One of the questions that I have recently been thinking about is why do we use games in youth. What role does a good game play in furthering the spiritual and relational growth in a youth group. Some may argue that their is no need to have any games in youth group, rather all that is needed is just good Biblical teaching. Teaching that helps those who know Jesus walk with Him in a deeper way. Though I agree that playing games should not be the main reason that the youth group exists, I still think that they can be used in a very strategic way.
Firstly, games are fun, and in a environment where people are having fun it is easier to relax and be ones self. Secondly, games have the potential to draw students out to youth that don't know the Lord, simply because they want to play some games with friends. Thirdly, games have the ability to create a less threatening environment for the students that do know the Lord to interact with those that don't, and Lord willing point them to Jesus in both their words and deeds.
The big danger in playing games in youth is that they are so fun that they can take over a youth group to the point that all Biblical teaching gets cut out. One must never forsake the great elements of faithfully teaching the Word of God for the good elements of playing games. If you just have games with no teaching you don't really have a thriving youth ministry but rather an after school program of sorts. If you just have teaching with no games, then you might not be cultivating the best environment for students to invite out their friends. A solid youth Bible study group is not a bad thing by any means. However, to play a few games as well as aiming to have good solid Biblical teaching during the times you meet together is a nice way to meet in middle. The middle of providing both a means of spiritual growth for those who know Jesus, while also providing an evangelistic outreach for those who don't.
I think this is part of what it means for us to faithfully steward the students that the Lord has blessed us with.
Kyle Royal, Pastoral Intern working with Student Ministries