Do you host an event built on small groups where both the students and the leaders are excited to be there? Do you leverage this event to build the weekend services and draw small groups closer, or is your event one and done? Each year we host a Turf War, which is a sure-fire event to quickly strengthen the small groups in our ministry. If you want to create a competitive event the students will become obsessed with there are a few things you need to consider.
Before Launching, Determine Your Battle
You are going to want to create a game or activity where small groups can compete against each other. This should be something that will be attractive to both the boys and the girls in your ministry. We have played game like “Capture the Hair Product” which is a mashup between multi-team Capture the Flag and a hairstyle contest, “Funnoodles,” which is an Olympics style battle using pool noodles in each competition, and “Triangulation,” which is an innovative game of 18 simultaneous activities to earn points for your small group. Before launching and advertising your Turf War determine which game you will be playing, but keep the actual game confidential to build excitement.
As You Introduce Turf War, Build Energy
Don’t make the announcements informative but rather use your stage time to build competition. We place a graphic on the screen that reveals that important information and team colors and our host will rile up the competition by talking about how the blue team will annihilate the red team. The host reminds the kids that the bigger teams will have an advantage and to start bringing their friends each Sunday to grow their team. We never reveal the actual battle between the small groups, but we might give clues to build excitement.
Leading Up to the Event
There are so many opportunities to take advantage of prior to the day of the event. You can begin rewarding bonus points toward the turf war. Maybe you see students helping with putting away chairs and want to reward them, just give their small group Turf War Points. Or when students compete in an on-stage game, instead of giving them a physical prize you could give their small group bonus points. The week before the event you could even tell the kids to come dressed in their small group color and award points for those who participated. To track our points and display them live in services we used the “Color Wars” presentation from DYM’s Sidekick App.
Bottom Line: Small Groups have something to look forward to together and the event builds such a strong community. Take my advice and look for an innovative way to build and strengthen your small groups. If you have an idea for a future game that could be used for a Turf War, leave it in the comments!