In the Trenches
With the Super Bowl fast approaching, there are a few things we can count on:
1. Cowboys fans are left thinking next year is our year (finally).
2. Patriots fans getting ready to cheer their team on, or claiming they needed a break from the Super Bowl.
3. Youth Ministers’ mental wheels are turning trying to plan the big party.
I have been in youth ministry long enough that I remember when, as a church, we had to invite people to our “Big Game” party, because we were infringing on the NFL. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore.
But one thing I do know, from having done Super Bowl parties over the years: there are a few key elements that make a great party. Here are my two cents.
- Embrace the Variety – I know this may not come as a surprise, but the focus of the game is not always the game. The commercials are a draw for some, whereas you will have other people show up just for the fellowship and time together. That’s okay, embrace the variety.
- Keep the Atmosphere Engaging – I have done parties at a house with a pool table, so we had an 8 Ball tournament running concurrently with the game. We have asked students to predict scores quarter by quarter before the game starts, and given away a candy bar to the student who is the closest after each quarter, and a little bigger prize for the winning prediction. Have some board games at a table toward the back of the room. Whatever you can do to keep the atmosphere engaging is almost always a win.
- Great Snacks – What good is a Super Bowl party with out great snacks? I don’t know about you, but there are a few people in our church who do a great job with snacks, so be sure to ask them to join or to just bring a snack. One of my favorite Super Bowl memories is making stuffed jalapeño’s with a kid before everyone showed up. We had a blast prepping food, and even more fun eating it! Don’t forget…Of course creativity counts, but taste matters. Don’t show up with a football shaped platter of vegetables without dip (except this year, as I’m trying to watch what I eat).
- Find Resources – Here are two Super Bowl resources I think you should at least be aware of:
- Jonathan McKee’s Super Bowl Quiz – this is great for the kids who show up and haven’t watched a snap of football all year. It takes some attention on your part, but something to definitely consider! He will usually post about the week of the big game.
- Football Sunday – Whether you use this as an alternative to half time, or find another time to show it, it’s worth checking out!
Finally, one of the questions that comes up the most: Do I give a devotion or not? The answer is up to you, but here’s my suggestion: If you do, keep it short and pause the game. You can resume the feed after your devotion, and use the random local car dealer commercials as a chance to make up lost time. But those commercials don’t come until around the end of halftime and the slow part of the 3rd quarter. You’re not going to recover 10 minutes.
The bottom line for all of this, though, is to have fun. Enjoy time together, and be gracious to the kid rooting for the team that’s losing–they’re emotionally invested and that’s okay.