A New Twist for the Watch Night Service
The scripture says that when the Lord returns the earth will be business like usual (I’m paraphrasing of course) Try pausing your January first activities for a silent moment and opening all the doors and windows in the place that you meet. Allow the youth to hear the sounds of partying in the area and let them consider momentarily what it will be like when the Lord returns. Read Matthew 24:38 Have students discuss what they think it would be like if the Lord were to return this night. Have student in the group pray from friends or relatives that do not yet know the Lord.
Encourage Teens about the kind of difference they are making by living for Jesus.
In some parts of the world the Christmas time is accompanied with shorter hours of day light. In this dark time some kids can get depressed.
To encourage youth at this time run a night that plays with the theme of light. Base the whole night on John 1:1-9 and Matthew 5:14.
The setting of the room all evening should be darkness with only minimal light provided from the time they enter. If your group always does games to start, do games in the dark with flashlights etc. (you can find some of these on EGAD!)
If your group normally does an extended time of worship you can keep the audience in darkness with only light on the leader. Songs should be themed along the lines of light and darkness.
(You will need a string of chrismas lights and you can put it in the shape of a cross if you want)
For your message/devotional or sharing time, you should lower all the lights except one for your bible to read the passages.
Have students respond to the question: “What is the problem with darkness?”
Have students discuss moral darkness in the world and how it is like the absence of light.
Give each student a light bulb and have them share how they can be a light in the darkness of this world. After they have shared they need to screw the bulb into a socket on the christmas light set. With each bulb the room will become brighter. After the last bulb is inserted, the students can lead out in prayer or the leader could pray that by being plugged into Jesus we can shine the light and make a difference in the world.
A variation on this is to have the christmas lights lit and have each student take one bulb away. Students can be shown that with each student who removes their light the place becomes a little darker. Students can be shown that they matter to the group and they matter to the work of God in the world.
You have to have a brave group to try this but it is a blast if it is done right!
As fun affirmation activity, students substitute one of the parts of the song the 12 Days of Christmas. They are to make the gift in the song to be something that they would love to give the group or one member in the group. For example they could sing “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me “a pizza topped with pepperoni” – This may get tricky so you could assign numbers to the first 12 people brave enough to participate. Leaders could help younger youth who may struggle with this.
When the group members know each other if can be a fun way to recognize the interests of the students in the group.
Some teens are really into top ten countdowns on tv or the radio. We tried a countdown of favorite songs for youth worship. For groups that are really into worship, there are songs that they love to sing. Worship leaders can take this into consideration and have an extended evening given to first discovering what are the ten favorite songs for a group and then leading the group in those songs that evening. If you want to turn this into a whole meeting why not have students assigned to read short verses as and introduction to some of the songs. If PowerPoint is being used, a count down from 10 to 1, with 1 being the top rated song for your group can be used that evening.
Team Building Excercise for leaders or teens.
This activity is designed to help students or leaders appreciate the importance of working as a team.
Synopsis: A student or leader goes and hides while another activity is running. Those participating are told that the person is hurt and requires emergency medical attention (without calling 911!) Teams must treat the person and move them to safety. Discussion afterward focuses on the importance of each team member and their contribution to the team.
Have the students involved in an active game. Choose one from Egad! their are tons of them! While the game is playing send a student or a leader out discretely. After about ten minutes stop the game and say, “Wait some one is missing!”
At that point instructions are given that the “man down” has a spinal injury and must be moved on a solid object back to the meeting room. The group will fan out and then find the missing person. The activity can be timed, with the instruction that the area is filling with poisonous gas. Another twist can be that members of the team going out to get them have also been given injuries and others have to compensate. If you have a larger group send out more injured people that need to be brought back to the room
1. When did you notice that someone was missing?
2. How did you feel when you were looking for the injured person?
3. What has this experience taught you about team work?
4. How can we improve ourselves as a team?
A time to look at scripture concerning the parts of the body would be good to focus on the meaning of the experience.