Alamo with a twist!
All you need for this great game is a pretty big room and some gator skin balls (or balls that don’t hurt when you throw them at people!)
You put about five or six balls in the middle of the room. All participants stand around the outside line (if in a gymnasium) or touching the wall if in a regular room. When a leader yells “Alamo” the game begins. Anyone who gets a ball throws it, trying to hit others to get them out. The person who gets hit with a ball is out of the game and must sit down with legs crossed. You must remember the person who gets you out because as soon as that person is out you are back in. If the ball is thrown at a person and they catch the ball then the person who threw the ball is out. One catch though is that if you have a ball you cannot walk with it! The only way you can move with a ball is if you roll the ball on the floor. If a person is caught walking with a ball then they are out and they can not get back in. The only time that this game can be over is if the kids lose interest, or a leader says it’s time to leave.
Read Gen. 6 14- 16 about how the ark was to be built. Then on a piece of paper that was covering the table the youth had to build an ark. So they all had to work together to build the ark. Then they had to figure out how much food they would need, where the animals were going to live, where they were going to live etc. It was a fun project and the youth want to have another meeting to finish the project.
I Corinthians 12:12-31 stresses how we are all different, yet all part of one body. Bring a Mr. Potato Head to class and go through the body parts one by one asking, “Who want to be the shoe? etc.” Then take everybody to a large area, have them sit in a circle. Give each person a piece of yarn to tie to their left wrist (you may want to show them an easy knot to use) and then tie their right wrist up with the piece of string from the person to their right. Now you have a huge circle. Then say, “Alright, let’s go back into the classroom,” but don’t let them disconnect. When you finally get inside, have the group reconstruct the Mr. Potato Head. Each person that had a body part has to somehow come to the front of the class and connect his piece (all the while dragging everybody else along with him.) Then teach your lesson and don’t let them untie until class is over. This is a lot of fun. And if you can do it right, some teens may end up getting tied to someone they don’t really know to well. So this makes a great way for teens to meet and work together.
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.
Form 2 or more groups. Give each group some mousse, hair spray, a hair dryer, towel, brush, comb, and Bible. This works well on retreats since most kids already have these items with them. On newsprint, write the list of the Bible passages listed below. Have groups choose a passage, read and then decide on a hairstyle to represent it. Let them go to it! Videotaping is a good idea.
After the fun and games discuss the Bible passages by answering these questions:
“What happened in the story or verse?”
“What’s God’s message?”
“How can we apply that message to our lives today?”
Gen 11:1-9 (Tower of Babel) Ex3:1-12 (the Burning Bush) Ex 14:19-29 (the parting of the Red Sea) Judges 16:4-20 (Samson’s haircut) Song of Solomon 4:1 (Your hair is like a flock of goats) Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus blesses the little children) John 15:5 (I am the vine, you are the branches) Acts 27 (Paul is shipwrecked).
Go and buy a model car kit from Wal-Mart. Next fold Pieces of blank copy paper in half and write instructions on the front. Leave the insides of the “booklet” blank and give each youth member one. Tell them not to open them until you tell them they can. Take out the instructions to the kit and put in your pocket. Now take it to the youth and sit it on the table in front of them. Ask them to put all the pieces to their car kit together with the instructions they are given. Of course when they open their “booklets they are blank. They will look at you with confusion and some giggles. Then start the conversation with asking who could put the car together. Not many will say they could without real instructions. One will may say they probably could. That’s when you show them the real instructions. Begin to show just how many instructions come with such a small car. Then explain that going through life without reading the Bible is like trying to build that car without the right instructions. You may get the car together but will it last. You need God’s instructions on how to live a good christian life and how to make it to heaven. How can we be good Christians… if we don’t read the instructions on what God wanted us to do for us to make it into His Kingdom. You can just go from here and really get the kids thinking and talking. (another good analogy to use… You may be able to put a lawnmower together without instuctions but will it cut the grass?)
We’ve started a “P.O.P. Power of Prayer” group. We meet the second Wednesday of the month during all church committee meeting night. The objective is to have a time to get together to pray for the church, the committees and committee members, the activities of the church, the concerns of the church, etc.
Periodically we will take about five minutes to visit the committee’s to see what they might need prayer for. We also take time to pray for the youth groups and time for individual personal prayer requests. Each month has a slightly different theme/approach. We’ve had prayer based on scripture, responsive readings, prayer partners, many different ideas. I usually open with a short devotion and explain the process for the evening.
