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10 Cheap Student Ministry Activities

One thing that is tough to do in student ministry is finding cheap activities. I have said from day 1 that I want the events that we hold in our student ministry to be affordable for everyone. Now, obviously you have some things that are more expensive such as mission trips, camps, ski trips, etc, but you should have several events throughout the year that anyone can attend at a very cheap price! Here are a few activity ideas that are cheap for everyone:

  1. Photo Scavenger Hunt– This is an event where you come together and divide into groups. I think it works best with groups of 5. You pile into a leader’s car who drives over the city looking for certain items to take a picture of with your group in it. Many of them are members of your group doing crazy random things. I shared our list of items on a recent blog. You can check it out here. This is one of our most exciting events. Everyone enjoyed it, and it cost each person like $3 for prizes and pizza.
  2. Bigger or Better– This is an event where you divide into groups as well. Again, I prefer about 5 students and a leader in each group. You give each team a penny or a clothes hanger and you tell them to go to random or people that they know’s homes and ask if they can give them something bigger and better than a penny, and you trade them for it. Then, whatever they give you, you then take to the next house and trade up for that item. Whoever comes back with the largest and most creative item wins. The students loved this event. It is simple and not a lot of time or thought needs to be put into it. Once again, we charged like $3 for pizza and prizes.
  3. Geocache Event– Now, if you do not know what geocaching is, I highly encourage you to google it! It is crazy how quietly big it really is. Basically it is an electronic scavenger hunt. You have to have a smart phone or a handheld gps for the event to work which means that each team would have to have one of these devices. In our student ministry, we have so many students who have smart phones, that we should be fine. You would need to look into this. You divide into groups and go out over the city to find geocache. Whoever finds the most, wins. This is a cheap event that everyone can attend. A key to this being a success is starting each group at a different location so that they do not go looking for the same ones. The apps show the ones that are closest to you so if you begin in the same location, you all would go to the same geocache’s. If you have any further questions about what this is, let me know. I would love to discuss it further with you. You can email me at joshhevans@gmail.com.
  4. Video Game Night– Our students are all into video games right now, and we are working at scheduling a video game event. It takes some work getting together tv’s and systems to play with many people, but still it can be a very cheap event. You can charge like $5 for prizes and pizza. We have done a retro video game night where we pulled out regular nintendo’s, super nintendo, sega, etc. The students dressed retro, and they loved it! We shared the Gospel with many new students through this event.
  5. Cosmic Bowling– You cannot go wrong with cosmic bowling. Normally, if you call attend of time and work with the bowling alley, they will work with you. We have never had a problem with them working for us, and we have gotten the price down to $5 for 2 hours of cosmic bowling. That is pretty cheap, and there is something about the bowling alley that students love. They love to come and hang out. So, why not go together as a student ministry?
  6. Dodgeball Tournament– Students love dodgeball especially the guys. There is something about it that our students just enjoy. I actually enjoy it myself, but not near as much as they do. You can do a whole tournament for pretty cheap with prizes, etc. You can do this for under $10 a per person easily.
  7. Formal Banquet– We did a nice banquet for our students one time that went pretty well. We had tickets that they had to buy for $10. This included a steak dinner, entertainment, and door prizes. They could purchase a ticket and were encouraged to bring someone with them. The students liked the idea of dressing up.
  8. Cook Out– Now, this is extremely traditional and not a whole lot of thought put into it, but that is the point. I am seeing more and more that students are interested in attending events, etc simply because their friends are there. They go for the relationships, not your program. Some of the funnest things that we have done is have a cook out at someone’s house where we had music outside, volleyball net put up, corn hole, and a basketball hoop out. Students dig just hanging out with their friends! We live in the most relational society that we have ever lived in and sometimes just getting together to chill with one another is what this generation enjoys doing than our big thought out ideas!
  9. A Day in the Park– This went over well for our students. We reserved the shelter at the local park and grilled out. The students were allowed to play sand volleyball, tennis, corn hole, football, and swim in the pool. They enjoyed the event and it cost like $5 per person.
  10. Progressive Dinner– This is once again a time for the students to get together and just hang out. A progressive dinner is an old youth event, but it still works. We actually just did one this past weekend. It is where you get together and go to someone’s house for an appetizer, and then you leave and head to someone’s house for the main course, and then attend someone’s house for a dessert. It is a lot of food, and the students enjoy it! We have parents who provide the food each year so our progressive dinner is free, but it would cost no more than $5 per person if you charge them. You just have to be smart about what you fix them.
If you have any further ideas for cheap events, please let me know. Leave a comment or send a direct email to joshhevans@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Josh Evans is the family pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He has served in this position since June of 2014. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students since 2006. Josh is passionate about seeing life change in families and teaching them the truths of the Word of God. Josh is a blogger, speaker, family pastor, and die-hard Duke Blue Devils fan! Josh and his wife Abby were married in February of 2008, and those years have been the happiest years of his life. Josh and Abby have two kids. Lynlee and Cameron. Josh and his family live in the Jacksonville, FL area. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.