Lead your young people in a directed prayer. Tell them to pray silently each time you pause during the prayer. Say: “Thank you God for newness in our lives, such as new friends, or this new spring season, or another situation we’ll silently name. (Pause) Be with these friends we’ll silently name who need to know the newness of the Christian life, (Pause). Please help us renew our personal commitment to you (Pause). Thank you God for being with us when we feel unlovely and not so new. (Pause)” — Conclude by reading “The One who was sitting in the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this because these words are true and can be trusted.” (Rev 21:5)
Give all youth in your group a divided notebook. In this notebook ask each youth to write each day what his or her prayer needs are and what date they prayed for them. In the back section of the notebook have them record what date God answered their prayers.
D.U.T.Y Prayer Ministry
Prayer is an essential tool in the growth and development of any ministry. D.U.T.Y simply stands for “Devoted Undividedly To Youth” It is a prayer ministry that will effective the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well0being of the group. Select 10-12 people who you know are willing to support your young people in prayer. Following the selection of your core prayer warriors/leaders, Assign each of them three focused prayer points (ex. love, kindness, self-control, God’s word, etc.) and a name of one of the kids in your group (depending on how many is in your group) and ask them to devote themselves in praying these various prayer points into their lives. It is a great way to cover your youth group in prayer. As well, I would encourage you to let your young people know who is praying for them. It is also a good way to slowly transition into a mentoring program.
On our retreats, we have prayer partners. They are similar to Secret Santas. Have one of the youth leaders write all the names of the people attending the retreat, and place them in a hat. The attendants then draw a name out of the hat. They are not allowed to show anyone the name, or trade names. (they may ask a leader who the person is if they don’t know.)
They are supposed to write letters to the person whom they chose throughout the weekend. The letters are to be nice things only!! They are also to stay anonymous (they reveal who they had picked at the end of the weekend in a prayer service). We have always made envelopes before we explain prayer partners. Simply take a manilla envelope and supply campers with markers to write their names. They can draw anything else as well. Then, throughout the weekend, they can receive letters anonymously from their prayer partners and letters from friends as well.
I have found that this is one of the best experiences on retreats, as it is something you can take home with you. Whenever I get down, I look at the nice letters people wrote me. =)
I came up with this idea after reading Proverbs. Proverbs 3:3-4 says:
“3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man”
So what I did was go to Wal-mart , in the craft section and buy different colors and styles of letter beads, I purchaced some different Christian charms and cool colored beads to spice them up.
We began by doing a short study on mercy and truth and ended on Proverbs 3:3-4. I then explained that we were going to literaly, bind truth and mercy around our necks with some necklaces we were going to make. The only requirement was the beads had to spell out mercy and truth. The rest of the creative proccess was up to them.
And for the part of the scripture that says “Write them on the tablets of your heart”. I made a contest out of who could find, and memorize the most scripture dealing with mercy and truth. This insures the kids are studying the word and helps them to “Write them in there heart” And the winner next youth group, would win a cool prize.
The youth had a ball making there mercy and truth necklaces and really studied the scriptures to find and memorize the most verses to win the prize. And most of my kids still are wearing there necklaces because they have found that they are excellent witnessing tools at school.
(The least amount of people that know about this, the better the outcome will be!)
This game can get pretty intense, so you might need to modify it before playing. It works well with a lot of people. You start out with 14 people on stage, (one of them will be you) or wherever you can see them well. One of them will represent Jesus, and the other 12 will represent the disciples. You will explain this to the audience. You will also explain the great commission as described in Matt. 28:19-20. The 12 disciples will be “saved” by using the ABC method (Admit, Believe, Confess).
That is the easy part, here comes the fun part. You will have Jesus “commission” his disciples to go and tell everyone about him, leading them to him using the same ABC method. So your disciples will actually go into your audience and begin to do this. Also, anyone that is “saved” will also begin to get up and start to share. They will probably start going about it very slowly, taking their time.
What they don’t know is that every 30 sec. to a min. there will be “news” coming in of various tragedies – car accidents, floods, etc.. you can decide. When the “news” comes in (you can either use a screen and video projector, or someone can come in saying “Extra extra…) anyway, with each news story, people in your audience will “die” with or without Christ. This happens by saying something like- “A tornado just swept through ______ and all of you that are wearing a watch just died.” You can change the scenarios up to fit your audience, but more and more people will “die”. Soon, people will figure this out, a sense of urgency will begin to set in. You might even see some people get out of their seats and try to run and find someone to “lead them to Christ”. To keep order, tell your audience that they need to stay in their seats until someone can get to them.
As far as the people that “die” are concerned, anyone that dies w/o Jesus will be sent to an alternate location which will become known as “hell”. You can even decorate this room appropriately and have some costumed “demons” waiting for them to make sure that there is no fun or talking in Hell. For those who died with Christ, you can do the same, only take them to heaven. To end the game, let the “Rapture” occur and bring everyone back into the main room. Then you can explain to them that it is our job to tell people about Jesus. People die every day without him, and we should be using every opportunity to share Jesus with someone.
Have the youth bring a small compact mirror to a bible study. Have them read scriptures that remind them of how Christ loves each of us. When they are finished reading, have them place the mirror in front of them and ask if they see the love of Christ coming through their faces. This can lead to a wonderful time of exploring how we can develop a personality that reflects Christ to others through our dress, actions, and comments.
This may sound odd, but it was a very powerful activity. If your church has access to a graveyard, take senior high kids, I wouldn’t suggest any younger, and explore death. Have the kids just walk through the cemetery and look at the headstones. If any kids have people of special meaning to them buried there, encourage them to look for that person’s grave. See if they can find the oldest, newest, and a person close to their age that is buried there. Remind them that this is holy ground and to be very respectful. Gather in a large group and listen to some relaxing music. (we used Titanic) Before you start the music, ask the kids to think about the graves they saw, how it made them feel, and encourage them to share their thoughts about death. Explain to them that although it’s a scary topic, it’s something that affects all of us, and those around us. Then go around the group for sharing. When everyone is done talking, sum up the feeling of the group and feel free to add any scripture verses you feel are applicable. As I said in the beginning, it sounds very morbid, but many in our youth group were seen with tears rolling down their faces, and it was a great group strengthener. We did this 5 days before Halloween, and went in the dark, so we had flashlights. I think that doing it in the dark was a powerful thing, and even though we were in a group, helped make it a more personal event because you couldn’t really see other people’s faces.
For a suped-up version of Relay Pictionary:
Have teams of 4-6 players. Line long tables with white butcher paper, and give a handful of crayons to each team. Position yourself in a neutral place in the room. At “Go!” one player for each team comes and gets the first word from you and goes back to their team to draw it. Whoever guesses the word then comes and tells you and you give them the next word, and so on. Like regular pictionary there is no talking, letters, or numbers. I have a list of 100 items. This has become an epidemic among not only the youth but some of the adults too. If you would like the list that I have made just let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org. BE CAREFUL! This can get to be a bit roudy. Save the art work and hang it in your youth room for a few weeks. They love to look at it.
Split your youth up into partners of two… Try to pair up two people that may not know each other too well. Then have each one of them take two rubber bands (than need to be thick ones) and a sharpie and write on both rubber bands two to three things that you struggle with. Then place one on your wrist and give the other one to your partner to place on their wrist. This way anytime you struggle with it you just look at the band and pray and it will remind your partner to pray for you as well. Our youth missions team did this over a month ago and we have seen that it makes us stronger as a group and helps us be better Christians. You can also do the same thing by making a rubber band with all the names of the people in a group that may be a small bible study, etc. to also remind you to pray for each other.