Monday, December 2, 2013

Ministry Mondays: Feeling Dumb Can Feel Good

Ministry Mondays, what's that? Well, as random as my blog can be, why not allow a little of what I do in the mix? I'm not saying it will happen every Monday. I'm also not saying other youth ministry blogs should watch their backs. I'm just saying this is something. And that's not nothing. Here we go...
That's just dumb. 

When you hear that, many things happen.

  • You hope someone is not talking about something you just said or did. 
  • If you know it is something you said or did, you instantly feel regret.
  • You start thinking of a way to fix this so you don't feel so...uh....dumb. 
But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if you could be dumb without having to feel dumb? This is my most recent goal with my youth group. Clearly it should be a constant goal. 

Why?

We can feel dumb everywhere we go. School is just a breeding ground for dumb things to happen. From not knowing how to do what the teachers want you to do to not knowing how to grasp cool. Quite frankly, I think most workplaces can feel the same. Even in the church. But a youth group should be different.

A youth group should be a place of safety for everyone. When we're discussing matters of faith and discipleship, I believe a teen should feel the freedom to fail and fall, picking themselves back up without fear of ridicule. After all, it's tough enough.


The youth room my group meets in has a nickname; the inner sanctum. It promotes the safety we're after in all our discussions. It's also a lot better than calling the room God's Blind Spot. (Yes, they've called it that. No, I'm not comfortable with that idea by any manner of theology.)

So my goal is getting everyone to feel stupid together. Because none of us is as dumb as all of us. No, not really. The reason is that if everyone is doing something stupid, then we won't feel like anyone can poke fun, since they are in on the joke.

Here are some things I have found to help my youth group get past feeling stupid while doing some pretty stupid stuff. 

Watch Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Even if you don't enjoy the irreverence of Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, you'll get plenty of ideas for improv games. Most recently, I played 3-headed genius with my group. Have 3 teens stand arm in arm and give answers to simple questions one word at a time.

Play Pretend
I found a few ideas over at the People and Chairs blog. I'm not advocating everything you might find there, but a couple of improv ideas I found included Red Ball, Knife Throw, and Oscar Moment

This is an exercise involving listening and throwing a red...which you don't have.
It's the same as Red Ball, except much more dangerous, because you are now throwing an imaginary knife.
This is you, letting your inner Keanu Reeves out. Why do I say Keanu? Because he can't act, and you're probably not that great either.

Dumb? Maybe, but I am looking for my group to get over themselves and not worry about what others think so much. What better way than to bring everyone in on the same level?

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