The other day I was thinking about our High School guy’s small group ministry. We have a lot of fun, particularly in the form of beating each other black and blue. But I can’t say that I’ve created a really good faith-based experience. I’ve tried a couple of promising studies (ie. The Gospel according to The Simpsons ) but every time I bring a book into the room the guy’s eyes glaze over and their tongues unroll. It’s more like Zombie school than Sunday School.
Rick Bundschuh once offered a little insight. “Most curriculum is written – or edited – by women. And most women think very differently from men.” Bundschuh went on to describe a seminar where the leader asked the people in the room to describe their day using a color. The women in the room found the task easy and enjoyable. Their days were mauve or peach or kiwi, amber or blush. The guys on the other hand were “huh? A color? I guess it would have to be blue because that’s the only color I can think of.”
Most curriculum is designed around two goals. The first goal is to drive home some bit of knowledge. The second goal is to generate discussion. Asking a group of women what color the day was is something that works. By and large most women enjoy discussion and the question simply provides a framework. Guys on the other hand are more likely to be energized by a challenge. Who can think of the most names for the color blue? The person who succeeds is 1) the winner and 2) recognized as having a special power and a special place in the group.
All this got me thinking. If guys (on the whole) aren’t motivated by learning information and aren’t interested in discussion for the sake of talking then how do I get more Bible knowledge into the group? Well, let’s rephrase that. Guys are motivated by learning new skills and they are interested in a challenge. They want to compare themselves to other guys and see how they stack up. They want to discover their own unique “super powers.”
And then I had an idea. What if, instead of another small group study we rolled out something entirely different. What if Thursday night Guy’s Group wasn’t centered on a study guide, but was based on a game?