Bible Study & Prayer

T.A.W.G. – Time Alone With God

T.A.W.G. Time. Time alone with God. When all of the youth gather in the morning at a retreat or for their meeting the leader reads a Bible verse, poem, short devotion, etc. The group then disperses to go off alone. This is their time to meditate and concentrate on God’s word and their committment to Him. This worked really well at the camp I work at. The kids got a lot out of it!

Taking A Stand

I use this activity when our youth group does a lesson on decision making. Use Acts 22:10 “‘What shall I do Lord,’ I asked.” if your meetings are scripture based.
Have three pre-made signs that say “yes,” “no” and “maybe.” Tape them up in various corners of the room. Read from the following list (you may want to omit some items if you are working with junior high). Have the youth “take a stand” on an issue. Yes, they would do that or no, they would not. Only allow two maybes per person. The goal is for them to make a decision. The trick about this is not telling the kids what you plan to do after you go through the entire list. After you read off the last item, you repeat the list with a different question. It’s no longer “what would you do,” but instead it is “what would Jesus want you to do?” Here is a sample list:
– hang out with people who treat others badly
– hug a stranger who has AIDS
– cheat on a test to get a passing grade
– help a relative die who has a terminal illness
– stay at a party where people are drinking
– drink alcohol while under age
– copy answers from a friend’s homework
– keep the money when the cashier gives you too much change
– smoke a cigarette
– lie to your parents
– speed to make it to school on time
– maintain sexual purity
– spread rumors about someone who hurt you
– lie for a friend to an authority figure
– be the first to talk to the new person in school
– date someone who doesn’t believe in God
– sneak out after curfew

Ten Steps To Action

It is one thing to see problems in the world and another thing to do something about them. As an exercise to help kids to see what they can do, give the following instructions, one at a time and give enough time for the kids to think through each point. Discussion can follow. 1.) List 5 social problems in your community 2.) Circle 3 for church 3.) Underline 2 of those you can do. 4.) Rewrite one of these 2 5.) List 5 things to be done to deal with this problem. 6.) Circle 2 you can do. 7.) Underline 1 you can do. 8.) What will hinder you from accomplishing this task? 9.) What will help you to do it? 10.) Will you do it?

Testimony Night

We belong to a small church and the youth meet in our home. Every now and then, we invite a member of our congregation to join us for the evening. They play the games and eat with us then, during what would normally be devotional time, they share their testimony and the kids can ask them questions about what it was like for them growing up as a teen. It’s a good chance for the youth and the older members of the church to get to know each other.

The Body Parts Game

Bible Point
The Body of Christ is many parts. Only when the parts come together do they form one body to accomplish one purpose!

Set Up
Before class time write body part names on Post-it Notes ®. You will most likely not know how many kids will show up to class. Therefore, divide the body part names from major to minor, see below, and distribute them accordingly as children arrive to class.

Main Body Parts (For a class of 5-7 kids) Head, neck, torso, arm, arm, leg, leg.

Secondary Body Parts (For 15 or less kids) Ear, ear, nose, mouth, hand, hand, foot, foot.

Tertiary Body Parts (For 16+ kids) Fingers, toes, fingernails, toenails, elbows, kneecaps, knuckles, eyebrows, lips, belly button, hair, freckles, etc.

How To Play: As children arrive distribute the body part names, beginning with the main body parts. If more than seven children arrive, hand out the main and secondary body parts, and if more than fifteen arrive, hand out the main, secondary and tertiary body parts.

Players begin by going up to another player, then saying their name and body part. If the body part is one that is connected to the other player’s body part, they must connect by linking arms, holding hands or clinging to his or her shirt sleeve. If their body parts do not connect, then they pass to another player. For example, if a “nose” meets a “face”, they connect and continue playing as before, staying connected as they go. But if a “nose” meets a “foot” they do not connect. Players continue playing, searching for body parts that are connected to their body part. Play continues like this until the entire body is connected!

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 from a child-friendly Bible.

