Team Builders

How important is team-building with our student leaders?

Doug Fields and I have been blogging about student leadership quite a bit lately (just last week I blogged about The First 4 Things I Teach Student Leaders, Part I and Part II). Doug’s student leadership conference is in July on both coasts, so the topic’s on our mind.

It seems that one of the most common questions I receive from the front lines is, “What do I do with my student leaders when we get them together for training?”

Great question. I think it’s important to get student leaders together regularly for training and fellowship. During those times I like to give them opportunities to serve together, and train them about anything from evangelism to discovering and using their gifts (we actually provide an entire ready-made training retreat in my book about developing student leaders, Ministry By Teenagers). But don’t make the mistake of making your training times all about “training.” Make sure you include some team building activities where young people laugh, have fun, with just a dash of “learning to work together.”

I think team-builders are essential. These activities are more than just games (and I’m not slamming on games, I think games can be fantastic tools). Most team-builders are fun, but they have that added bonus of doing just what the name implies, “building your team.” That why our website has a whole page of team-builders.

Here’s a simple one that youth pastor Dan Manns just sent in. I like that this requires no setup… just a few balloons!

Team Builder Title: Don’t Let It Drop
Description: Divide your group into teams of 6-8 people. Give each team a balloon. At ‘go’ each team tries to keep their balloon aloft. There are 3 rules:

#1 players cannot use their arms or hands

#2 a player cannot touch the ball twice in a row

#3 everybody on the team must touch the ball at least once.

If your team’s balloon touches the ground you are out and must sit down on the ground. Last team standing wins.

Simple and fun!

What about you?
What are ways that you help teenagers bond and begin to work together?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to Team Builders

  1. Jeff says:

    One of the big ways I’ve built team unity and bonding has been to celebrate our shared experiences (mission trip, retreat, etc.) has been to create a group caricature. I’ve incorporated memories and inside jokes. Then I’ve given all of the students their own copy to keep those memories fresh. It’s been better than a photo since it incorporates all of those special memories. This has perfect application to building unity for a student leadership team and for the volunteer staff, too.

    You can see some examples of this on my Facebook page here:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/JPs-Custom-Caricature/143201939047222?ref=ts#!/media/set/?set=a.158228307544585.36437.143201939047222&type=3