I had someone ask me why we plan such big events sometimes (we just planned one big event a month until Christmas for both student and college ministry) and what the philosophy behind it is. The person was saying they are more drawn to “deeper” more theolgical discussion based philosophy of ministry. Which is great, there is nothing wrong with it, I like it too. I like it because I’m almost 30 though, and although some students like and are capible to think this too, fun is the universal languge of students. The philosphy of having fun events is pretty simple really.
Students enjoy having fun, so I’m going to plan fun things.
I don’t believe church should be boring (even for adults). Sometimes we can get caught in the trap of planning events we (as pastors) think are fun not what we think students actually think is fun. This is why we do the lock-ins. This is why we do the over-nighters. This is why we do the crazy things we do because even though we don’t think they are fun, our students do, and we can joy in seeing our students have fun…and sometimes we end up having more fun than our students!
Fun events should always be a part of our programs and here is why:
Fun breaks down walls. When students have fun, they usually are not thinking of the things they are holding them down. When we as leaders get to have fun with our students, in the down times of the event there are some great conversations that happen that normally wouldn’t if you were just sitting at coffee. Fun allows students to be who they are at the core. Kids.
Students are drawn to it. I feel like in many places, fun is discouraged. At school, work (for some), at home even. Fun is the universal language of students and when we plan things in which they are excited about, they are drawn to it like moths to a flame. It is our goal to provide an atmosphere where students are allowed to have fun while they are with us a few hours a week.
They talk to each other. Next event you have, just take a second and look at the interaction going on. Fun opens up opportunities for students who do not usually interact to actually interact. The big jock talks to the timid kid. The upper classmen talk to the new freshmen. It is awesome. It is what we want.
Their friends like to have fun. When students have fun, they want their friends to join them. I don’t know if you know this (and I’m guessing you do) but students tend to travel in packs. You know you are planning the right type of events when they are willing to invite a friend from the outside to come in.
When leaders have fun, students notice. We don’t think they notice, but they do. Students can see if the staff and volunteers like each other and when they see us having fun with each other their energy immediately goes up. Fun is contagious.