16 Best Youth Ministry Articles and ideas of 2016

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Credit: marekuliasz / Thinkstock

Yet again our incredible group of youth workers brought it with everything from encouraging personal devotions, ministry coaching, free lessons, and yes, plenty of games.  Though we have some classic content that never ceases to be at the top of our chart like the chocking-hazard classic Popcorn Sharing Ice Breaker, this year we published some of the best youth ministry content anywhere.

Most importantly, it was all free.  It is not uncommon for us to hear from our readers that they are running entire meetings with the free content available here, and that is why we do this.  What we release is what has actually worked in the real world of our youth ministries so that you don’t have to either come up with it on your own or try something that no one has ever tested on real students.  We let our students be the lab so your don’t have to be.

Here’s some of the most popular content from this year, we couldn’t be more proud!

1. Do I Say Something? Engaging Students After The Election

Pierce Drake II did for all of us what we couldn’t do for ourselves:  think objectively about the election results.  With clarity, insight, and a lot of grace, his words enabled us to walk into our churches after the results were in ready to minister to our students.  If only the rest of the world would read his wise insight, our nation would be in a healthier place today. This one is worth reading again.  Then, once more.

2. Half Noodles Twice the Fun! Five Fantastic Noodle Games

Eddie Erwin takes the cheap and ever-present summer pool toy and brings the fun with five fantastic games including the one of a kind: Spoodle.

3. Will it Cereal? Simple, Hilarious up-front game

Mike Rollins has your next over-the-top food game ready to go! Based on the classic Will it Taco by our own Jason Scott, this game takes food fun to the next level.  Get your spoon ready!

4. Birds-Eye-View: A Fantastic Game for All Size Groups

Bill Culpepper has an incredible game that sales to just about any sized crowd.  After splitting students into small groups, they end up creating fun (and hilarious picture opportunities) by just laying on the ground!

5. What does it Mean to Glorify God?

Chasity Opphile offers a lesson that helps students process one of those phrases that church people say all the time often without understanding what it means:  Glorifying God.  She gives insight from the scripture with a healthy dose of fun in this interesting lesson.

6. Human Sculptures: A Game with Zero Supplies and Tons of Fun

Sometimes you just don’t have enough time to go shopping to prepare for the perfect game for your youth event.  Luckily Tyler Vittetoe has designed a game where 4-5 students work as a team to find the most creative way to make a human sculpture with only two human feet

7. My Little Angel (the Porn Addict)

Pornography is as pervasive as it is difficult to talk about, but ignoring the issue won’t make it go away.  Chris McKenna of Protect Young Eyes offers a place to start on this troubling problem.

8. In the Light of Friendship: A Free Lesson in First John

Scott Meier helps students find real help in the words of the scripture.  Having healthy friendships is one of the most important aspects to the lives of teens, and the Bible has a lot to say about the power of friends and what kinds of people we should give that sort of influence over our lives.

9. Hunger Games Dodgeball

Prepare to have your mind blown.  This game is a blend of capture-the-flag, hunger games, and dodgeball with a decided leader squirt gun twist.  It’s Betsy Marvin for the win!

10. YMC Podcast: Confirmation

Each week the experts give you 15 minutes of the best ideas and coaching we have.  In this episode, we talk about Confirmation with the expert (Phil Talon) and author of the incredible confirmation resource you should be using: The Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith.  You can also subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes.

11. Kill Your Discussion with Too Many Parrot Questions

When discussion stays on the surface, learning flies out the window with the interest of the students involved.  Jeremy Steele offers insight into how and when to use them and when it goes too far.

12. Have an Epic Battle with a SuperHero Obstacle Course

Betsy Marvin is clearly the super hero in her church!  With a culture and entertainment industry completely obsessed with Superheroes, she offers an incredibly creative take.  If you have a night where you’re using a SuperHero theme, this is a fun way to incorporate some competition.

13. Loving Radically: A Free Lesson on Making Room for God

One of our favorite discussion lesson writers did amazing work with this free lesson.  Michael LeBlanc puts clean and unclean food at center stage in this one that helps students explore loving radically those around them!

14. 9 Tips to Have Great Discussions with Teens

Hal Hamilton has just written your next email to your volunteers for you. Even the most seasoned leader will find something to help them succeed when leading discussions with teens like refusing to settle for the first answer.

15. 5 Things Not to do when the Church Bus Breaks Down

Andrew Chappell offers from sage advice learned the hard way sitting on the side of the road with a bunch of teens and a broken down church bus.  This one is a must read before any trip that will utilize the holy vehicle.

16. Build-a-Wookie Hilarious Team Game

Everyone wants to be Han.  However, even if you have the black vest and tight fitting pants, you can’t be Han without a Wookie by your side.  Jeremy Steele shows you how to have a lot of fun by making a lot of Wookies at your next youth gathering.

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