Illustrations

EGG-tra Strength

Point: Alone, we aren’t very strong or capable, but when we surround ourselves w/ God, we can triumph.

Supplies:
*10 Large Eggs
*A board about 1/2″ thick and big enough for someone to stand on, mine was about 18″ square.
*10 bottle caps from liter or 20oz pop bottles – Just make sure they aren’t the big 2 liter size ones
*Modeling clay

Prep: Take a good size chunk of the clay and put it around the edge of each of the bottle caps. Make sure the cap’s edge has about a 1/2inch of clay on it. Put one such cap on the bottom of an egg and one on the top. It has to be the top and bottom of the egg because those are structually the strongest points of the egg. I if you put the caps on the sides, this won’t work. In the end you will have 5 little egg “sandwiches” (bottle cap, clay, egg, clay, bottle cap)that can stand upright on their own .

Lesson: Have a volunteer come up, probably best if it’s one of your lighter students since I really don’t know how much weight these eggs can support. First take 5 of the regular eggs place them on the floor and place the board gently on top. Ask how many people think that the eggs will support the weight of your volunteer. Then have your volunteer step onto the board. In my case, the girl barely touched the board and all the eggs broke. Talk briefly about how the eggs on their own aren’t strong enough for all that weight. Next take out your egg “sandwiches”. Place them so that there is one on each corner of the board and one in the center. Again, have your volunteer step on the board, and impressively, it should hold 🙂

Explain that with the right foundation and the right protection, the eggs became much stronger. You can also take the caps and clay off one of the eggs and break it to prove that they are the same eggs as before. It’s very effective, and who doesn’t like to make a mess? 🙂

Read more

Ephesians 6

I came up with this idea of learning about the armor of God. Draw an outline of a man on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Read from Ephesians 6 about the armor of God, and after explaining each one (i.e., belt of truth), have the teens come to the board and draw what they think the belt should look like on the man. In the end, you’re going to have this funky guy wearing the armor of God that the teens drew up on the board. After they draw each one, ask them a question such as, “What is truth, and what does it mean to have truth?” Continue all the way through the verse, asking them about salvation, righteousness, faith, etc. I also drew a figure of the devil right next to the guy when the verse explained fiery arrows from the devil, and how the shield of faith protects them from the arrows.

Read more

Equally Yoked

Have a boy and a girl come to the front of the room. Then have one of them stand on a chair – he/she represents the Christian. Have the Christian on the chair try to pull the unbeliever up with them onto the chair. (Then explain how hard it is to witness to someone who doesn’t believe.) Now have the unbeliever pull the Christian down and explain to them how easy it is for a Christian to fall down when they’re with a non-believer.

Read more

Exploring the Power of Words

You’ll need a tube of toothpaste for each kid or you can put the kids in pairs. (I found they had more fun with a partner) and a paper plate and a $10.00 bill.
Give each person or group a tube of toothpaste and a plate. Tell them to squeeze the toothpase on the plate. Have fun with it, make designs etc. Then place the $10 bill on the table and tell the kids they have five minutes to put all the toothpaste back in the tube. The winner gets the money ( your money is safe). DISCUSS: Which is harder, squeezing out or putting back in? How is this like words coming out of our mouths? When have you wished you could take back words you’ve already said? In other words, what comes out of our mouths cannot be taken back. We can apologize but are things the same?

Read more

Faith in a Box

Scripture verse used: “So don’t throw away your bold faith: it will bring you rich rewards.” Hebrews 10:35

Items needed: a small box, something to put in it (candy, etc.), lots of wraping paper.

You put an item in the box and wrap it in many layers of paper. You tell the group, “There is something in this box you will enjoy.” You ask, “Do you have faith there is something in this box?” Faith is something that you hope for, but can’t see. “Can you see what’s in this box? Throw the box in the trash can and watch reaction. Will I ever know what’s in the box if I throw it away?”

As long as we don’t throw it away we are going to eventually know what’s in it. As long as we don’t throw away faith in God and his plan, there is a reward in the end which is heaven. The group moves to a circle on the floor. Talk about how it takes patience to receive God’s promises. Take turns giving each child a turn at ripping off a layer of paper until the gift is revealed.

Read more

Follow Jesus

This activity illustrates the need to follow and listen to Jesus when peer and worldly influences abound.

One student is needed to volunteer as the “Christian youth.” Another is needed to serve as the “voice of Jesus.” All others are employed as “bad influencers.”

The Christian youth is blindfolded and seated. The “voice of Jesus” volunteer is instructed to spend a little time talking to the “Christian youth” so that he/she learns his/her voice. John 10:1-5 “…the sheep hear his voice…”

A simple maze of chairs is created that leads to a desk or table with a blessing (candy, prize, etc.). Put a couple of left and right turns in your maze, but not cluttered. Walkways through maze should be at least two folding chairs wide.

Once the maze is complete. The Christian is asked to stand. Explain that his/her goal is to reach the “blessing” by following the instructions/commands of the “voice of Jesus”. The job of the “bad influencers” is to give bad instructions.

Explain that everyone must stay at least 3 to 6 feet from the blind youth. No touching or obstructing allowed.

