All Youth

“E-Mail”

In order to create more unity and fellowship and love amongst our teens we thought up the idea of sending mail to one another that would solely be encouraging mail. We added a twist however, and decided to update the idea for the 90’s. We made up a shelf that had a slot for each person in the youth group (including the adult sponsors, and myself) and also made up slips with room to write these letters of encouragement on. The whole system is called e-mail for encouragement mail, and we have found that the youth have caught on to the idea well,and every week almost, everyone gets an “e-mail!”

10% of A Week of Sales

Steger Sebastian has a community program where it donates 10% of a week of sales to an organizations. Maybe you can talk to a local company/business to have a special day where a percentage of sales or sales on specific items goes to your group. Maybe have donation buckets at their cash registers.

1derful Wednesday

Discipling Youth by reaching children.

The idea seems too simplistic but it is a powerful transferable concept. As part of my Master’s Program of studies, I had to design an urban ministry. My concept was to run programs in a local park during the summer to reach disciple teens by reaching and discipling children, and then move the program to a school gym in the colder months.

I began with a few youth who helped put up posters in the neighbourhood on telephone poles. Kids were invited to a neighbourhood water fight. The first day 60 kids showed up. We had them all register to participate. The girl doing the registration was only 10 years old!!

All the kids were told to stick around after the fight to receive a prize. At the end I spoke for five minutes about Jesus, announced next Wednesday’s event and then gave out prizes. (on the first day a ten year old boy named John stuck around to pray the sinners prayer with me and volunteered to be a helper!)

In a few months we had twenty teens who wanted to volunteer and a dozen kids who wanted to be part of our discipleship program called DC (direct current)

The really 1derful thing about the Program was the way teens boldly took leadership and shared their faith. Over 6 years 2000 kids in that Toronto neighbourhood accepted Christ. Over 600 of these kids also graduated from our discipleship program that met on the same day half an hour before the event.

Today some of the teens who ran those programs are pastoring, leading Christian organizations, and being effective leaders in their churches.

Originally I asked teens in my youth group to devote one summer to Christ. Over time they came to devote their whole lives. If you want to hear more about this or would like some tips on getting started please email me at rpowell@vanguardcollege.com -Ron.

2 Good 1 Bad 1 Great

Some youth are very excited and talkative and some are quiet. I find that it is easy to pay attention to the more outgoing kids in my group and sometimes the quiet get ignored. The “2 good 1 bad 1 great” concept is to give every teen a chance to share how their day or week has been. It’s real simple and a fun way to have “praise/ testimony” time. Tell them you want to hear how their week has been and they can share 2 good things that has happened followed by one bad thing and end it on a very positive note with one GREAT thing that has happened in the past week. If you have a small group you can let everyone share. If you have a large group let 6 or so share.

2Ping

Torential rain poured down as we gathered in the church hall to head out to the baseball field. Soaked and dejected I came up with 2Ping on the spot. If you have very little room and you want to play indoor baseball consider 2ping.
You have probably guessed that you will need a ping pong paddle and a ping pong ball to play this game. It is played in a room just smaller than a half gym. The pitcher must throw the ping pong ball to the batter (you would not believe the wild spins you can put on it) The batter gets only two strikes, or walks to first base if hit. It is a zany fast paced game of indoor baseball that does not require baseball gloves, bats or an outside playing diamond. If you have a small group that is willing to try new things, see if this will become their new favorite game.

3 Blind Mice Maze

I assume that each church has rolls of plastic tablecloths that are used for potlucks and dinners.
Make a maze on the floor using the tablecloths, tape the cloths together, have 3 entrances to the maze. Blindfold the 3 contestants and place each kid on their hands and knees at one of the entrances. Each one must crawl to one of the other entrances using their hands to feel where the tablecloth leads or ends or turns. All 3 contestants are in the maze at the same time and the first one to find their way out is the winner.

