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Author Archive | Josh Griffin

HSM Summer Camp 2014: Day One

I’m away at high school camp this week – here’s the highlight video from Day 1. Off to a strong start … already exhausted from the first 24 hours!

JG

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GUEST POST: Making the Most of Camp Cabin Times

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Cabin times: confusing and frustrating youth workers since 1847*. We are told that cabin times are where the “real” ministry happens at camp: the band and the speaker will get students pumped for Jesus, but those late-night group discussions with their counselors will seal the deal.

*This statistic is not supported by science.

This kind of thinking is based in a lot of truth, but it can also create anxiety, undue pressure, and feelings of inadequacy for the counselor when his or her cabin time falls short of powerful expectations.

We just returned from middle school summer camp, where I was reminded again of the challenges of leading a “successful” cabin time. (In a minute I’ll explain why I put successful in quotes.) Thankfully, we brought along some incredible volunteers who were able to share their cabin time experiences and teach me a thing or two about making the most of group discussions at camp.

Here are some of the tips and trips I picked up last week and in previous years while reflecting on my cabin time successes and failures.

  1. Remember that there is no definition of a successful cabin time. You may find yourself frustrated more often than inspired during your cabin time. That’s OK. Even Jesus had trouble getting his group of twelve to focus, and he was spending time with them 24/7. Remember the words of Jesus: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:20). Jesus is working in the hearts of your students, even if you can’t see it. Therefore, enter cabin time with a sincere and prayerful heart and great stuff will happen— it just might be more subtle than an outburst of repressed emotion or a student giving his or her life to Christ.
  1. It’s not about you. It really isn’t. It’s about God using you and a bunch of other people to bring students closer to him. Even if a student doesn’t open up to you in cabin time, there are so many other opportunities for them to really experience God at camp. And just because they don’t open up doesn’t mean they aren’t getting anything from the cabin time discussion. So ask God to help you take the pressure off yourself. On the day before camp, pray something like, “God, let your impact in my cabin group be as if I weren’t even there.” Take yourself out of the equation so that God may bring you into his process in ways you would never expect or imagine.
  1. Share your story. This was something my co-leader and I tried last week at camp. During our second evening cabin time, he opened the discussion by sharing his testimony, and there was an immediate change in the temperament of the group. Suddenly, our students’ perception of him went from a leader who had everything figured out to a fellow human being who was struggling through his journey with Christ along with them. Before I could share my story, a student raised his hand and asked if he could share his. After he went, another asked to share. And then another. Suddenly, students were opening up about their past and their family life. I had never seen anything like it. By the end of the week, almost all of our cabin students had shared their stories with the group. And it all started when one of their leaders, a high school senior, opened up about his life.
  1. Let them lead. A few years ago, I led a cabin group of eight high school juniors who had been following Jesus since they were kids. It was like pulling teeth getting them to talk about anything. On the final night of camp, I tried something different. It may have been a Hail Mary after three days of silence; I don’t quite remember what was going on in my mind. But I opened up cabin time by saying, “Tonight, you guys will be leading the discussion. I’m going to stay with you and participate, but I’m not going to ask any questions.” A few awkward seconds passed. Then, one of the juniors turned to the others and said, “OK. What did you guys get out of tonight’s message?” What followed was the best cabin time we had had all week long, even though it was the one I had guided the least. This tactic of letting them lead might not work with a younger group, but don’t be afraid to delegate leadership to your students.
  1. Remember that cabin time isn’t everything. Sure, some of the most powerful stuff at camp can happen during cabin times. But the buck doesn’t stop there. You may find that an impromptu, one-on-one discussion with a student during free time is just the interaction they needed. Maybe you’ll have a couple students who don’t especially connect with you throughout the week, but they really connect with the camp speaker’s messages and experience true life change during chapel. Understand the importance of cabin time but don’t exaggerate it. Keep a humble heart, ask God for excess amounts of patience, and trust that Jesus is there among you, guiding each and every student exactly where he or she needs to go.

Taylor Bird is the Middle School Pastor at Southwest Church in Indian Wells, CA. He has been serving in youth ministry for five years.

