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This is a great move Jason!  While we haven't done this here, there are a few things that I think are worth considering.  Not trying to crush, just ensuring all the angles are covered.

I'm not sure about having "junior members" or "members in training" is a good move.  One reason why I hesitate is confidentiality.  Council can at times deal with sensitive issues, and I would hate to have our apprentices be asked to step out while the "really important" stuff gets talked about.   I'm all for giving opportunity, but I think that this may send a mixed message about the competence of the individual.  And I'll bet that your apprentice can handle the sensitive info in a mature fashion, if given the opportunity.

I am also not convinced about having "youth advisors" on any committee, for the simple reason that, in my experience, they are addressed only when youth input is needed, or when they are looking to gain insight on a situation from a youth.  I think some of our youth are able to sit at the table and offer insight based on their own ideas, not just because they are a young person or have a youth perspective.

Stay with me though.

I wonder if you recognize a competent young individual, whether they should be considered and voted on as a full member.  I know, that's pretty bold.  Just as our primary qualification for someone to be on the worship team is that they are musical and have a passion to lead others in worship through music, I would hope that our primary qualification for someone to be on council (or any other committee or team) is that they are gifted (or show potential) in leadership abilities.  I cannot stand when we segregate adult and youth praise teams. Similarly it bothers me when competent young people are dismissed from leadership simply based on age.

I know, that brings in a whole other set of issues.  Can they serve for 2 or 3 years? Are they really that competent?  And what exactly are the "minimum requirements" for someone to serve on council?

A few weeks ago I put this list of COVID-friendly youth games for the youth leaders in my classis.  The subheadings are not quite as clear in this cut-and-paste version, but the info is there. Hope this helps!  


Non-Contact Youth Group Games


I found this list of general guidelines.  It seems to be a good place to start when trying to find or adapt games.  The games listed below may or may not fully adhere to this list, and it is up to your discretion to use or adapt these games. (from

Avoid games involving physical contact

Avoid games involving high movement

Avoid games involving food

Mark out social distance spacing on the floor

Keep kids distanced using objects like tables and chairs (or duct-taping pool noodles to them)

For circle games, spread the chairs out to maintain social distance

Clean surfaces and equipment regularly

Ensure kids wash hands at regular intervals



Mind Stopper

Form a circle. In the middle stands the person who is "It." She quickly points to someone in the

circle and says, "This is my toe." At the same time she points to her chin with her other hand.

The person pointed to must grab his toe and say, "This is my chin" before "It" counts to five. If

the person pointed to goofs or doesn't make it by five, he becomes "It."




This is a good indoor game. Players sit in a circle and begin counting around the circle from one to 100. Whenever someone comes to a number containing seven or a multiple of seven, he or she says "Buzz." (Example: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, BUZZ, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, BUZZ, 15, 16, BUZZ, 18, 19, etc.) Anyone who makes a mistake or pauses longer than an agreed upon number of seconds is out.


Make the game easier for younger kids by using the number five and multiples of five, and saying "Fizz" instead of "Buzz." To complicate things, play a combination of Buzz/Fizz, using sevens and fives and their multiples.


Zip Zap Bong!

For the most fun play this game with at least eight people, but you can play with any number of students. Have everyone stand in a circle. Tell the group that the word zip should be passed verbally in a clockwise motion around the circle, while the word zap moves counterclockwise. And when the word bong is said, the direction of play is reversed.

One person starts the game by saying "Zip" and "Zap" to the appropriate people next to him in the circle. Those people must respond properly or they're out and should sit down in the circle. Continue playing until only two people are left.


Starting with one person in the circle, everyone says a number 1-13. Whoever says 13 gets to make up a rule. Which is only limited by creativity, such as the following: 2 and 7 switch, instead of saying “3” you say “bark,” do a burpee for #10 and on and on, 9 is change directions. If someone goes out of turn or forgets, they are eliminated. It is a great memory game.

Telephone Pictionary

Summary: Similar to the game of telephone, except with using pictures and phrases! See how distorted the flip books become as each person goes through it.

Goal: To interpret the pictures and phrases as accurately as possible.


– Making Paper Booklets: Take 8 x 11” pieces of paper (portrait). Fold and cut the pieces of paper in half horizontally, so that they will be 8 x 5.5″. Then, give each person 5 pieces of paper. Have them fold the paper in half vertically (4 x 5.5″) and make paper booklets. Staple the pieces of paper at its book spine.

– A pen for each participant

– Chairs and a table which people can sit around

How to Play the Telephone Pictionary game:

1. Ask everyone to sit in a chair around the table. Once everyone has been given a paper booklet and pen, you can explain the game. Each person is to write a short familiar phrase or sentence on the cover of the booklet, for example: “I believe I can fly” or “Rock paper scissors”. Give everyone one minute to write a phrase down. Next, tell everyone to pass their booklet to the person to their right.