It’s been a great way to demonstrate to the youth that there are many sides, moods, aspects, etc of prayer. It’s also been great for the church to see the youth involved in this aspect. The youth feel some ownership to what is going on. We’ve been doing this for about 6 months (so only six meeting times). My hope is that they truly begin to see the power they can have through prayer. We’ve also started to keep a prayer journal to better see our results. One immediate result I’ve seen is their openness to participate in “public” prayer — those youth who never pray out loud at youth group have begun to do so during our POP meetings.
I organized a wonderful visual teaching of the parable of the seeds to our “New Youth” group–(grades 5 & 6, and some 7th graders). I asked them one day what was something they had a hard time understanding during the church service on Sunday that maybe we could study-and most said when parables about seeds are talked about, they didn’t quite get it. So, one day, I brought 4 oblong planter-pots (about 2 ft long-the size is so that with a group of, 12, for example, each one can have room to plant something in at least one of the pots, getting everyone involved) to our Wednesday night service. One of pots contained large rocks across it that were all the same size–which represented a “pathway.” The 2nd contained med size rocks across the entire bottom, then filled the rest of the height with soil, which represented the seeds being scattered onto the rocks that eventually withered away because the roots were not deep enough. The 3rd contained dirt with a mix of weeds, rocks, sticks, etc that I had dug out of my yard, which represented the thorny soil that robbed the desire to know God and begin to worship other things. The 4th contained “good soil” with nutrients-which of course represented “good soil!” I also brought along a bag of sunflower seeds (the planting kind–not the eating kind!), a bottle of miracle growing liquid, and a watering can. We went outside, and started w/the 1st pot, the “pathway”–as we scattered the seeds, and went on down to each pot. As we went along, we stopped after each pot, and the youth reflected on each parable that each pot represented, and what it meant while I read Jesus’ explanation of what each one meant.
Just several days later the seeds began to grow! Of course pot “1” did not (the seeds “disappeared!”); pot “2” began to grow, and after 2 weeks the 2 inch plants began to die (wither)! Pot “3” grew also, but those 2 inch plants began to get “choked out” by the weeds that were still alive!–and pot “4” was full of abundant 6-7 inch plants that looked perfectly healthy! (oh, we added a little miracle grow at the beginning to pot 4 to show that God’s miracles are always happening!) This was such a visual experience for the kids, and they really did learn what these parables meant! Plus, we get together to water the plants every week and talk about the scriptures they each represent! It was inexpensive, and productive! And the kids absolutely loved doing it!
Good for discussion of the family and a way to discover the values of the kids in the group. Tell the kids they are to find the world’s most perfect couple. Divide them into small groups and have them describe the couple.
Things to consider:
1.) The couple themselves (background, age education, religious affiliation, race, political views)
2.) Their lifestyle (jobs, hobbies, sex life, leisure time, entertainment, habits, friends and associations)
3.) Their possessions (money, furniture, house and neighbourhood, books, appliances, recreational needs, cars)
4.) Philosophy on child rearing (discipline, education, manners, dress, independence)
These are only suggestions, give them 20-30 mins. Make lists on chalkboard and compare. Discuss and bring up prejudices and how they relate to scripture. How does God describe His perfect family? What matters and what doesn’t?
Each week for a month talk about persecution. Meet in the basements of different homes and only tell the youth what street you are on each time. Make a fish (><>) lawn ornament to stick in the lawn each week and they have to look for that to know which house you’re in.
The first week gather and talk about persecution in the early church and where the fish symbol came from.
Second week make them take off anything they are wearing that identifies them as Christians (our host gave us t-shirts to use if needed) as they come in the door. All our scripture was on pages torn out of a Bible. Talk about the persecution that is going on right now in foreign countries.
The third week start the meeting with a short intro about something (we used announcements) and have several big guys in riot gear come storming in, break up the meeting, and forcibly remove the leaders. Give the youth some time in the basement to think and talk on their own before bringing them all upstairs to talk about what we would do if this were reality here in America.
The fourth week, meet together at your usual meeting place and write letters to Christians in persecuted countries. You can get addresses from Voice of the Martyrs.
We had great success with this and really had the youth thinking about persecution and whether they were willing to die, or worse yet be tortured, for their faith for months after!
Next time I want to try and get the whole group hauled down to the station and put in a jail cell to finish out the lesson on the 3rd week.
Be creative, it makes a lifetime impact!