Like work lunches, small church groups can become dull and repetitive if you don’t put some effort into revitalizing them periodically with new, fun ideas. For example, maybe you swap out that boring old peanut butter and jelly on wheat for a pimento cheese on marble rye. Or maybe instead of starting your church group meeting with a pot of decaffeinated coffee and some stale donuts, you could try a build-your-own sundae bar.
This looks great, but where are the gummy bears?
The statistics show that Millennials are leaving the church in droves. Nearly 60% of those in their 20s and 30s who grew up going to church end up walking away, according to a recent Barna research report.
So how can church leaders make church activities, particularly small church groups, an appealing alternative to those dang video games and fidget spinners?
More like Fido spinner
How about pumping some fun and energy into your church groups, for starters?
Some may say that trying to make church groups fun and entertaining is an example of priorities gone awry. But I don’t think that’s the case, and Quora user Jared Busby agrees with me:
“There is nothing wrong with Christians meeting together just for the purpose of having fun. In fact, there is a huge problem if no one in the Church wants to do this…By spending time together community and teamwork can be fostered and people will look at their local church and say ‘Look how they love each other.’ I think just about anything fun can revitalize a church group and bring people together. Have everyone go bowling. Throw a dance party. Start a stamp collecting club for crying out loud! It’s not rocket science. Ask your local church group what their hobbies and interests are. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. Most of all have fun!”
5 Fun Ideas To Pump Some Energy Into Your Church Groups
How, exactly, should you gauge the interests of your congregation and church groups? One simple approach is to send out a free Google Form polling everyone. If you’re having trouble pulling all the emails, try using your member directory, which is a standard feature on most church management software packages.
But you came here for activity ideas, and I aim to please.
To that end, I asked around on Facebook for people to share some of their best ideas for pumping fun and energy into church groups, and this is what I heard back.
1. Minute To Win It
So THAT’S what spatulas are for…
Ahh, good old Minute To Win It. Ever since Guy Fieri began hosting this frenetic, DIY game show back in 2010, people have been appropriating the simple, easy-to-set-up competitions for their own family game nights. Think of them as Double Dare’s physical challenges, just with red plastic cups and ping pong balls instead of buckets and slime.
The best part about Minute To Win It games is that you can spend about $10 on supplies for hours of entertainment.
Heather Thompson of the Church Social Media Managers Facebook group said “Minute to Win It games are definitely great choices and, honestly, for our students it’s anything that just gets them moving.”
If you’re looking for some ideas for Minute To Win It games, here are a few good resources:
2. Scavenger Hunt
“This is it, ladies. It’s time to find Carmen Sandiego once and for all.”
Everybody loves a good scavenger hunt. You likely already know your church space pretty well, so coming up with unique and challenging hunt items shouldn’t be too difficult. This also gives your group a chance to explore some parts of the church that they don’t see all the time. As you can imagine, a megachurch could put on a pretty amazing scavenger hunt.
This activity also works great as an ice breaker, and gives everyone a chance to move around and burn some energy before sitting down to talk.
The Source For Youth Ministry recommends incorporating smart phone cameras, and has some great starter ideas for scavenger hunt items to check off.
3. Free Food
“I’ll take eight, please.”
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Young people love food, especially free food. And if a few bags of Doritos and bottles of Coke is enough to get them through the door, everybody wins.
It’s OK to get creative and have some fun with this idea, too. If you put out a loaf of Wonder Bread and a pack of off-brand bologna, you can’t blame your church group for not getting too excited. Put in the extra effort to set up a taco bar or hot dogs fresh off the grill and your church group will appreciate it. Just remember to go easy on the caffeinated beverages or you may need a few extra rounds of Minute To Win It.
4. Board Games
Some people call them BORED games but those people are mean and unimaginative
Who doesn’t smile when they see a stack of board games? Trendy bars have been using this trick for decades to stand out from the chain restaurant around the corner. Also, in case you haven’t heard, board games are cool again.
You might not even need to spend too much, if any, money on this idea. Just ask around in your church bulletin or the video announcements and there’s a good chance you’ll find someone who is eager to get that dusty old Trivial Pursuit out of their house.
Games like Jenga or Hungry, Hungry Hippos could work especially well as ice breakers because they are quick to set up and play. PRO TIP: Write Bible verses on selected Jenga pieces, and whoever draws one of those pieces gets to read the verse aloud to the group.
You could even try a BYOBG (Bring Your Own Board Game) night, where group members bring their own unique games.
5. Yoga Night
Wait, your church doesn’t have its own private beach?
Darrin Zeer, a relaxation consultant and owner of Darrin Zeer Yoga, recommends that yoga is a great way for church groups to “come together, relax, and be more present.”
While we’re on the topic of yoga, this is a good time to recall what Jared Busby said at the beginning of this article: “I think just about anything fun can revitalize a church group and bring people together…Ask your group what their hobbies and interests are.”
So maybe yoga isn’t the right activity for your group. Maybe you like jogging instead. Or playing basketball. Or going to the movies. The activity itself isn’t the important thing so much as the group is.
Now, I really want to hear your ideas. What activities have worked best for your church groups? Or, have you tried any of the activities on this list and had a memorable experience? Let us all know in the comments. Who knows, your idea might help a church across the country revive their church groups!