Written by Mike Sheley

As summer arrives, we often hear high school graduates reminiscing about their younger days – sometimes just a few years ago in junior high! What if we took this phenomena and turned it into a game for our ministries?!

Culturally, we have “throwback Thursdays” which can be just a week or so ago for our students although it is usually years or decades ago for us.

Combine this with our junior highers love to have fun and are sometimes a little embarrassed about what they used to do and like just a few years ago. Yet when they find out someone has that common interest or history, they become good friends!

We’ll mix all this together in a blender and come up with a game that has all the flexibility of your best summer smoothie maker!

This game also includes a devotion on “growing in your faith” based on Luke 2:52.

JUNIOR HIGH GAME: SUMMER MIX UP

DOWNLOAD PDF OF THIS GAME

Supplies:

1. Index Cards

2. Pens/Pencils

Preparation:

Brainstorm with your leaders some great ideas for things students loved when they were younger. For our purposes, anything 3rd grade or younger is on the table! Just think through general topics here like tv shows, movies, games and music not specific examples, although they will probably come up in the process.

Game

  • Tell students  you are going to be playing a game, but it requires that they think back to when they were in 3rd grade or younger.
  • Give each student an index card.
  • They are to write down 3-5 favorites from when they were a kid. This can be tv shows, movies, games, songs, musical artists, hobbies, etc. But don’t show anyone.
  • Now, have them take a second index card and pick one of their items from the first list to write on the second card.
  • On this card, they are to list three details about that item. It can be song lyrics, clothing style, etc.
  • Finally, they turn all the cards in to you.

Option 1: Reverse Charades

  • Using one card at a time, have one student stand in front of the group.
  • Have someone else project a word behind that student onto a screen or write it on a erase board so all the other students can see it.
  • They have 60 seconds to try to get that person to guess the word or phrase.
  • (If this does not go well, allow it to be teams of 2-3 people doing the guessing).
  • Award 10 points for every word that person/team gets correct.
  • Most points wins!

Option 2: Details

  • Bring a student or team of 2-3 students in front of the group.
  • Tell them the one memory.
  • They have to try and guess the 3 specific items listed on the card.
  • Like baseball, after 3 wrong guesses, they are out.
  • They get 5 points for every correct guess.
  • Alternate teams. Team with the most points wins.

Option 3: Culture Shock

  • Do the prep work listed above, but add one more step. Have your leaders answer this question from when they were junior highers!
  • In this version, the leaders have to try to guess the items from the student cards and the students guess the items from the adult cards.
  • You can do this via the reverse charades game. If you do, the ones who wrote the cards are the ones acting while the other team is guessing.
  • You can do this via the details where one person or two people from a team are on stage trying to guess the clues from their own deck. If that’s too easy, then make them guess from the other team’s deck of cards.

Devotion:

No matter how old we are, it is fun to think back and remember what we enjoyed when we were younger. However, it can be easy to let our faith be that way. It can be just a collection of Bible stories we heard as kids or songs we sang as children. That’s not God’s ideal plan for us. He wants to be like Jesus. That means not just growing physically, but also in maturity. Look at this verse.

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
(Luke 2:52 NLTse)

Jesus took the knowledge he had and put it into practice. That’s wisdom! The more you know, the more you are responsible for. The same is true for us. How much have you increased putting what you know into practice as you have gotten older? How much time have you spent reading the Bible since you can understand so much more now than when you were a kid?

As children get older, you can see characteristics in how they think, act and talk that have been shaped by their parents. If we were to ask your friends about your actions, thoughts and words, would they say they could tell you have been spending time with Jesus? Have you “grown in favor with God”?

And what about people? Do you too easily catch yourself making fun of younger kids for things that you enjoyed doing when you were their age? Have you already forgotten what it was like to be a preteen? Or what about those older than you? As you have grown up, have you grown in your respect for others? Would they say you have “grown in favor with all the people?” This is not about popularity or going along with the crowd. This is about respect.

It’s always fun to think back and enjoy memories from when we were younger. But when it comes to our faith, let’s make sure that we are growing and moving beyond those memories so that as junior highers, we don’t have a preschool-sized faith!

DOWNLOAD PDF OF THIS GAME

If you liked this game, check out this one:

Life-Sized Connect 4

BubbleMikeMike is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he oversees their ministries for 5th-8th graders.  He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 16 years with most of that time focused on preteens and junior highers.


Photo by Pop H and used under a Creative Commons License from https://flic.kr/p/FxHiij