March 25, 2022

Games Without Borders

Virtual event allows teens from across Europe to connect and play together.

Krõõt Lobus and Linda Schwartz, with Trans-European Division News

Passionate about seeing a younger generation flourish in church life, several youth leaders from across Europe are collaborating to reach teens ages 13 to 16. As the result of many brainstorming sessions, a new idea was born. “Games Without Borders” is 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.

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“Loving the forgotten,” a beautiful message shared by the teen group in Bosnia [Photo: courtesy of Krõõt Lobus and Linda Schwartz /Adventist Media Exchange CC BY 4.0]

On March 5, 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 — organized locally by each church — followed by a devotion led by Derek Simon. The evening then quickly turned into a fun set of challenges filled with both physical and digital activities.

The quiz was one of the favorite games of the event. Using prerecorded videos of the countries that make up the Trans-European Division (TED), the quiz challenged teens’ general knowledge of these countries. There was also a Lego challenge, organized by the youth in Denmark; a sauna challenge, organized by the young people from Finland; and, of course, the IKEA challenge, organized by the Sweden teen group.

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Some of the Adventist teens who participated from Sweden [Photo: courtesy of Krõõt Lobus and Linda Schwartz /Adventist Media Exchange CC BY 4.0]

At the end of the event, participants were allowed to vote online for their favorite 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,” organizers 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.

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.