Do you ever find yourself wanting an assistant, intern, or more volunteers to help you? I know I have, as I realized early in ministry that there is always more work to be done. I will never arrive, so to say. Therefore, as many have wisely said before me, we need to work smarter, not just harder.
Download Youth Ministry is one of the resources that helps me work smarter. DYM is growing in popularity, but I have still found many who do not yet know how helpful it can be. Their co-founder, Doug Fields, has even referred to it as an intern you can always count on. Their newest resource, Sidekick, is one of my favorites. In fact, if you play screen-based games in your youth group, Sidekick will take them to the next level. If you don’t because you have always thought they were too difficult, Sidekick will make them much easier.
If you are like me, at some point, you have found yourself trying to create a screen game in PowerPoint, ProPresenter, or a number of other slide-based applications only to feel frustrated that it won’t do exactly what you want. Maybe you got it to work, but it took much longer than you had hoped, and you have vowed to never do it again. Perhaps you wanted to create something similar to Family Feud, but eventually gave up due to it being too difficult.
Sidekick is a PC/Mac app with several built-in builders (or mini-apps). Right now, you can access each of the following:
- Photo Fury: Customizable, fast-paced, random image picker.
- Boxes: Random box picker.
- Emoji Hunt: On-screen slot machine for Emoji-based games.
- Wheel of Destiny: Customizable spinning wheel.
- Pick Me: Easy to use people-picker that even includes odds.
- Leaderboard: Keep score with up to 10 participants or teams, and show it on-screen.
- Survey Says: Create custom “Family Feud style” games.
- Countdown Maker: Create customizable countdowns.
- Pixelate: Create customizable image-guessing game.
- Trivia: Full-featured multiple-choice game builder.
If all that wasn’t enough, the programmers have committed to steady updates, including more builders, remote capabilities, message/song slides, and more.
We use Pick-Me on a regular basis to choose random students for games, meaning that I never have to manually choose a student again. We also use the Wheel of Destiny often for “punishment-based” games when someone loses. Survey Says and Trivia, in particular, are the two biggest time-saving builders for us.
On top of all of this, you also get 45 editable files included when you download Sidekick. The DYM store is also growing every week with more and more Sidekick-enabled games that you can just download and drop right into the app. And if you created a particular game you think others would enjoy, you can easily export and share it with another youth worker who has Sidekick.
You can even download a FREE trial of the app to test it out yourself. If you like it, you can purchase a monthly or annual subscription. If you’re a DYM Gold Member, though, it’s already included in your membership. If you still want to learn more, head over to sidekick.tv for more information, tutorials, and the links to download Sidekick.
Steve Cullum is the student pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, CO, where he oversees their ministry to sixth through twelfth grade students and their families. He also hosts The Student Ministry Podcast and writes for various blogs about youth ministry, video games, and more. You can follow him on Twitter @stevecullum.