This idea is actually from the pastor of the church I work for, named Jürgen Schmidt.
Hand out three small strips of paper (equal length) to each of the youth. Then have them write one person or thing that is the most important to them on each piece of paper(they can come up with anything – Mom, house, computer, friends – as long as it is physical in nature. No writing of God or Jesus, for example.).
Then they must hold all 3 pieces of paper in their hands like holding a deck of playing cards. The MC explains that the youth workers represent death and death is going to come and take away one of their pieces of paper randomly. Have the workers do so. Then ask the youth what they lost.
They will probably expect the exercise to be over, but then say that death keeps on coming back. Have the workers take a second of their pieces of paper. Ask what they still have left. Of course, the youth will be clinging on to their last piece of paper very tightly. It is at this point that you have death come around a last time and take what’s left from them.
The youth will have a range of emotions following this. The MC should then explain that that is what happens in life. Death eventually takes all, including our own lives. This can lead into a great discussion. But do make sure to end off with explaining how Christ’s resurrection conquered death giving us access to eternal life after death. And God’s future kingdom will eliminate death completely. Encourage them with this good news and encourage them to share it with others.
This can really be done indoor or outdoors. You need at least 15 people, but the more the better.
You will need to prepare beforehand a piece of paper for each of the youth. Write on each piece of paper:
1. A job occupation
2. A personality disposition (scheming, fastidious, mean, etc.)
3. If they are Christian or non-Christian (Important to give no more than 1/3 of the youth “Christian”)
Hand each youth a piece of paper and tell them not to show it to anyone else. The MC will say that the youth room, church building, outdoor field, or retreat center that you are at represents our city. They are all citizens of that city. They have each been given a job (or unemployment), a personality trait, and been told if they are Christian or not. For some time, they are going to live in this city. They are allowed to do whatever they want during that time. I also encourage them to think of a specific person that fits their characteristics (helps them to act like someone different) and imitate them.
Let them go to it and have the youth workers make sure no one is not participating or causing unnecessary trouble (maybe the workers can be the city police…). You’ll be amazed how creative the youth will be. After around 20-30 minutes, play a loud trumpet blast from a stereo or a real trumpet. Have everyone gather into the starting room. Separate the Christians on one side of the room and the non-Christians on the other side. Explain that Judgment Day has come. All of those who were Christians or who converted to Christianity are in Heaven. All of the rest are now in Hell.
Ask first the non-Christians why they didn’t become Christians. You will get a variety of answers. Probably some will say “No one ever told me about it,” or “How was I to know?” That is a good time then to turn to the Christians and ask them why the others are in Hell. Ask them very gently but directly if they tried to witness and why or why not.
You can end this part of the discussion explaining that we do not know the day or the hour, but one day there will be a separation of believers and unbelievers. At this point it is good to bring the two sides together and have an open discussion on what our responsibility is to persuading others to accept Jesus and how the youth can strengthen each other in doing so.
This is designed for youth groups where the majority are Christian and are for the most part timid when it comes to evangelizing.
Have the youth get into pairs. One person is person “A” and the other is person “B”. “A” then is instructed to witness to “B”, that is, to explain what it means to be a Christian or why “A” decided to be a Christian. After “A” is finished, “B” will do the same thing to “A”. You can share some of the answers that were given. Then have all the “A”‘s stand to one side and the “B”‘s to the other. Explain that “A” is going to persuade “B” (pretending to be non-Christian) to become a Christian. “B” can respond positively or negatively. “B” might be very open or “B” might be closed, but “B” at least should be open to hearing what “A” has to say. While giving “A” a couple of minutes to think of what they will say, ask “B” to try to think of a couple of questions for “A”, that is, questions about problems they have with Christianity. Ask them to base it on excuses people give for not accepting Christianity. Then let “B” and “A” go for it; “A” persuading and “B” maybe asking questions.
After a few minutes, get some feedback; what worked, what didn’t, did anyone convert, what could work better? Then divide “B”‘s and “A”‘s again, this time having the “B”‘s evangelizing the “A”‘s.
Since the group probably knows each other well, they will probably feel more comfortable doing this with each other. From the results of this exercise, you can decided what the next step is to getting them excited about sharing the Good News with friends, family, and strangers.