This past Wednesday night, we played a great game with our junior high students. I liked it so much, I wanted to share it here with you. Let me introduce you to, Bomb Squad!
When it comes to game time on Wednesday nights, leadership rotates among the leaders. We each take turns planning and leading games. This past Wednesday night, David N., one of our amazing leaders shared Bomb Squad with our students and it went over pretty well. I don't think this is an original game, so you've seen it in a book or on another youth ministry website, let me know.
Here's what you need...
General Game Play...
The goal is for the students to deposit as many "bombs" into the other teams drop box as possible, within the designated time limit. The team with the most bombs deposited wins. Bombs are defused when a player is tagged on the opposing teams territory and the egg opened and the paper or candy is removed.
Here's how we played Bomb Squad...
Our students were divided into 2 teams of about 10 each. Colored bandanas were given to designate the teams. We divided the room in half with each team claiming one half as their territory.
We placed the large part of the paper box as the drop box. This is where students would drop the live bombs into at the far end of the other teams territory. The lids of the paper box served as the Pick Up area that held the teams live bombs. These were placed off to the side of a teams territory. On "Go" students tried to grab their live bombs from the pick up point, one at a time, and run them to the the other teams drop box without being tagged.
To defend the drop boxes, players can tag the opposite teams "bombers" whenever they enter the teams territory. Once tagged, the bomb is turned over and diffused. (Open the egg and take out whatever you have placed inside. Since we used Skittles, the students could eat the Skittle.)
We set a time limit for play. This helps to create some urgency for the students. We also assigned points for every bomb that made it to the drop box. (10 points each.)
Depending on how you want to play the game, you can do multiple rounds changing the variables. Play with only guys only tagging guys, or only girls can carry the bombs, or divide the team as bombers and defenders. You can also do a quick reset by adding more paper or candy to the eggs, or simply play till your supply is exhausted. We did not use all of the "live bombs" that had been prepared.
Have fun playing this one!
PS - Special thanks to our amazing adult leader, Dave N. for bringing this game to our students!
This past Tuesday night, we wrapped up our latest teaching series with our high school ministry. We used, The Least of These, a four week discussion on poverty, published by my friends over at YouthMinistry360.com!
I love the materials that come out of YM360 for 2 reasons. 1. Excellent bible-based content. I know when I open materials from YM360 they will be biblically solid. 2. Easy to use with plenty of flexibility.
YM360 has consistently put out great materials that are biblically sound. I love that I don't have to worry about content or do a lot of extra study. Each lesson is cemented in a biblical text that is explained and reliable. The explanations and summaries are super helpful in getting to the heart of the text.
YM360 materials are easy to use. These complete lesson plans are super easy to use. Packed with ideas, questions, and content, each comes with tremendous freedom and flexibility to mix and match for the purposes and effectiveness of your group and context.
The Least of These, is an excellent resource for discussing the topic of poverty and the Christian response. In a culture where students are more aware of world wide condition, our socially aware students are looking for what our response should be when we consider issues such as poverty and need. In their 4-part series, YM360, tackles the topic starting with God's thoughts on poverty leading to our response as believers.
Where did poverty come from? And what does God think about those in need? From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the materials careful walk you and your students through verses that clearly present a god-sized view of poverty and how we are to move towards helping the needy.
This is my second time leading students through the materials, and each time I have been reminded of our responsibility to care for those in need. For my students, it has been an eye-opener to the realities of our faith and the idea of serving others.
This time round, I chose to use the materials in the leading up to our 30 Hour Famine. Now our famine has a greater backdrop for our response to poverty and the world-wide situation of need and ministry.
If you are looking for a curriculum that deals with a believers response to poverty or would like to show students God's heart towards the needy, The Least of These, would be a great resource to consider.
Note: The copy that I have is an older version of the the teaching materials. In the first weeks lesson, there are some statistics that are share to help paint the picture of poverty and need world-wide. I had to look up some more recent statistics an make a for changes to the lesson plans, but the changes were minor. Aside from week one, the materials are timeless.
You can pick up a copy of the materials on the YouthMinistry360.com. (Which, by the way, is currently on sale at 70% off. Regular price, $49.99. Sale price, $19.99. But there are only 3 days left to order!)
*This was an unsolicited review of a resource that I have used with my student ministry. I have received no benefit other than the materials themselves. In no way was I compensated for my endorsement, favorable review, or usage by the publishers or any of their distribution partners.
Some of my favorite times spent with students are the unexpected, unplanned, unforgettable moments that come with the simplest of things. They're moments that happen when we pause and we do what we love doing the most, spending time with our students.
Tip: Pause for the Unexpected, Unplanned, and Unforgettable.
A couple of years ago, while at Sunday school, I took a few minutes to sit and simply talk with two students who, I don't always get a chance to talk with. Often in the rush of Sunday mornings; worship, teaching, greeting, sound booth management, (and all the other things we sometimes find ourselves doing every Sunday morning) I don't get time to talk with everyone.