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HSM Summer Camp Games: Pool Relay

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GAME 1: Slip-N-Slide Kickball
GAME 2: Battle Fort
GAME 3: Ultimate Food
GAME 4: Human Battleship

GAME 5: Pool Relay

Set-up:

  • Cover watermelons with Vaseline or baby oil
  • Place puzzle pieces at the bottom of the pool
  • Make sure the pool rafts are inflated

Rules:

  • First team to complete the relay wins!
  • Each team divides up and assigns players to each “leg” of the relay
  • 12 people for the raft
  • 10 people for watermelon
  • 2 people to get puzzle pieces
  • Everyone assembles the puzzle
  • On the whistle each team gets the first group of people in the pool in a straight line across the pool. Then a watermelon is passed from one end to the other and back. Once back at the start line those people rush out of the pool while the next set of group people go.
  • Their goal is to all get on the pool raft and row themselves to the far side of the pool and back. Once back, they tag the next person to jump into the pool and collect a puzzle piece. This continues until all puzzle pieces are collected. Once they have all the pieces, their team can begin to put the puzzle together. First team to complete it wins!
  • Must be different people working on each leg of the race.

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Download Youth Ministry WebShow #247

Another week, another episode of the Download Youth Ministry Show! This week we’re all back together talking shop! We talk about youth ministry for 45 minutes every week or two, your questions answered every time! Join Doug Fields, Katie Edwards, Josh Griffin and Matt McGill around our roundtable.

Just enough youth ministry so you don’t feel guilty for listening.

As always, thanks to our amazing sponsors who help with incredible giveaways:

Send in your questions to webshow@downloadyouthministry.com to be answered on a future show, too!

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New Release Tuesdays on DYM!

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Every Tuesday on Download Youth Ministry we release new youth ministry resources! If you’re not in the habit of checking the site early in the week or if you haven’t subscribed to the DYM Weekly newsletter you are missing out! In addition to the $1 Download of the Week you can get the inside track on specials, sales and new stuff hitting the store that day.

This week we’re excited about The Bro-Off, TV Dads and Nerf Wars Event Package & more!

JG

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HSM Summer Camp Games: Human Battleship

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GAME 1: Slip-N-Slide Kickball
GAME 2: Battle Fort
GAME 3: Ultimate Food

GAME 4: Human Battleship

Set-up:

  • Hang the 2-3 tarps over the volleyball net so that it goes from the top to the ground. (the goal is that no one can see the opposite team)
  • Give each side 2 buckets of water balloons, 2 balloon launchers and a bucket of soak balls (10-15 each team)

Team Set-up:

  • Teams will arrange 20 people into different formations to represent the battleships. Once they are set up they cannot move.
  • The rest of the team will be launching and throwing water balloons and soak balls.

Rules:

  • The goal of the game is to “sink” as many human battleships as possible within 10 minutes.
  • Each time a player is hit, they are out of the game.
  • The team at the end with the most people left on the court wins!
  • Play this twice – great game to beat the heat.

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Simple, Fun Youth Group Game: Crack Dice

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I’m not sure where the name came from … but this game is simple, easy fun. It is called Crack Dice and the student ministry team at Granger Community Church introduced me to it and I had to share. Props to Greer Evans (the director at GSM LaPorte) for creating it. Here’s how it works:

CRACK DICE

  • Everyone gets a 3×5 card and sits around a table. There is one set of dice on the table.
  • One person (selected however you would like – oldest, youngest, nearest birthday, etc) has a pen, begins writing #’s 1-100 as fast as clearly as they can!
  • Everyone else takes turns rolling dice in a clockwise motion
  • When someone rolls doubles, the next person around the table grabs the pen and starts writing down #1-100 on their card
  • When someone rolls snake eyes (2 dice both with 1 facing upward) pass the paper to the left.
  • The first one to write out all numbers 1 to 100 on their card wins!

Such a simple, fun game! Perfect for the countdown before service or a fun icebreaker. Winner!

JG

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WIN a Sin Scanner Box Filled with Awesome Stuff!

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We’re giving away a Sin Scanner! OK, maybe it is just the Sin Scanner box … but it will also be filled with amazing youth ministry goodies! Get all of the details here on how to enter (it is super easy) and you could be getting a box – sent in the mail which is something we never do. Fun!

JG

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Hey You! Promo Videos for Guys/Girls Trip

Fun promo videos from this weekend to help promote Guys/Girls Trip. So fun!

JG

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POLL: When Does Your Youth Group Meet?

When does your youth group meet on a weekly basis? Talking to youth workers it is always interesting to hear when they meet in the larger group of students. Vote now!

