I’m a huge fan of April Fools Day. I do everything from small little, “gotchas” to well thought out pranks. This year I switched around the contents of people’s desk. As one coworker pointed out, “Funny, but annoying.”
Pranks can be fun, if who you are pranking can handle it and if you are willing to receive it in return. If it goes too far, then it’s borderline cruelty.
The same can happen in youth ministry. You might be thinking that you are having fun, but then a:
…goes a little too far. You might not see it, but a student can get their feelings hurt when fun goes too far. It’s a tension youth ministers need to embrace. While you need to strive to have fun, it’s important to realize it can go too far. To determine that balance:
POLL YOUR STUDENTS BEFOREHAND
Not only do you want your games to be a positive experience you want them to be relevant as well. Find out what is fun from your student’s perspective. This can be done in a small group or you can devise a poll. You might get an array of answers but it will give you a start.
CONSULT ADULTS AND PARENTS
Teens might tell you what is relevant, but adults will give you insight on what’s going too far. Run proposed games or activities by them. Give them permission to be truthful and be prudent with their feedback.
IMAGINE THE OUTCOME
You might think of people laughing and exclaiming, “THIS WAS THE BEST THING EVER!” but, what happens if it isn’t? Think about what could go wrong and what could go right. What reputation does this give your ministry? Reflect on the mood it might set for the rest of your time with the teens.
BE PREPARED AND PRACTICE
Fun will go wrong when it hasn’t been thought out or even rehearsed. Part of that we covered in the previous three steps. But, do not be afraid to do a run through so you can get out any kinks. Any delays or lack of preparedness can communicate, “This isn’t that important.” Show teens you intentionally want this to be a part of their lives.
Church is not meant to be boring. Jesus had fun and He told wild stories. While there is a spiritual battle that everyone is facing it’s just as important to enjoy life. Do not be afraid to laugh with your students and create humorous moments. Weave humor into your messages, activities and even announcements.
You can have too much fun; however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any. To make sure you are having it in a healthy and affirming manner make it an intentional part of your ministry. It will help teens escape the craziness of their week. It will diffuse the tension in their lives and remind them that they are loved.
How do you have fun in your ministry?