Christian Youth Group Games

Youth ministry has a more challenging job than ever these days, catering to the needs and the wants of their youth group members. One youth ministry job is answering critical questions: How much of youth group should be devoted to fun Christian youth group games? Conversely: How much of youth group should be devoted to serious issues and the Bible?

Some youth groups devote themselves almost entirely to Christian games for teens and tweeners, believing that these age groups won’t attend youth group that is too serious. Others try to skip the Christian youth group games altogether, understanding that teens face more temptations and peer pressure than any other age groups. They sense that only serious study can provide students the tools to “be not conformed to this world.”

Both schools of thought offer plusses and minuses.

Youth ministries that rely on fun–on a major compilation of Christian youth group game–will fall in line with many of today’s teens’ needs. Over the past 40 years, schools have slowly extended their days to now include before-care and after-care for young children, and before-activities and after-activities for tweeners and teens. By the time many older kids get home from their daily dose of institutionalization, they have often been there for nearly twelve hours. Even while they’re not engaged in classes or homework, the tone and the atmosphere of such is very much present.

Tweeners and teens often arrive home at night to a couple more hours of homework, and then they’re mentally exhausted. Should Christian leaders expect schooled kids to tax their minds any further? If we demand another night of serious study, how much will they actually absorb?  Didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”?

In this context, it does sound as if games and easy play are the best things for kids. Many youth groups conform easily, giving a ten-minute “mini-sermon” at the end, almost apologetically, as if they have earned the right to talk about Jesus after tossing balls and shoveling out slices of pizza for two hours.

Other youth groups are about Bible study, and they expect teens and tweeners to seriously apply themselves. These leaders understand that today’s youth is under greater pressure to break God’s commandments and make life-altering mistakes than any youth before in the history of mankind. They understand that if Christian kids have any shot at making it through junior high and high school years without succumbing to drugs, drinking, sex, lying, cheating, and over emphasis on materialism, they need serious weekly doses of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. They feel that games of dodge ball and Christian Monopoly and serving up slices of pizza are just applying a Band-Aid to a gaping wound.

Nonetheless kids are stressed out, they are mentally overtaxed, both on academic and social fronts. Leadership that pushes too hard at learning the tools of Christianity risk losing attendance—easily.

Wise men have noted historically that often a solution is found, not by attacking a hopeless problem, but simply by looking at the problem differently. No one can deny the stress and taxation of our young adults’ minds. Yet tweeners and teens can still conquer a myriad of difficult problems daily. Just consider Facebook pages. Girls can ace three tests in a day, then come home and hash out a romance problem on Facebook for hours–with a really good friend. If a boy has just finished his SATs on a Friday and really wants to go out that night, he can often find the wisdom–and good company–to help him fix his broken-down car.

Kids don’t come home from taxing days and merely fall asleep (though high school students nap after school more frequently than they’d admit). And contrary to popular opinion, teens don’t want to vegetate endlessly in front of mindless options like video games (though they will as an alternative to being alone with nothing to do).

If Jesus is right in saying that his load is easy and his burden is light, how can we present easy-yoke material that will protect our youth from the wiles of today’s world?

First we must admit that Jesus doesn’t provide the answers: Jesus is the answer. Jesus the person, the counselor, the savior, in a kid’s heart, will be an easy burden with a light yoke. What can we do to facilitate that relationship?

We’ve already seen that kids can solve hefty problems that are interesting to them—even in their downtime hours. How can we set them to the challenges of adopting an enduring faith and a relationship with Jesus?

First we must understand that we don’t have to make Jesus an academic exercise. “Understanding” our faith and “studying” it are exercises of the Enlightenment. Nearly 250 years ago, men who were not stellar Christians decided that knowledge is the end-all to tribulation, and “reasonable” men would no longer enter into discussions over things that don’t have “scientific proofs.” While the Enlightenment has been extremely beneficial in providing some medical cures and industrial improvements, it has not been a free ride. That cost has been our intuitions and God’s revelations, which have no relevance in today’s mainstream society. Let’s not be victims of Enlightenment reason and impose that onto our teens.

Here are three things we can do that make the yoke easy and the burden light for everyone:

1)       Pray for God to be at the center of youth group meetings. He wants to be. You want Him to be. Some students understand and want Him to be. With some hope and belief, it’s a done deal.

2)       Use what kids love most: Each other’s company. Youth group activities can be challenging and thoughtful–if the kids love each other. After praying for God’s indwelling on your meetings, pray for the spirit of Christ’s words to unify your group: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” If you can help cultivate a strong bond between students, it won’t matter if they’re studying or playing; they will develop a spirit of discipleship that will keep them bonded.

3)       Bring up the tough issues of the day, but don’t expect to do God’s job. You can’t make kids love Him; you can’t even make kids love each other. You can only provide the fertile ground, and using what comes most compassionately through you (serious study or an easy yoke), you can look forward to the hope and glory of many success stories in your youth ministry group.

Christian youth group games can be balanced in equally with serious spiritual undertakings, so long as Jesus leads and you’ve made a serious, prayerful effort to put Him in charge of these most precious yet challenging ages.

