The biggest trend in Children’s Ministry over the last 5 years has been a focus on family ministry. While family ministry looks different from church to church, the main idea is that as a church we want all our ministries to work together to enrich families. Family Ministry looks for ways to bring the entire family together instead of overloading them with separate events that makes it impossible to spend time as a family. A major struggle however, children’s, youth, and family pastors are facing are creating events and programs that are appealing for all ages. At our church, we have found great success hosting family games nights.
We have a few goals for Family Game Night. First, we want to create a fun time of fellowship among families. Second, we aim to make sure that the entire family, regardless of age has a good time and feels included. Lastly, we want to create a feeling of unity among the entire congregation by blending ministries together.
To achieve our goals, we had to put a lot of thought into the structure of the event. First, we wanted to pick a night that families where available to be a part of. We picked Wednesday night because we already had youth and children’s groups that meet that night and so most of our parents already had Wednesday nights set aside for church. Next, we decided to break the groups into 4 teams. Each group member was given a color headband to match their team color and we required families to stay in the same group. We also assigned groups based on the ages of the family members. We wanted to make sure that each team had several members from each age group in them.
When it came to thinking of the games, we decided to make a game for each age group (preschool, elementary, youth, and adult). We did not tell the groups that each game had a different target group that way they were excited all night long. Between games, we played funny videos clips of game show bloopers to tie into the theme, and we also had a round trivia between games to keep the entire group active (instead of trivia, you could do the Let’s Make a Deal game where you list a random item like a water bottle or something green and the person who can show theirs first wins a point for their team) We kept score the whole night and had prizes for the winning team.
The night was a huge success and families asked for to host another one soon. One parent told me that where so thankful for the night because she got to know several teens who she never got to talk to before. The event also brought the church leadership closer together. As a children’s pastor, I enjoy projects where I get to work with our youth pastor.
So what games did we play?
Pre School: Lil Mummies
Lil Mummies is a children’s ministry classic. Pick children to be wrapped in streamers (we used their team colors). You can either use one kids and one adult, or make it a relay and have several adult and kid teams. The team that uses all their steamers first, wins!
Elementary: Basket Ball
We picked one kid from each team to stand up on stage and they were given a basket full of balls. On go, the kids sent all their balls into the audience and the audience had to toss the balls back on stage, trying to make baskets. We had a few helps on stage that tossed the ball that did not make a basket back into the audience. Set a time limit of about 9o seconds. The kids love this game!
Youth: Take a Hint
The kids have sunglasses on that hold up papers with famous people or characters. The person behind them gives them clues to help them figure out who they have on their forehead. When you get the right answer of choose to skip, you run to the back of the line and get a new paper but on the sunglasses. Set a time limit, and see how many right answers your team can get in 3 minutes.
Adult: Story Board
The week before, we had the elementary age kids draw pictures of well-known Bible stories and then placed them on the screens. The adults had to guess what the kids had drawn. The host starts giving clues as time goes on. The kids love seeing their art on the big screens, and the adults find it funny seeing the creativity children can have.
All Age Game: What’s for Lunch?
Each team had a table with 10 brown lunch bags on them. Each lunch bag had something to eat inside it. Their where some yummy items (pop rocks, juice box, pop tart) and there were some not so yummy items (tomato clam juice, Vienna sausage). If a team member did not want to eat their item, they had to find a volunteer form their team to help them finish it. The first team to finish all their bags wins!
All our games work really well, but you can use whatever games you think would work for your group and budget.