2. Each person will read the phrase on the cover of their new booklet, flip the cover page, and draw a picture of their interpretation on the right side of the booklet. Give everyone one minute to draw a picture of the phrase. Then tell everyone to pass their booklet to the person to their right, with their picture open and visible.

3. Next, the person will look only at the picture that the person to their left has drawn. In their new booklet, tell them to flip the page, and draw a short phrase that interprets the picture (on the right side of the booklet). Give everyone one minute to write a phrase down.

4. Continue this pattern of drawing pictures and writing phrases until each person receives their own booklet back. Then, have each person go through their own booklets and showcase each page in front of the group.

Variation for Large Groups:

1. Split everyone up into teams of 7-10 players and ask each team to sit around a table. Give every team a booklet and a pen.

2. Announce an initial phrase for the first person to write on the cover. Then, have the first person flip the cover and draw a picture of their interpretation on the right side booklet (complete steps 2-3).

3. Once the booklet reaches the original person, you’ll be the judge on whose booklet is “the most accurate” OR “the most creative” (your choice) to the original phrase.

Initial Phrases:

– “I believe I can fly”

– “Show me the money”

– “Gone go fishing”

– “Life is like a box of chocolates”

– “I’ll be watching you.”

– “Three blind mice”

– “E.T. phone home”

– “I’m the king of the world”



Summary: Fun-filled word and memory game- Charades, Taboo and Password combined! Little preparation required.

Goal: The team with the most points wins the game.


– Pens

– Paper (3 pieces of paper for each person playing)

– A container to hold the pieces of paper

– Timer

How to Play Fishbowl:

1. Separate everyone into two equal teams (Team A and Team B). Have each person take three pieces of paper and write any word or familiar short phrase on each piece of paper. Have each person fold their pieces of paper in half and put them into the container. There are three rounds in Fishbowl: 1) Taboo 2) Password 3) Charades.

2. Round 1: Taboo

Team A needs to select someone to go first, while Team B needs a volunteer to watch the timer (set at one minute). The person from Team A will grab a piece of paper from the container and try to have his/her teammates guess the word on the paper using only use words and sentences as hints, without using any motions, “sounds like…”, or spelling hints. (For example, if the word is “ribs”, the person can say “baby back ___”). The person tries to have their team guess as many words as they can within one minute. The teams will need to remember the guessed words/phrases for subsequent rounds.

If the team is unable to guess the word/phrase, the person has the option to “pass”, puts the word/phrase back into the container and continues with a new word/phrase. The person can only pass once during his/her one minute.

After one minute, Team A counts the number of successfully guessed words/phrases. Each guessed word/phrase counts as one point. Team B is next, and selects a volunteer from their team to start. A person from Team A will watch the timer, to be set at one minute. This alternating process continues until all of the words from the container run out. When the words run out, place all the words/phrases back into the container for the second round.

3. Round 2: Password

With the same style as the first round, the next team will select someone to go first, with the other team sets the timer for one minute. However, in this round, the person can use only one word as a hint for their team to guess. (For example, if the word is “ribs”, the person can say the word “bone”). The team needs to recall the words/phrases in the previous round. Once all the words in the container runs out, place all the words back into the container for the third round.

4. Round 3: Charades

In this final round, the person needs to act and use motions as hints for their team to guess the word/phrase. (For example, if the word is “ribs”, the person can point to their rib cage). When all the words run out, tally all the points. The team with the most points wins the game.


How's Yours?

Here's a simple living room game that's good for a lot of laughs. Everyone gathers in a circle while one person is sent out of the room. The group then chooses a noun (such as shoe or job). When the person comes back into the room he must ask "How's yours?" Each person he asks must then answer with an adjective that describes the noun chosen by the group. "It" must guess after each response and continue around the circle until he can guess the noun chosen. The last person to give an adjective before "It" guesses the correct noun becomes the next "It."



Animal Rummy


Here's an enjoyable game if you don't want much physical activity, but still want to have some fun. Give everybody a piece of paper and a pencil. Then have each person write someone's name at the top of a sheet of paper, each letter to head up a column. Everyone should use the same name.


The leader now calls "Animal" and each player writes the names of as many animals as he or she can in each column-the animal names must begin with the letter heading that particular column. Set a time limit of about two minutes or so. Then the leader should ask for all the animals listed in each column and make a master list. Players receive points for each animal they have listed on their own sheet, plus each animal is given a bonus point value based on the number of players who did not have that particular animal listed.


