Bible Study & Prayer

Achieving Balance

Achieving balance for teens is complicated, since they are given to extremes. The mature student is the one who understands this balance and learns to walk in it each day. A lesson on balance could begin with a game where students stand on a beam raises slightly above the floor and hold a pillow in one hand. At the word go they try to make the other student lose their balance. A substitute for this can be a clip from an old movie called Karate Kid where Daniel San must balance to defeat his opponents.
The next part of the study would include a topical study of the many balances in the bible. Depending on your time frame, choose any of the following balances that we are to should understand and experience:
– grace and works
– mercy and justice
– love and truth
– faith and reason
– liberty and holiness
– being in the world –not being of the world

After discussing passages that apply to one or more of these balances, have students respond to the question -Where is the balance point between these two options. List them on a chalk board, white board, or type them into your PowerPoint or other presentation program.

Next, have students share areas in their own life where they go to extremes instead of find and achieving balance,

Lastly, have students write out one change that they can make in their life that week which would move them closer to balance in that area of their life.

End the time of reflection in prayer for students to be able to find greater balance in that area of their walk with God.

Airing Out Dirty Laundry

Tools needed: Rope, clothes line/rope, clothes pins, dirty laundry (old soiled clothes), paper, and magic marker, Bible.

Purpose: To encourage teens to share their burdens through prayer and Godly counsel, not on social network sites or through texting.

Before your class arrives hang a rope across the classroom and hang your dirty clothes up. Make signs which state gossip, rumors, personal information, personal failures, family problems and personal relationship problems. Leave some blank paper for you to solicit responses from your students.

When your class arrives someone in the group will more than likely ask what is going on with the clothes hanging up. Explain to the class that you brought your dirty laundry in so they could see it. More than likely that will get a negative response from the class and you can tell them you thought that they would want to see you’re your dirty laundry.

There are a lot of young people who do not know the term “Airing out your/my dirty laundry out”. Explain to the students what the term means, or used to mean, it’s unacceptable to talk in the community about ones personal affairs. It used to be unacceptable to share information about someone else’s personal affairs. Ask those ways people are airing out their “dirty laundry”. Ask your students if media is being used to air out dirty laundry. Explain to the class how the internet, Facebook, and other social media sites are being used to air out dirty laundry. Just as we would not hang our dirty clothes out in front of our houses for all to see, especially under garments, we should not hang out our personal information for all to see through texting and other electronic means.

Most states have laws now concerning cyber-bullying which can be interpreted by others as being when we put out negative information about others using electronic means (refer to your local state laws).

On each piece of clothing attach the words and the responses from the class. Explain each word and how it can cause damage to the person their talking about and to their own personal testimony. Explain that the internet is a powerful tool but is and can be used for the wrong purpose.

With my class I used Gal. 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”. You can also use James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another”. It should be noted that this should be done with fellow Christians or to Godly counsel, not on a social network site. The purpose of this sharing is so Christian’s can pray for you, and when they share with you, tell it to God and not others. There are many scriptures that address rumors, gossip, ect…. encourage your teens to bring topics to you that burden them so you can show them through the Bible how to resolve or get the answer to their problems/burdens.

NOTE: Today’s teens are faced with many challenges. Explain to your teens that if they receive information about someone hurting themselves or others it is their responsibility to tell a trusted adult who will help resolve the problem. Create an atmosphere in your classroom that your students will share with you but let them know you are obligated to share harmful information also.

Amazing Mobsters Lesson

The Mobster game is super! while we played it, I came up with the idea of blending in a lesson. The townspeople put 5 people on trial as accused mobsters, they got 2 out the 5 right. We talked about false accusations based on assumptions instead of proof, and how we do that in real life by the way a person looks or acts. We had 3 falsely accused people, which means we had 3 mobsters in the townspeople group that were “hiding” their “sins” or trying to blend in to accuse others so they would not get found out. It really made the group do some soul searching, and was great fun for all.

