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Another Youth Group Devotional

Months before your youth group leaves for a mission trip, youth retreat, etc… try writing a devotion for everyday you will be gone on the trip. In the devotions write about an issue or a verse of scripture that you have been trying to get across to the group. If you talk about an issue, be sure and use a verse of scripture to enhance the idea your are trying to get across. On every day’s devotion make the opening remarks be personal (to the group as a whole or individualy). In the devotions be sure and include what God showed you through that particular devotion. Also, be sure and include a blank page with lines on it so the youth can write their responses or prayer requests or quiet time on it. Add an extra devotion so they will read it when they get back home.

At the front of the devotion book, put a cover page. Put a picture of that youth’s favorite animal, sport, christian symbol, etc…
Put the name of the youth on the front of each notebook (I found out that a small 1/2 inch three ring binder was just the right size. On the very first page of the notebook, write a letter of encouragement to that youth. Include their strengths and reasons you admire them.

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Anyone Seen the Christ Child?

Around Christmas time, the youth or church bible studies get together and make cookie bags, or any gifts of such. Then go around to your local Fire-Stations, Emergency rooms, etc., and present the gift to them, and ask them “Have You seen the Christ Child?” and share with then the story of the candy cane or the Christmas story, and share about your church’s ministries. It’s a very effective and positive outreach.

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Apes & Monkeys

Two people are designated as “apes” and are given sticks (bats, pool noodles work well, etc.) Everybody else is designated as a “monkey”. Put about 4 or 5 nerf balls into play. The apes’ goal is to hit the monkeys with the balls…when a monkey gets hit he/she is frozen. If all the monkeys are frozen the apes win and you start a new game. The monkeys’ goal is to hit an ape with a ball (the apes use their sticks as shields.) If a monkey hits an ape then they switch (ape gives stick to monkey and becomes a monkey), and all the frozen monkeys are unfrozen. Loads of fun.

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Apple / Marshmallow Bob

This game begins just like the regular bobbing for apples. However, this game adds a new twist. Immediately after bobbing for apples, the person bobs for marshmallows in a bowl of flour. You can just imagine the results. The game is quite messy so make sure the floor is covered with plastic for quick and easy clean up.

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Apple Picking

This is a fun activity that also raises money for the youth group. We have a very small youth group, so I don’t know how well it would work for larger groups.

Three weeks before we go apple-picking, we pre-sell the 5-pound bags of the types of apples we know will be available. Then, on a Saturday, we drive to the You-Pick Farm and pick apples. We buy them in 20 pound bags and also get a 10% discount for being a youth group, and then go back to the church and repack and label everyone’s order in 5 pound bags. All the old ladies of the church love the oppurtunity to have fresh apples for pies!

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Apple Pie Fundraiser

We recently had a giant fundraiser for our youth group called the Apple Pie Fundraiser. The fundraiser was to help send our teens to a youth conference. The results were amazing! We had the youth come in on a Saturday morning and make apple pies and apple crisps all morning, that alone was fun. We asked a local apple orchard if they would mind donating apples to a local church and they said yes. The grocery stores also gave us a discount on the other ingredients. Before we made the pies we advertised at church and told our relatives and friends about it. As a result of a few weeks of word to mouth advertising the youth group had already sold in total 1000 pies and crisps. We sold the pies and crisps for $5.00 each and delivered them two weeks later. The pies were uncooked so they could be frozen. In total we made $5000.00 in a day of pie making!

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Armor of God

If you have a group that tends to be rowdy, this should grab their attention while letting them get a good laugh and learn a valuable lesson. You will need a bag full of “ammo” (such as rolled up socks or foam balls), and a sheet of paper with instructions written on it. It should say something like, “Don’t listen to what (insert leader name) tells you to do. He/she will try to decieve you. Even if people around you do it, you must not listen.” Fold the instructions and give them to one of the youth in your group, telling them to read it immediately, but not to tell anyone what it says. Once he/she has read the instructions, ask for volunteers, telling them that you will give them a surprise if they volunteer (make sure you try to get the one with the instructions to come too). Pick two or three and lead them to your bag of “ammo.” Reach in, grab some ammo and begin throwing it at your volunteers. Once you stop laughing, regain control and get to the point. Ask these questions, “Why did the volunteers listen to me?” “Why didn’t (insert name of youth who had instructions) volunteer?” Have the youth who didn’t follow read the instructions he was given. Then ask, “What do the instructions represent?” Follow up by reading Ephesians 6:10-18 and a discussion about the armor of God and the importance of following God’s “instructions.

