May 14, 2008

don't try this at home

You may or may not know this about me, but I spent several years in Student Ministry before doing what I do now. During that time I was a proponent of helping kids have fun on the journey of getting to know Jesus Christ better. In the spirit of such gurus as Mike Yaconelli and Wayne Rice, I found myself often looking for fresh concepts that pushed the envelope.

Maybe you're familiar with games like this, for they've often been talked about by The Oprah and other daytime deities. I once had a mom let me know that her son was not allowed to play "Chubby Bunny," for instance, because The Oprah said not to. In this case, The Oprah was right... the game involves stuffing a marshmallow into your mouth, saying "Chubby Bunny," and then repeating the process until you can do it no more.

(And by the way - I was calling her that long before Rush Limbaugh, back when she hosted AM Chicago when I was a kid... because that matters.)

Over the years I learned the perils of other "games," too. Another youth group favorite is "Sardines" - this is a reverse game of hide and seek where one person hides and the group searches. When found, the "finder" hides with the "hider" as does everyone else who stumbles across them. This leaves one lonely kid who can't find anyone and never wants to come back to hang out with the church again (not to mention groups of teenagers in the dark with their bodies touching each other - no problem there, eh?)

So it is with that in mind that I present you with the "secret stash." What follows are games I've thought of but chose not to do (for obvious reasons), as well as a few concepts I've heard in passing from others whose brains went too far in the planning stages.
  • Soiled Toilet Brush Baseball

  • Backslap The Senior Pastor (Until He Complains)

  • Pass The Mousetrap

  • Shave the Freshman's Mustache

  • "Dump Pews Over" Relay

  • Catch The Flaming Sock

  • Spam Soccer

  • How Sharp Is Your Ginsu?

  • Quick Dry Cement Pedicure

  • The Big Bad BBQ Grill Lick

  • Corn Syrup Chug

  • A Pool, A Piranha, and You

  • Count The Straws In Your Nostrils

  • Guess The Dog Breed Gnawing On Your Leg


Katherine said...

hee hee...

That reminds me of my first experience playing 'sardines' with a bunch of junior highers - the first kid to hide concealed himself so well that NOBODY could find him!

After an hour of searching an entire apartment complex, we had to eventually give up and just start our lesson.

The kids were so mad at the youth pastor, they didn't want to play any of his games the rest of the year... ouch!

adam mclane said...

My group loves Sardines. I think hiding with a boy/girl in the dark is an important part to YG growth. Ha!

And chubby bunny... those were the days. We used to use atomic fireballs, that was nasty.

Youth ministry misses you Tony!

Brian Eberly said...

Oh the memories! Both Chubby Bunnies and Sardines were staples of my ministry back in the day.

Another fun one for the list...

Ultimate Melon (Ultimate Frisbee but with a watermelon) A raw chicken was always kind of fun too!

Jennifer said...

My personal favorite is the "Chug a gallon of apple cider until the student feels like he/she is going to hurl for 3 days straight..." game. I just might have a personal vendetta against that game...

Tony Myles said...

Yikes! What freak was your youth pastor?

Tony Myles said...

Katherine - kids get mad at youth pastors all the time, but when you lose them because of the games you're in BIG trouble! ;)

Adam - that made my day, bro. Thanks!

Brian- Gotta try that one... somehow.

Annalisa said...

The worst one that I ever experienced (o.k., I say 'I experienced...', I mean 'I planned, organised and ran...') was the Chicken Olympics (pseudo-sports with various chicken-related products, e.g. egg toss, frozen chicken football, etc.).

I'd seen this done before with Young Life kids out in a big park, so it was fine, but when we did this with our church Youth Group it rained. This meant that 'Chicken Football' had to be done inside our Youth Group hall rather than on a soccer field, as planned.

Unfortunately I hadn't quite thought through the thawing process, and the fact that the plastic covering on the frozen chicken would disintegrate when kicked around the wooden floor...

Needless to say, some parents weren't that impressed, even though we cleaned as best as we could. I can still occasionally smell fowl in that hall when I visit my old church on a hot day...errkk *rueful smile/grimace* DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME/CHURCH :)

Tony Myles said...


I like what Mike Yaconelli used to say - that if your church didn't have a rule because of something you did that you probably weren't being an effective youth pastor.

Then again, Mark never did have to step in and pay my bills after they fired me. ;)