Our Youth group spent a night outdoors as homeless people in order to raise money to support homeless people. Since I am from Hawaii there is quite a number of homeless people. Well we spent the night in our church yard from 6 at night to 6 in the morning. Here’s the catch… we only were allowed to bring news paper for our blanket and a cardboard box for our shelter and for dinner, our church served us mush. It was a great experience and a great thing for raising money for a good cause.
My brother-in-law actually ran this, but he did it with my youth group. What you do is you invite handicap children and young adults from around your community to come to your church for a few hours during your youth group’s Spring Break. We used Mon. & Tues. from 10:30-1:30 PM. We would have games, crafts, lunch and devotion time on both days. You can use a variety of themes. We are using an hawaiin luau theme. This means we’ll have island music with hawaiin shirts and grass skirts (over regular clothes of course).
For crafts we will let them color a visor for themselves with their name on it, and we will help them make the hawaiin necklaces. And for our lunch we would have items like Shishkibob and Hawaiian Punch. The key is that the youth will be the volunteers to help the disabled with the games, their crafts, and even their lunch. Between the Monday session and the Tuesday session, the kids will sleep at the church and have a debriefing session, Praise and worship, Bible Study, and also relaxation time. It’s really an eye opening experience for the youth to work with disabled children one-on-one. It would also be wise to try to have several volunteer youth sponsors to help as well if you have small group. It is also a great idea to get your group started with missions work.
Like most churches we hold a VBS and the youth participate. But we took it a step further. We have an X-Treme Team, which is a group of youth who come in on Sunday evening and stay through until the end of the Friday night program. They live at the church as a missionary team. They cook their own meals, clean up after themselves, and serve preping the materials for the next day. During the VBS they work directly with the children. When the VBS is over, the X-Treme team goes swimming (our church does not have showers) and gets clean. After swimming and lunch, the Team spends the afternoon and evening being discipled. We visit local areas that have devotional qualities (museums, rock-climbing, historical sites, parks, natural attractions) We incorporate all of the ideas of a mission trip (daily quiet times, worship times, teachings) plus we address feedback we get from the adult helpers at the VBS.
Since we are still at church we have youth group as normal and have lots of hang time with our students. We are going to be exhausted by VBS anyway so we thought why not make it a Youth mission as well.