Too often we fall into the trap of ministry. It's easy to focus on the students who respond well with your personality, or are outgoing, or share your interests. But we all have the students who sit off to the side, keep to themselves, and watch all that's going on around them. If we are not careful, we can miss those students.
But these are the students who provide the unexpected, unplanned, and unforgettable moments. These are the students who remind us of why we got into the youth ministry in the first place. These are the students that at the end of the day, as we reflect on all that we did, we find a reason to smile.
On this occasion, it was the unexpected and unplanned conversation that led to an unforgettable moment. It was a sweet time of ministry, and all it took was slowing down and taking time to sit and talk.
Next time you find yourself in the middle of your youth function, hit pause. Take a few seconds to scan the room and look for those students who we sometime miss.. Then step aside and go talk with these students. It might just make your day.
Recently at our winter retreat, we played a game that I have been dying to play, Egg Roulette.
Jimmy Fallon, on the Tonight Show, plays this game with his guests. I have been wanting to do this with our students, but I waited till just the right time...our Winter Retreat. Here is the video from our game.
This was such a fun game.
There is some prep time needed. You need to get your eggs and hard boil the eggs you need. You will also want to have a drop cloth if you're doing this in a room with a carpet, and have some towels on hand for during the game.
Other than the prep time, this is an easy and fun upfront game, ideal for your retreat or an evening worship gathering that has some a fun element programmed into it.
Have fun with this one and be sure to video as much of it as you can.
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11 NIV)
Do you desire purity in your life? Amidst the temptations, distractions, and constant bombardment of cultural pressures, do you long for a heart that is pure?
Are you desperate to know God more and more with each passing day? To know his word, to discern will and purpose for your life? To live to bring him glory and honor?
Then you must be in the Word.
It's time to make your Bible something more than a Sunday morning accessory. If you think it looks goods to have with you as you walk through the doors of the church, imagine how good it will look as you live it before the Lord every day of your life. If you truly want to pursue the life of a disciple, you MUST be a learner of the Word.
Bible memorization and studying God's Word are two crucial habits that a disciple should practice. It's really the only way to know God, and to know how to live for Him. Our problem is, we sometimes think we can coast through life living on what the preacher says, or what we hear on the Christian radio, or how our favorite Christian song makes us feel, or even what we think we know the Bible says. But is coasting really living in obedience? Is coasting really what Jesus commands of his followers? No.
In fact more than or desire to be pure is God's desire for us to be pure. David doesn't ask the question in Psalm 119:9, because he's clueless. He asks the question because he already knows the answer. You see God had already given the answer. The Bible (or the Word) isn't just a list of do's and don'ts, it's God's way of giving us the answers for all of our questions.
Imagine, sitting down for an exam, but instead of wondering what might be on the exam, you come ready because you already knew all the answers. That what the Word of God is, the answers.
What's holding you back from digging into God's Word today? Begin living according to the Word, and discover a whole new way to know God.
Tip: Read a book that challenges you to grow.
As a student, I hated reading. In fact, I don't think I ever read any of the books I was supposed to. But now, I really enjoy a good book. In fact, I would say I read quite a bit; far more than I used to read.
As a youth worker, we should be constantly striving to grow. To assume that we no longer need to be growing is to shorten our life in ministry. And part of us growing is in finding books that stretch and challenge us. We need to be actively reading and learning how to be the pastors that God calls us to be.
Taking time to read books that challenge us to think outside our boxes is crucial to our own growth and development. This might be a book by an author that you don't see eye to eye with. Maybe it's a topic that, theologically, you disagree with. Perhaps it's a text book such as; a book on church history, or systematic theology, or religions and ethics. Look for books that you know will be hard reads. These are the books that will make you think, question and work through the content. Learning how to wrestle a bit in what you're learning will stretch you and you will learn.
Don't be content with what you know, or even what you think you know. Don't read just the titles and the authors that you like and agree with. Be a learner. Stretch yourself. Challenge yourself. READ!
*The following is a repost of a blog written by Jay Higham. This repost is part a big move that we are making from our old blog which is no longer in us, to the new blog here on our new host. This post has been updated and new affiliate links added. Original posted on 8.27.2011.
*The following is a repost of a blog written by Jay Higham. This repost is part of our attempts to move old blog post from our old, no longer in use blog. This post has been updated and new affiliate links added.
A while back, I started reading, A Man After God's Own Heart, by Jim George. I love it. It's a great devotional for guys. Filled with short, daily readings that get right to the point and challenge guys to step out and be a man after God's own heart, makes it super appealing. No deep or difficult theology. No complicated scripture readings. No dates or numbers at the top of the page reminding you when you miss a day or two. Just a couple short paragraphs and three to four sentence prayer, and your done. But don't go thinking that it's simplicity is lacking in effective growth. The old saying, 'sometimes less is more' is totally true. In this case, less is definitely more.