3-Legged Kickball

The idea is pretty straight forward. All the rules of standard kickball apply, the only difference is that each player is 2 players tied together at the leg as you would for a 3-legged race.

3-Way Capture The Flag

This is regular capture the flag with more than two teams. Our youth group has played regular capture the flag for so long, that we thought it would be fun to try something different. It was a huge hit.
SETUP: Have 3 (or more) teams, each with a flag and a specific territory. You can make each team have its own jail, or you can have a central neutral area where all people who are tagged go for 3-5 minutes. Each team places their flag somewhere on their territory in plain sight (must be visible from at least 10 feet away. We say they must be stuck in the ground.)
TO PLAY: Each team tries to get the other teams’ flags with out losing their own. If team A captures team B’s flag, they plant it next to their flag, and teams A and B become one team possessing the territory for both teams. They then have numerical advantage over team C, whose flag they then attempt to get.
These rules make it very intense, because you do not want to be the team that is ganged up on, so you go out as fast as possible to find the other teams’ flags.
These rules also work for more than 3 teams.

OTHER POSSIBLE RULES:
1) When a person is tagged, the tagger must escort them to jail without tagging anyone else. If the tagger does not escort them, then they can run back free.
2) A variation of the above rule would be that a defender can freeze one person in place, and tag one more before escorting both to jail.
3) Have a safe zone around your flag in which the defenders may not enter. I don’t care for this rule, but many people like it.
4) Have colored string tied around the wrist to indicate what team you are on. If the string is broken, you must go back to the designated neutral area to have a new string put on.

30 Hour Famine

The 30 Hour Famine is a fundraising program provided through World Vision. You sign up at 30hourfamine.com and they give you pamphlets to help raise money, but there is a catch you have to spend the night at church and not eat for 30 hours (they have national dates for everyone to do it at the same time if you want) during that time you worship to God, play games,devotions,watch movies, and do community service for your city. If you earn a certain amount of money you can recieve prizes if you choose.

3D Kickball

This is a fast moving version of kickball for large groups. This version enables everyone to get up to bat several times in a short period of time.
The concept is the same as kickball except that you have three pitchers pitching to three kickers simultaneously. Once you are on base you do not have to advance a base unless you want. Therefore you can have several people on one base at a time. Instead of there being three outs we make it nine outs before the next teams gets up to bat.
The defensive team can stand anywhere around the playing field. Try it and modify it to suit the needs of your group.

4 On The Couch

Everyone writes their name on a piece of paper and folds it up. Put all the pieces of paper in a hat or bowl. Everyone takes a new paper out of the hat. Now that is their new name, and they can’t show it to anyone. Everyone is sitting in a circle with part of this circle containing a couch or 4 seats designated as the “couch”. The couch must have 2 girls and 2 boys seated on it in the beginning. The object of the game is to get all girls or all boys on the couch. It is good if you have a fairly even split between the boys and the girls if not you can assign some girls to be boys or vice versa. In your circle of chairs there should be an empty one. The person on the right of the empty chair attempts to call off a boy or a girl depending on what they are. If they are a boy they will want to call off a girl so a boy could replace them on the couch. They call a name of someone in the group but remember no one knows anyone’s name yet. Who gets called goes and sits in the empty chair and exchanges names with the one who called them. Now the one on the right of the new empty chair calls someone. It continues this way until you have all girls or all boys on the couch. It really makes you think because names are changed so often. No one should be giving clues to the person whose turn it is.

4 Ring Circus

This is a great game to tire your kids out FAST! You tape four circles or squares onto the floor making a square. Make them about 6 ft apart. You place a jolly rancher or other small object in each of the circles. Start off with one person in each corner and when you say “GO”, the kids have to run to another circle and take one object and bring it back to your own circle. The object of the game is to get three objects into your own circle. Be sure to have a few extra jolly ranchers handy to throw in the middle if the kids are having trouble getting three in their own circles.

