Just after dusk, a CIY MIX conference is so quiet that any sound bounces off the buildings and echoes through the trees. Then, small clusters of middle schoolers make haste across the campus – The Outer Realm game is on!
“Mission Impossible” music follows each group of students and their leaders until suddenly they stop in their tracks at the sight of a big, green alien with a flashlight. From the darkness the alien approaches a group scrambling to get together, hold hands and be completely still. The alien shines the light over the group, looking for smiles, movement – any excuse to send them all back to home base – until finally the music sounds off into an alarming buzzer. The alien stays behind as the group makes a mad dash to reach its star and return it to home base before other aliens catch them.
“Oh my gosh that was fun,” said middle schooler Riley Peglar with beads of sweat across his brow. “I liked when we were able to run.”
Hearts are always pumping in Outer Realm games for students and youth leaders alike at CIY MIX, but some would say the most fun is had by the volunteers playing the aliens in costume. Eric Dwyer with Christian Church of Mountain Home (AR) said he had no problem volunteering for the job.
“I like to make people laugh and I knew that was part of the gig,” he said. “If you’re not having fun, if you’re not laughing, you’re missing out. I think we mistakenly think that Jesus didn’t laugh. The kids are loving every single Outer Realm game, this is blowing their minds as far as what they think of church camp. One of our students told me, ‘I’ve never sweat while worshiping.’ So this is opening their minds to even the definition of worship. It’s just been awesome.”
There are many varieties of Outer Realm games for the MIX program, and never leaves students wanting in adventure and adrenaline. It’s all part of the experience that leads to something bigger.
“I would say my favorite part of Outer Realm is being able to interact with the students,” said Jake Reed, MIX event staff member. “We get to have fun and scream and run around with them and make them feel comfortable and loved, and they can go into session knowing they can have fun here, be themselves and be who God designed them to be. They don’t have to put up their walls.”
Written by, Becca Haines
This article was previously published on the Kingdom Worker Hub – the blogsite of Christ In Youth, a partner of Controlled Chaos.