This game can also be played with flowers, vegetables, trees, cities, or any other category you can think of. It's a lot of fun.



Desert Island

Announce, 'You've been exiled to a deserted island for a year. In addition to the

essentials, you may take one piece of music, one book (which is not the Bible) and

one luxury item you can carry with you i.e. not a boat to leave the island! What

would you take and why?'

Allow a few minutes for the young people to draw up their list of three items, before

sharing their choices with the rest of the group. As with most icebreakers and

relationship building activities, it's good for the group leaders to join in too!


Tall stories

The leader starts a story with a sentence that ends in SUDDENLY. The next person

then has to add to the story with his own sentence that ends in SUDDENLY. Continue

the story until everyone has contributed. The story becomes crazier as each young

person adds their sentence. Tape it and play it back. For example; 'Yesterday I went

to the zoo and was passing the elephant enclosure when SUDDENLY.....'




Strobe Light Charades

So, yes, you’ll need a strobe light.  You can order one on Amazon for $25-30.  Other than that, it’s a regular old game of charades.  But in the dark. Also, this game has a strobe light.  Added bonus to this game: you’ll own a strobe light.  This is such an awesome game idea, it needed its own heading.


OUTDOOR (or large space) GAMES




                Check out the rules here:




A great gym game. Hula hoops (or similarly taped boundaries), bowling pins (or small pilons, or maybe even plastic cups), and balls are required.  Check it out here:


Games using online resources  -  an online drawing and guessing game.  Can be used over Zoom calls

Kahoot –  set up a trivia night.  Participants use their cell phone for real time responses.  Can be done in person or over Zoom.

Spotify, Google Assistant (and I assume Siri) have various games, including “Name That Tune.”  How well do your teens know their 80’s music?  Grab a cell phone, a Bluetooth speaker.  Break up the group into teams, and go!




Training Wheels is a great online resource for all things leadership training.  A few weeks back they blogged (and vlogged too, I guess) about some great social distance friendly leadership games.  Check it out here:


OnTeamBuilding – Another great leadership resource!  Some notable podcasts that showcase distancing leadership games:



Hey Nicole, hope this question isn't out of your mind yet.  We have used annual themes and semi-annual themes. And for our leadership team, this really helps them tie the year together, and assist the group through an exploration journey of sorts.  

For example, this year our theme is "Going The Distance", based on 1 Cor 9:24. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."  And then we broke it down, paralleling the life of a Christian to a marathon runner.  Motivation, the prize, teammates, clothing, nutrition, warming up and chiseling, obstacles, perseverance, endurance, obsession, adrenaline rush, fatigue, finishing well.  Pictures, theme ideas, scripture passages, events, guest speakers - lots of things quickly find their place!  Having an overall theme opens the doors for creativity!  

It is unfortunate that this had to happen.  I (personally, and our youth ministry) have strongly benefittied from YU consultant, and have helped turn our ministry into a more healthy and sustainable one.

Keith (and Jason), I share your frustration.  What is most unfortunate is that those of us who are in "frontline" youth ministry, both paid and volunteer, directly feel the effects when youth ministry support staff are removed from the picture.  There isi no doubt in my mind that our youth leaders need training and support, and it is frustrating to  continue moving forward when the rug keeps getting pulled from under us.

Keith, you raise some excellent questions. What are we doing as a denomination to assist those "in the trenches?"

Officially, I would argue, not much.  YU (under Dynamic Youth Ministries) is not officially affiliated with the CRC.  And while the CRC almost exclusively use their resources, we are not financially responsible to ensure those resources continue to be in place for us.

I agree that we need to pick up the ball, somehow.  Our youth leaders desparately need the support. But I'm not sure that reinventing the wheel, either at a denominational level, or Canadian level, would be beneficial.  There are other elements that YU has brought to the Canadian table, namely, SERVE projects, that simply cannot be tossed out and replaced with a CRC-funded equivalent.  SERVE has taken on a life of its own within CRC youth circles.  And I for one would be disappointed if YU loses this corner of their ministry and drops out of the CRC youth ministry support staff map through the loss of this position.

That being said, we ought to be working at many levels to ensure that those doing ministry at a local level get the information, encouragement, and advocacy that is needed for them to do the best possible work they can.  I know in our classis, we are making progress to redevelop this, and it is always at the forefront of the Ontario Youth Ministry Team.   

Hopefully this will help us ask some important questions as a denoomination, and especially north of the border.  Are we providing the best support for our children's program volunteers and staff?  Do we get them on board and leave them in their corner (as Jason suggests) without full integration into the life of the church?  How can we best ensure that they are given the best resources and support that we can offer to continue in their calling to children's ministry?  Is outsourcing a good option?