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Armor of God

This is a great illustration that you can involve your audience with. It applies to almost everyone because most kids have been around at least one of these sports. I have used if for many years speaking in front of many different types of kids and it always seems to be a hit. I played baseball in college and I currently race 4 wheelers. From both of these sports I have acquired an abundance of equipment. There are two ways that I use this illustration. The first is using my catchers gear, and the second using my motocross gear. For example:

Baseball:
Belt of Truth: Belt that holds pants up. Talk about how you have to have a true foundation in truth to be able to compete.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Chest Protector, we must live a righteous life, and people must be able to tell by looking. We also need to guard our hearts against the attacks of Satan.

Shoes of Readiness: Baseball shoes, I also include my shin guards. When a catcher is waiting in the dug out while his team is hitting he often wears his shin guards to be ready because you cannot predict what may happen. Always be prepared.

Shield of Faith: Catchers Mit. Satan can attack in small blows, but over time they add up. Anyone can catch a few balls with their bare hands, but to catch a lot may begin to hurt and cause injury.

Helmet of Salvation: Helmets are not for fun, a catcher can put everything on and go out to the plate, but the game does not start until he puts his helmet and mask on. This means business. The same is for out committment to Christ. When we choose that relationship, we are telling Christ that we are ready!

Sword of the Spirit: This would be my bat. you can’t score any runs if you are not prepared for offense. Just like you cannot win a battle if you don’t have any ammunition.

When i use my Motocross gear it is as follows:

Belt of Truth: Kidney belt, used for support of internal organs. Still a foundation of gear for a racer.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Chest Protector. Sometimes sponsors put their logos on the front for others to see. This is a good example of how we should advertise for Christ in a positive way.

Shoes of Readiness: Riding boots, designed specifically for racing to protect the rider. It is not legal to race without boots.

Shield of Faith: Goggles, gloves, knee pads, elbow protectors. All used for secondary protection against the unexpected and also for the small things like rocks that can add up in a long race.

Helmet of Salvation: My helmet. It is illegal to race without a helmet as well, this means business. you have to make a commitment to racing to actually put on the helmet and race. Anyone can put on clothing and walk around, but to put on a helmet means it’s time for battle. Much like committing your life to the Lord.

Sword of the Spirit: My 4 wheeler. Without it I am not ready to race, I can only watch. Same for the Bible. Without it, I may never be ready when i am called.

I have also used football equipment, but most people don’t keep old football gear, but if you have it just plug it in.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me. Have a great day!

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Armor of God (Ephesians 6)

For a lesson on the armor of God, get Bible Alminacs, and pictures with descriptions of war weapons and protection used in the era when Ephesians was written.
Have enough materials on hand for your group to split up and research one of each of the types of spiritual armor, and connect it historically with themselves spiritually. Begin by reading from the Bible Eph 6 :10-18, and breifly discuss.(WHEN the evil happens, not IF..etc. The idea is to help this concept to be less abstract, and for students to make important corrolations for themselves. I had at least one resource for each group, then they traded off. It would have been even better if I had slides and even more background information, but the students came up with spiritual connections which were great. After plenty of time for groups to do their fact finding, they presented each piece of spiritual armor to the group, and got feedback. Reread the passage from Ephesians, and discuss. Close with prayer asking for each person in the room to remember their armor, and why.
Some things students put together were that the shield of faith- when shields were researched, they used to be soaked in water to extinguish flaming arrows. Jesus is referred to Living Water – soak ourselves in THAT! Keeping our feet fitted with the gospel of peace- when we are on slippery surfaces, if we don’t have the right footwear on, we slip. If we stay in God’s Word, we keep ourselves spiritually stable, the stumbles are less frequent,and when we are in a forward relationship with God, we cannot be growing further and sliding spiritually….the helmet of Salvation – helmets keep our brains in if we receive a blow to the head, or have an accident – just as if we receive spiritual blows, with salvation, we know we won’t lose it- it’s a guarantee. A good swordsman never leaves his sword- he’s always ready! So should we always be ready to share Christ with others, and be ready to stand up for him. The sword is also the only weapon- everything else is defense…hmmm- makes ya think! The breastplate- with it we never need to turn our backs- with God on our side , we can face anything, because he will not turn form us. This is just some of what students came up with- good stuff with visuals, research, and discussion. This activity took about one hour.

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Army Dodgeball

it is basically a free for all dodgeball game with a twist. if someone is hit in the arm or leg they can no longer use that arm or leg until the round is over. for example if someone throws the ball at you and it hits your right leg you can no longer use that leg you have to hop around on one foot until the round is over. If they are hit on the back, stomach or head that person is “dead” or out, or if they use an appendage that they have lost in battle they are elimenated from that round. The last person standing wins the round. You can use one or more balls if you wish. This game can be played with or without teams, where as the last persson standing’s team is the winners.

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