Use an Urban Scavenger Hunt to Help Your Teams Fall in Love with Your Ministry

I came across this article by Alec Appelbaum about his family's tradition of an annual Christmas Eve scavenger hunt.

Photo by   N.   on   Unsplash

Photo by N. on Unsplash

The hunts began four years ago, on Christmas Eve, when our kids were seven and three… we could task the kids with a scavenger hunt for things we sometimes forget to notice. I wrote a list of such things—a cat in a store window, a takeout coffee cup—and then realized that they would remember the whole episode more proudly if they also had to talk to people who keep the city running. So I added autographs they had to get, via questions that pose no tricks or teases. The scavenger hunt is a mission to look more deeply and talk more openly.

This got me to thinking that this is a fantastic idea for you to use with your teams. You can send your students out to talk to the people in your outreach location. Give them a list of things to find that will help them to experience the place and the people.

Appelbaum includes these tips:

Here are some suggestions for starting your own:

  • Use a list that mixes conversation with observation and orientation. I like to include a few gimmes—things like a bank branch or a vacant lot—along with storefronts or parks with unusual spellings or striking scenery. Mix these with autographs from people you’ll likely actually meet (public servants, baristas, dog walkers, whatever) and the hunt picks up its rhythm.
  • Go where people aren’t driving. Walk around. Cross zones or borders. Go over a bridge, through a tunnel, from one side of an eight-lane to another.
  • Talk to people. And listen to them as well. If they ask why you want to know something, explain. Say please and thank you. Don’t treat them as props or ask them to fuss over you. Ban consulting screens, but accept help from people who themselves talk to Siri.
  • Gather facts from diverse people. Opinions and styles will come out anyway. You might find racism. I hope you wouldn’t, but you might. And you might find a way to zap it when you do.
  • It’s all a matter of looking in layers—the horse could be on a Budweiser truck or the awning of a bar, or a cop could be riding it. Keep looking for answers, and for input. You may end up helping someone feel appreciated, or at least helping someone engage with the day.

If you're already doing something similar in your location, please comment below and tell us about how you do.