Elevating Ministry Games
Not just time-wasters
In our experience, there are 4 reasons why games are a good idea for your ministry. And none of those reasons are to fill or waste time!
Too often games are not planned out and are thrown together to give the teacher a break or to fill in empty time. It would not be a surprise to find out that every ministry leader reading this blog has fallen into this routine. Sometimes you end up with extra time and need to find something to do. So, you pull out on of the crowd favorites and the children all have smiles on their faces when their parents pick them up.
But what if you could elevate games out of the last-minute-throw-together scenario.
We believe that games can be powerful means of ministry to your class.
First, it starts with building and planning an intentional lesson. Check out our blog post “3 Things to Do Differently When Preparing for Sunday School.” We talk about the steps to take in order to craft an excellent lesson.
Secondly, once you have learned how to plan a great lesson you can go back and consider adding time for games. Do not leave game planning to the last few minutes of class. Plan it.
We encourage you to plan every minute of your lesson, and to even plan a few extra things in case you have a few minutes left in your day. In our blog post “3 Ways to Unleash the Best Resources in Your Children’s Ministry” we talk about how precious your time is with your class. Your impact is often limited to 45–90 minutes a week, make the best use of every moment!
Maybe you know how to plan a great lesson but you are not convinced that games are worth planning.
We have put together 4 reasons games are a good idea for your ministry. Check them out:
1. Games help to reinforce and review the day’s theme or lesson.
There are many games that you can adapt to fit your lesson for the day. When you match your lesson with a game your class will be more likely to remember the details! You may have noticed that your class memorizes scripture best when it is matched with hand motions. The same concept goes with your lesson. Make up a game that reinforces the theme and you will see that it impacts them in a deeper way.
Children love learning a new game and it is likely they will play it at home with their neighbors and friends. This is a great gospel tool for them! We encourage you to keep the games simple with very little need for supplies. This will allow your class to replicate the games at home.
2. Games give children a chance to move. God created children to move!
A child’s attention span is very limited. Put them in a crowd and it becomes even less. Considering how long a child can sit and listen, you might have 10 minutes to teach your lesson. Beyond that, your class will get wiggly!
Games are a great way to break up your lesson by having your class move. This can include your entire class or just a few children. You can keep the game brief and get right back to your lesson. Or you can teach a portion of your lesson at the start of your day, break for extended play time, and then come back to your lesson at the end of the day.
You can also simply have your class stretch or hop in place to get the wiggles out. As they are moving you can repeat your lesson points, ask them questions or have them repeat key words from the lesson.
Taking this break in your lesson will regain their attention because God created children to move!
3. Games are fun! “Fun” is the special language of children.
Having fun is key to memory-making for children. Powerful and meaningful memories are made while having fun. When you intentionally plan fun elements in your lesson, you are investing into your class’s long-term memory. When you play a game, do a fun activity or plan for wiggle time you will be implanting truth in their little hearts and minds. “Fun” is worth the effort and planning.
4. Games provide wonderful opportunities for building relationships.
We have already seen that games are beneficial because it helps your class remember the lesson, pay attention, and implant the truth in their long-term memory. These are great things that are centered on capturing the lesson and their attention. But this last reason to use games is a key to building an overall fun-healthy ministry.
Are you struggling to feel connected to your class? Do they see you as a powerful authority who is more like a statue than a real human who loves Jesus? Games break down these relational barriers.
We do not mean just putting a game together where the children play and you stand by and supervise. We mean that you get involved.
Play tag, run around, laugh, run out of breath, give a child a high-five, run some more, shout out encouragement, laugh some more, and have fun!
When your class sees you smiling and having fun, and not just watching them play, they will begin to bond with you.
Just do not forget why you are playing games. It is not a time for you to show off and win! It is a time to bond, create intentional relationships and to show your class that you you enjoy spending time with them. This is what it is to be a servant-leader.
Before Sunday comes around again, take a few extra minutes to plan a great lesson. And be sure to include a game or two! Your class and ministry will be blessed by it and it may have an eternal impact for Christ’s kingdom. Because sometimes it is the simplest things that will make the biggest impact.
WellConnected is a gathering place for children and youth ministers to access resources, research, and content to raise up the next generation. It is a collaborative platform to equip leaders and influencers to effectively reach the children in their communities. We invite churches and ministers to join one another in coming up with innovative solutions for today’s realities. We are continually learning and growing from each other — sharing knowledge, insight, and best practices.