Gospel Shaped Games

There are some classic kids club and youth group games. Some you remember fondly. Others we have done our best to forget.

Often we pick games because they are easy, popular, or simply because we’ve always done that game. But it’s worth thinking through whether the games we play promote worldly values or gospel values. Now, before you think I’m about to over-spiritualise this, let me explain.

If we want our kids and youth ministries to be places that are safe and welcoming for all types of people, we ought to consider how our games work toward this end. One of our youth kids had recently broken their leg, and it became immediately obvious to me that we were unintentionally doing our best to exclude her with the types of activities we had planned for the night. And whilst I’m not necessarily advocating for changing your whole program for one person, it certainly got me thinking about how we welcome all types of people in our program.

So what do we do? Here are a few questions to ask about your kids or youth program, games and activities that might help you consider whether they are gospel-shaped.

  1. Are you highlighting and rewarding the physically stronger kids, just as they often experience in most other places?
  2. Is there a place for the quiet, less active kid to experience success?
  3. Are you excluding people on the basis of their physical ability (or injury), clothing (eg. some things are difficult to do in a dress), or level of co-ordination?
  4. Is it clear that God’s values are different from the worlds in the way this activity runs?
  5. Are people seeking to win at all costs, as opposed to love at all costs?
  6. Is there an encouraged competitiveness that rises above a spirit of love, inclusiveness and encouragement?

There are no doubt more questions to ask, but this is a start that has got me thinking about the kinds of things we do.