Mid and Late Adolescents

Train Wreck

Set up a 3 rows of two chairs. You can set up as many additional rows behind these. Have the group pair up into twos and sit down on the chairs, interlocking arms. Select two to be conductors. They need to find two seats. To do this they will call out something like “whoever has earrings on” then anyone with earrings will have to get up and find two new seats with their partner. Arms must remained locked at all times. Then the partners left without a seat will become the new conductors. At anytime the conductors can choose to yell out “Train Wreck!” This means everyone must get up and find a new seat. Gets a little rough but the kids love it. Works great with a large group of 30 or more.

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Valentine’s Dinner

For the past couple of years, our youth group has set up a fundraising dinner, for about $25 we include coat check and babysitting. Our waiters (the youth) give our guests 2 choices for dinner, serve them also with salad, drinks, and desert. The first year we did the cooking. The second year, we chose someone from the church to donate half of her catering services. We also include games and prizes. We use our sanctuary and buy heart-shaped balloons, use candles and dim the lights. We’ve had continued success.

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Church Commando Lesson

I used the Church Commando game as an intro to a lesson about joy. Ahead of time, find a number of bible passages that pertain to joy (I had about 10). Write each of them on separate sheets of paper, and role the papers into scrolls. You will use these in lieu of the candies. (If you want to add a little competition, use different colors of paper, and assign point values to them.) Tell the kids that they are prisoners in a P.O.W. camp. The local resistance movement has dropped the scrolls, which contain helpful information for the prisoners near by, and that they need to retrieve them without being spotted. Play a few rounds, and after the last round, have the people who retrieved the scrolls keep them for the lesson.
Go back to the youth room, and have each person read their scroll, taking time to talk about each passage. (I numbered them ahead of time and had the kids read them in order, to make the lesson flow better). I didn’t think of this until I had already planned the activity, but this is also a great introduction to Philippians, in which Paul preaches joy from prison.

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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

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Students ask for this game every week at our outreach event. This is a scenario game that we combined with the games Murder and Mafia.

All students stand in a circle and are given a card. They are not to tell anyone what is on their card. If they get a face card they are a persecutor. If they get a number card they are a Christian. (You can use paper that says the character names instead of playing cards just make sure you have a good ratio of Persecutors to Christians about 3 Christians to 1 persecutor works well).

After everyone gets their card you have them look at it and then hand it back to you. Everyone then closes their eyes and you ask the persecutors to raise their heads quietly so their neighbor does not hear them move. Let the persecutors see who their partners in crime are. Then everyone wakes up and the game begins.

The lights in the church go out and it becomes a time of deciding who you will trust and who you won’t. The students wander through the halls until someone is martyred by a persecutor and they are found by someone. Once a Martyr has been found, lying where ever the persecutor decided to stash them, the discoverer yells Martyr and the game is paused for everyone to file into a common room.

A persecutor can martyr someone by gesturing their hand across the Christians neck. Christians must fall down or go with the persecutor where ever they lead them a stashing must be quick so no one sees.

In the Common room a trial takes place. If someone saw the crime take place they get to motion to put a potential persecutor on trial. Anyone can make an accusation. The accusation must be seconded by someone else before they are put on trial. Once on trial they get the floor to defend themselves for a short time. Take a vote of all remaining alive people and majority rules on whether they remain alive or dead. Have the one voted off tell the people what they were for encouragement or a gut punch. Martyrs can not talk at all.

The game ends when there are no more persecutors or more persecutors than Christians. Tip- you may want some activity for those martyred because the game can go long.

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Shantytown Scavenger Hunt

Give the kids 30 mins to walk out into the surrounding neighbourhood to find things they could build a shelter with – a box, newspapers, etc. The goal is to find enough items to build a Shantytown with. When they arrive with their items, they have another 30 mins to build the Shantytown in the church parking lot. A 55 gallon drum for a fire will increase the shantytown feel. After they’ve set it up, gather around the fire and ask the following questions: How did it feel to scavenge? How did it feel to have to beg (for supplies)? What would it be like if you had to live like this night after night? Continue in the discussion.

