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🧑🚀 In this playlist, we are exploring the 3 new digital frontiers for churches and youth ministry pastors and leaders.
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Where did games even come from in the first place?
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00:00-02:08 Exploring New Digital Frontiers in Youth Ministry
02:08-04:10 What is Hybrid Ministry?
04:10-08:20 Why do we play games in Youth Ministry?
08:20-17:35 3 Hybrid Game Ideas you can use this week!
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Nick Clason (00:00):
Games and youth ministry, they go together like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, Batman and Robin. But how can we as youth pastors or ministry leaders readjust the way in which we approach games and lean more into this digital space that we found ourselves in? Should we ignore it or should we find a way to capitalize on it? My approach and my mission for this podcast is to turn your ministry hybrid. How do we make your ministry hybrid, not just in person, not just digital, but a melding of the two. Does that mean that we should play more like cell phone based games, Kahoot games, zoom screen games? In this three part playlist, I want to give you the three new frontiers that we should be exploring as youth pastors, as youth ministry leaders into the digital space and frontier number one. Today. In this episode, we are going to be exploring the world of youth ministry and youth ministry games.
Nick Clason (01:02):
We're going to delve into the why and the philosophy of youth ministry and give you three games that you can adopt and take into your student ministry immediately today. All of this in effort as we are in this new digital frontier, this new digital space to effectively reach the students that God has placed in our trust with the message of hope and the mission of the gospel. We're also going to be exploring in this playlist how you can bring up your message enhancement in the hybrid world, and finally, how you can implement ongoing care, shepherding and relationships to the students that God has entrusted into you and your care in your student ministry. But let's dive further into this new frontier of digital discipleship through the means and avenues of games. Make sure also that you stick around to the very end because at the end I'm going to leave with you a one surefire resource that you can implement with multiple done for you game ideas and ways that you can hybridize your ministry.
Nick Clason (01:58):
And I have the ultimate hack that you can bring just about any game and turn it into a hybrid game. Welcome to the Hybrid Ministry Show. Well, hey everyone. Welcome to the Hybrid Ministry Show. I am Nick Clason, a 13 year youth ministry veteran, currently serving in the great state of Texas. And I want to let you know that I am on a mission, as I said in the intro, to help youth pastors usher themselves more and more into this digital age. And I want to make sure that we are keeping the integrity of our in-person gatherings while also offering more and more of an opportunity for our students to engage with us from a digital mindset and digital framework. And so what I actually have for you as a surefire link in the description, I have a ebook. I have created 40 a whole month's worth of posting strategy for you as a youth pastor implement the strategy that I'm currently using, the one that I've used to grow our YouTube account and our followership in our social media from zero to around 300 up to this point and just under a calendar year.
Nick Clason (03:03):
And it will give you ideas and games that you can use and implement that are turnkey right now that you can use. But they're custom. You and your students and your volunteers get to be the heroes on your youth ministry. It's not just a bunch of static on account of foreign kind of boring graphics. It's real faces, real human beings. If you put a little bit of work in, you can totally revolutionize your student ministry. And I also want to let you know that links right here at the top of this video is a link to a video, what I believe every youth ministry needs and why this is also important. It's basically the thesis for this entire podcast. Hey, and finally, I want to make sure that you like and subscribe to this episode because here's why we are going to be dropping more and more episodes, especially this one as we're exploring new frontiers of hybrid ministry in the next episodes to come.
Nick Clason (03:49):
And I want to make sure that you don't miss it and likes, honestly, they're free and they really, really help us out and they help us get this mission to more and more people. But let's explore before we dive into the actual nitty gritty of games and youth ministry, let's talk about the philosophy and even the history of youth ministry and youth ministry games. Where did games come from? Why do we do them? It seems like it's the rite of passage. Every single youth ministry needs games. You look at resources like YM 360, download, youth ministry, even old school back in the day group. They're all trying to help solve this problem of how can you have games and what do games look like and where can you best take care of supplying games for you and your students? And we have screen-based games and active games and digital games and hybrid games, and we're going to get into all of that.
Nick Clason (04:43):
But I wanted to take a step back and be like, where did this even come from? So back in the 18 hundreds when students were not going to school on a regular basis, they were working six days a week, they invented this idea of Sunday School to bring about an age graded focus for students and an age graded Bible study, one that was a little bit more relevant to them in their timeframe, a little bit more relevant to them in their age group. And so what they did was they created this breakdown by age and grade and gender even. And they started to create this school vibe where they would teach the Bible. Well then fast forward to the 1940s, churches were maybe not super relevant to reaching young people. And so these two organizations popped up right around the same time, young Life and youth for Christ.
