21 March 2022 | Ekebyholm, Sweden [Krõõt Lobus and Linda Schwartz with tedNEWS]
Several youth leaders from across Europe, passionate about seeing a younger generation flourish in church life, are collaborating to reach teens aged 13 to 16. As the result of many brainstorming sessions, a new idea was born, Games Without Boarders, a virtual event that allowed teens from across Europe to meet and play together, while still enjoying the company of their local church friends.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, many church groups were not able to meet regularly. This led to teens “disappearing” from the church scene and left youth leaders feeling discouraged. Games Without Borders supported these local church groups and their leaders by connecting them with the global church, allowing teens to experience a virtual event in real time with other groups from across the continent.
On Saturday 5th March local church groups logged into the Games Without Borders event, hosted via Zoom by Benjamin Summerscales and Magda Niewolik from Sweden. The event began with shared food – organised locally by each church – and flowed by a devotion led by Pastor Derek Simon. The night then quickly turned into a fun set of challenges filled with both physical and digital activities.
The Quiz was one of the favourite games of the event. Using pre-recorded videos of the countries that form the Trans-European Division (TED), the quiz challenged teens’ general knowledge of these countries. There was also a Lego challenge, organised by the youth in Denmark, a sauna challenge, organised by the young people from Finland, and of course the IKEA challenge, organised by the Sweden teen group.
At the end of the event, the participants were allowed to vote online for their favourite team – 142 devices were logged, representing 22 teams from across Europe. The Betel teen group, from Norway, won the quiz challenge and received the best prize ever: pizza money for their next youth gathering!
The event was a success with lots of laughter and fun sprinkled with devotional thoughts at every turn. “We thank every single youth leader, technician, and teen who made this symbol of borderless unity possible,” organisers said. “We hope to repeat this event soon and look forward to welcoming even more teens and churches to our next Games Without Borders event.”