One of my favorite things about great television shows is the cast has a central location where they meet and hang out. Central Perk (Friends), Malaren’s (How I Met Your Mother), Monk’s Cafe (Seinfeld), and Cheers (well Cheers of course) are where everybody knows your name and you can get a bite to eat or your favorite brew. The location is predictable, the people around the table are like family, and the conversations flow as freely as the coffee in their cups (that is what I meant by brew if you were wondering).
In all my travel for Life Teen I have discovered that most Core Teams have their own “Central Perk” and after every Life Night you can guarantee they are there to pray, eat, laugh, share their week or just listen to the people they love surrounding them. What we love about this community time is just that, community. Sure we might be hungry after Life Night, but is it really the best idea to eat a full meal at 9:00 pm?
What could a Core Team do to still create community time that doesn’t involve eating or drinking? Here are a few fun ideas to do prior to, or following a Life Night, or any other random night to build a strong Core family.
- Bonfire – If you live by the beach or have a bonfire pit in your backyard, spend some time just hanging out and catching up with one another at the end of the night.
- Board Game Night – Simple, easy and FREE. Pick a new board game each month and play it with one another for about an hour at the end of the night.
- Homeless Outreach – make some PB & J’s and head out to an area where you know there are homeless people in need to pass out sandwiches, supplies, and water.
- Holy Half-Hour – Take 30 minute to an hour to be in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. A core that prays together stays together.
- Rosary Walk – If you have a prayer garden or a local park that is safe, invite Core Members 2-by-2 to take a Rosary Walk together praying a Mystery of the Rosary.
- Bocce Ball Tournament – All you need is a grassy area and a bocce ball set and you have hours of entertainment fun. Break Core Members into teams to make it a friendly competition.
- Corn-hole Tournament – You don’t even need an official core hole board and beanbag set to improvise this game, but it helps. Don’t know what corn hole is? It’s basically a skilled game of beanbag that is a ton of fun.
- Parking Lot Dance Party – This comes from my friends in Vancouver who when their “Cheers” was closed for the night had to come up with Plan B. They turned up the music and we had a Disco dance party in the parking lot.
- Praise and Worship Jam Session – Grab whatever instrument your Core plays, maybe even gather some band members and start jamming to praise and worship songs. My Core Team would do this every Thursday night and it was one of the best ways to grow in fellowship while working out the kinks on some new music for Life Teen.
- Bible Study – Take 20-30 minutes at the close of the night to reflect on the Sunday Gospel for the week coming up. Share what the Word of God is speaking to you.
- Scavenger Hunt – Give out clues and plan out a scavenger hunt for your Core Team where they visit different homes (where they are affirmed by parishioners) and landmarks around town to pick up their next clue. End your version of “Amazing Race” with some amazing grace at your church for some adoration.
These are just a few ideas that youth ministers have given me and I have created off the top of my head (or tried out with my Core Team). The idea is get creative and have fun as a Core Team doing new things. The second your community time becomes predictable, more than likely your Life Nights will become predictable so shake it up with a few of these ideas.
If you have other ideas, please post them in the comments section so we can ensure vibrant Core Teams all year long.