Nick Clason (05:34):
And so they both came with the mindset with the entire goal is to reach young people, reach 'em for Christ, and help change them from the inside out and revolutionize them with the power of the gospel. And then finally in the 1970s, churches began to start to see a void of that because what they were doing was in Sunday school mode, they're having volunteers and parents kind of lead these groups, but they started to identify this need for pastors, for people who could come in and who could be specialists in this area for teenagers and for the young people in their churches because they saw what was going on with Youth for Christ and Young Life. And they wanted to also bring that and usher that into the local church. And so since about the 1970s and the Jesus Revolution time, shout out to that movie if you haven't seen it yet, but they're bringing about this young people, this place for young people to come and find belonging, meaning, and purpose.
Nick Clason (06:28):
So that's the history of youth ministry. But why games? So if you look over time, there's always an element of fun and something that will bring about a draw of a crowd. And so to get the maximum amount of people you might feed people, you might offer fun, you might offer warmth, you might offer a great environment or a good vibe. And the truth of matter is, is that games have always sort of been a staple in what we've done in youth ministry, so much so that I do think at some point we've gotten a little bit rote with them and they're benign, and we just do them without even thinking like, well, what's the game going to be? Well, why are we even doing games? What's the purpose? And so what I've seen in my 13 years of student ministry experience is that if you just do games for game's sake, it doesn't have much to offer.
Nick Clason (07:17):
But in my mind, the purpose of a game is to help speak the language of teenagers, which by the way is the entire reason why I have this ebook linked in the description below for you to become more hybrid and for you to become more digitally focused. Because I believe it's a way for us to speak the language better of our teenagers and teenagers, whether they want to admit it or not, they love fun. Fun is the currency of teenagers. Fun helps break down the walls of people who may or may not know why they're at your church or who God is, or they're exploring this faith thing for the very first time. And fun helps alleviate and reduce the tension out of the room why we do what we do. And so with that in mind, I want to give you three game ideas, three hybrid game ideas that you can take use and even download immediately with links in the description of this episode that you can use both on your social media in person, and better yet, maybe you can find a way to meld the two together.
Nick Clason (08:17):
So let's explore that in the next section. All right, so link below in the description are three games that I have in my Download Youth Ministry store right now, and they are fun ones that I like to use. But I also just want to let you know that in all of this, many of the things that I'm going to be suggesting to you are also linked in my completely free ebook. So if you don't want to go pay for it, you can come up with some of these ideas on your very own by just looking at my completely free ebook, which is 40 done for You Ideas to help you and your students and your volunteers become the heroes on your church's social media and in your church's digital presence. And listen, in my ebook, I'm going to give you just a little bit of a sneak peek and a little bit of a hack.
Nick Clason (09:01):
I recommend that you sit just like this direct to camera and present and preach your message ahead of time before you deliver it live into the room. You then use that to clip up, make short sermon clips. But if you aren't willing and don't have the time to do that, I do recommend the remainder of my strategy, which is having fun with your students and having fun with your leaders and having fun with maybe even other staff on camera and posting that to your social media because it's a way that you can interact and engage with something that's live and happening real and in the room, but you can also show that content out to the rest of the world, and if not the rest of the world, at least the rest of your church, the rest of your youth ministry, the parents that are connected to the students in your ministry.
Nick Clason (09:45):
And so three of these ideas are ideas that I have either detailed or outlined before, or ones that I've come up with since I released the ebook. So the first one is a game called Rank 'em, and there's two different ways to do it. I believe right now I have the fall version online on DYM and coming up soon, I should be having the Christmas version drop onto Download Youth Ministry. But Rank 'em is basically a, Hey, let your students take these five things and rank them one through five. Now, one of my favorite variations to that is what's called, and maybe you've seen it if you've been on TikTok or Reels, is the blind ranking thing, which is where different categories of things come in. So let's say you're doing
Nick Clason (10:24):
A blind ranking of a TV show, and I say The Office, and then you have to put it in one through five list. And so for me, if I got the office, I'd be like, well, that's one. But then if someone was like, fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines, I'd be like, man, I like that show a lot. Probably put it at three. I'm afraid to give away two. And then if someone's like, okay, Ted Lasso, I'll be like, oh, Ted Lasso so good. I want to put it at one, but I can't start putting the office there. So I guess I'll put it in at two. And then if someone was like the ugliest houses in America, I'd be like, okay, I can put that at five. I like it, but I want to reserve four for something. And then they said, the Mandalorian, I'd be like, all right, four.
Nick Clason (11:00):
And I'd be like, you know what? I don't hate that list. What do you think Office, Ted Lasso Fixer Upper Mandalorian houses in America. I'm okay with that list, right? But the point is, I didn't know what was coming next. That's the idea of a blind ranking. And so I have two versions in this actual game. Rank 'em where you can play live in the room with five things. You can do the one by one where they come in one at a time and you have to choose to rank 'em. I also have a social media version where you can take it and you can post it on your reels tos, YouTube shorts, and you can let students interact with it there and give their rankings. You can post it on YouTube story, or I'm sorry, Instagram stories if you don't have any of the other short kind of form platforms.
