Teach that only Christ is suitable for us to put our faith in
a chair or stool
a bed sheet
string cut into four or five foot sections one for each student
Tie several pieces of string to the chair and the rest to the index cards. On the index cards write some things that people tend to put their faith in (money power it’s also a good idea to put your own name). Then label the chair “Christ” place the index cards on the seat and cover with the sheet with the strings leading out.
Have everyone gather around the chair and grab a string. Have everyone pull their string and discuss how all these things let us down but Christ never fails.
Make a large cross (we used 6×6 beams) that’s about 5×7 or larger. Have youth try to carry it (or get a rope and drag it) individually, then have others join in. It will show the importance of ‘Bearing Your Cross’ with fellow Christians along the way.
Materials needed: A couple of bookbags, and books
Have the youth walk around with an empty bookbag on their back; ask them to add a book for every sin they have committed. (lies, lust, sex, not praying, disobeying parents, not following the Laws of the Lord, etc…) The more books that are added, the harder it is to walk around.
Showing it gets harder and harder as we continue to walk around with our sins burdening us. Just let them go, confess them to God and let Him handle them.
An old Christian woman whose age began to tell on her had once known much of the bible off by heart. Eventually only one precious bit stayed with her, ‘I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day’ (2 Tim. 1:12). By and by, part of that slipped its hold and she would quietly repeat, “That which I have committed unto Him.’ At last, as she hovered on the borderline between this world and heaven, her loved ones noticed her lips moving. They bent down to see if she needed anything. She was repeating over and over again to herself the one word of the text, ‘Him, Him, Him.’
She had lost the whole Bible but one word. But she had the whole Bible in that one word.
Even kids have to juggle priorities in today’s hectic and fast paced society. Choose a tossable item to represent school, church, family, friends, sports. Using at least 6 kids, form a circle and begin tossing an object across the circle forming a pattern as it goes. Keep adding items to juggle around the circle.
Discuss how difficult it is to try to juggle all these things in your life. What are the priorities in your life? What things can you cut back on to simplify your life.
To demonstrate that the theory of evolution involves very little evidence and a lot of imagination, use this activity along with a teaching on evolution vs. creation.
Purchase one of more 60-100 piece puzzles with unusual animals or bizarre creatures. Tell the group that we are studying evolution and they will pretend to be archeologists digging for clues. Divide into teams of 2-3 kids and give each group about 3 puzzle pieces as clues. Choose these puzzle pieces carefully including things like teeth, claws, horns-things the kids can be creative with. Tell them that these are all the clues that have been dug up at their dig site so far and have them draw a picture of the creature that these clues came from. There’s a lot missing so they must be creative. If any of the groups are frustrated, you can give them a few more puzzle pieces. When they have drawn their creatures, show the whole group the pictures and the clues. Conclude with saying that very creative people have taken little bits and pieces of bones and teeth and have constructed false “Missing Links”. You can also show pictures of “Java Man”, “Peking Man” etc. and disclose the pieces of evidence that these discoveries were based on. “Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation” is a good source book for this.
Take 2 white roses. Make sure they look alike. Hide one so that no one can see. Then take the other one and tell the kids how beautiful the rose is and how good it smells. Have the youth pass the rose around the room. Tell them to smell it, to touch the soft pedels and to see how beautiful it is. While the rose is being passed around give your sermon on purity. At the end of the message ask for the rose back. Almost 100% of the time the rose will come back brown, wilted, and bruised. Show it to the kids. Tell them how everytime you touch a rose’s pedels they get bruised. Just like with sexual impurity we come back no longer white. Then bring out the other white rose and say that when you give all of that impurity to God that He makes you white again.
My best friend and I developed this illustration for a girls retreat, but it could be used anytime.
All the participants (including the leaders) need a bottle of water (any size will do). The bottle should be clear.
We used this at a retreat in which we had three separate sessions of teaching. The students were told to bring their water to each session. The first session was on purity in relationships. At the end of the teaching we passed around a bottle of red food coloring. We told the students to add a drop of coloring to their water for every impurity in a relationship God was dealing with them about. It could a friend they lied to, a time when they disobeyed a parent, or an impure dating relationship.
We repeated the process at the end of the 2nd and 3rd sessions using blue food coloring at one and yellow at the other.
We closed the final session by saying something like this:
“We all have sin in our lives – things we need to make right with God and others. In the beginning they didn’t seem so bad. The red water wasn’t too bad to look at. Then we got into a few more things. The water turned darker, but it still didn’t look too bad. But as time went on and we went deeper in our sin, what was once Living Water inside of us has turned black. It doesn’t look like anything anyone would want to drink from. Sin not only damages our lives, but also our witness.”
The speaker then pulls out a container of bleach. While quoting a scripture about Jesus cleansing us from our sins and making us new, the leader uses an eye-dropper to add bleach to his/her bottle of water. The color will disappear and the “water” will become clear again, just like our sins disappear and Jesus makes us clean again.
If you were teaching on a single subject and wanted to use this, you could tell the students to use a different food coloring for each issue God is dealing with them about or just use a single color.
Preparation: On a dart board put up a picture of Jesus. Then cover the entire dart board with white paper. Have the youth draw pictures of people that they dislike or someone that made them angry. After tacking up their picture let each kids throw darts at their drawing. Some kids will throw their darts with a lot of force so be sure to have a safe zone.
When each kid has had a chance to throw at their picture, start removing the white paper leaving Jesus’ picture up there. There will be holes all over Him. Remain silent and let each kid “take it all in.” Then quote Matthew 25:40 “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.” It is amazing how they react to this. They really evaluate their actions towards others.
I took this really great idea and added a little twist – after the youth have thrown all the darts. Before you read the scripture out of Matthew… pin up a fresh picture of Jesus on the dartboard and ask “Who wants to throw the darts now? You will get some good answers as to why they won’t do it. Then tell them it is too late it is already been done to Jesus then read Matt 25:40.
I used this illustration with pretty good results in my youth group.
Tell all the youth to say “Milk.”
Tell them to say “Milk milk milk.”
Tell them to spell M-I-L-K
Then say, “What do cows drink?”
Most of the kids will say “milk,” but the answer is “water.”
This really illustrates that our minds are easily shaped by outside forces. If we listen to unacceptable music, our conversation is going to start sounding like the lyrics. If we hang out with crude people, we’re going to start saying crude things. We need to spend time with God every day so that we can sound like him when we talk.