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Fun in Youth Group: Can Teens Ever Have Too Much Fun at Church?


For a youth group, are fun and spiritual depth at odds? Sometimes it can feel that way. Church leaders or parents might look at your youth ministry and determine it’s 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 awhile back. I hope you’ll check it out! For now, here’s a bit of my journey regarding the issue. Plus, I’ll share a solution that worked for our youth ministry.

Is your youth group too much fun?

Never. 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. The model I was following wasn’t providing the results I wanted.

I once attended a seminar at a Youth Specialties conference about how to lead worship. Chris Tomlin, the presenter, knows a little bit about it. No, I don’t sing or even pretend to. (I whisper-sing because it’s better for humanity.) But I love to learn about other people’s challenges and areas of expertise.

The bottom line? The lesson I learned was this: “You must 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. It means 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 kids are (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