separate large garbage bags.
Divide the youth into two teams, and divide the room with tape on the floor. Leaders will throw both the good and the bad balloons equally on each side. If the word or phrase on the balloon is good, players want to hold onto them. If they are bad, and pull away from their relationship with Jesus Christ, players want to throw those balloons over the line on the other team’s area.
After all of the balloons have been tossed out, give the players a couple of minutes to play the game. Then call, “Stop!” None of the balloons may be picked up or thrown after stop is called.
Each of the “good” balloons that are being held by a player count as a point. Even good balloons stuffed up the players shirts count. Any “bad” balloons being held by players or bad balloons on the floor of the team, count as a point against the team’s total points. The team with the most points is the winner of the round. The balloons can be gathered and play can begin again.
40-50 balloons blown up and tied; Sharpie-type markers to write on the good and bad balloons. Use permanent markers so that the ink does not get on the players hands or clothes. Give the ink from the markers time to dry before using with the youth.
There are many things that draw us closer to Jesus Christ, and many things that can pull each of us away from Jesus Christ. It is up to each person to make good choices, and to get rid of bad choices. Remind the players, that each follower of Jesus Christ, no matter how young or how old, must make these choices every day, and that some days it is difficult to let go of the bad things that pull us from building a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot give up and give in, we must keep building our faith, trust, and love in God each day.
6-8 wooden dowels, cut 27-28inches long; a flat area like a gym floor, or a flat outdoor area
This is an amazing activity for youth 10 and older, and youth ministry groups, as well as their leaders! Have your group size be around 20 people. Each pair of youth faces each other, and holds the end of a wooden dowel that is 27-28 inches long, and 1 1/2 inches in diameter,. If your group is 20 people, then 6-8 dowels are needed.
A few youth or leaders wait to go one at a time, walking across the trust ladder of people, (it helps to beginwith a thin, or a small person to ensure success).One person is selected to walk across the “trust ladder.” Each person holding a dowel rod, holds it about 4 inches above their navel, (belly-button); so that it is the same height as all of the other dowels.
Teach each dowel holder how to hold the end of their dowel using both hands, inter-locking the fingers; similar to the grip on a golf club.
Each dowel holder has to strongly touch shoulders with the dowel holders on each side, and move in towards the person bearing the weight of the walker; to offer shoulder support as the walker steps onto each dowel.
Important: If dowel holders do not hold the dowel strongly, and push against each other to support with their shoulders, this activity will not be successful.
strong touch x –O—x strong touch
strong touch x——-x strong touch
strong touch x ——x strong touch
strong touch x——-x strong touch
You may like having the walker begin by standing first on a chair, and then stepping onto the first dowel. Let the walker know, that it is okay to hold onto the head or shoulders of the dowel holders. The person steps onto the first dowel, those people holding into the dowel, have to hold the person up safely without letting the dowel or the person drop. Then, the person moves to the next dowel. Everyone on each side strongly pushes together to support each other. The walker moves across the dowels quickly.
The person keeps moving across the “ladder” until at the end, and then transitions to a chair and then the floor. Don’t let walkers jump off of the dowel to the floor at the end, because it is too hard for the people holding the dowel to keep it in place.
Use this only when your group can do this with success.
Decide which dowel holding partner will drop their end and which will hold the dowel while moving. It should always be the same people. Choose one or two of the walkers who seemed to move across the dowels easily. They are the walkers to use for the variation.
Begin the same way as above, but as the first two-some is free from the walker, one holder lets go, and both holders hurry to the front of the ladder and join in again. Each dowel holding pair move as soon as they can to be the first dowel holding pair in the line.This continues as long as you have room and interest.
The comments you get from the people doing this activity will amaze you as leaders! Little skinny girls were amazed that they could hold up big teenage boys, and each person realizes the importance of the strength of the people on each side of them pushing into them with their shoulders.
You can talk about the importance of friendship, and not letting your friends down, even when it is difficult.
The Back-To-Back Get Up
The game begins with two players sitting back-to-back with their arms hooked together, with their feet flat on the floor in front of them; and knees are up towards their chest. The goal of this youth ministry game is for the players to stand up without using any hands.
