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  • 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

    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

    The Cure for the Retreat High

    By Eric Gallagher

    One of the most common struggles that I hear about from youth (and that I have experienced many times myself) is the after-effect of what is known as a retreat “high.” If you have never heard of it before, the retreat high is that time during and shortly after a retreat when someone is experiencing a great consolation in their faith. It’s known as a retreat high because not long afterward, they are hit with a great struggle in staying motivated in their faith (a “low”). Time after time when
    • 2 comments
    • 381 views
  • Eric Gallagher

    It’s Impossible to “Form Young People” In Two Hours a Week

    By Eric Gallagher

    I recently read through about 80 evaluations from a day of formation offered on discipleship. One of the questions on the participant evaluation asked about specific struggles people had experienced in their discipleship efforts thus far . The most common responses had something to do with the busyness of individuals in the group or lack of commitment from group members. By far, the most popular comment described a tension between the desire of the discipleship leader to form the group members a
    • 1 comment
    • 394 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
 

Whap Em'

This youth ministry game is probably the one game that has never gotten old at our youth group.  It is a great easy quick game that can be thrown in just about anywhere to get kids moving.  It is one of the only games I have found where kids do not hesitate to hit people they don’t even know with a pool noodle. Set-Up Have everyone make a big circle with chairs.  In the middle of the circle have a garbage can or bucket.  One person starts in the middle with a pool noodle (or half of on

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Wink

This is a game we played when I was in Junior High and I loved it. Seems to work best with groups of about 20 or more. It is sort of like the Frogger, which we will put up soon. A great game for youth group. Have everyone sit in a circle, with chairs or on the floor. Everyone will close their eyes and the leader will pick someone to be the winker. Then you say go and everyone put their head’s up and tries to figure out who the winker is. The winker attempts to knock people out of the game b

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

The Toilet Paper Game

The Toilet Paper Game

This game does not really have a name, but is very simple. You play until everyone or most people figure it out. Simply find an item that can be passed around.  Let's use a roll of toilet paper for an example.  The leader will start by saying “Ok, we are going to play the toilet paper game, do you know how to play the toilet paper game?”  and they will pass the toilet paper to someone else.  That person will now try to do it correctly.  You will tell them they either did it right or wrong a

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Search and Find Your Small Group Activity

This is a great way to get people to find their small groups. This was used for a Freshman Catholic School retreat and thought I would share it. Make the groups certain categories like: Food, Movies, Places in (your state), etc… Keep the categories very general. Then make a sticky note for each person and put something on the sticky note that would fall in the category of their small group. Every person should have something different on their back, but by asking yes or no questions to

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

 

Boppity Bop Bop Bop

A great game for any size group.  Typical ‘circle’ game where the person in the middle tries to get out.  Comes with several different options.  Easily create more of your own also! This game can be played with as little as 5 people and still be a ton of fun. It is a typical circle game where everyone is standing in a circle and there is one person in the middle. The person in the middle tries to get out of the middle. It is good to start the game off with the first two basic rules. Wh

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Buzz

Buzz

You should split up into groups of 3-6 people. You can have more than six, but not seven people. This game is unique in that the group(s) will work together to win.  The goal of the game is to count to 50. One person starts by saying “1.” The next person continues with “2.” You go around the circle until you get to 50. The tricky part is that there are a couple of rules to follow. Anytime a person gets to a number that is a multiple of 7 or contains the number 7 (7, 14, 17, 21, 27, 2

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Towel Throw

Towel Throw

Here’s a quick game that works in almost any setting…plus everybody gets to play. All you need is a hand towel (or dish towel). Here’s how you do it. Prior to the game, tie a small knot in the middle of a hand towel. (You may want to do this to several hand towels to speed up play.) Then, get everybody that wants to play into a circle, facing inward. This is an “every man for themselves” kind of game. The object is for players to throw the hand towel at the other players in the circle, hitting t

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Screaming Toes

Screaming Toes

You will need at least 5 people to play.  If you have more than 25 people, it may be good to split them in to two groups. First have everyone shake each others hand and introduce themselves to each other. Then have everyone stand in a circle. Directions: Everyone will look down at their feet. When the leader yells “SCREAMING TOES” everyone will look up and look at one other person.  They should have this person in mind before the leader yells "SCREAMING TOES".   If the person they are

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Hunter, Gorilla, Woman

Hunter, Gorilla, Woman

This game is like rock, paper, scissors. We play it with individuals, if you browse around there is a group/team version of this game. Have everyone grab a partner and stand back to back. Count to three and have them turn around and do an action. You can create your own actions for the three characters or have the youth create them before you start. It is in an elimination game so the loser of the two is out. The winners take on other winners until you are down to one. As an icebreaker, be

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Discipleship – Preparing for the “Game”

Discipleship – Preparing for the “Game”

