Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello Winter... Youth Ministry Style

Sunday (Dec 21) was the first day of winter and that means youth ministries around the US (b/c those youth ministries in Australia, for example, are currently enjoying summer) will be transitioning to a winterized version of youth ministry. Some aspects of youth ministry do not change, but anything that involves the outdoors has to change. Here are some of my favorite winter youth ministry games, events, ideas and more.

Disclaimer: Yes, I am aware that my friends in places like CA, GA, or FL do not need to make these adjustments because it does not get that cold or snow that much. And for that I say ":-P"

Winterized Youth Ministry:
Free Version...
1. Sledding. Just take your group, or have them meet, to a local hill. You can spend hours just sledding down and walking back up the hill. You can do something organized like races or just let everyone do what they want.

2. Build Snowmen/Snowball fights. If you get enough snow, build snowmen. This would be a great opportunity for some good video and/or pictures of the group. Have a themed-snowman competition, see who can build the largest... The snowball fights will just come naturally.

3. Shovel snow. Take a day and drive around town shoveling people's driveways and sidewalks. This is a great service project. It will help your group bond together, while doing people a wonderful service. Make sure you have enough shovels, gloves, hats, etc.

4. Outdoor Ice Skating. Depending on your area, this might be a great time to go ice skating or play ice hockey. This is one event that might just draw a smaller crowd, but it will be a fun day together.

5. Any excuse to serve hot chocolate. Find any reason to get the group together to drink hot chocolate. This might be a great addition to one of your outdoor events or just something you do as a stand-alone event. Make sure you have marshmallows (and I suggest the mini ones).

6. Special parties. During this season, most youth ministries will have their Christmas parties and New Year's Eve parties. Maybe you should have a "_______" party (fill in with whatever you want) just to have a party. This is a great time to give the students something to do, since they can't go outside. (obviously, be mindful of the family time activities this time of year)

7. Ice Sculpting. If you have a large amount of ice this is the perfect time to use it. Even if you just have a small amount of ice, set aside a time to let students sculpt it. Allow them to be creative and just make it fun.

Non-Free Version...
1. Skiing. Most students love to go skiing, but do not get to go often. Plan a ski trip with your group. Or if you live close to a ski resort, schedule regular days (or at least some days) that are official youth group ski days.

2. Indoor Ice Skating. Take the group to go ice skating at an ice rink. Depending on the size of the group you can get discounts or even rent the entire rink.

3. Broomball. Rent an ice rink for a few hours of broom ball. You play hockey with broomsticks, only tennis shoes, and a ball. It is a lot of fun. But be careful, as people will fall.

4. Trip to warmer weather. Take your group to warmer weather. Probably want it to be within driving distance, but I hear Hawaii is nice this time of year.

Those are a few of my ideas for a winterized youth ministry. What have you done in the winter that has worked or what other suggestions would you have? Leave a comment with your ideas.


  1. Great ideas. And we (south Jersey) do get plenty cold, but it only snows about once per year. So I will try and cram it all in the 1 snow day!

  2. @brandon LOL let me know how it goes. I'd love to see some video