After the game discussion:
How does this game help to illustrate the message of 1 Corinthians 12:12-27? Is any one part less important than another? How does this relate to different kinds of people within Christ’s body, the church?

Variation of play: Place the main body part names into a bucket. Each team will need their own bucket. Divide players into teams of 5-7 players. At the go teams race to their bucket, grab a body part name and connect to their teammates in the correct order. First team to connect properly wins. A proper connection touch would be head to neck, neck to torso, arms to torso, etc. Not, head to leg or arm to leg.

Players can also race individually to their buckets to grab a body part name, and then race back to their team line. When all players have their body part names, they assemble themselves in proper order.

Copyright 2008 S.A. Keith –

The Crazy Rainbow

This is a riddle game that I haven’t seen yet, but I haven’t read absolutely every single one of them, so I apologize if it’s a repeat. You have 2-3 people leave the room, and explain the rules to everyone else. Then you call each person in one at a time and tell them that they have to figure out the rules of the game by going around and asking each person questions. They can ask about anything they want, and the more variety the better. The only stipulation is that it has to be a question that most people could answer (for example, “How do you say ‘thank you’ in Romanian?” is probably not a fair question in most youth groups). The first person asked will give the response, “The crazy rainbow.” Each person after that will answer the question that was asked of the person before them. They can answer creatively if they want, but they have to answer from the perspective of the person before them (for example, if the person in the middle asks Jane, “What color are your socks?” and Bob is the one answering, he has to give the color of Jane’s socks, not his own). Here’s an example of what the dialogue will look like:

Q: How tall are you?
A: The crazy rainbow.

Q: What is your favorite color?
A: Oh, about this tall.

Q: What is 2+2?
A: You expect me to pick just one response?

Q: Who’s your favorite singer?
A: More than 4, less than 6.

Q: What month is it?
A: Elton John.

Q: What was the last book you read?
A: It comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.

And so on. You generally want to start out giving answers that aren’t extremely direct (like answering the question, “What month is it?” with “It comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb,” instead of just saying “March”) so they don’t guess immediately. Also, make sure that everyone in the room understands the rules (maybe try a few practice questions first) before you let the people come in. Finally, make sure that the people you call in are people who can laugh at themselves so they won’t get too frustrated. This can be a lot of fun, particularly at a lock-in.

The Rapture

This idea requires a bit of mental preparation because you want to act as if what you are about to say is true. And it requires the most solemn tone. Start out by saying you had prepared to speak on topic ‘X’ tonight, but in light of the news you have just received it is no longer relevant. Explain that you had learnt from God himself that the last person to accept him as saviour has done so as of a few hours ago (give specific time if you want). Explain that within a few minutes/hours God will be coming to take his children home, and express what joy it is knowing that soon we will be with him, etc. Dress it up as you see fit. Then focus on the sorrow you have because not all of (assuming you have unsaved children in your youth group) them will be going. Explain (almost apologetically) that they had heard often of Jesus’ love, and how he wanted to save them, but now it is too late. By the time you finish with the sorrowful aspect of Christ’s return make sure that there is a realised finality. That there last chance is gone, and they are doomed.
Dramatic pause here is good as it sinks in. After about half a minute, begin to explain that what you had just said was not true… however that there is coming a day when Christ WILL return, which could be in the next minute, or day, or week, or year. Explain that NOW is the accepting time. And you have opened for yourself the doors to a wonderful presentation of the gospel.