JG

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HSM Summer Camp Games: Ultimate Food

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This week I’m posting some of our best games from summer camp – or students are SO into Color Wars / team rec games and it is so much fun. Some of the games I’ll list this week are regulars that are so fun we bring them back every year, and some are brand new … and yet to cause permanent injuries.

GAME 1: Slip-N-Slide Kickball
GAME 2: Battle Fort

GAME 3: Ultimate Food
Directions: Ultimate Frisbee with food instead of a Frisbee

  1. The goal of the game is to get the food item from one side of the field to the other, into your teams goal zone.
  2. One team will start with the food item and throw it to the team on the other side. The team who receives it, passes the food item from player to player to get to the other side of the field.
  3. Running with the food item in hand is not allowed – it must be passed from person to person until a completed catch in the scoring area.
  4. Recommended food items: a frozen pizza, a head of cabbage, squash, bag of peanuts or a whole trout

*To score, need to throw it to someone standing inside the end zone
*If someone drops or intercepts, it goes to the other team

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I Am Second Story

I’m sitting here at the Student Leadership Conference watching the I Am Second story video and loving the students in our ministry being challenged to share their story as well. Such good stuff, be sure to check out their site and youth ministry resources right here!

JG

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HSM Summer Camp Games: Battle Fort

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This week I’m posting some of our best games from summer camp – or students are SO into Color Wars / team rec games and it is so much fun. Some of the games I’ll list this week are regulars that are so fun we bring them back every year, and some are brand new … and yet to cause permanent injuries.

GAME 1: Slip-N-Slide Kickball

GAME 2: Battle Fort
Directions: Think Angry Birds + Dodgeball

  1. Each team gets 5 minutes to build their fort using all 30 cardboard boxes of various shapes and sizes. They must use all boxes.
  2. The team must build it within the fort boundaries, tapped on the floor or elevated off the ground.

Round 1

  1. A normal game of dodgeball will be played, but the teams must protect their box structure.
  2. The game is over once all the players from one team is out.
  3. The team left standing is awarded points, and the team with the most boxes standing also receives points.
  4. If everyone is not out by 5 minutes, the team with the most people left wins.

Round 2

  1. Each team gets to pick four people who do not get out when the ball hits them and are simply protectors of the fortress.
  2. This round, there is no catching allowed, if someone catches a ball, they are out.
  3. The same rules for dodgeball apply, if you get hit you’re out.
  4. The game ends after 5 minutes or once everyone is out.

Round 3

  1. There are no outs.
  2. Each team is allowed to pick 5 people who are allowed to stand still in front of the fort and block the balls.
  3. Everyone else on the team must be dodging and throwing balls.
  4. The game ends after 5 minutes

Each Round is 10 minutes: 5 minutes of fort building and 5 minutes of game time (if necessary)

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5 Reasons the Church Needs Youth Ministry

I really enjoyed this video from Youth Specialties President Mark Matlock talking about the church’s need for youth ministry. Some good stuff here to chew on for sure!

JG

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HSM Summer Camp Games: Slip-N-Slide Kickball

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This week I’m going to post some of our best games from summer camp – or students are SO into Color Wars / team rec games and it is so much fun. Some of the games I’ll list this week are regulars that are so fun we bring them back every year, and some are brand new … and yet to cause permanent injuries.

Slip- Ball 
Directions: (It’s a game of kickball on a slip and slide)

Place a GIANT plastic tarp on the ground. Find the biggest one you can find then find something twice as big. Or connect 3-4 of them together. This needs to be over the top. Place mini inflatable pools for bases and fill them with water. Cover it all in a thick layer of baby oil and water and go nuts. The ball should be some sort of inflatable ball, have several handy since a swift kick will pop it altogether.

  1. One team is in the outfield and one team is up to kick.
  2. Have the pitcher roll the ball and the kicker kick.
  3. If the person up to kick kicks the ball, they should start running the bases.
  4. If the ball is caught the kicker is out.
  5. The team in the outfield must get the ball and have 10 teammates line up behind them to get the person out.
  6. The kicker continues to run the bases until they reach home. If they reach home before the other team lines up then their team gets one point. If the other team gets lined up before the kicker reaches home, then the kicker is out. Alternate method:
  7. Continue this cycle until there are five outs then switch sides.
  8. Continue until people are sick of the game or there have been too many concussions.

Have fun with this one!

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