Another Youth Group Devotional

Months before your youth group leaves for a mission trip, youth retreat, etc… try writing a devotion for everyday you will be gone on the trip. In the devotions write about an issue or a verse of scripture that you have been trying to get across to the group. If you talk about an issue, be sure and use a verse of scripture to enhance the idea your are trying to get across. On every day’s devotion make the opening remarks be personal (to the group as a whole or individualy). In the devotions be sure and include what God showed you through that particular devotion. Also, be sure and include a blank page with lines on it so the youth can write their responses or prayer requests or quiet time on it. Add an extra devotion so they will read it when they get back home.

At the front of the devotion book, put a cover page. Put a picture of that youth’s favorite animal, sport, christian symbol, etc…
Put the name of the youth on the front of each notebook (I found out that a small 1/2 inch three ring binder was just the right size. On the very first page of the notebook, write a letter of encouragement to that youth. Include their strengths and reasons you admire them.

Armor of God

If you have a group that tends to be rowdy, this should grab their attention while letting them get a good laugh and learn a valuable lesson. You will need a bag full of “ammo” (such as rolled up socks or foam balls), and a sheet of paper with instructions written on it. It should say something like, “Don’t listen to what (insert leader name) tells you to do. He/she will try to decieve you. Even if people around you do it, you must not listen.” Fold the instructions and give them to one of the youth in your group, telling them to read it immediately, but not to tell anyone what it says. Once he/she has read the instructions, ask for volunteers, telling them that you will give them a surprise if they volunteer (make sure you try to get the one with the instructions to come too). Pick two or three and lead them to your bag of “ammo.” Reach in, grab some ammo and begin throwing it at your volunteers. Once you stop laughing, regain control and get to the point. Ask these questions, “Why did the volunteers listen to me?” “Why didn’t (insert name of youth who had instructions) volunteer?” Have the youth who didn’t follow read the instructions he was given. Then ask, “What do the instructions represent?” Follow up by reading Ephesians 6:10-18 and a discussion about the armor of God and the importance of following God’s “instructions.

Ball Talk

Start out with a small (ugly) blue ball. Have a bag full of balls (all sorts) but do not let students see them. Make the biggest jock hold the little blue ball in the center of the staging area. Talk about the blue ball as though it is not very important, point out its faults, blemishes, and potential uses. Tell the students that this blue ball will be our starting point of importance. Then call on another student (preferably girl) and hand them a football. Tell them to stand either side (left or right) of the blue ball in order of importance. Call on other students, handing each a ball (soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, etc) Go into detail as to the importance or lack of importance for each ball. Let each student position themselves in the line of importance while holding their ball. Let the students describe the reasons why they chose to standing where they are always referring back to the “little blue ball” One side verses the other will become the “important” side. When all the balls have been handed out and the students are lined up in order of importance share with them that the line of importance is not from this side to the other but everyone is important in God’s eyes. God sees importance in everyone, as Christians we are to be humble before God and man never giving rise to putting ourselves better than others. 1 Peter 4:6-7

Balloon Confessions

This illustration has a double purpose to it. You will need a balloon, filled with helium (so it can rise into the air), and markers. Give each of the youth their own balloon and a marker, and have them write one sin on that balloon. Then have them write on the balloon something to the effect of “Lord, please forgive me/take this sin…” You then have all the youth release their “sins” up towards heaven. Someday when that balloon comes back to earth, whether it be whole or blown up, maybe it might land in someone’s back yard, and that is a way to maybe reach out to someone, or make them curious. I hope you enjoy this idea, and maybe the message will reach someone, and give them new hope.

Balloon Race

This is an object lesson that we have used to begin Confirmation classes but is fine any time. Have a big bag of the larger-sized balloons. Line up your group at one end of a large room or sanctuary. Tell them that they are each trying to “fly” their balloons from the startring line past the designated finish line. Of course they fill the balloons full of air and let go–but the balloons almost never go in a straight line! They can fly at right angles or behind you. Use this to illustrate the “Spirit blowing where it will” and that on life’s journeys, we may not be going where we want all the time, but God might have a different destination in mind or a different path to our future.

Balloon Stomp!

