Movement and activity have countless benefits to your ministry and lessons but can be hard to work in, whether it’s because of space issues, scheduling problems or a particularly inactive, uncoordinated or game-resistant group of teens. I get it. We don’t all have gyms, fields, great weather, unimpeded access to the gyms and fields, and a group of teen warrior poets that want nothing more than to play ultimate frisbee before sitting down and reflecting on the sermon on the mount. So, in case you fall into the majority that has at least one of these shortages, here are 3 ways I’ve used to incorporate movement into my youth ministry time.
Too Few Seats.
This is exactly what it sounds like; I like to find a space or create a space with too few chairs in it, which often causes teens to sit on the ground, lean on the walls and otherwise get creative about sitting. Then, I work different group activities into the lesson in which the teens break out into different groups in different spaces, changing how they were seated, where they were seated and with whom they were seated. It may seem manipulative, strange or in some cases cruel, but I am not saying deprive your youth, simply give them options and opportunities to sit, stand and lean differently.
Move Right Along.
Plan a progressive lesson that has several deliberate sections. When you arrive at a new section, move to a new room or space. Go outside. Visit the playground. Change the surroundings often so, even though you are doing a lesson the whole time, you are moving. This is a great opportunity to teach about different spaces in your church, too, and discuss their purposes and unique qualities, like the sanctuary or chapel having pews, a chancel and/or an altar and why.
Stand Up, Sit Down.
If you are going to ask questions in your group, especially yes/no or polling questions, instead of having them raise their hands, have them stand up or go to one side of the room or another. This works well and is a very easy addition to your lesson, as you will likely ask the questions in your lesson already. In fact, take the time to build a few more questions or polling into your lesson for this very reason. The movement will keep the brain awake and likely help the youth remember the question in the future.
Movement can be effective even if it’s simple, so there’s no reason you can’t get your teens to be active. It’s ultimately to their benefit as a learner and yours as a teacher. Whether you are teaching them about Jesus, the Bible or how to play Gaga Ball, the activity and movement will help give them the best chance to retain the information and to use it more effectively to bridge concepts later. Get creative and create opportunities to get the blood flowing, and you will definitely see results.
Kellen Roggenbuck has been a youth leader and ministry consultant for over a decade and is a regular contributor to the YOUTH WORKER JOURNAL and GROUP Magazine. He went to college to be a Music Educator but has found his calling in youth ministry. Kellen lives outside Milwaukee with his wife and son, who both think his jokes aren’t nearly as funny as he thinks they are.
This post was previously published by handydandyyouthministry.com.