For me, "success" isn't instantaneous.  Numbers are nice, especially big numbers.  Even if you know that your students are "taking something home" after a great discussion can be considered successful.  But it's easy to think that because you've finally got 100 students to one of your events, or you can declare to your board that 50% of your students are "actively involved," that you've succeeded.

I've been here long enough to know that lessons or programs or activities that are "successful" one time might flop the next time.

In terms of "short term success", I'd rather ask the question, "Am I being faithful to my calling as a youth leader?" For me, this is far more measurable on a day by day, or week by week basis.

But, you might find an answer 10 years down the road.  Are the students I interacted with 10 years ago still passionate about their faith in Christ? Are they actively participating in a local church? 

Well, that's a short answer to a big question...

In the key of D, the bridge is not too high.  It only goes up to a high D, which is decent for most congregations, if the song doesn't linger there.   The second chorus hits a high G (except for a possible grace note up to A).  While this makes for powerful music, it makes the song less congregation friendly.  Just like "God Of This City," the chorus is repeated an octave higher, which makes for a wide vocal range.  

The lowest note is the tonic, D.  That could be pushed a bit lower, and still congregation-friendly.  

 Try for the key of B (key G capo 4 if you play guitar).  That gives you a B on the low end, and high E.  Still a wide range, but probably better.  (I'm not in front of my piano, nor do I have my guitar in hand.  I may be slightly off).

Thanks Dale, very much appreciated.  I've used a variety of texts.    I've found poetry (Psalms) to be very good. And I've used the stories where Jesus is interacting one-to-one with another person.  I would be cautious of attempting to use a text with the attempt to speak into an issue.  The goal of Lectio is the practice of active listening, not the "lesson" of the text.

Something I've also found helpful is to use an alternate translation, especially for well-known passages. The new terms help bring a freshness to the passage.  

I hope this is helpful, and that your experience with your teens is beneficial.

HI Danae, I sent you a message last week.  Send me an email - [email protected].  We've had a combined ministry here for about 20 years. I can forward our combined ministry documents and help field a lot of your questions!

While I appreciate the desire and need to enhance our own "in-house" networking, communication and support for our youth leaders, I am not yet convinced of a few things.  First is throwing out all of YU and all that they bring to our youth ministry table. It is truly unfortunate that YU has had to let go of both the personnel and opportunity to offer leadership development opportuntities, but YU can, and still does, offer a lot to Canadian youth leaders.  

Second, while I love the idea of developing a "Canadian Youth Worker Director" position, I'm pretty sure that there are many many steps between the average youth worker and a potential Canadian YM director that are just plain missing.  Within the denomination, there are many steps of communication between Synod through to the local pastor.  But I would assume that few pastors have direct access to the Directors of the denomination.  There is a solid method of communication and support through Synod, regional classes, to the pastor and church council.  I would daresay that the levels between the volunteer youth leader, or even the paid youth pastor, up to a Denominational or Canadian Youth Ministry Director are almost nonexistant.  While many of our classes do have a classis youth ministry team of sorts, there is no uniformity from one Classis to another as to the vision of Classis youth ministry or how this body functions.  Many classes do not have a regional youth ministry coordinator or consultant, something that was strongly encouraged by Synod (of late '70's or early '80's) that each classis consider.  Without these structures and positions in place, it would seem unreasonable that a Canadian Youth Ministry Director would be dealing with every local youth pastor or youth leader in all of the denomination or Canada.  

There is no doubt - we are slowly getting closer.  The Ontario Youth Ministry Team, while only about 5 years old or so, is barely cutting its' teeth, but is makings its' way to developing strategies for assisting in what is so sorely needed for the local youth leader - support, communication, vision. 

Before we start talking denominational, perhaps our efforts are best served for now focusing on regional support, developing our classis youth ministry and regional (provincial, perhaps, like the OYMT) levels of support and communication.  

I have to ask about the copyright and legal issues behind this.  Most of the YouTube links you have on your playlist are not from the artists' YT page, they are from fans who create lyric videos, and who do not own the copyright.  While I agree that your suggestion is a great way to get new music to your musicians, the fact that "it's on the internet so it must be ok to use" is a bit of a grey area for me, especially if you are posting on your public church page.  

Is there someone out there who can help shed some light on this?

This one's more guitar-related.  I use Songsheet Generator - - to quickly and easily transpose guitar chord charts.  It's great for those times when you have a second guitarist and want a different "voice" by capoing up, rather than have both guitars sounding the same.  I've used it also for group guitar lessons - it's easy to throw up on the projector, with or without chords.

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