Category | Youth Ministry

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In order for recreation to most effectively minister and encourage the highest number of youth it should de-emphasize athletic ability, individual performance, and “winning at all costs”. There are six factors to avoid in planning recreation for youth:

  1. Make sure no one is left out;
  2. Beware of negative reinforcement;
  3. Beware of mismatching youth;
  4. Beware of creating psychological stress;
  5. Beware of setting youth up for failure; and
  6. Beware of over-organization.


In light if these, youth recreation must

  1. Emphasize group effort,
  2. Encourage total participation,
  3. Provide fun for all,
  4. Present as many “everyone wins” situations as possible,
  5. Mix planned activities with free time keeps youth from being bored and allows them some freedom to do their own thing.
  6. Competition should emphasize the team and not the individual.


Initiative and cooperative games, which emphasize group problem solving make the problem the opponent instead of another person or team. The conquering of these problems as a team effort

  1. Builds unity and a sense of group identity,
  2. Promotes communication,
  3. Encourages cooperation, and
  4. Develops trust among team members.


There are several considerations in choosing activity for youth:

  1. safety
  2. age of the group
  3. sex
  4. ability of group members
  5. size of the group
  6. personality of the group
  7. the intended purpose of the activity


Edward Hayes (“Recreational Activities” Youth Education in the Church. Moody Bible Institute, Chicago: 1978. pp 308-323) says youth leaders must account for the basic characteristics of recreation:

    1. activity
    2. variety of form
    3. use of unobligated time
    4. voluntary participation
    5. flexibility
    6. purposeful behavior
    7. promotion of socially accepted and thoroughly Christian behavior.



Other considerations:

  1. A recreational activity must include as many safety precautions as possible.
  2. The age of the group is a factor because different ages of youth will enjoy different games. Also, at younger age groups some youth may lack physical coordination and skill for highly competitive sports.
  3. Even though girls can engage in most of the same activities with boys, some activities are best not used with coed groups, especially those that involve highly physical interaction. Also, girls do not necessarily enjoy male dominated sports such as football.
  4. The size of the group is important. It is difficult to have a volleyball game with two people. Other games and recreational activities may be inappropriate for large groups.
  5. The personality of the group, its likes and dislikes is another important factor. The best game is one that works for your specific group of youth.

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