Recognising God’s Voice

This illustration has been used both in youth group and in church to show how the more we get to know God, the more we can effectively listen to him and be guided by him through our lives.
Before the group meets, get a few people together and record them speaking for about 10 seconds each on a tape (they can say anything – tell a joke, talk about their favourite food, whatever). Try and get a couple of people who everybody knows, and one or two people that the youth will not know.
Play the tape to the youth group, and get them to see if they can recognise who is speaking. They never cease to get excited about hearing theirs or their friends voices on tape!
Explain the illustration by pointing out that it was easy for them to guess the voices of the speakers that they knew well, whereas no one really knew who the stranger’s voice belonged to. Explain that it is like this with God – the more we get to know him, the easier it will be to recognise what he is trying to tell us in our lives.

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Hurtful Words

Using newspaper, cut large paperdolls. Give one to each pair of students. Have one hold the doll and say something mean and nasty to it, ripping a piece of the paper doll. Take turns doing this. Have each person do this about 3 times so your paper doll is in about 6 pieces. Then give each person a roll of scotch tape and tell them to piece their paper doll back together. The results are hilarious. Have each group show their doll and tell what they have learned. Then discuss how words once spoken can never be taken back. The tape signifies an apology but as you can see, it just isn’t the same.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t put the paper doll back in perfect condition.

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The Parable of the Dragnet

Take a big dragnet and hold it while you are discussing the parable. After the word, use the dragnet as you analyze, and have someone help you drag it above there heads. Ask them, if God were to drag His spiritual dragnet across the room, and set down to sort out, by good and bad, would he have to toss them aside? Or would He find them pleasing enough to Him to want to keep them? I found this to be very, very effective in making my young people see the reality of this.

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What Is 10% Tithing?

I used groceries to show how much 10% is compared to the 90% we get.
I used two tables. One tables was designated God’s table and the other was our table. I then took groceries and used things with 10 to 12 items in the box. Like a box of fruit snacks; 1 on God’s table and the rest on our table. If there was more than 10 items I then handed them out to the group as an “offering”; something above and beyond my 10%.
It was fun filling up our table with food and passing out “offerings”.
There was a significant difference between the two tables. It really lets you see how much we get versus giving to God.

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Get Janey Out of Jail

This is a game and an illustration all rolled into one that my kids loved and dreaded(in a good way — you’ll see:-) This can be done in teams or as one big group.

Supplies: Masking Tape or something to mark off boundary, Items for “challenges/dares” (to be described).

Choose one person from each team to be “Janey”, if one group choose just one “Janey”. Prior to the start of the game mark off a starting and finish line approximately 10-12 feet apart. Connect the starting/finish lines to create a long rectangle. Have whoever is “Janey” stand behind the starting line. The starting line to the finish line represents “jail”. The goal of the group or each team is to help “Janey” get out of “Jail” or to the finish line. If playing in teams, the first “Janey” to accomplish this is the winner.

In order for Janey to move toward the finish line a member of her team/group must decide whether or not to complete a “challege/dare”. If they complete the challenge then Janey gets to take one step (heel to toe) toward the finish line. If they refuse or cannot complete the challenge then Janey stays where “she” is in jail. Challenges can be as easy/hard/gross as you want to make them. Try to vary the degree of difficulty and grossness so that kids will really have to think about whether or not they will attempt a challenge or not. Be creative! Examples I have used are: Shave one leg(regardless of whether you are a boy or girl), chug a can of warm coke, run around the church building in a minute or less, kiss 5 people in the room on the cheek, eat/drink a raw egg, etc.
Illustration: In this game “Janey” represents us as people. The “jail” represents our life of sin. Just as Janey was unable to get “herself” out of jail, there is nothing that we can do on our own to free ourselves from our life of sin. The team-members willing or able to complete the challenges to help free Janey are like Christ who willingly gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we could live a life of freedom from sin. You can lead a discussion comparing the choice to complete the challenges of the game to the difficulty of the choice that Jesus made in dying for us, and also that Jesus did it by himself (illustrating God’s power). There are many different scriptures that can be used here but the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is my favorite.

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Bear One Another’s Burdens

Tools needed:
Backpacks(6-8 or 1 per child)
Weights, books, or heavy objects

Start out by having 1 backpack filled with weights or books, which will be very difficult for 1 child to carry alone. The other backpacks leave empty. Distribute the backpacks to the children, leaving the one already filled for last. Ask the child if carrying the backpack is difficult. Ask the other children if their backpacks are hard to carry. Then take the objects out of the 1 backpack and distribute them to each of the other backpacks. This should even out the weight of the packs, and then you can illistrate how important it is to carry each other’s burden’s. When we try to carry them alone, it is very difficult, and we struggle. But when we have others ‘bearing our burdens’ with us, it lightens our load!

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David And Goliath (Summer)

We started out our lesson with the story of David and Goliath read from the Bible. With, of course, some explanation for the younger crowd. Then we proceeded to go outside and utilize a water balloon launcher which I made from surgical tubing and a funnel to launch balloons at a small dot on a pole that was about 9 feet high. Explaining to the kids that without out God’s help (like the help David had) it is impossible to hit it on the first time. The kids had a blast and learned a lesson.

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Man, The Law, And God

This illustration uses a paper chain made with twelve links. The first link says “MAN”. Write one commandment on each of the next ten links. On the twelfth link, write “GOD”. Ask one of the kids to read the word, “MAN”. Ask another to read the word, “God”. Next, ask who knows the ten commandments. The kids will name a few, but may not know them all by heart. Then ask, “How many commands must be broken before we are separated from God?” Have a person rip one of the links of the ten commandment chain to explain how even breaking one sin separates us from God. Ask if they have ever been disobedient at home or at school, and what that does to their relationship with God. Sin keeps us apart from God!

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Exploring the Power of Words

You’ll need a tube of toothpaste for each kid or you can put the kids in pairs. (I found they had more fun with a partner) and a paper plate and a $10.00 bill.
Give each person or group a tube of toothpaste and a plate. Tell them to squeeze the toothpase on the plate. Have fun with it, make designs etc. Then place the $10 bill on the table and tell the kids they have five minutes to put all the toothpaste back in the tube. The winner gets the money ( your money is safe). DISCUSS: Which is harder, squeezing out or putting back in? How is this like words coming out of our mouths? When have you wished you could take back words you’ve already said? In other words, what comes out of our mouths cannot be taken back. We can apologize but are things the same?

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Your Worth In God’s Eyes

You hold up a $20 dollar bill and ask if anyone wants it. They will all raise their hands and beg for it. Then you crumple the bill up and say well it is not perfect anymore do you still want it? The kids will still raise there hands. Then put it on the ground and step on it and rub it into the ground. Ask again if they want it. They will still raise there hands. Now, rip it a little and ask again. This time tell them this bill is crumpled, stepped on, and torn…do you still want it. The kids will still raise there hands and you explain from there that the bill represents their lives. They started out new and crisp and clean, but over the years they become crumpled, and stepped on and torn up (give examples about some of the sin in their life) but that God still wants you. No matter how crumpled up, stepped on and torn up you are God still wants you.

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