Have your youth group join/adopt another youth group from another city. The primary purpose is edification and and encouragement. Keep up monthly correspondence with your sister city through a newsletter, videos, pen-pal letters (you could match up each youth here with a specific youth there), etc. Lift each other up in prayer, share ministry opportunities, plan simultaneous events or Bible studies and then share the results, etc. If possible, plan a trip to meet up with the other youth group at some point.
Once a month on Tuesday night (or any other time — change the name if necessary), invite youth to come together for a time of formal outreach. Divide into groups, go and visit/share with visitors and unchurched friends, and then head out to something fun — like bowling, volleyball, etc.
Once a month, perhaps in place of your regular Wednesday night Bible study, host Urgency Room, or UR. The name is related to the TV show ER and has a similar function, only on a spiritual level. This night will be a time to open up spiritually and emotionally and put problems “on the table” to be examined and doctored.
Here’s how it works. Divide your group into small groups of two to seven of the same age and sex. Make sure you have one adult properly prepared for each small group. Each person in the small group will now share the one thing that is troubling them the most (that they feel comfortable sharing with the group). The other peer members of the group will now do one of two things in response: they can either share what they would do (or did) in the same situation, or suggest a biblical passage/story that would offer guidance. No direct advice is offered — just indirect advice through sharing. The adult serves only as a facilitator and can steer the conversation away from rabbit-chasing or potential problems. One ground rule, what is said in the group stays in the group (unless it requires legal action). This gives every member of your group a chance to open up and share difficulties and discover that they are not alone.
Once a month, we have a Girls’ Night Out. Sometimes we do a “Dinner and a Movie” night – we feed the girls and then watch chick flicks. Sometimes we take them out shopping, or to a nice restaurant. The girls love the attention – and my husband, the youth minister, gets lots of funny looks for being the only guy in a huge group of girls!
Thank Goodness it’s Youth Friday
A Teen youth fellowship at the youth pastor’s house on the last friday of the month. It is a pressure free atmosphere where we gather to eat, play games and get to know one another.
We started this at another church and it was successful now at both churches.
Teens are not only excited about getting together outside of church, but they are excited about the games and food as well.
We alternate the menu and hype up the food aspect. We have had Mexican night, Breakfast at night, pizza, etc.
One of the greatest aspects of T.G.Y.F. is that it gives young people an informal atmosphere in which to enter church. I have seen young people visit TGYF and get to know one another and then say later that it helped them be more comfortable when they came to church on that Sunday.
I would encourage others to start this program or one like if you don’t have something already. It is one of the few things I have done right in my short work with youth.
Let me know what you think.
This is something that our youth participate in every summer. The acrostic W.A.R. stands for: Worshipping God through godly music, Adherence to God’s Word through relevant lessons, and Recreation through fun games. These can be done in any order, but variety is the key. The name W.A.R is derived from the competition between teams through the summer. Every Wednesday night we spend time in worship, Bible study, and competitive games that add up to points. Teens really enjoy this and are encouraged to recruit new teens to be part of their teams. Who ever has the most points at the end of the summer receives a special prize, which should be relevant to your youth group.
S.N.A.C. (Sunday, Night, After, Church)
Once a month the youth meet at people’s homes. The homes are offered on a volunteer basis. This is a time for devotionals and prayer time leading into fun games the kids enjoy, such as “spoons” or board games. This has served the purpose of fellowship. The volunteers get to know the kids and relationships begin. This is how I organized our SNAC night.
Jr. High is every 2nd Sunday
High School is every 3rd Sunday
Volunteers usually prepare food. but you could have the boys bring pop and the girls bring chips or visa versa. This helps with the cost if you have a large youth group.
Our youth this year will be giving a special service on Memorial Weekend. They will each be selecting a person from Fox’s Book Of Martyrs to present to the church. By doing this we not only memorialize these wonderful men and women who gave us the freedom we have, but the youth also get a sense of the importance of standing up for our God and righteousness! After the service we may reward the youth for their effort with some ice cream and fun games.
S.L.A.C – Sunday Lunch After Church
This is a great program for Jr. High but you can use it for any age. The title explains it all…you eat lunch after church and play games. It offers some good fellowship and a very informal time for the kids to hang out.
Our youth group was really dying last spring! The youth were uncommitted and not very excited about the activites. When we asked them what they would like to do, they would only state the same activites they were seemingly bored with. They didn’t want to think outside of the box. So in an effort to salvage the group, we planned ahead our entire summer worth of activities for the youth. Trips to the mall in the middle of the week, baseball games, concerts, scavenger hunts, fundraisers, mission trips, etc. Everything had a point value, including bringing a first time friend, volunteer work, Sunday School and Church Services. At the end of the summer we tallied up the points. Youth that got up to a certain preset amount of points were entitled to a free weekend trip to an amusement park. We had a prize for he person with the most points, too. And all the youth were invited to go on our weekend trip, they just paid the percentage of points they were short!
The youth were really excited about the points system and now for the fall have submitted several creative fun ideas of their own to try! God is so Good!