As soon as this is accomplished, add another player to hook arms with the other two players and to go from sitting to standing. Keep adding a new person each time the group successfully stands up.
None, just space enough to keep adding new players to the group
Remind the group that doing this activity, (with your feet in front of you flat on the floor and knees bent and up towards the person’s chest), is close to impossible to do by yourself. Things always seem to work better with teamwork and a positive attitude.
Buddy, Can You Share A Chair?
Chairs will be set up just like regular Musical Chairs, with one less chair than the number of people. As the music starts, players walk around the chairs, and when the music stops, the players try to sit on a chair.
The person who does not have a chair is not out. Ask if there is anyone willing to share their chair with that person. As soon as every player is somehow seated with the new configuration, play begins again. When the music stops, now there will be two players without chairs. Hopefully, the players will scoot over and share their chair or their lap.
As more and more chairs are taken out, the players begin to sit on laps, and it gets pretty crowded, but no one is ever out of the game. As the last chair is sat on when the music stops, all of the players sit on each other’s laps, so that each person feels a part of the group.
This is one of my favorite games, because it takes caring, sharing, getting squished, and working as a team to find a place for everyone to sit on another person’s leg or lap. There will be a lot of smiles and laughter during this game!
Chairs for all of the players, and some type of boom box or MP3 players that can be played and paused many times.
Ask the players what they learned by playing this game. The lessons taught in this game are powerful! Remind the youth ministry players, that God cares about everyone of them. He doesn’t want any of His children to feel like they don’t belong, or that anyone feels like a loser. When any of us take time to include other people, that leads us to a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ.
Divide players into small groups of 8-10 people. Everyone grabs the hand of someone not standing right next to them. Players cannot let go of the other person’s hand, or they have immediately lost the game. In order to untangle, some players might go under some arms, some might go over, etc. The first team to get back into a circle wins.
Materials needed: None
Being a part of a group is a team effort, with everyone giving their best. If one or two people don’t try, the team cannot succeed.
Players will be paired up with one other person. One of the players is blindfolded. Using whatever things are available, (chairs, cushions, bags, etc.) create a simple obstacle course.
The blindfolded person begins at one side of the obstacle course, and has to listen to his or her partner to successfully make it through the obstacles. Some examples are: “Stop!” “Take three steps to the left.” or “Take two small steps forward,” etc.
While the blindfolded person is listening to the partner, other players are there trying to distract the blindfolded person. They might say things like: “That’s not the right way to go!” “Follow me, and you’ll be safe.” “Big mistake going that way!” “No, take three steps to the right!”
It may be necessary to set up several obstacle courses if your group is large, because every person will want to experience listening to that one voice of the person that would lead them safely through the obstacles.
Items such as chairs, tables, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. to create the obstacle course
When God speaks to us, it is with a soft voice, and we have to listen carefully to hear and understand God’s will for each of us. There will always be people trying to get each of us to make bad decisions, or wrong choices that will lead us away from God. Remind the players that God will never lead them to make bad choices, and that He loves each of them with a love that will never end.
Get To Know You Web
Have players sit in a circle on chairs or on the floor. If your group is larger than 20 people, split it into two groups. Have a leader with each group to keep things moving in a positive way, with group members listening to each other’s answers.
Have one player hold the end of a ball of yarn or string and toss the ball part to someone at least two people away. The person catching the ball of yarn or string gets asked a question. He or she gives their answer and tosses the ball of yarn to another person at least two people away, and asks him or her a question.
This continues until every person in the circle is holding the yarn or the string and has had a turn to share their ideas with the group.
A ball of yarn or string for each group of players. It might be helpful to some of the players, if there are some questions pre-written on a poster in the center of the circle, that they could ask a person that catches the ball of yarn; such as:
- “What is your favorite story in the Bible?”
- “Tell us one person that is your hero, and tell why.”
- “If you could be more like Jesus Christ in one way, what would it be?”
- “If you won a million dollars and could only use it to help other people, how would you use the money?”
Everyone has good ideas and good things to share, and when we take the time to listen to them it shows respect, and builds trust and friendship.
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.