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  • Eric Gallagher

    6 Youth Ministry “Anti-Programs” That Will Enhance Your Current Programming

    By Eric Gallagher

    In my last post, I was rather critical of programs. It’s not really programs that I struggle with but rather the inability of people to think outside of their programs. I struggle with this myself. It’s easy to fall into the falsehood that we will be able to meet all of the needs of the youth within a single or maybe even a few different programs. When I say program, I mean a regularly offered event (youth group, bible study, discipleship group, etc.) that is planned and available to anyone inte
    • 4 comments
    • 652 views
  • Eric Gallagher

    A CRAZY Youth Ministry Proposal

    By Eric Gallagher

    A couple of years ago, I spoke with a mom in a local parish who was interested in leading a small discipleship group. She was excited because the parish was encouraging discipleship groups to begin as naturally as possible, so she immediately saw her daughter, her daughter’s friends, and a couple other youth as a great group to lead. This mom asked a friend to lead the group with her, and they began meeting in the fall. About two months into leading the group, the pastor caught wind that th
    • 1 comment
    • 608 views
  • Eric Gallagher

    Should We Be Training or Forming Our Leaders?

    By Eric Gallagher

    For the past 10-15 years, I’ve been watching the evolution of youth ministry. During that time, people have been searching for the right resource that is going to respond to the needs of young people. Today, we have top notch resources that can be used in just about any setting, for any sized group of people, with the best speakers in the world, and some of the best production available. Still…there seems to be a desire or an understanding that we can do even better. Over the past five year
    • 0 comments
    • 226 views
  • Eric Gallagher

    Ninja Game

    By Eric Gallagher

    You may have seen this game before and not really understood what was going on.  The game is called Ninja.  It is an extremely easy game to figure out and explain but can take a lifetime to master.  Youth Ministers like it simply because they will play and analyze it more than anyone else, ensuring that they could beat any youngster up for the challenge. Here are the instructions: Size of Group:  You can play two people but I would recommend starting with at least four.  If you ha
    • 0 comments
    • 600 views
  • Eric Gallagher

    My Top 8 Youth Ministry Purchases from Amazon

    By Eric Gallagher

    I’ve been an Amazon customer since 2002 when pretty much the only thing that people used it for was to avoid going to the University bookstore and paying full price for college textbooks.  Now Amazon seems to be the first place I look whenever I have need for anything! To start off this new Catholic Youth Ministry Blog I’ve decided that for my first post I would go through the last 16 years of my Amazon orders and share with you the top 8 things I’ve purchased for youth ministry.  Also, ple
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    • 499 views
Bigger or Better

Bigger or Better

This is a community youth ministry game where the youth will be going door to door.  It is best to send the kids in groups and have an adult with each group.  It is very simple. Start everyone at the parish with a small item like a rubberband or paper clip.  Give them one hour to run around door-to-door saying that they are playing a game with their youth group and they are wondering if they can trade their item for something bigger or better. When they make a trade, they move on to an

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Bunny Bunny Toki Toki

Bunny Bunny Toki Toki

I was in a meeting this past summer at one of summer missionary training times and heard a crazy game going on outside.  When I walked out and watched them, they were playing this game. Before I even give the instructions, the reason I love this game is because there is so much energy that comes from it. The Motions First I will teach you the motions that are required for the game. Bunny – Make your hand into a duckbill (thumb touching four fingers).  When making this action you

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Hula Circle Pass

Found another quick and easy youth ministry game on YouTube.  The directions are very simple.  Find a hula hoop or something like it.  Have a group of youth join hands.  When you say go, they have to pass the hula hoop around the entire circle without letting go. Watch the video for a good example of it!  

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Pin Guard

Pin Guard

I am coming to the realization that the game that our youth group played more than anything is not well known by other youth leaders.  Luckily I have a platform to tell the world about it.  So here it is! Pin Guard = Dodge ball With Pins It really is that simple.  If you know how to play dodge ball, Pin Guard is the exact same game except that you can either win by getting everyone on the other team out of the game (like Dodge ball) or by knocking down the all of the other teams pins.

