A few weeks ago, I followed a couple blog posts of youth pastors’ go-to games. Here are mine:
1. Trainwreck. I fell in love with this game playing it as a college student. It’s still my favorite. It works great with a crowd of 20-40, but I’ve done it with many more and fewer. Ask every student to grab a chair and put it in an inward-facing circle. You, the leader, stand in the middle of the circle. You say a sentence beginning with the words, “I’ve never…” What follows should be true. If you’re playing with students, then I also suggest saying that what follows should be PG or G-rated. (Yes, I once had a student say, “I’ve never had sex.”)
Everyone sitting around the circle who HAS DONE what you’ve NEVER DONE, then gets up and moves to another seat. (Now you see just how bad the sex comment was. And yes again, some students got up.) You’ll need to repeat that rule several times, and do a practice round.
You cannot move to a seat right beside you unless it’s the only one available. Once everyone is finished moving around, there will be a last person standing without a seat. That person then says, “I’ve never…”
I’ve learned to have sample “I’ve never” statements on hand for the student who doesn’t know what to say. It may or may not be true for them, but it may get them thinking. A student can always just yell, “Trainwreck!” at which time everyone switches seats. That should be used sparingly; it gets old quickly.
2. Amazon Women. I don’t remember where or when I first learned this game, but it’s stuck. This is another game that requires absolutely no prep time, except maybe to tell girls wearing skirts not to participate. It’s also helpful if they tuck in the fronts of their shirts.
All the males lie on the floor, in a circle, on their bellies, arms linked. The girls have 3-4 minutes (you decide) to pull apart the males. We’ve never done it. I’m convinced Andrew Basic will break a guy’s arm before he lets go of it.
Then, you switch. The girls lie on the floor, in a circle, on their bellies, arms linked. The guys have 1 minute to pull apart the girls. They’ve succeeded…many times.
3. Two Truths and a Lie. This is used often. Again, it requires absolutely no prep time. It’s a “mixer” more than a “game.” It can even be inserted into a talk or message to get students up and moving.
You instruct students to get into groups; you determine the size. I suggest 3-5. Every person says three statements about themselves. Two are true; one is a lie. The others in the group guess which is which. That’s it. But every now and then you learn something new about a student, and even shy or reserved students will often say three sentences in a small group.