Bible Pictionary

Bible Pictionary can help kids learn the most popular scriptures among Christians today. If you use a list of popular scriptures when designing Bible Pictionary play, you can accomplish many things: Kids can have fun drawing, guessing, and winning, all the while learning the scriptures involved in the strategy!

Below are Bible Pictionary-worthy scriptures taken from a list of “The 100 Most Popular Scriptures for Christians.” Some have been eliminated for lack of viable keywords, so there are no longer quite 100 scriptures. But that doesn’t mean that “picturizing” the keywords in the remaining scriptures will be a walk in the park!

There are two ways to play using these scriptures:

The first is by reading the scripture two or three times to the group but not reading the keyword. Once the picture-making starts, players will have to guess which word in the scripture their team artist is drawing. The second way is harder—simply having players draw the concept of the keyword and then read the scripture afterward. The first way is more conducive to learning scriptures, though the second is very appealing to artists who draw well and quickly!

ANSWER: 1 Pet 3:15: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

ANXIETY: 1 Pet 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

BAPTIZE: Matt 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

BOOK: Josh 1:8: Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

BURDEN: Matt 11:30: For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

CHILDREN: John 1:12: Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

CHRIST: Rom 8:39: Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

CLOTHE: Col 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

CLOUD: Heb 12:1: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

COMPLETE: Phil 1:6: Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

CONDEMN: John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

CONFESS: 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us.

CREATION: 2 Cor 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

DEMONS: Rom 8:38: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers.

DESIRES: 2 Pet 1:4: Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

DISCIPLES: John 13:35: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

DISCIPLINE: 2 Tim 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

EAGLES: Isa 40:31: But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

EARTH: Matt 28:18: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

FAITH: Heb 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

FEMALE: Gen 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

FRUIT: Gal 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (continued in next word)

GENTLENESS: Gal 5:23: gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

GRACE: Eph 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

HEALED: Isa 53:5: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

HEART: Ps 37:4: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

HEARTS: John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

HOLY SPIRIT: Rom 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

KINGDOM: Matt 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

LIFE: Rom 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

LIGHT: Matt 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

LIVE: Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

LIVESTOCK: Gen 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

LOVE: 1 John 3:16: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

MEETING: Heb 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

MESSAGE: Rom 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

MIND: Isa 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

MONEY: Heb 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

OBEY: Matt 28:20: And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

PATHS: Prov 3:6: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

PEACE: Phil 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

PERSEVERE: Jas 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

POWER: 2 Cor 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

PRAYER: Phil 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

PREPARED: Eph 2:10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

PRIEST: Heb 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

PROSPER: Jer 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

RESURRECTION: John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

REWARDS: Heb 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

RICHES: Phil 4:19: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

SACRIFICE: Rom 12:1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

SALVATION: Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

SHEEP: Isa 53:6: We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

SIN: Rom 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

SINNERS: Rom 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

SORROWS: Isa 53:4: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

STRENGTH: Phil 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

SWORD: Heb 4:12: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

TEACHING: 2 Tim 3:16: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

TEMPLE: 1 Cor 6:19: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.

TEMPTATION: 1 Cor 10:13: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

TERRIFIED: Josh 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

TESTING: Jas 1:3: Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

THIEF: John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

THINK: Phil 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

THOUGHTS: Isa 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

THRONE: Heb 12:2: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

TRANSFORM: Rom 12:2: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

TRIALS: Jas 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

TROUBLE: John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

TRUST: Prov 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

TRUTH: John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

UNITY: Ps 133:1: How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

VISION: Acts 18:9: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”

WEARY: Matt 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

WITNESSES: Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

WORD: John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

WORKS: Eph 2:9: Not by works, so that no one can boast.

WORLD: John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

WOUNDS: 1 Pet 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

YOKE: Matt 11:29: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Icebreakers for Sunday School

When little children walk into class the opening day of Sunday school, they can play together after five minutes like they’ve known each other five years! No need for icebreakers here. But kids ages eleven and older can spend an hour propping up the walls if icebreakers aren’t provided. Icebreakers can be a lifesaver! Here are our three favorite icebreakers for Sunday school, youth group, or introducing a lot of new people into a class of older students:

The Truth Will Set You Free

Each person in class takes a turn making three statements about him or herself. Two are true, and one isn’t. An example would be, “I play five instruments. I was born in Oklahoma. My mom was a dancer on Broadway.” The group must take guesses as to which is the false statement, and then the person must confess. Encourage students to reveal statements about themselves that will be memorable to others. For example, “I went on six mission trips to Honduras” is more interesting than “I am seventeen,” though all statements are welcome.

Who Am I?

Write on index cards the names of Bible characters or movie or TV stars. Tape one name to each person’s back. The students then have to begin determining the name that is on their back. They can only ask one question to each person. They can’t ask a direct question, such as “What’s the name on my back?” The person they ask should only answer a direct question, such as “Is the name on my back male or female?” or “Is this a person on Nickelodeon?” As people determine the names on their backs, they should sit down and not have to answer any more questions. This will make the overly shy ones get a hustle on, lest they be the last ones standing! Many friendships have formed thanks to this game.

