Form 2 or more groups. Give each group some mousse, hair spray, a hair dryer, towel, brush, comb, and Bible. This works well on retreats since most kids already have these items with them. On newsprint, write the list of the Bible passages listed below. Have groups choose a passage, read and then decide on a hairstyle to represent it. Let them go to it! Videotaping is a good idea.
After the fun and games discuss the Bible passages by answering these questions:
“What happened in the story or verse?”
“What’s God’s message?”
“How can we apply that message to our lives today?”
Gen 11:1-9 (Tower of Babel) Ex3:1-12 (the Burning Bush) Ex 14:19-29 (the parting of the Red Sea) Judges 16:4-20 (Samson’s haircut) Song of Solomon 4:1 (Your hair is like a flock of goats) Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus blesses the little children) John 15:5 (I am the vine, you are the branches) Acts 27 (Paul is shipwrecked).
Read Gen. 6 14- 16 about how the ark was to be built. Then on a piece of paper that was covering the table the youth had to build an ark. So they all had to work together to build the ark. Then they had to figure out how much food they would need, where the animals were going to live, where they were going to live etc. It was a fun project and the youth want to have another meeting to finish the project.
Form groups of no more than four and give each group a newspaper section filled with world news. Say: “Your group has 5 mins to search your newspaper for one situation you want us to pray for, such as gang violence, drugs, famine, floods, or earthquakes.” After 5 mins, gather groups and have them describe their situation. Close by praying for each world need. As the “Amen” read John 16:33. Create a “World Prayer Needs” bulletin board. Throughout the week have kids cut out magazine or newspaper articles containing world need they want the group to pray for. Have them tack the articles to the bulletin board as visual prayer reminders.
Lead your young people in a directed prayer. Tell them to pray silently each time you pause during the prayer. Say: “Thank you God for newness in our lives, such as new friends, or this new spring season, or another situation we’ll silently name. (Pause) Be with these friends we’ll silently name who need to know the newness of the Christian life, (Pause). Please help us renew our personal commitment to you (Pause). Thank you God for being with us when we feel unlovely and not so new. (Pause)” — Conclude by reading “The One who was sitting in the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this because these words are true and can be trusted.” (Rev 21:5)
Have the kids write down a sin, problem or something preventing them from being close to God. Have a “funeral procession” to a prearranged site, dig a grave (complete with a marker) and have the kids toss their “sins” into the grave with a prayer of commitment. Cover the grave and the marker can remain as a permanent reminder of this commitment.
*** Be sensitive to the youth. If there has been a recent death in the church or the life of a teen it’s obviously better suited for another time.
Instead of using daily devotional guides published by your denomination, have your youth group write their own. This gives the young people a chance to express their ideas about the Christian faith. Most importantly, the kids will want to read the devotional because they know the authors and they can relate to their own peers better. Sample Format: Day and Month, Scripture, Commentary, Thought for the day.
Help your kids put prayer into practice with this community builder. Obtain a set of mailing labels preprinted with the names and addresses of church members. Then photocopy a short form letter for each family or person on the mailing list, telling people they’ll be prayed for by the youth group kids the coming week. Also photocopy some practical prayer suggestions for kids to use. During a youth group meeting, give each person two or three mailing labels, envelopes and form letters. Or give out some names each week for a few weeks. Also supply stamps and the prayer suggestions. Have kids mail their letters and then pray daily for the people they mailed them to. At a later meeting, have church members tell kids ways their prayers were answered during the time kids were praying.
Form groups of 4-6. On separate 3×5 cards write different body parts, such as “hand”, “eye”, “mouth,” etc. Give each group a different card and tell them to prepare to act out what’s on their cards for everyone else. Each person in the group must play a role in acting out the body part. For example, one person can curl up to form the palm of a hand while the others pretend to be fingers. When ready, the groups act them out while the others guess what they are. Questions to ask: How did it feel to work together in this activity? What can we learn from this activity about how we should work together in service to Christ? Ask… Why do you think God chose to compare the church to a body? What was the hardest thing about working together to create your body part? What’s the hardest thing about working together as the body of Christ? How can we discover our roles in the body of Christ?
Hang up 20 or so photos of all kinds of people. The 1st week, have the kids write descriptions of each person based on what they see in the picture. Collect them and during the following week, combine the descriptions into a single paragraph which reflects the group consensus. Attach the descriptions to each picture for the next meeting and have the students look at the photos with descriptions carefully (make sure they’re numbered) and then answer the following questions:
1.) Choose 5 people you would want to travel with for 1 year. Why?
2.) Is there any one person who you would not want anything to do with? Why?
3.) Who, if any would you be willing to marry?
4.) Who, if any would you worship with?
5.) Which person do you think you could really like? Why?
6.) If only 5 others and yourself were allowed to live and the others executed, which 5 would stay with you? Why?
Buy the wallet-size picture of Jesus which shows Him standing and knocking on a wooden door, entitled Christ at Heart’s Door. Get one for each teenager. Pass out the pictures and explain the detail and intricacies of the artist’s work. Go around the circle of kids and ask them to share one thing that they can see in the picture that tells us something about Jesus or ourselves. You can get around 30-45 details. Have a brief lesson on how to study the Bible. Include the following points: The scriptures were written to disclose Christ. Any valid study must begin and end in Him. The key to knowing God’s Word is to read and study the scriptures – always looking for new insights. We can learn something new each time we study a passage. Just when we think we can’t, we gain a new insight and learn that there is always more to His Word than meets the eye.