Are fun and spiritual depth at odds?
It can feel that way sometimes. It can be perceived that we are either deep or fun, but not both. And I don’t want that to be our reputation. No way.
I talked about this on the YM Answers podcast a while back. I hope you’ll check it out! But until you’ve got a minute for that, here’s a bit of my journey regarding the question and also a solution that worked for us in our youth ministry.
Is your youth group too much fun?
Your youth group can never be too much fun.
I repeat, your youth group can never be too much fun.
At the same time, your youth group can never be too intentional about growing closer to God and each other.
I realize this puts us all in a bit of a situation—but it’s nothing a little creativity and prayer can’t fix.
A few years ago I decided to switch up the order of things in our youth ministry because the model I was following wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.
I attended a seminar at a Youth Specialties conference years ago about how to lead worship. Chris Tomlin was presenting. He knows a little bit about it. No, I don’t sing or even pretend to sing. I whisper sing (because it’s better for humanity). But, I am intuitively drawn to learning about everything that doesn’t apply to my current situation. I’m not sure where this came from or why. But I love to learn about other people’s challenges and areas of expertise. I feel like it gets me out of all sorts of mind traps. I will never be the person in the room who is stuck. If I have a problem, I’ll figure out what a rocket engineer would do, learn the rubric behind their reasoning, apply it to my current situation, then see what happens. Strangely, it’s worked for me. Back to Chris.
The bottom line—the lesson I learned in the workshop in Charlotte North Carolina that year was this:
“You’ve got to let a song breathe.”
That means, if something is working while you’re leading, then you should be flexible enough to stay there for longer or to move on sooner.
This meant that having a youth program where we do what we normally do was too rigid.
Typical Youth Group Environment
• Play Walk-In Music/Organized Chaos (10 minutes)
• Say Hello (2 minutes)
• Play a fun icebreaker game (5 minutes)
• Play an embarrassing upfront game (5 minutes)
• Sing one-to-three songs, depending on how squirrely the room is (10 minutes)
• Talk and Teach (15-25 minutes)
• Sing another song maybe (3 minutes)
• Pray (1 minute or 10 depending, on how everyone’s been acting the last 45 minutes)
• Attend small groups on another day of the week
I saw a few things happening.