Nick Clason (11:39):
But you can use this. And again, if you get this game, I played this game in my context, live in the room a couple of weeks ago, and we only got to three questions. So what I did was, the way that I played it was I had myself and a co-host. And so the first one was me. They had to guess my rankings of these certain things at their tables together. And then how they did. Then we went to my co-host, they had to guess his rankings of the certain things, and then finally we switched that and they could rank them themselves. But the game has 10 questions, and so we only used three. So that leaves me seven more that I can use kind of sprinkled throughout on my socials throughout the rest of the week. Game idea number two is the visual variance voyage.
Nick Clason (12:20):
And because I'm a good Baptist, I like a good alliteration, but essentially it's a spot the difference game. And so if you get the widescreen version on DYM, I should have a fall version as well as a Christmas version coming out here soon. You have two graphics come in side by side, and you have to spot the difference. And listen, the best thing right now is that Adobe Photoshop, generative AI is letting you just add things to pictures kind of here and there. And it is a game changer for a game like this. By the way, if you want to level up your Photoshop skills, I have a link in the playlist to my Adobe editing and Photoshop. If that's something that you're interested, go check that out if you want a cheaper version. I also have link down there below Budget graphics for people who are looking to save time and money going through PowerPoint, Canva, Adobe Express and Instagram.
Nick Clason (13:04):
But in the visual variance voyage, you have two different pictures and you're just trying to identify what is different. But there's a timer on the screen and it's counting down. So you can play that live in your room, you can get contestants, you can play it in groups, you can play it at tables. But I also like that I have created a vertical based graphic that you can use, and you can then take those, and you can post those on Instagram stories or on shorts, whatever. And again, in both of these, rank 'em and in the visual variance voyage, if you don't want to use my canned graphics with a canned background, you can take the concept, right? You can take the two pictures and you can show them to somebody on a camera walking around your youth space like, Hey, spot the difference in less than 10 seconds.
Nick Clason (13:45):
Go. And then have them try to guess it, but you film them and you post that to your TikTok or to your YouTube short or whatever, and you can do just a simple picture and picture. Take my graphic that I've created and do a picture and picture with the video that you take of the person trying to guess. And so that's taking it to the next level where you take a game that you could just post a game in and of itself. But if you take that game and you film somebody trying to play it, then that's a whole nother level to it. Which leads me to my third option, which is my favorite option is emoji phraseology. I have just about any variant of season and game that you can think of. And basically what it is is you're trying to guess the emoji phrase, whether it's Christmas, whether it's fall, whether it's New Year's, whether it's February for Valentine's Day, whether it's St.
Nick Clason (14:28):
Patrick's. I mean, I literally have just about every season on download youth ministry, every single variation is linked down below in the show notes. But one of the favorite ways that I've done with this is I've just done one question by one question where we've gone up to people and we've asked them to guess, and then we've taken that graphic and they looked at it, and then I did a little picture and picture, or I actually put the actual icons on. I've done it where I did full editing and Adobe Premiere Pro with animations and sounds. And I've also done it where I just, in the TikTok editor, I just put the emojis on the screen and people had to try and guess and see what was playing. And so in all of those are games that you could play physically. Those are also games that you can play only digitally.
Nick Clason (15:10):
And my favorite is film other people playing those games and then post those out to your socials. One of the ones that was the biggest hit for the emoji was we went around and we did bible story emojis, and we asked different members of our staff and those, those were a massive hit, seeing other pastors and staff and senior pastors out there trying to guess those things on our socials. So here's the thing. The last way, the Ultimate Hack, I told you I was going to give you this ultimate hack. You can play just about any game, any game on download, youth ministry. It doesn't have to be one of my games. It can be any game that you find on there. It doesn't even have to have a phone-based formatting for it, but play any game. And then at the end of it, if it's a subjective based game where people are creating something, making a song, doing a lip sync, decorating a donut, whatever the case might be, take pictures of those things and then post them to social media and tell them that the vote is going to be what determines the winner.
Nick Clason (16:09):
And the voting is done on Instagram that does two things. It promotes your social media and it allows the students to be the judge, not just some random celebrity judge, not just you trying to pull something out of your hat at the last minute, right? Because Gen Z and Gen Alpha love to be publishers, they love to contribute to publishing the content, not just simply basic consumers being told what has happened to them. That is an older school, older industrial minded way of doing things. They want to know that their voice matters and that they actually even have a voice that you care about and that you want to listen to. And so that, I believe, is way number one, that you can wade into this exploring of a new frontier of how you can implement fun and games, not just in your room, not just online, but also in a hybrid way to help give students an opportunity to lean in and have their voice be heard in this hybrid way of doing things.
Nick Clason (16:59):
Which reminder is why I said in my ebook, I outline all the ways that you can flesh this out with posts twice a day for five days a week. You can scale it back if you don't have the bandwidth to do that, but whatever the case might be, I have millions of ideas in there from spiritual practice to fun, to your message content and ways that you can get that message out to spread the message of hope. So click the link for that down below in the description, and in the next video, we're going to be exploring how you can enhance your message and your ministry live in the room with hybrid versions. You're not going to want to miss it. Click that on the screen and we'll catch you on that side.