Illustrations

Death Comes Calling

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.

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Doing It All Alone

(Teamwork / The Body)

The following Letter is supposedly a real life response written to an insurance company who asked for clarification on an accident insurance claim.

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response for your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident report form. I put “trying to do the job alone” as the cause of my accident.

You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust that the following details should be sufficient:

I’m a brick layer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a six story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had approximately 500 lbs of brick left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley that was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof. I swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. I then went down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow decent of the brick. You will note in Block #2 of the accident report form that I weigh 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise in being jerked off the ground, I lost my presence of mind and did not let go of the rope. Needless to say I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my broken collar bone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent up the side of the building until the fingers on my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley six floors up. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to hold on to the rope in spite of my pain.

At approximately the same time however, the barrel hit the ground, and the bottom came out of the barrel. Without the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50lbs. I refer you again to my weight in Block #2.

As you might imagine, I began a rapid decent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I again met the barrel coming up. This accounts for my fractured ankles and the lacerations on my lower body.

The encounter with the barrel slowed me down enough to lessen my injuries when I landed on the pile of bricks. As I lay there on the bricks in pain and unable to move, I let go of the rope. I was helpless to lay there and watch as the barrel came back down and broke my legs.

I hope I have furnished enough information to explain how the accident occurred.

It occurred because I was trying to do the job alone.

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Media Obstacles

This is an activity I used in Sunday school to demonstrate the ability( or inability) to hear the Good Shepherd. Sunday school class was set up with chairs in a circle. We had open discussion about the effects of the media; magazines, movies and music.

I asked for a volunteer. As the volunteer stood up, I told her she’d be blindfolded and needed to be barefoot. After I put on the blindfold, I put some obsticals around the floor. On eight different paper plates I put peanutbutter, baby food, water, smashed banana, lard, and a couple of piles of marbles.

I instructed the other students to shout out directions to help their friend walk around these obsticles. I told the volunteer to try to listen for MY voice, for I will represent the Good Shepherd. Of course the students wanted some fun and misdirected her, but I would be trying to tell her really where to walk. Shortly after we started, she discovered her friends were having fun and therefore she was trying even harder to hear my voice. At times she would yell, “I can’t hear you!”

This was a very effective illustration of how they can’t hear God’s voice when they are watching borderline/bad TV and movies, listening to unacceptable music or viewing worldly magazines. Our Scripture was John 10.

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Promises, Promises

A youth pastor or youth leader offers $20 to any person in the group who will let him break two eggs over their head. Of course young people will usually do anything to get a few extra dollars!
After you choose the person you ask them to come up in front of the group while the eggs are broken over his head. (Have a towel nearby!) Up to this point you have not given him the $20 (have it tucked just outside your pocket where it can be seen) After the eggs are broken tell him that he must think you are crazy to give your $20 away to someone who was foolish enough to believe you would actually do that. Really emphasise how silly the person was to let someone trick them into believing they would actually get rewarded for doing something so foolish.
Then tell your group that this is just how Satan is. He promises you all kinds of good things but in the end your really the loser. Then to really bring out the message, say Satan is unlike Jesus. Jesus KEEPS ALL HIS PROMISES. Then hand the $20 over to person!

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Deceiving Appearances

Take a chocolate bunny that is hollow and drill a small hole in the bottom of it. Then covered the inside with barbecue sauce and melt some more chocolate to spread back over the hole as if it never was there. Then have a volunteer come up and eat the chocolate. They will be in for a big suprise. Finish the lesson by showing them that things in life aren’t always as good as they appear.

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Led By The Spirit Balloon Game

We used this idea as an activity for one of our youth meetings. It provided a valuable lesson on being obediant to the Holy Spirit.

Do not explain the purpose of the activity until after everyone has had an opportunity to participate.

This activity is not as easy as it sounds.
Blow up several balloons (enough for everyone to have their own). Have everyone line up at one end of the room and hold the balloon over their heads. On the signal to start, they are to let go of the balloons and place their hands behind their back while keeping the balloons aloft by blowing on them. They must propel their balloons to the other side of the room.

The activity is hilarious to watch and the point of the lesson becomes clear when they are told that they are represented by the balloons and they themselves are the Holy Spirit trying to direct a disobediant believer towards the goal of sanctification. It allowed for a wonderful discussion afterwards and several of the youth indicated that they needed to be more obediant to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

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What Would You Do?

You have one card for each student. On each card you write something gross to do (I used Fear Factor to come up with these ideas), or very dangerous. Each card MUST be different! Under the description of something to do put the numbers 1-7. Hand out the cards to the students. Tell them to write down their answer without no one seeing their answer (no real reason, it just adds mystery to their game).

Question One: Would you do the thing on your card for a cookie?
Question Two: Would you do the thing on your card for $100?
Question Three: Would you do the thing on your card for a Free vacation?
Question Four: Would you do the thing on your card for a new wardrobe?
Question Five: would you do the thing on your card for a new car?
Question Six: would you do the thing on your card for $1,000,000?
Queston Seven: Would you do the thing on your card to recieve God’s Salvation?

Have everyone tell what was on their card and how they answered the questions. It will generate some laughs at some responses.
Hopefully everyone has put “Yes” on the last question. Then you can say “Isn’t it wonderful that we DO NOT have to do these things in order to get God’s Salvation?” It really makes teens think about what they would do in certain situations and it hits home how simple obtaining salvation really is. (You can use as many questions as you want.)

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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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And The Trumpet Shall Sound

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.

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Jar Of Sin

(Salvation)

This object lesson demonstrates the salvation we have in Christ Jesus. Supplies needed are two jars, one larger than the other, four colors of food coloring, and bleach. You fill the larger jar 3/4 of the way with water, the other you fill completely with bleach. To begin the lesson, you explain that the jar of water is a representation of our lives. Without sin we are clear and pure, like water. But because we are sinners, it is impossible to stay clear. Then you demonstrate… say “how many of you have disobeyed your parents before?” Explain that disobedience is a sin and place a drop of food coloring into the water. Now repeat that step 3 more times, each time using a different sin (color) as an example, until the water turns an ugly green-brown. Then explain that Jesus wants to come into our lives and fill the void (the 1/4 of the jar that is empty). Pour Jesus (bleach) into the jar of colored water and watch the transformation begin as Jesus takes away the sin in our life! You can put more drops of food coloring into the jar after Jesus has been poured in, and the food coloring will continue to disappear…just as in Jesus we have eternal salvation.

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