Jesus The Ultimate Carpenter

While in college, one of my professors (I don’t remember which one or I would give him credit) gave a lesson in chapel one day and I adapted his lesson into the one below for Teen Week at camp.

We began our worship as we usually do and as we got closer to the time for the lesson, we turned off the lights and sang more “spiritual” songs. I asked the kids to close their eyes and then closed the entire time.

Then I told them about Jesus’ life before his ministry. I talked about how his father was a carpenter and he was probably a carpenter. I really elaborated the story talking about what it would have been like for Jesus as a young man working as a carpenter. I talked about the different things he would have made and what the wood shop would have been like. Then finally I talked about what is would have been like for Jesus the last day he was at home before he left to go proclaim the good news. How he would have walked through the shop remembering all of the times with his father and all of the things he would have made. And then, he would have thought to his final piece of carpentry; the cross. And then I went on from there to talk about the cross, his death, and resurrection.

Then I had one of my kids start the song, “Can He Still Feel The Nails.” As he started the song I secretly brought in a cross and slowly hammered in nails while we sang the song. After the song the kids opened their eyes. Then we praised God and offered and invitation. It was one of the hardest lessons to give without choking up. I cried for awhile. I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions just email me.

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Taking Aim

Preparation: On a dart board put up a picture of Jesus. Then cover the entire dart board with white paper. Have the youth draw pictures of people that they dislike or someone that made them angry. After tacking up their picture let each kids throw darts at their drawing. Some kids will throw their darts with a lot of force so be sure to have a safe zone.
When each kid has had a chance to throw at their picture, start removing the white paper leaving Jesus’s picture up there. There will be holes all over Him. Remain silent and let each kid “take it all in.” Then quote Matthew 25:40 “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.” It is amazing how they react to this. They really evaluate their actions towards others.

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Money, Money

If your group is all rock solid Christians, skip this. Otherwise, this really gets their attention.

Hold up a twenty in your hand in front of the group. US readers could probably get away with a ten. Simply say “Who would like this?” Then, just wait for someone to come and take it out of your hand. This will take about 30 seconds. The rest of the group will be VERY dismayed that that was all they had to do.

Discuss with the group why they didn’t come to take the money. Reasons are: I thought there was a catch, I didn’t think you meant it, I thought I would have to do something dumb, etc. Then explain that the twenty is God’s love and help them to see how those same excuses often keep up from just going up and claiming God’s love. The kids talked about this for weeks – mostly to see if I was handing out more twenties!

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This illustration is great for either making New Year resolutions or commitments to Christ and the youth ministry after youth camp. You need one ball of yarn.
Have all members of the study group gather into a circle. Have one student tell what he/she will do differently in their daily lives to have a better relationship with Christ. After the student has done this have him hold on to the end of the yarn and throw the ball to someone else. The next person does the same thing until all are holding the yarn. The ball must be thrown to someone who has not already received the ball. Make sure they keep the yarn tight. By the time you are done, you should have a pattern of yarn that shows that when we are committed to God then we are connected to each other. Again make sure they keep the yarn tight.
After this go around the circle and say to each student that they have broken their commitment to God (whatever it was) and to let go of the string. When everyone has let go of the string show that when we break our commitments to God we then are not connected to each other and are no longer a ministry doing God’s work.

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Not One Forgotten

Using a punching bag, have a couple of people come and react to it. Have a couple of people come and release stress.

The punching bag symbolizes the love of Jesus. It is never ending, no matter what we do He will always love us.


A family moved to a different city and the mom was worried because her son had not made any friends at school. Every day he would come home from school all by himself while the other children walked in crowds. Sometimes they would tease him at the playground or even at school.
Valentine’s Day was coming and the mom really did not want her son to go to school that day because she was trying to protect his feelings. But her son decided to make cards for all 27 students in his class. So they got all the decorations and made the cards. On that day the mom made cookies and waited for him to come home. She knew that he was going to be disappointed. At around the time that he was supposed to come home she went to the front porch to wait for him. Down the road she saw him running with a big smile on his face in front of all the children. Surely, she thought, he must have received valentines. He ran into the house and kept saying,”Mom, not one”, “Not,one mom”, over and over while he put his back pack down, and took his coat off. His mom anxiously asked him, thinking that he had not received any cards but also wondering why he was so happy. He repeated “Mom, not one, I did not forget not even one student” That is what Jesus said when he shed His blood on the cross of Calvary. “Not one, not one did I forget to forgive at the cost of my blood”.