40-Hour Sit-out

Our 6th-8th Grade Youth Group participated in a 40 Hour Sit-out to raise money and awareness for homelessness in our area. Prior to the event we collected large boxes (washer/dryer – range size) and we prepared them in “shanty” type homes. We started the event on 5:00 PM (Friday) and lived outside in the boxes until Sunday @ 9:00 AM. We stayed out even in the rain. We had collected plastic and old tarps to cover us in the rain. We took pledges and donations from our church members and we had a lot of community people stop by to see what we were doing. We were on a main road in town and lots of people would pull up just to donate money because they had seen the segment on the Friday evening news. Members of our church also signed up to bring us food to eat for our meals (you can keep this from the kids, so they might start to wonder where their next meal is coming from.)

While this is only a glimpse into the life of homeless person, it made quite a large impact on our kids and adults too (we had lots of “security guards”). The total money raised was then donated to our local Gospel Mission. You can do many things with this concept, and while it’s a lot of work, God rewards those involved with a feeling of accomplishment. **you could incorporate the Shanty town idea on EGAD! with this event**

50 Foot Banana Split

This is an add-on to any event, but works great with a “Banana” Themed event, and works best in the summer months. What you need, is a whole ton of ice cream (depends on the size of your group), a ton of plastic spoons, bananas (pre sliced), all the toppings, and an eavestrough.
An eavestrough can be found in any large hardware store, and the size will depend on the size of your group.
Our group used a 10′ trough for 20 people, but I’ve also seen a 50′ length trough for close to 100 people (approx 6″ per person). The youth have a blast seeing that large a banana split, but also the fact that they’re eating out of a gutter.
*note* I suggest cleaning out the gutter prior to filling it with ice cream!

50’s & 60’s Bash

Decorate meeting hall to look like “Arnold’s” from “Happy Days”. Have you youth group dress up like car hops to serve. Make a short menu. Most items can be donated by teens or by local businesses. Play 50’s and 60’s music (check the words before you play them). Have contests like bubble blowing, hoola hoop, limbo, or what ever you can think of. Costume contests work well also. If you have access to a vintage car and a camera you can make a few $$ by selling pictures also. We charge a $0.50 door charge also and award prizes for all the games that we do.
The more you promote it the better $$$ you can make. I’ve done this in very small churches and made a few hundred $$$. Making malts and floats in the malt shoppe is the best part. The older folks like to remember when and the younger ones like to try to immitate the age. It’s alot of fun and a good way to raise $$$. (Another cool thing to do is to have a live band or a juke box!)

50’s Day

We, like some of the others, sponsor a 50’s day at our church. We sell “A Burger, F/F and Milkshake” for $5.00. We have drinks for those who can’t have the Milkshake. We get some of the food donated so we can make a good profit.
We dress up in our 50’s day outfits and play 50’s and 60’s music. I have taken old photo’s from the 50’s and 60’s of people in our church and dsiplayed them for younger ones to guess who they are.
We also invite old cars to come out to enter a carshow, free of charge to them. We give prizes away, letting everyone vote on paper for the car they like best.
The old cars bring out a lot of people who can’t turn down a homemade milkshake! It seems the community has come to enjoy and look forward to our 50’s day. It’s great community involvement and makes a good profit too.

50’s Night

For our 50’s fun night, we advertised it as “Hot April Nights,” and any month could be inserted. We asked the youth to dress in 1950’s clothing and had fifties music blaring. We played the following games for our group of 100. The kids, 6th through 12th grade, loved it and are still talking about it a year later!

Hula-Hoop Hoopla:
We had teams of equal size line up along one side of the room. The first person in line put their forehead on a bat (or dowel) and had to spin around it 10 times. have the person in line behind them count for them! Then they had to run to the other end of the room and get a hula hoop to go around themselves 5 times. It’s hilarious to see the crazy dizzy walking! First team to get all of their members to complete the task wins.