Treasure Hunt Lesson

This lesson is to encourage pre-teen to teenage kids to find the treasures in the Bible for themselves. It involves the use of concordances, bibles, encyclopedias, and will require the design of a game board that looks like a treasure map.
Start the class off in Matthew 13: 44-45, and discuss how the Kingdom of God is like a treasure, and that we can use the Bible to find treasures that God wants us to have.
For the first activity, we bring a group of encyclopedias into the middle of the room. Break the group into teams of two or three. Give each of the teams an index card with a specific subject on it. i.e. names of different animals, names of different countries, names of different states. (Make sure that you check in the encyclopedias to make sure that the words you are giving them to look up are in there.) Give them a list of questions that they need to find the answers to about the subject that you give them. (If your using a grouping of animals you can ask: “What does your animal like to eat?”, “Where does your animal live?”.) Give the teams 5-10 minutes to look up the answers in the encyclopedias. When the time is up ask the group questions about what they learned that they didn’t know before the activity.
Discuss with the group the purpose of concordances, and how they can be used, like the encyclopedia, to find out where to get information in the Bible about a subject. Have a map designed large enough so that all the kids can see the different places. You can name the places after biblical events, with a treasure chest at the end. Design questions that will make them look up the answers in the concordances. (i.e. How many times is the word “Christian” found in the bible? What scripture(s) talk about loving your enemies? What is the only book in the Bible that does not have the word/name God in it?) Divide the class into reasonably sized teams. Each team gets their own concordance. Read a question, and the first team to have the correct answer gets to move to the next place on the “treasure map” closer to the treasure at the end.
This activity was a huge success in our preteen class. They learned that there was more in the Bible than they knew about, and that they were capable of finding these things if they looked for them.

Underground Church

The idea is to imitate a church service in a country where Christianity is illegal and punishable by death. Have youth come to a “secret meeting place” to have church. Keep lights out and have the group try to remain as quiet as possible from the moment they arrive. Once all the youth has arrived, begin the service with regular prayer, bible teaching, praise, etc., keeping in the minds of the students that they are hiding from the government and worshipping God illegally.
Sometime into the meeting, arrange to be ambushed by men in uniform (preferably military dress). Have them raid the meeting place and arrest everyone. Then have those in uniform threaten and question the group of their activities. Test their reactions. Or modify it to suit the situation.
The goal is to give youth a understanding of what it is like to be persecuted as a Christian in a foreign country. And to test their faith and trust in God. Will they lie to stay alive and be set free? In the heat of the moment, their true colors will shine. It is important to do a debriefing afterwards to go over their responses.

Weekly Bible Challenge

This idea started when the Bible lesson was the great commission from Matthew. The verse said Jesus and the eleven disciples went up the mountain. I asked them if anyone knew why there were only 11 not 12. No one knew. So I told them if they found the answer I would give them a candy bar.
The next week I had a different question.
Surprisingly, they enjoyed finding answers. In fact, one week I didn’t have one and they were disappointed. I think this is a good way to get them to open their Bible and become familiar with the stories and people.

What Is Your Future? (God’s Plan 4 U)

You will need notecards and pencils for this activity.

Give each student a notecard. Have the students write what the wanted to be when they grew up when they were younger, and then have them write what the want to be now on the other side. Have some of the students share theirs with the group. Explain how we never really know what God has in store for us, and sometimes we might want something to happen, but He makes the total opposite happen. After the group discusses this part, read aloud Jeremiah 29:11. Remind the students that God does have a plan for them.

Where Do I Find Help

I am not sure where this fits in EGAD, but I have used your site for Sunday School and Youth group ideas for the last few years and am very impressed with the quality of program that can be developed using the ideas on your site.

Finding the Answers.
Instead of just writing the scripture that we are going to study at Sunday School or during our Youth Group meeting on our white board, I have been sending them on a mission to find the word.

Let’s be honest most of us have a ton of construction paper cluttering up our cabinets, if not just grab some at the dollar store. Prior to the lesson each week make some “lost scrolls”. I write each of the scripture that we are going to study and use during the class on a piece of 4×4 construction paper with ripped edges, then roll it up and tie it with twine.

I have found with my Sunday School (5th –12th graders) they come down a little sleepy in the morning. After we greet and eat (we are on the food, faith and fun program), I send them out to find the lost scrolls of awesomeness that I have hidden before they get there. When they come back with the scripture rolls I have them wait to open them until it’s part of the lesson and then whoever finds them reads them.

The Warning
My class size is between 15-20 most weeks so they can make more than a little noise finding the Word. Our class is in the basement of our church and I hide the scrolls only on our floor so we do not interfere with other classes or the church service.

