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This week has been about games… Tuesday we challenged you to think them through (reasons we invite kids into play), Wednesday we looked at actions that can derail games, and today we just want to challenge you to plan your games. Three quickies:

Be prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute.
We know you’re busy (unfortunately, we know it too well). But, great games require a little extra thought. Take a few precious moments and instead of “winging it”, think through the details, your needed materials, and prizes. The more you plan, the easier it will be to delegate for someone else to lead.

Be simple. Don’t be too complicated.
You want to have games that are unique and different without requiring an advance degree to play. Be on the look-out for game inspiration everywhere you go (we ate at Chili’s yesterday and made a game out of throwing the drink coasters and trying to catch them in our mouth—not easy, but it was fun). Be shameless and borrow ideas from others or rip-off ideas from TV shows like Minute to Win It (you know you want to try-out those games, teenagers will too). Wander your church looking for ideas and be inspired by items you find in your church basement.

Be fun. Don’t forget what’s most important.
Keep your eye on the reason why you’re playing games (remember Tuesday’s email?): you want teenagers to have fun and help them get connected. Here are some ideas that can punch up your games:

….| If you’re using points, go big: winning a game and getting 1,000 points is much better than 10… better yet, give’ em 10,000 points. The points are free—they don’t cost you anything. Plus, when a team looses with 600,000 points it feels better than losing with 6 points.
….| Look into cell phone voting so everyone can participate (polleverywhere.com)
....| Have prizes, silly, cheap, obnoxious ones (a 50 cent lamp from Goodwill can be both funny and memorable).
….| Try to involve everyone
….| If it’s an upfront game with a “contestant,” make sure everyone can see what’s happening (this is also a place where polleverywhere.com can come in—which will involve the majority.)
….| Tie the game into the program’s theme for night/day
….| Have lots of winners!

Games shouldn’t be the only thing you do at youth group, but rather one element of your overall program. Games may become an easy and effective tool on your route toward discipleship.
 

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