Have the blind Christian stand. Give a few turns and see if he or she can get to the blessing by following the “voice of Jesus”, while ignoring the “bad influencers”

(Note: Walk carefully to avoid injury) A timer can be used for team scoring or to maximize time to reach the prize.

Have had 100% success each time this activity has been used. Some good discussion questions posed to the listener, voice of Jesus, and bad influencers:

1. What was hard about getting to the blessing?
2. What was most frustrating?
3. What did you find easy?
4. What did you like most?

Responses are great for talking about peer pressure, seeing God’s perspective — ready and wanting to bless us if only we would listen to him, emphasizing the prudency of following God’s will who sees and knows all, and on and on…

Proverbs 3:5,6 is a good scripture to use.

Read more

Get Janey Out of Jail

This is a game and an illustration all rolled into one that my kids loved and dreaded(in a good way — you’ll see:-) This can be done in teams or as one big group.

Supplies: Masking Tape or something to mark off boundary, Items for “challenges/dares” (to be described).

Choose one person from each team to be “Janey”, if one group choose just one “Janey”. Prior to the start of the game mark off a starting and finish line approximately 10-12 feet apart. Connect the starting/finish lines to create a long rectangle. Have whoever is “Janey” stand behind the starting line. The starting line to the finish line represents “jail”. The goal of the group or each team is to help “Janey” get out of “Jail” or to the finish line. If playing in teams, the first “Janey” to accomplish this is the winner.

In order for Janey to move toward the finish line a member of her team/group must decide whether or not to complete a “challege/dare”. If they complete the challenge then Janey gets to take one step (heel to toe) toward the finish line. If they refuse or cannot complete the challenge then Janey stays where “she” is in jail. Challenges can be as easy/hard/gross as you want to make them. Try to vary the degree of difficulty and grossness so that kids will really have to think about whether or not they will attempt a challenge or not. Be creative! Examples I have used are: Shave one leg(regardless of whether you are a boy or girl), chug a can of warm coke, run around the church building in a minute or less, kiss 5 people in the room on the cheek, eat/drink a raw egg, etc.
Illustration: In this game “Janey” represents us as people. The “jail” represents our life of sin. Just as Janey was unable to get “herself” out of jail, there is nothing that we can do on our own to free ourselves from our life of sin. The team-members willing or able to complete the challenges to help free Janey are like Christ who willingly gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we could live a life of freedom from sin. You can lead a discussion comparing the choice to complete the challenges of the game to the difficulty of the choice that Jesus made in dying for us, and also that Jesus did it by himself (illustrating God’s power). There are many different scriptures that can be used here but the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is my favorite.

Read more

Glittered Trash

This is an illustration to show that sin is sin no matter how glamorous it looks.

You need a big bag of trash and glitter. The trash illustrates sin. That sin is messy, smelly, just plain nasty, just like trash. But Satan comes along and tries to tells us that sin isn’t as bad as it looks. Just what he told Eve. Now sprinkle glitter on the trash. Explain this is what Satan does to sin. He make it look all fun and glittery. Then show that even though the trash has glitter on it it’s still trash. Just like sin. No matter how great it looks it’s still sin in the end.

Read more

God Cleans And Renews

You need a clear glass, some instant coffee powder, water, and a bucket

You hold up the clear glass filled with water so everyone can see it. Tell them it represents How God wants our spirit/heart to be clear and pure and healthy. But things happen though out our lives that hurt that. Then add a small amount of instant coffee powder to the glass which will make the water a little darker, that represents our spirit/heart being damaged like when some one makes fun of you. Give many examples like that and add coffee after each example making the water darker and darker like when you are wrongfully accused or when you were picked last in baseball, etc. Now you see a damaged spirit/heart, but when you have God he takes all that dark and nasty damage in our spirit/heartaway, then add water to the glass until it turns clear again. This was a pretty powerful demonstration that worked for us and I hope to pass it on.

Read more

God Gives Us Balance

I was speaking on burdens one night and came up with this illustration about letting God make our burdens easy to bear…

Supplies:
Three 10 foot 2×4’s
One cinder block
One rope

Preparation:
I took two of the 2×4’s and laid them on edge, side-by-side about 2 feet apart and cut the other one up to connect the two (basically i made something that looked like RR tracks). Then I took the rope and tied it to the cinder block and made a loop on the end so it would be easy to pick up.

Lesson:
I told the youth that life is tough enough without problems, it’s like having to walk on the edge of a 2×4 without falling off. I challnged one youth to walk the 2×4 without losing his balance and he did with only a little struggle.
I then said but life isn’s that easy, we have problems that we have to deal with. I then handed the guy the rope with the cinderblock on it and told him to walk the 2×4 again. He could not do it because his balance was thrown off.
I then said we need to let God balance us and preferrably we need to let Him have our burdens. I then jumped on the other 2×4 and put my hand on his shoulder and said now walk to the end of the 2×4. Walking with him, I was a counterbalance and kept him from falling.
I proceeded to explain that we need to let God be the one who balances us, but better yet we need to let Him take the burden from us so that all we have to focus on is walking the same speed as God. If we hold on to our burdens we can sometimes lose our focus of staying in step with God.
There are many different ways that you can end this and many different lessons you can apply it to. I would say that if you have the resources to actually try and get a section of railroad track for the lesson and run it down the center aisle of your youth room if size permits it.

Read more