Games are a key part of Children’s Ministry. I believe no kids service is complete without a well-planned intentional game. However, no game should just be a time-filler. Some leaders have cut games because they don’t want to waste precious teaching time with a silly game. They are half right! I agree, no time should be wasted. But games are NOT a waste of time! That is, if the game serves a purpose! But a purpose-driven game is a key to a lesson that the kids will remember and that will impact their hearts and minds.
WHY SHOULD WE HAVE GAMES AS A PART OF OUR SERVICE?
- Kids love games, and our ministries should interest and engage children.
- Guests will want to return if we include fun interactive games in our service.
- Games are one of the best ways to introduce a topic or emphasize a theme.
- Games can serve as an interactive object lesson where kids participate and experience a lesson rather than just listen.
- Games are memorable. Long after a lesson is forgotten, kids will talk about your games! (Even years later!)
If you are playing games just to fill time or to “have fun,” by all means, scrap the game and replace it with something else more purposeful, whether that is a craft, drama, engaging video, or other interactive learning activity. But one key value of our children’s ministry is that we are “kid-focused”, meaning we do what kids will enjoy, understanding we do so with purpose. Of course, kids would love us to just pass out candy and play video games! We don’t just do what kids want, we do it with purpose. But kids are wired to play — it is how they engage and learn — so we ought to take that natural affinity and utilize it to engage their hearts, minds, and bodies towards our lesson objectives.
HOW CAN WE GIVE OUR GAMES PURPOSE?
- Play games that enhance your theme.
- Create games that illustrate a point you want to make. (a race to out-give others)
- Choose games that create an emotion that relates to the lesson. (a game that isn’t fair)
- Create games that act out or illustrate a scene from a Bible story. (sling shot game for David & Goliath)
- Create games that help with Scripture memory or other things you are teaching. (10 Commandments, etc.)
- Use games that help with review of what has been learned. (Pictionary with items from past lessons)
- Put a twist on a common game by using objects in your game that are from the Bible story you are teaching. (tic-tac-toe toss with loaves and fishes)
By the way, I don’t play any game that doesn’t have a point. I explain to the kids briefly why we played the game, and then connect it to the lesson.
BOTTOM LINE: Games are essential for creating an atmosphere that kids LOVE, which makes them want to come back, but more importantly, they are wonderful for setting up your lesson, illustrating teaching points, and are memorable. Become a master of Purpose-Driven games in your ministry!
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