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Banana Pass

This is pretty clever youth ministry icebreaker that I found while searching YouTube for some ideas. Instructions Have two or more teams.  Have them lie down on their backs in a long line (one persons head at the other persons feet).  The person at the front starts with a banana in between their feet and must lift their legs up to pass it on to the next persons feet.  The first team to get the banana all the way back to the end of their line wins! Here's an example I found on YouT

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Throw Down Game

Throw Down Game

This is a simple icebreaker that I have used several times.  It is great in that it requires people to share about themselves, but in a competitive way. Supplies Needed You will need 20-25 pieces of paper for each person.  I just give everyone one sheet of paper and have them tear it into 20 pieces. How It Works One person will start by saying one fact about themselves.  It should reveal something about their person that others may not have known about them.  The goal is to c

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Tape Head Game

Tape Head Game

This game is one of the more funnier games to watch.  It is very simple but is wide open for variations. Supplies Needed Hats (usually simple winter caps are fine) Tape Something Else How the game works Have as many people that you want playing to put on one of the hats.  Then you will cover the hat with tape, sticky side facing out.  On the floor, you will have a lot of small objects (we have used coins or q-tips before).  When the leader says GO, everyone w

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Larry, Curly, & Moe Game

Larry, Curly, & Moe Game

This is a youth ministry game that we started playing about two years ago and is always a great game because it is quick to put together, the supplies are minimal and it is extremely competitive and engaging. The Ideal Setting This game works if you have anywhere from 12-99 people.  Those may seem like random numbers to you, but the trick is that people are in teams of three.  So as long as you have a dividend of three you are good, but the more teams you have to more crazy it gets.

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Pterodactyl Game

Pterodactyl Game

This is fairly new game that has made it’s way into the youth ministry world.  The kids introduced it to me.  It is sure to lighten people up, embarrass some, but most of have a ton of fun. Ideal Number of People 2-20 How It Works To begin, everyone will stand or sit in a circle.  Everyone must make a face where their lips cover their teeth.  If you show your teeth, you are out. One person will start and they are it.  They have the option either say Pterodactyl or make a

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Brain Fry

Brain Fry

This is one of the weirdest/craziest youth ministry games that requires no set up, no supplies, and typically 5-20 people. The more people the better I think. Everyone sits in a circle and everyone works as a team to stack as many "layers of chaos" as they can and can handle before your brains are fried. So what is a layer of chaos? One person will be the leader for the group. They will begin and end each layer, keeping track of how the group is doing. Starting the first laye

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Psychiatrist – Game

Psychiatrist – Game

Materials Needed – None Size of Group – Could have anywhere from 5 to 50! This is one my favorites to use with new groups or as an icebreaker for large groups.  It is easy to explain, allows for some creativity in the group, and allows kids to chat and bond as a group through it out. Have everyone sit in a circle and have one or two people leave the room.  They will be the psychiatrists.  They must figure diagnose the problem(s) of the group by asking yes or no questions.  Some pr

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Ninja Game

Ninja Game

You may have seen this game before and not really understood what was going on.  The game is called Ninja.  It is an extremely easy game to figure out and explain but can take a lifetime to master.  Youth Ministers like it simply because they will play and analyze it more than anyone else, ensuring that they could beat any youngster up for the challenge. Here are the instructions: Size of Group:  You can play two people but I would recommend starting with at least four.  If you ha

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Lifesaver Pass

This youth ministry game is a favorite and very simple. Buy some lifesavers and toothpicks. All of the youth are given a toothpick and put in to teams with even numbers and each team is given a lifesaver. Have all of the teams stand in a line. When the youth leader says go, the youth will pass the lifesaver to each other using only the toothpick in their mouth. If the lifesaver is dropped, the group must start over from the beginning of the line. The first team to pass it to all of their me

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Coke Relay

Coke Relay

We have done tons of different versions of coke relays, but this is definitely the one that has stuck out as the best. This youth group relay is extremely messy but something the youth will definitely remember. Give each group a 6 pack or 12 pack of coke and a pen. Have a pitcher or glass on one end of the room (or parking lot) and have the youth stand on the other end. The youth must shake the can, stab it with a pen, and squirt the coke in to the mouth of another youth. Using only their m

