3 Ways To Create Fun Without Being Shallow

The first time I watched the movie Dumb and Dumber I didn’t laugh.

I just didn’t find it funny.  Most of you right now think I am the most unqualified person to talk about fun.  You might be right.

If it is any consolation, I laughed the second, third and fourth time I watched the movie.

We all know that youth ministry is better when there is an element of fun to it.  Students want to have fun.  Even adults want to have fun.  I do not think there is a long line up of people who want to be bored.

So with your limited non-Hollywood budget how are some ways you can create fun without being shallow?

1. Why So Serious?

You need to relax.  The Joker did say it best when he asked, “why so serious?”  You live in a high stress world.  You feel it all of the time.  You have lots of expectations placed on you.  You also feel that people can hound you all of the time.

Here is a little secret, your students are stressed out also.  They have all sorts of pressures put on them by parents, teachers and coaches.  They also have a steady stream of interruptions in their lives.

When they come to your youth ministry they want to relax.  They don’t want to be stressed.


  • They don’t want you freaking out when something goes wrong
  • Are you flexible and go with the flow
  • When running games is having fun more important then winning
  • If a mistake is made is grace the first thing the student receives


2. Is That The Real You?

Can students be themselves?  Or do you put pressure on them to act a certain way?  This is a key part of fun.  Students are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit.  I remember when I was a student how much mental energy I spent on what “group” I wanted to be a part of.

Do you allow the cool kids to be cool, the skaters to skate, the jocks to play sports, the nerds to be nerdy?

What I am asking is, can students be themselves?  Is there a feeling that they can be real and you are real?


3. Do You Know Me Or Care About Me?

“Being Relational” has to be one of the most used statements in youth ministry.  No matter how over used it is, it is still important. Do you truly care about your students?  My fear is that we just want a crowd.  What we need is a place where students can strengthen friendships and make new ones.

Students find fun in hanging out with each other and with caring adults.

  • Do leaders know students by name
  • Group building is purposing included in programs
  • Leaders care for and know a small amount of students in the larger group

 So, these are my thoughts but you have great ideas that can help us all.  What are some ways to create fun without being shallow?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.