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Valentine Dinner for Two

Our very small teen group has managed to do this fund raiser for several years now and it has been very successful and the members of our church love it. We ask those in the community with small card tables if we can use them for an evening and then we decorate our fellowship hall with Valentine decorations and set the tables up individually designed for a romantic dinner for two (tablecloths make it look nicer). We try to make a nice dinner with appetizer, main course, and dessert and the couples call ahead (at least a week) to make reservations and they eat by candlelight with soft music playing in the background. The teens act as the waiters and waitresses (dressed in nice clothes as well). The good food, decorations, candles, reservations, and music make it a nice change from the usual church dinners. Usually we can only fit around 15 couples in the area we have so reservations are important. We have also had door prizes for things like longerst married couple or shortest married couple.

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Precious Gifts

We all know people who have gotten engaged. The gentleman usually gives his bride to be a diamond ring. The diamond is a symbol of their unending love one for another, but it is also communicates how the young man values and treasures this young lady.

We cannot give everyone a diamond, but we can give each of you a polished stone.

It takes time for this stone to become smooth just as it takes time for each of us to change and become more Christ like. Similarly, it is the friction of stones rubbing against each other that smoothes them and makes them more beautiful. Many of us have experienced friction as we have had rough edges worn smooth by friends. Nonetheless, this process makes us more precious and those around us dearer as well.

Rather than talk about building relationships, let’s put it into practice. Take a few moments to exchange your polished stone with someone in this room you value or treasure. As you do, tell them what it is that you appreciate about them or why they are precious to you. Continue this process as time allows.

Where do I get rocks that are appropriate?
I was able to purchase a 10kg. Bag of rocks at Hobby Lobby for$1.99! Three bags were plenty for our group of 85 young people.

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Skit about Timothy

What’s My Name?

[Four contestants are sitting facing the audience]

Welcome to another edition of “What’s My Name”. We welcome our four lucky contestants chosen randomly from the audience.

Contestant number one is a computer systems consultant. In his spare time he writes detective stories.
Contestant number two is a nuclear physicist. She recently was called to the White House and honored by the President for the role she has taken in organizing environmental clean up in her community.
Contestant number four is a brain surgeon. He loves parachuting, rock climbing, scuba diving, and hang gliding. He recently designed and built his own private airplane.

[Contestant three signals toward herself, to get the Moderator’s attention]

Oh, yes, Contestant number three recently began training to be an amateur wrestler. Her main goal in life is to one day have her name in the telephone book.

And of course we welcome our special guest Mr. X! As you know, each week we bring out a special guest, the identify of whom the contestants must guess. We will now let you the studio audience in on our little secret. Just who is our special Mr. X this week?

[Mr. X, comes in from side door and sits behind the contestants where they cannot see him.] [Show large name card to audience: Timothy, the able assistant of Paul the apostle]

OK, let’s get started.

Each of our contestants will now begin asking questions of Mr. X. If one of our contestants thinks he or she knows the true identify of Mr. X, then he or she can use their turn to ask the identity.

Contestant number one, what is your question?

Contestant one: Have you ever been on TV?

Mr. X: What is TV?

Contestant two: What is your life theme?

Mr. X: “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

Contestant three [anxiously appearing to think s/he has already figured out who Mr. X is]: “I know, I know, I know, aren’t you that famous trial lawyer guy who always gives the great speeches before the jury? Oh, I can’t remember your name, but I’m sure it’s you!

Mr. X: No, I’m sorry, that’s not me.

[Contestant three looks very disappointed]

Contestant four: When were you born?

Mr. X: Well, my mother did not keep great records, but I figure I was born about the year 30.

Contestant one: Oh, so you were born in 1930.

Mr. X: No, I don’t know what you mean by the 19. I was born in 30, just plain 30.

Contestant three: Oh, I know, I know, I know, you’re that really old guy who never seems to look older. Oh I know exactly who you are. Oh, oh, what’s your name? The oldest man who ever lived: Methu-mellowed-out, or something like that.