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Stack-O-Cups Relay

Stack-O-Cups Relay

Supplies Needed – Lots of Plastic Cups. 15-20 of one color per team and one of another color per team. This is a quick and easy youth ministry game that can be used as a relay or if you have a smaller group can be done with everyone against everyone. I actually got this idea from the big show ‘Minute to Win It’ and made it work for our youth group. Give every person/team a stack of 15-20 cups of the same color with the one of a different color showing on the bottom of the stack. The go

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Bonkers – Best Youth Camp Game Ever!

Bonkers – Best Youth Camp Game Ever!

I have been involved in our Diocesan summer camp now for about 14 years.  As a youth, a volunteer, and now the coordinator of the camp, this is always the favorite. What You Need This game only works with a larger group of people.  We have about 80-100 youth and about 30 counselors.  You could have less (or more), but would need to adjust a few things.  As I explain the game, keep in mind the numbers we had. As far as supplies, your basic supplies would be: Bandanas – 10 of

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Honey If You Love Me

This youth group game is a great icebreaker. It gets kids to move around a bit and definitely brings out personalities a bit.  You need no materials and you can sit or stand. The game is simple. There is one or two people in the middle (depending on the size of the group) and that person must try to get out of the middle. They go up to a person in the circle and say: "HONEY, IF YOU LOVE ME, WILL YOU PLEASE PLEASE SMILE?" The person in the circle will respond: "YES HONEY I LOV

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Categories

his Catholic youth ministry game is very simple, requires just a little prep, but can be done several times. Materials Needed – Notecards Have everyone site in a circle or in a line.  What you will do is you will have cards pre-made that have a category and one answer to that category on it.  Starting with one person they have to name something from that category in five seconds or less.  There are three ways they can get out: Say something that someone else has said Not

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Pictionary Telephone Tag

Pictionary Telephone Tag

Materials Needed – Lots of quarter sheets of scratch paper, pens/markers, chairs (optional) and a few volunteer helpers and printed download (available below). This has been one of my favorite youth group games to play.  It is a quiet game that draws great competition and requires team work.  The game is basically a mix of the three games mentioned in the title. Directions We use chairs that you can straddle while sitting on them.  For ease of explanation I will use 10 youth and 4

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Ships & Sailors

Ships & Sailors

This youth group game is great for larger groups and does well in a bigger room or outdoors in the grass.  It is a pretty simple game, and when done with a quick explanation seems to do great!  It is something the youth from retreats and camps that I have been a part in have always remembered and wanted to do again. The game is an elimination game that cuts people out slowly until you are down to one or two people.  The leader will shout a command and everyone will follow that command.  Eac

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Mafia

Mafia is a common game that has been used and known by just about any group I have been around.  It is a great starter game for groups of about 8-15.  If you have more and a lot of time, it works also.  Otherwise you can break in to more than one game.  We mentioned Mafia in our post on the game of Wink and in our top games as part of our starting a youth group from scratch series. Mafia is a killing game, so if you are against that.  Please check out our Wink game instead or you can be cre

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Extreme Four Square

To play this youth ministry game you don’t need a four square and you do not need to be outside.  Grab some painters tape and map out a larger four square area on the floor.  Try to make it about 2-3 times as big as a regular four square and you can make it a rectangle shape (like a gym) if you need to.  Doing so will actually make the game a little more interesting. The game is played just like 4-square except with teams.  Each area should have room to allow about 3-4 people to comfortably

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Balloon Shock

Materials Needed Sweatpants and shirt or loose clothing for each group Lots of Balloons Directions Start this youth ministry game by telling each group (typically 3-5 in a group is good) that one person will need to put on the loose clothing over their clothes. When you say go, each group must blow up and put as many balloons in the clothes of the person in the group as they can until you say stop. Be sure put size minimums on the balloons, so that are big enough. When t

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher





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