A youth ministry without the element of fun isn’t a youth ministry.
It’s an internment camp.
Who wants a confining Charlie Brown teacher for a youth leader? Who wants to eat plain corn flakes for every meal for the rest of your life? Who wants to play Flappy Birds for eternity?
While some of you may be game for that last one, none of us want a plateful of boring.
And since we’re about influencing teenagers to love God and love others, then we better have some ways to bring the fun.
My dad taught me how to have fun.
He still teaches me to have fun.
We may not have it together as a family, but we can eek out some serious fun if we can all manage to get in a room together. We can also eek out some serious arguments, but the prospect of fun trumps the potential for anger so we get together anyway.
Having fun together makes me think that you like me. And if you like me then you probably mean it when you say that you love me. Which helps when I tell you things and you share with me. We may just listen, and offer grace, and be better at loving each other because of this one ingredient alone.
So, here’s how my dad is fun, and how you can be fun, in 5 easy steps.
Follow the man’s ways and you’ll have fun. In fact, you will be fun.
5 Steps to Being Fun:
1. Notice everything.
Watch everything around you and look for the fun factor. If you’re always caught up in your stress and in your head, you’ll miss the chance to play around with the golf cart full of maintenance stuff at your school or the kid on the skateboard. Jump on that thing, take a ride and make some memories. (Be careful of course…)
2. Out-give everyone.
Look for chances to give to people. Giving to people is a guaranteed smile factory. It’s a proven fact. Smiles lead to relaxation. Relaxation leads to fun.
3. Bring awesome things to life.
Even if you can’t sing. Sing your favorite songs- out loud. My dad does this all of the time. I may just share a video of him singing one of his favorite songs, in a restaurant, out loud, and for no reason other than to show me how much he likes the song. Be looking for that.
Or, take a monkey to youth group. Monkeys are awesome. They will bring fun. Why wouldn’t you want more fun? I actually did this two weeks ago. Fun factor x 10!
4. Connect with the people around you.
I’ve never met a person more in-the-moment than my dad. Even when he comes to my house and I’m sitting in another room, he will text me from wherever he is in the house. For the most part, he ignores pretty much anyone that he isn’t ten or fifteen feet away from him at the time. This may not work out so well if you work for someone other than yourself., but it’s a good principle. People who are immersed in the moment can really have fun in the moment.
5. Take your favorite things with you.
When I go to camp, I take crazy stuff with me. It’s another thing I learned from my dad. He takes a speaker everywhere he goes. It’s travel size but when he hooks it up to his phone he can create an instant party. It doesn’t matter where he is. He’ll pull that thing out and start playing reggae music or whatever he wants to play. He’ll talk about who wrote the songs and why they wrote them. We laugh and poke fun at each other’s preferences. When he leaves my house, I miss his all-day-long playlist that he provides just because he’s there.
(If you’re wondering what I take to camp, well, I can’t tell you some of the things. They are top secret awesome things that only the people I’m with will ever know about or understand. But I will tell you this: You should ALWAYS take a costume to camp. It may not be for you. You may not know why you’ll need it, but it’s vital to the life of your ministry. Last year, I took a giant whoopee cushion costume to camp. The girl ended up on stage for a contest, and the prize she got was a coffee mug that looked like a toilet. We couldn’t have planned that match up if we wanted to!)
Fun is awesome.
Have a great day mateys. (said with an Australian accent because if I had to write a 6th way to be fun it’d be try out accents all day long–anyone who can change up the audibles is fun. End of story.)
Brooklyn / @brooklynlindsey