Whatever the time of year it is in youth ministry there is always a need to have some youth group games you can pull out at a moments notice. One of my all time favorite youth group games is one I call “Identity Crisis”. You can pull this out in a pinch or plan for it during a retreat. The game can take 30 plus minutes each round depending on how creative and into bluffing the youth are.
In Identity Crisis the group competes in teams of at least three, but also individually. Each person secretly creates a new identity that is readily known by the group. This new identity can be a celebrity, cartoon character, historic figure, even an inanimate object. The groups then work together to guess the identities of the other teams members. When they guess a correct identity that person joins the team the identified them. The team that can collects all the players is the winning team. There is also bonus points for the persons or person that survived to the very end.
What You Need:
- Big enough area to give space between at least three groupings of your youth group
- Small sheets of paper (torn up copy paper works just fine)
How to Play:
- Break the group up into the competing groups. Try to be of equal numbers. 3 or 4 competing groups is just enough.
- Introduce the game of Identity Crisis
- Stress that each individual is to come up with some alter-ego, other persona. But DO NOT tell others what that is
- Write their new identity onto the small piece of paper. again DO NOT tell others
- You collect all the pieces of paper and shuffle them up
- Once all the identities have been turned in you instruct them that you will read through all the identities 2x, and two times only.
- The group must remember as many identities as they can
- When it is the groups turn they will call to someone on another team by name and then ask if they are a specific identity, “Gavin, are you Super Man?”
- That person either indicates whether they are ore not that identity
- If a group guesses right, then that person joins the team that guessed them
- Once a team has correctly guessed a NEW identity, they can add to their team by correctly guessing people have already been figured out. (This is fun as whole groups of people start moving around)
- This process continues till you get to the end and one group wins.
- Youth do not want to share their ‘identity’ with their teammates because if someone gets found out then they can tell their new team who you are. It is much more fun to see if you can last to the end of the game.
- Sometimes you have to allow your team to make a wrong guess so that you don’t out yourself and your identity. If you are slick you can persuade your team to change guesses without outing yourself.
- Keys are to try and remember all the identities. The identities that can be ‘forgettable’ always tend to last to the end of the game.
Make it a Devotion:
If you wanted to make this into a devotional then you can read from Mark 8: 27-30 and talk about 1. the nature of Christ and who he is 2. how youth need to, and long to, know who they are. Erikson’s life stage for teenagers at this age is to establish their identity.
- What are the things that makes Jesus the Christ?
- How did people feel towards him?
- Who / What were the shaping people / factors of who Jesus is?
- What are the things that make us Us?
- Who / What are influential in shaping us?
- Does the world identify us by what we do or who we are? Is there a difference?
I’ve been playing this game for more than a decade and it never fails. It might take a round for youth to gather the concept and all the elements of bluff and strategy, but once they do you might have a hard time stopping it.