When I was in bi-vocational ministry, I learned quickly that youth ministry had to happen on a small budget. (And by small, I mean miniscule.)
Every month, I would scrape and claw and put together an event on a shoe-string budget. Every year I asked for a raise in budget, only to be turned down. This happened despite the fact our group doubled in size.
Needless to say, I got pretty adept at low-cost events.
Over the next few posts, I plan to share some of my low-cost event ideas. Many of these ideas I still use today. Whether you are full-time, part-time or volunteer, low cost events always help your bottom line and allows you to spend the money where it is most needed.
In fact, I used this idea just last week to great results.
It’s pretty simple. I call it game night. We block out 3 hours at church and all we do is…play games. (I told you it was a simple concept.) This can be done in many ways and is really up to your discretion.
In the past, I have brought in video game systems (mainly a Nintendo Wii) and played games like Guitar Hero, Mario Kart and Wii Sports. I’ve also brought in cards, board games, and card games. We’ll gather students around tables and turn them loose to play whatever games they want to do play. The students have a great time and adults get to hang out with students in a non-threatening environment.
I love the cost. For the most part, it’s free. I borrow game systems or bring my own from home. The same goes with card and board games. I simply dust off Boggle, Scrabble or Scategories. Uno, Phase 10 and Skip-Bo all make excellent additions. All of them are found in my closet at home.
This year, however, I tried something different. After some senior adults approached me about doing an event, I quickly merged them into our scheduled game night. The senior adults cooked the dinner and I provided the games. Seeking more interaction, I went beyond my usual card and board games, and instead looked up several Minute To Win It games.
The results were better than I had hoped.
Our senior adults loved engaging our students. The Minute To Win It games all featured “household items” making them very inexpensive. Our students loved cheering on the senior adults on their team. It made for a great night of intergenerational mingling. So much so, that both our students and the senior adults want to do it again soon.
For a unique twist, I had our senior adults play some of our youth group games. It was a blast seeing senior adults and students playing Mafia together.
So, for a low-cost event, game nights are great. It gets students interacting, and adults intermingling. It’s cheap, fun and a great way to bring group interaction.