If you’re looking for outside-the-box youth group event ideas, you’re not alone. Any type of youth ministry group that meets even semi-regularly will burn through tons of games and icebreakers, not to mention devotions, fundraisers, outreach events and more.
To help spark your creativity, we’ve assembled a range of youth group event ideas you can use at your own church. Adapt them to fit the size and personality of your group, and insert biblical lessons when possible. Trying new event ideas not only keeps kids interested and coming back, but it also prevents you from feeling like you’re doing the same stuff on repeat.
8 Youth Group Event Ideas
1. Do-It-Yourself Escape Room
Escape rooms are a huge hit these days, but they can be expensive—especially for larger groups. Now you can download materials and create your own customized Escape Room or Puzzle Room. Look for concepts that require minimum supplies and lead to maximum team-building. This is a great way for kids to learn to work together and to experience success as a team or small group.
2. Mystery Dinner
Add a touch of mystery to your next youth group meal by creating coded menus. For every available item, use a description that will get kids guessing. The random nature of participants’ selections adds intrigue and laughter to the special gathering. This idea works especially well for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
3. What Is Bible Jeopardy?
Take your Bible Quiz event to the next level by creating a Jeopardy!-style game board. Beforehand, prepare material in the TV show’s answer-first format, and have players ring in with the correct question. As the host, you can interview “contestants” and hum the famous theme music to add authenticity. Playing Bible Jeopardy is a great way to review lesson material and Bible verses.
4. Cardboard Skeeball
Kick up your youth group’s game time with a homemade Skeeball “machine.” Enlist some creative kids to build a contraption out of cardboard, complete with balloon “lights” on the side. In addition to adding fun to group meetings, Skeeball is sure to be a hit at church carnivals or youth fundraisers.
5. A Sticky Situation
Craft a memorable lesson plan or retreat session around the theme of G.U.M.—God Use Me. As kids arrive, hand out gumballs in baggies labeled with the G.U.M. acronym. For an icebreaker, have bubble-blowing contests. Then talk about how God used people in the Bible and how he uses his followers today. Also discuss ways you can stick together in Christ.
5. Enneagram Event
Host an event that sparks young people’s interest in their unique, God-given personalities, strengths and spiritual gifts. Use the Enneagram assessment to start discussions about kids’ traits and talents. Then make plans to put them to the best use as a group.
6. Love in Loads
Need a new idea for a youth outreach project? If you’ve had your fill of car washes, try this Laundromat outreach for a different “spin” on sudsy difference-making. Beforehand, request permission from a shop owner to let your group pay for people’s laundry loads during a specific time frame. Kids also can ask if people want help folding their clothes, and they can hand out packets of detergent with messages about Jesus’ free, “cleansing” forgiveness.
7. Fruitful Offering
Brighten people’s day with this easy random act of kindness. Make “Take What You Need” signs, complete with tabs along the bottom that people can rip off. On the tabs, write different gifts and spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on. Post the signs throughout your community, and take walks as a group to see what people have selected. Then discuss how you can keep meeting those needs.
8. Bowled Over
For an extended icebreaker and fun community-builder, try the Bowl Game. Give each person two paper slips and a pencil. On each slip, have them write one true thing about themselves—ideally something that others aren’t likely to know. Collect all the slips in a large bowl, and then have players take turns selecting a slip and trying to guess who wrote it. When the person is correctly guessed, have them explain the “truth,” if necessary.
Have fun trying all these creative youth group event ideas!