The Objective
I do this not only to wake them up, but also to search for answers not only spiritually but also physically, as their lives become more challenging and full. I have been working with this group for 10 years or so and before they go off to college I am trying to develop and passion for finding answers in the Word.

Wrap up
The dynamics of teen coolness come into play from time to time so you may need to find ways to keep them all looking for the Word:

Roll some candy in with it to show how sweet the Word is.
Put names on the outside of the roll to let them know they have been called by name.
Have someone from the class make and hide them to get them involved
And the list goes on…

You’ve Got Prayers

I went to the local office supply store and bought do-it-yourself postcard and printed them up with the following message:

You’ve been prayed for!
The Youth Fellowship of Christ Congregational Church prayed for you today. May God shower love and grace down upon you and hold you always safe in the palms of God’s loving hands. May peace and love be yours through Christ Jesus. Amen.

I used our desktop publishing software to make them look jazzy. I then got from the church secretary a list of every single person in our church database and made labels for the postcards. The cards went into a big ole cardboard box that is wrapped up like a present with a hole in the top. Every Wednesday evening at our group’s prayer and worship time, we pass the box around and everyone picks out one card. We then read aloud the names of each card and pray specifically for that person. The next morning, I mail the cards to the people we’ve prayed for.

This has been a very powerful outreach tool for our kids, teaching them to pray for others, especially people they may not know. The people who receive the cards often tell us that the prayer cards reached them at a time when the felt particularly in need of prayer, and some of the people who have received cards have begun attending services regularly again.

Peace and Blessings

Youth Group Devotional

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.

Youth Group Prayer Project

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.

Zerubbabel’s Troubles

Maybe its just me but I seem to hear a lot of camp speakers telling kids to dream big dreams, GOD SIZED DREAMS, but they sometimes miss the fact even huge visions have humble beginnings that require the work of the Holy Spirit.

So in a world where bigger is better, and business says go big or go home it is sobering to return to the story of the rebuilding of the temple. Sure it wasn’t Solomon’s temple, and people whined for the old days, but it was God’s plan and God’s Spirit that directed the project.

As you do this Bible Study have kids list great things that they would love to see God do in the world. Maybe even follow up on some of the big dreams they have be challenged to dream. List them and leave them on the board, white board, or power point screen.

Then read this scripture from the message from Zechariah 4 (you might want to provide some brief background on the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple)

Then he said, 6″This is GOD’s Message to Zerubbabel: “You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. 7″So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!'”

8 After that, the Word of GOD came to me: 9″Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. 10Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”

The Day of small beginnings
Share with the group something along the lines of … God has given us some big ideas but we have no right to despise the little things that God wants us to do. God’s greatest feats have begun very small and then they grow very large..

You may want to do a bit of an object lesson here with seeds of different sizes, a penny, and/or a grain of rice. (you could tell the story of the peasant who asked the emperor for a small gift. All he asked was that the emperor would double the rice on each square of a chess board until it reached the last square. The Emperor could not grant the request because by the time it reached the last square it would require all of the rice in china)

Have student suggest other things that start small but become very large, like a human embryo, or a virus epidemic.

Zerubbabel’s trouble was that as he lay the corner stone there were probably those standing around saying –It won’t amount too much –You need to go big or go home..

God had another plan– from these humble beginnings God would rebuild the temple as a sign that he would revive his people.

Faithful in Little Faithful in Much
When the first three students in Texas met at their flag pole to pray they had no clue that it would grow into an international movement called See You at the Pole. They just met to pray because someone had to do it.

With all of this talk of grandiose dreams we cannot sit and wait for our ship to come in. Instad like the setting of the first stone in that temple we need to begin with the basics of our Christian life –the foundaion for all future success. If we try to walk before we can run we fall flat on our face.

EGAD! Ideas began as a college assignment and grew into one of the most popular youth sites on the internet.

The Bible study can end with a challenge, possibly have students plant their dreams somewhere on the church property. Not allowing them to die, but sewing them in faith. Have students share what foundational things they will need to plant in their lives to build the kind of foundation that will support a future of service to Christ