Ballon stomp is a quick, fun way to get kids in motion, and there are at least two ways to win. Have each person blow up a ballon and tie it with a short string to their ankle. Start facing each other in a circle, and at “GO!” start stomping. The goal is to protect your own balloon while popping as many others as you can. Keep popping even after your own is burst!Applause/prizes go to both the last survivor, and to the person who popped the most.

Battle of the Sins

During this night you announce that the youth should dress in army attire. You should also decorate to make it somewhat resemble a battlefield. The theme of the night relates to the spiritual warfare that Christians go through and how our life is a battle against sin…
We had a skit with a youth in the “armor of God” battling against Satan.
The youth truly enjoyed it.

Be Slow To Anger

Materials needed:
12-15 nails, hammer, plywood board shaped like a fence (painted white).
Matthew 5:22; Psalms 103:8.
This fence represents our family, friends, or anyone that we have a close relationship with. This fence is a nice fresh painted white picket fence. It is smooth and straight. It is not a perfect fence, as you can see a couple of nails in it. These nails represent different hurts and pains that were inflicted upon it.
How many of you have ever called your brothers or sisters or family or friends hurtful names or hit them or have been mean to them? Well every time you do or say something in anger, this nail must be hammered into the fence.(Line up teens in a single line behind you). Each of you may take a turn to hit a nail in the fence. Look at how ugly this fence is with all those nails in it! It isn’t a pretty sight, is it?
Now every time that you can control your anger and not lash out, you may remove a nail from the fence (remove all nails out of fence). Look at the fence now, it’s full of holes! It looks really bad now, doesn’t it? This is how you and I would look every time someone was mean to us. The scars that are left inside! It doesn’t really matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wounds are still there. A verbal wound is just as bad, if not worse, than a physical wound!
Remember, your family and friends are like very rare jewels. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They’ll listen to you, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to you! (Sounds just like Jesus would do also!) So the next time your friends, or family do something that makes you angry, stop and think about this fence with all the holes in it! Think about the nails and how sharp they are as they pierce through this fence! The pain and hurt that you would feel if the nails poked you.

Before and After

This is a simple but fun learning game. My youth group is a mixed-age group and I am trying to get them familiar with the books of the Bible. I wrote the name of a Bible book on the board or flip chart and then have the kids take turns telling me what book come before or after the book on the board. They enyoy the competition and learn the order of the bible books. I usually have a treat for the winner.

Bible Jeopardy

Bible Jeopardy is a great way to get youth involved in Sunday school lessons and Bible studies. The Sunday school lessons and/or Bible studies are grouped into their own categories, with each lesson being a main topic with it’s own questions. The questions range from 100 points to 1000 points for each category, with the questions increasingly getting more difficult. Each category has it’s own Bonus question where the student that answers it correctly gets to draw from a can the value of the question, (to make it fun I usually put values that range from 1 point to 2000 points). Outlines of the lessons should be given out each week so that the students can prepare for the game by studying, (some parents have told us that their children study every day to prepare) . I usually have our group play the game after 5 consecutive Bible lessons. To make the game visually appealing I made a special board for the game. The topics are pinned to it with the points below, as the questions are answered the corresponding value is taken off the board. Some of our teachers simply use a chalk board to write out the categories and point values. We also give the youth points for attendance, bringing their Bible, bringing guests, taking notes during the pastor’s sermons, etc. These points can be kept for a youth auction at a latter date. We have been using this game for over a year now in all the classes from third grade to high school. The effects have been tremendous, not only has attendance dramatically increased, but enthusiasm in learning the lessons has soared as well.

Bible Quiz Tournaments

There is an actual bible quiz that our group does Sept. through April. we meet once or twice a month, and quiz on a certain book of the Bible all year. We then take our top 28 quizzers to regionals (the regionals we attend is in Minnesota, but they have them all over the US) Then in April we have Nationals. The 2006 Nationals is in Omaha, NE. Quizzers from NY, CO, MO, TN, and many more states, come and all quiz against each other. It’s a great way to get your youth into God’s Word. I quizzed when from 12 to 18 and I loved it, now I help with it. If you would like more info on how to get bible quizzing started in your area, feel free to e-mail me, or visit www.biblequizfellowship.org

Bible Search

This is a good idea to get kids in the Bible. Look up random verses in the Bible that has \”things/nouns\”, like rock… door… table… etc. Then write the verse down on a piece of paper. Then go to church early & find all of these things & put a piece of neon tape on it. Next give the kids a list of bible verses to look up to find the word. Tell them that there is a word in each verse they must find. When they find the object they must bring the neon tag back to the youth pastor.