Puzzle Partners

Take sheets of paper and draw a squiggly line down the center that looks like two puzzle pieces fitting nicely together. Don’t do any two alike! Cut them in half, and place them in a pile, one just underneath its mate. Wait until everyone arrives, then give them out in this order! The order will prevent puzzle pieces from being out there that have no mate! If there is an uneven number of people, the teacher can opt to participate. Have participants find the person who has the piece of the puzzle that matches theirs. Then, they inquire about their matching piece partner and write down three things about him or her. When it comes time for introductions, have the matching piece partners introduce each other, rather than having everyone introduce themselves.

All of the icebreakers above have worked quite successfully with kids over the ages of ten. These icebreakers even work on adult groups, so use them freely and have fun!

Teaching the Beatitudes

The Beatitudes were Jesus’ eight “blessed are” statements that start off the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7. Comparing each to a Walt Disney character is a unique and fun way of teaching the Beatitudes. Kids often learn virtues best when they can point to a person who is like that. Use Walt Disney characters that everyone knows as follows, and it can help kids learn the Beatitudes with a great picture imprinted in their minds!

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: This is a bit like Cinderella. She was poor while living with evil people, but she was still destined for royalty—so she kept her head up!

Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted: This is like the beast in Beauty and the Beast. He had a lonely and awful life until a sweet young girl brought him back to his royal self and all he was promised.

Blessed are the meek for they shall possess the earth: This is a bit like Mickey Mouse. He was Disney’s first character…who would have thought that a dear little mouse could be known in every house across the land?

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied: In the Great Mouse Detective, Basil the mouse detective has devoted his life to solving crimes. He goes in pursuit of justice that ends up saving the queen, whose death would have meant death to the land!

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy: In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmerelda shows kindness and mercy to the hunchback Quasimodo, who in turn saves her life.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God: The evil stepmother in Snow White hates the young princess because of her beauty and purity. After an attempt on Snow White’s life fails, the stepmother disguises herself and brings the young princess a poisoned apple. She is awakened from death by the kiss of a prince, which can be compared to Jesus awakening us from death so that we can live happily ever after with him!

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God: Among the most peaceful of animals are deer. Bambi was named Prince of the Forest. A lot like our Prince of Peace, he had to lead all the deer to safety so as not to be burned up in a hellish forest fire.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: A great example of a persecuted Disney character is Mulan, who did nothing wrong, unless being born female is wrong! Even though she trained well to be a soldier, she was sent home in disgrace when her “crime” (gender) was discovered. But when it came time to defeat the enemy, the Huns, Mulan saved the day. Similar to the Kingdom of Heaven was her being named “a woman so rare that she comes along once in a Dynasty.” Her battle with the Huns is reminiscent of David facing Goliath!

Many images of the Disney characters are available online, and so are trailers of all their movies. These can make great additions while teaching the Beatitudes in a way kids are likely to cherish!

Bible Jeopardy

Who can help getting hooked into a game of Jeopardy? If you’re looking for a fun way to teach or learn Biblical facts, Bible Jeopardy is the answer! Some board game versions are expensive, as are downloads, which can be risky to your computer’s safety. However, you don’t have to go through all of that to enjoy Bible Jeopardy! We’re providing several Internet options for finding the right Bible Jeopardy to suit your needs. Here are four easy methods for obtaining Bible Jeopardy without any expense at all:

The Church of Christ in Duluth features a Power Point version of Bible Jeopardy that you can download and play in Power Point. If you visit their website, you will see an option for “Power Point games” in the left column. Click there, and download a very easy and workable version of Bible Jeopardy. One challenge: The questions on the Duluth Church version are very difficult! Adults might have fun, but kids will do more scratching of their heads than winning. features a game of Jeopardy where one player plays against the computer. If you visit their website, you will find an option under “Christian Living” called “Trivia.” While this game is easier than the Duluth one, it is probably too difficult for kids. However, seasoned adults can have hours of fun, playing one round after another, with the computer keeping score!

Hymnal Accompanyist…don’t be fooled by the name! The site contains fun trivia games among other things. It’s hard to enter the site, as things are not clearly marked. But if you follow this link, you will come to one of the best games of online Jeopardy for Sunday school students ages 8 and up.  This free Jeopardy game allows two or more players to play against each other. The questions are a bit tricky, but seem to be designed to make children think hard about what they’ve learned. When they get a question wrong, a message pops up telling them which book and verse in the Bible to visit in order to find the right answer! A tally is kept for all players and the Jeopardy theme song plays on in the background.

The Spread God’s Word website contains eight Bible Jeopardy rounds, each with five categories and five questions each. While this site does not have verses provided to guide you to correct answers, it keeps score in a fast, state-of-the-art way. From, go to “Bible Whiz Quiz.” There you’ll find many Christian versions of free online games, including Dr. Lim’s Bible Jeopardy. Categories include Old Testament Wisdom, Exodus (1 & 2), Old Testament Patriarchs, New Testament Characters, Book of Luke, and New Testament Epistles. Just click the category of your choice and begin playing, watching your score rise and fall in red letters you can’t miss! While the questions will be familiar to some children, seasoned Christian adults will have a blast.

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