Available in both print and ebook editions, I know you will find spending a few short minutes each day reading, A Man After God's Own Heart, will be a great blessing for you! I downloaded the ebook version for Kindle so that it's always with me on my iPad.
Wives, get your husband something that you know he will use, order, A Man After God's Own Heart. Use the links below.
PS - I want to know if you've read A Man After God's Own Heart, or if you've ordered it. I'd love to hear how it has challenged you to be the man God created you to be! Share your comments below!
Okay, it's not ministry related, but it's my blog so I can share what I like. And can I just say, I am a bit giddy for this. The Star Wars people have released the first official teaser for the upcoming, Rogue One, movie slated for a December 2016 release. Check it out here!
So it's no secret, I am a Star Wars geek. Despite the similarities on episode 4 and episode 7, I still loved Force Awakens. Just seeing the story from long ago in a galaxy far, far away, played out on the big screen is amazing. I love it. The good and the bad.
When I heard that episodes 7, 8, and 9 were coming to the theaters, I was pretty excited. But to learn that there are two other storylines in the works, well...
I know it's just a teaser, but I so excited to see another aspect of the Star Wars story told. With so many amazing characters and storylines, there are literally hundreds of possible spin offs and side projects. I am anxious to see how this adds to the overall story of the Rebels and their fight against the Empire.
Can't wait till December.
A while back, when we were church planters, there was a Sunday where we canceled our worship service due to a snow storm that rolled in early in the morning. I don't think the storm was as bad as the weather guys were predicting, but the mix of snow and rain made for some really slick roads. So we erred on the side of caution and made the call to cancel. I share that because the cancellation opened up an opportunity for us do spend the morning together, talking around the breakfast table. Before hand, while the kids were still in bed, I was telling Amy a little about what I had planned to teach. I shared about Enoch, and the amazing event that happened to him. Amy thought we should try to talk about it with the kids.
So here is what the Bible says about Enoch.
Genesis 5:18-23 esv
18 When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Now if we were to read this at face value, what we find is that after Enoch and his wife give birth to their son Methuselah, Enoch begins his walk with God. Now we don't know the specific details about what Enoch's life looked like before his sons birth, or why the birth caused such a huge change in his life. We only know that now, Enoch was walking with God. The verses go on to say that from that point on, Enoch walked with God till he was no more.
One of the resources I read while prepping for my sermon shared a really simple, yet powerfully thoughtful story. The story was about a girl, who following her Sunday school class, told her mom that they had learned about Enoch. She said, "God would come to Enoch every day and ask Enoch to go for a walk with him. Enoch would say yes, and follow side by side with God. After awhile, Enoch so enjoyed his time with God that he would wait by the gate of his house for God to come. Day after day, Enoch looked forward to walking with God. Till one day, while on a specially long walk, Enoch noticed it was getting late, so he said to God that he'd better get back home. But God turned to Enoch and said, 'Enoch, you are closer to my home than you are to your home. Why not come home with me.' And that is what Enoch did." [Story from J. Vernen McGee's book, Genesis Chapters 1-15. Paraphrase is mine.]
Think about that for a moment. Can you say that your walk with God looks anything like Enoch? I mean, do you look forward to spending time with God? If God were to come by your house in the morning to walk with you, would you be at the gate anxiously waiting? Would God say that your heart was closer to His home than your worldly home?
It's a pretty powerful picture that the writer of Genesis gives in including Enoch and his faithful walk with His Creator. As God's children, we should be looking forward to spending time daily with the Father. I think the reason the story of Enoch is included in Genesis 5, is to encourage us to live in the same way.
Walk with God. Till He comes and walks you home.
I have been blogging for a long time. I start way back in 2005, writing for fun, sharing ideas, talking about the family, and observing the church, ministry, and culture. Throughout the years I have utilized a number of platforms; Blogger, Wordpress, my own hosted websites. I have content in a lot of places.
But I've decided to try to bring some of those old posts that I really liked or that saw some traffic, back and consolidate everything so my content is more centralized. In doing this, it will also give me the opportunity to revise, update, and add to some of these posts; giving them a new, fresh, more relevant voice.
One of the posts I am most excited to bring back is actually a 60 part series called, Youth Worker Tip of the Day! This daily series was originally created to become a stand alone blog, offering quick, help, practical tips for all areas of student ministry. I stopped at 60 because a of ministry change. But now, I want to give them new life, and add to the 60 with new tips. However, it probably will not be a "daily" tip, but a weekly post.
So be watching for some new "old" content to hit the blog over the next couple of months. And be on the look out for the Youth Work Tips series.
Hey, it's Friday, so I'm wrapping up the week with a shorter post! Hope you have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 28 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 23 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.