The Middle Years Ministry

THE MIDDLE YEARS MINISTRY is a Site Dedicated to Providing Resources, Ideas, and Help to Next Generation Pastors, Leader, Directors, Teachers, Mentors. Our goal is to MEET YOU in the MIDDLE in the Middle Years
, the Pivotal 5th-9th Grade Years. The middle ground between children’s ministry and high school ministry. The age where 85% of people make their final life-long faith decisions.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Go Team Go!!! Youth Group Mascots

This may seem a bit strange at first and you might even dismiss this out right but hopefully not.  Do not get the idea in your head of a leader dressed up in a animal costume (refer to video at the bottom).  I am not talking about that kind of mascot...unless you really think that would work for your group??

I am talking about find something to give your group a sense of community and connection while having what we call in our ministry "ran-dumb" fun.  Your mascot can be based on lesson or theme for the year, like "Skully" the skeleton above.  He became our mascot for this year's youth group year unintentionally after a lesson in the beginning of the year.  I used him in talk about the "Body of Christ" and he just never left.  I actually now have used him in a couple different ways in other lessons, announcements, games, activities and even theme night.  He has ended up getting dressed up for the holidays, with various t-shirts after retreats, or with "lost & found".

Over the years we have had various different mascots for various things. They have become part of the group and even have showed up on t-shirts and in publication designs.  Here are just few of the ones over the years:

- Sammy: the Surge Jr. High Squirrel: a small stuffed animal squirrel.  Our students made or bought him clothes and jewelry.  We did Sammy squirrel games, Sammy's Video Awards of the greatest squirrel movie clips of all time.  His silhouette actually was hidden through out lesson books and even on t-shirts. He even showed up in most of our group pictures at events and trips for the year.

- Tom the Tire: our spare tire in one of your vans on a mission trip.  He went to the beach, to the mall and we even tried to take him into a restaurant. He showed up in our group photos and we actually even had a mini-photo scavenger hunt challenge where we would took him and tried to get "ran-dumb" photos of him in different places.

- Sponge Bob: yep, that one.  We had a stuffed Sponge Bob that had removable square pants that exposed his square underwear.  He was part of a JH camp week theme called "Soaking Up the Sun"...get it he is a sponge!?  He then became a part of other events and trips the rest or the summer for both Jr. High AND Sr. High.

- My Children:  Sorry you can't have them, you will just have to make your own.  My kids are currently 4 and 7 and they have become little youth group mascots on and off over the years.  My students carry them around and include them in on things.  When they are not in their own ministries in our church they are the "little mascots" for our ministry.  Similar to I am sure many of you, we work hard to ministry as a family. It is so important for students to see a healthy happy complete family (previous post: 10 Reasons Why Your Wife Should Be Involved

Here is the bottom line, it is all about fun and creating community. Students love to feel like they are part of something, that is why we do youth group names and logos.  That is even why sports teams and their schools have mascots.  Why not have some fun with it and find something that can become your group's mascot.  Go over the top with it and make it a BIG cheesy, ran-dumb deal.    JH/MS students are still in that stage of life where something like this can really be a blast, but also they are search for IDENTITY and BELONGING. This might just be a way to give them a little of both with a twist?

NOT THIS!! :-)

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