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Light in the Dark – Modified

I LOVE the glow-stick idea. We did something similar at a lock-in we had with our kids. All the kids were asked to bring a flashlight to the lock-in.
We were singing some songs, getting ready for the “lesson-time” and during “This little light of mine,” some of the leaders turned off all the lights. The leader doing the devotion turned their flashlight on. “Look how just one flashlight helps us better in the dark. Jesus is called the light of the world, and we should share that light. When I flash my light at you, turn yours on.” With each new light, the leader says “look how much X number of lights lighten this room!” Continue till all the flashlights are on. Talk about sharing the light, how the light dispells darkness, etc. The kids really liked it.
Then, we played light tag, of course!

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A Light In The Darkness 2 (revised)

First off, follow the original “Light in the Darkness” post, but here’s the difference. On about half of the name tags, draw blurry lines through the phrase “Love of Jesus.” Follow the instructions from the original post for the discussion, but point out that on about half of the group, the message of the “Love of Jesus” appears to be somewhat blurry. You can say something like, “even though you are a Christian, sometimes your actions and words don’t always convey the love of Jesus.” Say, “people at school here you say that you are a Christian, but they also see you act in ways that don’t glorify God, so your message of the love of Jesus is blurry.” The whole point is even though we are a light, sometimes our message of Christ’s Love is not so easy to see in us because we blur it with sin. Don’t straddle the fence! Don’t blur the message of Christ’s Love!

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Infected fruit

This is a great idea to illustrate sin and how it affects our lives.

Using a syringe with a needle, draw up some food colouring. Inject fruit (apple, orange, pear etc) with the food colouring. The colouring WILL seep out a little, but can be easily washed away. Be very careful and work slowly.

When you get to the lesson, cut open the fruit and reveal what’s inside.

You can also use an egg. Scratch away a small piece VERY slowly until you have a little hole through which to inject the colouring. Cover the hole with a tiny piece of sellotape (I think you call it scotch tape).

Break open the egg in front of the teens.

This can be used to illustrate how sin gets into our lives and though we may look good on the outside, inside we are all disgusting and poisoned.

Wear protective clothing as it can be VERY messy!re all disgusting and poisoned.

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Walk By Faith

Have students step into a chair. Once in the chair place a blindfold on their eyes and be sure that they cannot see. (Some will try to look down through the blindfolds) Once they are blindfolded, silently place 3 chairs in front of them (sideways) Now ask them do they have faith in God? Once they say yes ask them to step out on faith. The first step will be hard but each step after that will get easier.

I used this in the Sunday School class to demonstrate that we should walk by faith and not by sight. I pray that this is useful for somebody.

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You really need plenty of prep time for this one. You need: (two of each) security envelopes, small containers, large containers, doors. This presentation is based on the show “Let’s Make A Deal”. I always wear an “old” sportcoat that makes young people laugh. First, ask for a volunteer. The first volunteer must make a “choice” between two envelopes. NO ONE is to open anything until all “choices” have been made. The first volunteer, after making their choice, then chooses a friend to give the other envelope. The second volunteer then chooses between what is originally offered by #1 and the next level of choices. Each volunteer chooses between on thing or another until all “choices” are made. If they choose NOT to accept their first choice then they must choose to whom to give the unwanted “object”. When all the “choices” are made then the openings will begin. Each student must explain (before opening) why they chose that object. Answers will vary but will give you opportunity to disciple youth on reasons behind our making good or bad choices. The envelopes give them a simple choice (money or a blank piece of paper). In the containers another simple choice (cookies or candy). In the containers (this is the tricky one) (a full or empty twelve pack of soft drinks). You show someone (adviser) inside the empty container with the “empty cans in their original box). Normally the adviser will tell the volunteer to choose wrong. In the doors section have one designed for a guy another girl. Behind the guy door an ugly women who chases him to give a big RED kiss. The girl opens to find an “Archie Bunker” type character who hands her a mop or whatever and screams orders to her as he goes out with the guys. You will not lose young people with this because they want to see what you’re going to do. You then close (after the laughter subsides) and explain form scripture how we must make choices in life and how as Christians God’s Word is our best advisor.

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