from the mailbag: college ministry retreat fun!

I fairly regularly get GREAT college ministry questions via Facebook. I figure that others might have the same questions, so occasionally I post my answers here! Plus, it gives me and everybody the chance to learn from each other!

This week, I got a question from a college ministry buddy, Christi Brazile, who helps lead a big campus ministry at the University of Texas at Arlington. If you have anything to add to my list, please do! But remember: Ideas are only good when they help us reach our specific purposes!

Question: Do you know of any fun activities for retreat? Last year I had them break into groups and choreograph a dance to random songs of of all genres. It was a big hit. I need to top that for this year. Have you seen any groups do anything super fun at retreats? [I asked about their purpose for this activity.] The purpose is for fun. Hopefully, the most fun they have ever had!

Answer: Here are the thoughts that come to mind whether I’ve seen ministries use them or not, and maybe you can find something that either fits or springboards you to something even better!

  • making up skits together
  • Mafia (the card game – I love this one in college ministry, and I’ve always wanted to do this on a BIG scale)
  • a giant board game relay event
  • Underground Church or some largescale capture-the-flag (or something like that), using any sort of weaponry (like water balloons, water guns, flashlights, etc.)
  • scavenger hunt
  • treasure hunt (with actual things actually buried)
  • that trading scavenger hunt where people start with a pencil and end up with a car (if you’re going to be in a town of some sort)
  • Office Olympics (like on the Office, or some other variety of Olympic sports)
  • Fear Factor
  • Minute-to-Win-It (that’s SUPER easy and very timely)
  • Assassins (everybody gets a name and has to “kill” their person during the weekend, at which point they get that name, and on and on – you can certainly call it something else)
  • Bible Drill (just kidding)

New ideas (since I first wrote my answer):

  • Bring in an improv troupe or other comedy team / comedian (A great improv troupe in the DFW area that actually performs regularly in a college ministry setting is Curtis Needs a Ride*)
  • Dance party
  • A themed mixer (luau, 80s night, western, etc.)
  • A unique service project (yes, for Millennials this may be a really fun activity)
  • Speed-meeting (like speed-dating, but for fellowship purposes – could be done one-on-one or in larger groups. Also great on the bus ride to the retreat.)
  • Dodgeball and other everybody-can-play games
  • Video game tournament (but with fun games like Mario Kart, Wii stuff, etc.)
  • Campus golf (doesn’t have to actually be on a college campus – just pick “holes” and use tennis balls instead of golf balls)
  • Scary hayrides or other country adventures (like trekking into the woods) – especially great if you have a bunch of city kids

*yes, I happen to be related to a couple of the CNAR members. But I wouldn’t endorse them if they weren’t actually awesome. They’re great.

What other ideas can you add to this list?


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  1. Bob W

    Great ideas, Benson. I was listening to a podcast recently that mentioned doing slip ‘n slide kickball, which I really want to try at our fall retreat this year.

  2. David

    We tried the slip and slide kickball and it was awesome. The students got into it. Also did human bowling which is giant pins with students as the ball and a slip and slide as the lane. Good times. Oh and blind volley ball was a hit too. Tarp over a net and whatever comes over you gotta catch. (raw chicken, squid, watermelon, ect)

  3. PC

    I really like the golf (with tennis balls) idea. It strikes me as something to do throughout the year when you visit the campus. Tweet where you are starting, and have students meet you as their class schedule allows. There is a small phenomenon here in Sacramento, where hipsters were getting cheap goodwill golf clubs and those practice whiffle-type golf balls and playing “Urban Golf”. This is something you could do on campus from time to time.

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