Mr. X: No, I’m so sorry, but Methuselah lived a long time before me. But you are heading in the right direction.

Moderator: Now, contestant three, you must control yourself and wait for your turn. OK. Contestant two, it is your turn.

Contestant two: What’s your job?

Mr. X: Well, you could call me a combination fix-it man, trainer and equipper.

Contestant three: Oh, I know, I know, I know. You’re one of those guys who works in the pit stop at the race track, who can change a tire in about 3 seconds. How do you do that anyway?

Mr. X: What’s a pit stop? I’m sorry, I don’t think that I can fix your problem in 3 seconds. However if you do tire, then I can encourage you like my teacher and mentor encourages me to keep going even when things get tough.

Contestant four: Who is your teacher and mentor?

Mr. X: His name is Paul.

Contestant one: Does you teacher give you a lot of exams? Do you have to sit and listen to his lectures?

Mr. X: Well, I’ve found that just by traveling around with him I run into plenty of tests. He teaches me as we go about our work. And he has written me a couple of letters giving me some great advice.

Contestant two: What kind of advice has this Paul given you?

Mr. X: Oh, lots of it. One time in a letter to me he wrote: “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

Contestant three: So, you go around preaching and teaching. I bet that brings you a lot of fame and honor. How does it feel to have everyone respecting you so much? Are you in it for the glory?

Mr. X: Well, let me tell you what Paul told me about what to expect from my kind of work:
“A time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.”

Contestant four: Are you telling me you have suffered? What has happened to you?

Mr. X: Well, I’ve been arrested..

Contestant three: “I know, I know, I know, you are that guy who ran the big company and sold all your stock because you had inside information. Oh, I can’t remember your name, but I’m sure it’s you!

Mr. X: I’ve never sold stock. I’ve never even raised any sheep or cattle.

Contestant one: What were you arrested for?

Mr. X: For preaching the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Contestant two: You called yourself a “fix-it” man. Why do you call yourself that?

Mr. X: Well, several times when there were major problems in churches, my mentor Paul sent me to straighten out the problems.

Contestant two (again): I just have a follow-up question. You sound quite young to be given so much responsibility. Have you ever felt that you are not old enough to do all that?

Mr. X: My mentor, Paul, wrote to me about that in one of his letters. He said: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Age is not the key. We can be an example to others no matter how old we are.

Contestant three: OK, OK, let me get this straight. You lived a long, long time ago. You went around with a man named Paul and taught people about Jesus. This Paul fellow taught you and sent you to fix all the hardest problems. You got hassled in your work and even arrested. How am I doing?

Mr. X: So far, so good.

Contestant three: I think I have it figured out. You are that guy that was on that old episode of Deep Space Nine who went back in time and taught the people all about the future so then they were able to mind-control their neighbors which threw off the balance of power and eventually led to the great battle of the Centaurs. Oh, I know who you are. Oh, oh, what’s your name? I just had it!

Moderator: I’m sorry contestants, but our time is up. So, I’ll introduce you to our special guest Mr. X, who is none other than Timothy, the able assistant of Paul the Apostle.

Contestant Three: Oh, I knew it. I knew it. His name was right on the tip of my tongue!

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Extreme Glow Stick Tag

Our youth group invented this game and it has proven to be a huge hit for out outreach games. Guys will enjoy it far more than the girls.

Find a large field. Lots of mud is best. We’ve also played in a slightly wooded field.

Have 5 youth each hold a glow stick of different color. Make sure you play at night when its really dark. Rainy nights are good.

The 5 youth stand at one end of the field and attempt to run to the other end of the field without being tagged… (we played grabbed… and if need be taken to the ground). Once tagged the runner surrenders and gives the glowstick to the person that caught them. That person than goes to the other end of the field and attempts the run again.

The runners that make it the end are rewarded with a CD, or something cool.

Be aware.. you will be exhausted after playing… and really, really muddy.

I’d love to here how it works out for you.

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