Bazooka Joe:
We had enough bubble gum for every youth. We lined teams up facing each other across the room. In relay fashion, they had to run across the room (so individuals were running towards each other) to a piece of paper taped on the wall. There they unwrapped a piece of bubble gum and started chewing it. They had to then blow a bubble and then stick the bubble to the paper on the wall. We gave prizes for most pieces of gum that stayed (more gum!) and for the biggest bubble. The kids loved this for the gross slobber factor. We used bazooka joe gum, but it is really hard and takes A LOT of chewing to get it to be blowable.

T.V. Dinner Roulette:
Like hot potato, but with T.V. dinners! We gave each youth a spoon and heated up 5 of the most disgusting T.V. dinners we could find. The youth stood in a circle facing in and we put all 5 dinners in the circle at some point and started the music. When the music stopped, whoever was holding the dinner was out and the person to their left had to take a bite of the dinner. We kept this going until we ran out of food and had only a few kids left. Either the kids flip for the dinners or think they will die from the food. It’s great!

All prizes given for games had 50’s leanings – Barbie, Mr. Potato Head, etc. We went on some 50’s retro websites and looked at what was invented in the 50’s and gave those things out for the winners.
To end the evening, we made a 30 foot bannana split (thanks to our parents it was already assembled and ready to go at the end of the games!). We made ours in 3 pieces of plastic rain gutter with connectors. When the evening was over, we took it outside and hosed it out. We did this right after the musical dinners game so that everyone already had their spoon and could just dig in.

7- Ball

7-Ball is a game I made up one night for our church youth group. You will need the following: 7 tennis balls, 3 trash cans (we use the big ones on rollers), a magic marker, and participants. That’s all you need!

To set up the playing field, place the trash cans in a row, going away from the player. The first should be 7 feet from the “throwing line”, the second 14 feet from the line, and the third 21 feet from the line. On one of the balls draw a “7” with the marker. That is your “7-Ball.”

Here’s how it works. Participants stand behind the throwing line and try to make the balls in the cans. The first can is worth 1 point, the second is worth 3 points, and the third is worth 7 points. The 7-Ball is worth the can it gos in, plus 7. So it is worth a total of 8, 10, or 14 points. However, if you miss with the 7-Ball, you lose 7 points. Negative 7 is the worst score possible (0 balls made), 56 is the highest (all 7’s).

We have a small youth group, so each person plays on their own team. We do it as a double elimination tournament and the youth has a lot of fun with it. But you could play it in teams, or however you want. It is so much fun, and you will be surprised because the hot shots that go for seven every time are stunned when they get beat by girls playing it safe!

A Cleansed Past: The Room

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.
But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, They had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I have liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, Shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.
Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I have betrayed.” The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I have Given”, “Jokes I Have Laughed at.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve yelled at my brothers.”
Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “TV Shows I have watched,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked L”ustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.
One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. It’s size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me.
I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.
Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.
The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.” I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” —Phil.4:13

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

(My “People I shared the gospel with” file just got bigger, how about yours? )

This is an example of the cards we used….

Name: Church:
Do you have questions about:
Salvation? Yes No
Life Choices? Yes No
Rededication? Yes No
The Bible? Yes No
Would you like to talk to someone about these questions? Yes No
Would you like someone to pray for you? Yes No About?_________________________
If you would like someone to talk, how can we reach you?_______________________________
Return this card to the appropriate place & receive a surprise gift.

A Cross Movement

At the intimate soft song part of a worship set, have one of your artsy youth paint during a song like, The Wonderful Cross. The youth should paint different sins that you face like: lust, lying, stealing, etc. in the shape of a cross. This should be done in the color black. After the cross is finished, the kid should paint a thick red line over the words in the shape of the cross. Then pour water over all of it and smeer it with his or her hand.

This is very powerful and gives a visual so that it involves more than just one of the bodies senses.