Bible Treasure Hunt

My youth group loves competitive games and activities. I hid a ‘prize’ someplace in the building (i.e. behind the water fountain)then wrote out a sentence telling where the treasure was hidden (Ex.:Great Treasure Is Hidden Behind the Water Found Near The Sanctuary). I then found a scripture verse in the Bible containing each word in the sentence, determined where in the verse the word was located, example: Genesis 1:1, first word (In), etc. Give the scriptures/words in random order so kids have to not only find the scripture and write down the words, they have to put them in correct order to solve the puzzle and find the ‘Treasure’. This is a fun way for kids to learn the books of the Bible while having fun.

Bible Word Scavenger Hunt

Being a junior high Sunday School teacher, I am always looking for new ideas for activities that will capture the kids’ attention and also teach them something. I love the idea of a scavenger hunt but it’s not possible for us to do one on a Sunday morning, so I devised this one for them.

Before the lesson, I will make a list of words found in the Bible. I try to pick words that can be found in both the Old and New Testaments, and also in several different places in scripture. I have the kids work in pairs and give each team a list of the ten words. I have a line after each word for them to write the Book, Chapter & Verse of the scripture in which they located the word. The team that finishes first will then let you know that they are done; I have the other teams stop and wait until I have checked the answers for the first team to make sure that they have them correct. If so, then they have won; if not, then the other teams continue. Sometimes I will have a first and second place winner.

I was surprised at how much the kids enjoyed this game, and even wanted me to make it harder for them. I even passed these onto the Sr. High teacher and his class enjoyed them too.
[The kids are not allowed to use their Bible concordance; they have to use their deductive skills only. I used candy bars for prizes.]

Bless Your Pastor

In studying through the Old Testament at youth meetings, we arrived at the instance of Miriam and Aaron’s rebellion against Moses. This led to a discussion on authority, as well as how God designed authority to work. This could also work for the passage of Scripture which relates Korah’s rebellion. Though youth are tempted to view teachers/parents/pastor/youth leader as people in authority who just enjoy bossing them around, the truth is that they have a huge responsibility in caring for those in their charge, and they will answer to God for how well they fulfilled this role.

We have a really good group of youth, and after discussing just how important it is to honor our pastor/elders/etc, they were willing to participate in an exercise the following Sunday morning at church. We have a small church (about 60-70) and our pastor often asks for spur-of-the moment testimonies on Sunday mornings before he preaches. Our surprise for him and his wife was that one at a time, the youth stood up to give “testimonies” of how much they appreciate our pastor and his wife, with specific examples. One said that our pastor’s wife is a tremendous worshiper, and she learned from her. Another said that he appreciated their example, another their sincerity and obvious love for the flock. Since the youth were creative, specific and authentic in their remarks, this was all the more effective. By the time all who wanted to say something had done so, our pastor and his wife were in tears. They were so encouraged. Some of our youth didn’t want to stand up and say anything because of a fear of speaking to a crowd, and I didn’t oblige them. I did heartily encourage them, however, to overcome their fears in order to bless others in this way, and those who did were really glad that they had done so.

Body Drama

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?

Building Memory Verse

Get some large building bricks (in England, Duplo ones are about the right size).

Write a verse our from Scripture and the reference. Cut out each word and stick them to the bricks. Repeat this for however many teams of about 4-6 you have in your group.

Put the bricks in separate piles for each team at one end of the room. Have the teams stand at the other end. When you shout “Go”, one child at a time in turn runs to the bricks and brings them back. The next child runs to get a brick etc. When they have all the bricks, they have to put them in order. The first team to get the verse right wins.