One of the biggest struggles I am finding in leading a discipleship group is that I have a group of young men that I know want to go deeper, but it seems like I never have the time or when I do attempt to ask the deeper questions, they are not prepared to answer them. In the last couple of weeks it has been helpful to me to view our group meetings like a huddle in a football game. I don’t have much time, we have a game to play, and everyone should leave knowing not only what they are going to do

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

7 Tips I Learned From The Mega Church About Ministry

7 Tips I Learned From The Mega Church About Ministry

A couple years ago I had the opportunity to visit a service at one of the mega Church’s in our town.  A couple of friends joined my wife and I as we just went to see what the big deal was.  It was a great experience and an incredible blessing to see what is in place in their church to recruit, entertain, and educate their visitors. I want to start by ensuring that this was not a visit because I am “searching” for another church to attend or that I have doubts about my Catholic faith.  I hav

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Should We Be Training or Forming Our Leaders?

Should We Be Training or Forming Our Leaders?

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

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Shoe Game

Shoe Game

Materials Needed Music (music must be loud, game gets loud and people need to hear it stop) Directions This is probably one of the greatest games for retreat type atmosphere when you need to lighten things up a little bit.  To start have group of between 6-8 people form a circle.  You can just have one or two groups.  They do not compete against the other groups and there really is not a winner. This game is played like ‘Hot Potato’ with a twist.  Have one person volunteer to

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Spoons – The Youth Group Game of All Time

Spoons – The Youth Group Game of All Time

I often have friends in ministry who ask me for directions on games I play and I typically just point them to the site.  When a friend asked me about Spoons and I realized I had never mentioned it on this site, I immediately realized how incomplete the game library on here is.   So, for those who don’t know, here are the instructions to the youth group game that I take much too seriously! Supplies Needed Spoons (one for every person) Playing Cards Directions This ga

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Evangelization – Where Are We Going Wrong?

Evangelization – Where Are We Going Wrong?

For some time now, I’ve been trying to put my finger on the “missing piece” in our current efforts at evangelization. I’ve written a post about how evangelization shouldn’t be so hard and shared my experience of watching evangelization happen through people not necessarily because THEY did something extreme. It’s not hard to find writings and inspiration encouraging the Church to evangelize. It’s also not hard to find writings describing how different individuals or groups evangelize. The proble

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

A CRAZY Youth Ministry Proposal

A CRAZY Youth Ministry Proposal

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

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

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

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

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

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Are Youth Leaders Ready to Think Outside of Programs?

Are Youth Leaders Ready to Think Outside of Programs?

When I was in high school, we had one “program” in our parish for youth: Religious Education. I was placed in a class based on my age and was run through a system that had been going long before I was ever even alive. I’m grateful for all of the adults who over the years were involved in teaching me the faith through this program, but looking back, it really wasn’t what sparked my deeper commitment to the faith. A missionary who I recently interviewed described her parish programming and the eff

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

It’s Impossible to “Form Young People” In Two Hours a Week

It’s Impossible to “Form Young People” In Two Hours a Week

I recently read through about 80 evaluations from a day of formation offered on discipleship. One of the questions on the participant evaluation asked about specific struggles people had experienced in their discipleship efforts thus far . The most common responses had something to do with the busyness of individuals in the group or lack of commitment from group members. By far, the most popular comment described a tension between the desire of the discipleship leader to form the group members a

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

How I Have Seen Discipleship Changing the Church

How I Have Seen Discipleship Changing the Church

I have been assisting parishes in moving towards a discipleship focused youth ministry approach for the last four years. It was really what I was seeing happen with FOCUS on our university campuses that first got my attention, and DFYM was the result. As it has taken shape, I have drawn a lot from FOCUS, dived deep into the teachings of the Church on Evangelization and Catechesis, and even taken graduate courses on discipleship. Much of what I have learned through experience has been reproduced

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

Youth Group Leader, Youth Minister, or Coordinator of Youth Ministry?

Youth Group Leader, Youth Minister, or Coordinator of Youth Ministry?

This question – are you a Youth Group Leader, a Youth Minister, or a Coordinator of Youth Ministry? – has been one of the most important questions I have found myself asking parish staff and pastors. A person’s title lays the foundation for how a they (as well as others around them) think about their role in the parish,what their responsibilities truly are, and how they go about carrying them out. Before I get into the specific distinctions, though, and what implications this has for youth minis

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher

The Problem With Putting Youth in Leadership

The Problem With Putting Youth in Leadership

One of the most common scenarios I observe in youth ministry today (and one that I have been guilty of fostering as well) happens when a youth encounters Christ at a retreat, comes back excited about their experience, and the youth minister or DRE feels the need to put them in some form of leadership position. In these same circumstances, however, I often find that when a youth comes home excited about their experience at a camp or retreat, their parents peg it as “temporary” and don’t get

Eric Gallagher

Eric Gallagher





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