Top 14 Games, Lessons, and Ideas of 2014

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20142014 has been an incredible year.  As we launched in August, we had no idea the incredible response to this new Wesleyan voice in the world of youth ministry.  At the outset we decided to be intensely practical and whenever possible particularly Wesleyan, and it has been an wonderful five months building this new community of Wesleyan youth ministers.

The clear reason of the success is the quality content offered week after week by some of the top Wesleyan youth ministry minds in the country.  From icebreakers and games, to lessons, coaching and insights on current events, we have been able to release some of the best content I have had the pleasure of reading.  In case you missed it, or want to read it again, here are the top 14 articles of 2014.

1. Popcorn Sharing Icebreaker (Jeremy Steele)
How can you improve on your normal icebreaker questions? Add popcorn and bad manners!

2. 3 Things Youth Can Do About ISIS and Ebola (Jeremy Steele)
People are dying because they confess Jesus as Lord and because they do not have access to life-saving medical treatment. And my youth are wanting to do something about it.

3. Zombie Apocalypse Night (Mike Fitzpatrick)
When zombies attack your youth group, will you be ready? Short answer, no. Let’s face it – the zombies win every time. But its a fun way to enter into the Biblical narrative.

4. 9 of the Best Icebreakers Ever (Jeremy Steele)
No surprises here.  Just a grab bag of quick and easy icebreakers to take with you into your next youth group time.

5. Pay it Forward Lesson (Betsy Marvin)
What if we took a week to live out the parable of the talents? What if we tried to take a couple dollars and make an impact on our world?

6. Color Wars (Bill McLarty)
Ever been to or seen ads for Color Me Rad or one of the many Color (insert random word here) events, and thought, “Wow! That would be an awesome youth event!” After months of research, trial and error, we were able to pull this off and stay in budget for our annual big event!

7. Box Wars (Betsy Marvin)
A team relay game where students run down a slippery tarp while covered in a moving box! My most requested student game EVER!

8. 15,000 Water Balloons at Your Next Event (Phil Tallon)
Here’s a deep and eternal truth: fill a bunch of water balloons and you’ll always have teenagers eager to launch them at their fellow humans. This is why we kicked off our summer this year with the biggest water balloon fight we could throw. The best part was the youth ministry staff didn’t have to fill 15,000 Water balloons!

9. Bananarama (Bill McLarty)
What can make an average scavenger hunt rock your face off? You guessed it: Bananas!  Students love this hilarious twist on a scavenger hunt!

10. 8 Must Haves of Youth Ministry (Rick Webb)
You attended a conference at a massive church that used 85 inch touch screens to sign in, have 3,415 TVs and there is a pool out back. We want youth to show up so bad we think that will get us there. Our hearts are in the right place but we get blinded by the stuff.  If you get rid of all the stuff, what must a youth ministry have to succeed?

11. Finding Your Lost Sheep Without Becoming Netflix (Robert Sturdivant)
We need to go back to being ministers who seek out the lost sheep instead of functioning like a subscription based company like Netflix.

12. How to Use Instagram in Youth Group: “Instamoment” (Scott Meier)
In our Wesleyan heritage we might think of it as an “Aldersgate Moment”; that moment when we feel so close to God that all of it begins to make a little more sense. Even if those moments aren’t truly life-altering, but simply a spiritual high or moment of clarity, being able to name them and to recall them is so important in the spiritual development of any person.

13. Worshipping God in the Common Place (Robert Sturdivant)
Worship is bigger than music. Even when we know that statement is true, our ministries can be very focused on worshipping God only through music.  These stations allow students to gain a new perspective on worship as well as interacting with God in the common place.

14. Hot Trout: A Game That Reels Them In (Betsy Marvin)
There is nothing quite like seeing the faces of freshmen girls as they pass around a dead fish and the young men that cannot wait to get a hold of it.

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When he is not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy oversees children, youth, and college ministries in addition to leading the evening worship service at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Al. He is passionate about reaching people with the message of Jesus in a way that engages them with the movement of God. Jeremy is the Senior Editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective and the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. You can find a list of all his books, articles and resources for churches at his website: JeremyWords.com

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