For times in which you wish to involve your youth group in a ministry to the people in your community you can add this idea to your list of things to do.
On a day that is particularly hot go out and purchase a few cases of bottled water (Popsicles are another idea… make sure they’re frozen, though) and a couple bags of ice, and then place them in a some ice chests.
Choose a way to get your youth group name or church name on the ice chests for people to see. You can simply place it on a piece of paper taped to its front or let the students in your youth group find a creative way to display it.
Then, choose an area to visit in your community where large groups of people migrate to and/or participate in different sports or other physical activities. Some such places might include a skate park, or other community park/gathering place.
Once you have chosen and made it to your location have your students get into groups of three or more and give them a certain amount of time to offer and hand out the cooled water bottles to those in the park.
Make sure to give your students ideas of what to say to curious people who might offer them questions concerning their gesture of kindness.
Overall, this is great way for the teens of your group to get involved in sharing the love of Christ through their actions.
Have a dinner night at your church. We had the Jr. High youth set up and serve a dinner to the community. The parents of the children cooked the food, we picked out the menu, and everyone sold tickets, so we knew how many plates to have ready. Of course we still had extra food in case someone else wanted to come on in. By doing this the youth learned how to work together, and the parents and community had more respect for the youth. The profits went to a charity.
Have the youth group assemble somewhere with computer access. Allow them to make “Get Well” cards. Have the members sign the cards and then send them to shut-ins.
We did this in NYC a few weeks before Christmas. We collected thousands of toys and took them to a church in NYC. All night we sorted 25,000 toys to give away the next day to families who couldn’t afford to buy their children Christmas gifts. The following morning we headed out early and gave out tracts in English and Spanish telling about the free toy drive. Thousands of people came. As they waited we gave them free hot chocolate and candy canes with the salvation message attached to it. That trip was one of the biggest blessings in my life. Helping other people changed my life.
We have a nice church facility and lots of loving people. So we offer our site for community functions such as Chamber of Commerce luncheons, Senior Citizen Tax Preparation, Driving Classes. We don’t charge the community for the service which makes us a really nice option. Many people who would not normally enter our church use it. When they see youth serving, cleaning, and helping it is a double whammy. This is not what they experience in the world.
Plan a Kindness day with four or five kindness things the group can do. When we did this we asked everyone to meet at a designated time and asked everyone to bring with them: 1.) canned or non parishable food items 2.) a couple of dollars 3.) finally,we had already collected a new or gently used stuffed animal. These must be brought to most hospitals or old age homes so they can be checked out prior to coming.When we met, we began by buying bagels and cream cheese and went to a local fire station and gave them the food, being sure to thank them for their hard work. Next, we went on the local tollway and paid for a couplecars to go through the booth. Next, we went to the downtown hospital where they have a huge medical ward for children, many charitycases. Although we chose a hospital, you can also go to an old age home. When we got there, we split up, each with stuffed animals in hand, and began passing them out to people in the hallways and went into different rooms and gave them out. We were amazed at how grateful, suprised and excited people were. Finally, we went to a local shelter and dropped off the canned food. We had a marvelous day.
Other Ideas: 1.) buy Mc Donalds booklets and pass out to homeless people. 2.) Collect coats and blankets and donate or pass them out on a cold day.3.) Collect old books and donate to a shelter or childrens hospital. 4.) Create Valentines cards or just everyday cards and bring them to and old age home (make sure you do alot so you have enough for all) The ideas are endless, and the benefits last even longer!
Most churches have a number of senior citizens in the congregation who would love to decorate their homes for Christmas with trees, outside lights, etc., but just aren’t able to do it physically. Announce to your church this year that your youth are volunteering to provide a Christmas decoration service to all senior citizens. Place a sign-up sheet in a prominent location and assign a group of youth to each home. Pick one or several days in late November or early December where everyone can gather together and go to the various homes.
Idea for Father’s Day that was done in our church:
Send a letter to all the dad’s in the surrounding community inviting them to church on Father’s Day. In the letter/package, include 1 dress sock. State in the letter that in order to retrieve the matching dress sock, they must be there for the morning service on Father’s Day. Just a neat little thing to do for Dads and it might actually get some to come to church that normally wouldn’t.
This is designed for youth groups where the majority are Christian and are for the most part timid when it comes to evangelizing.
Have the youth get into pairs. One person is person “A” and the other is person “B”. “A” then is instructed to witness to “B”, that is, to explain what it means to be a Christian or why “A” decided to be a Christian. After “A” is finished, “B” will do the same thing to “A”. You can share some of the answers that were given. Then have all the “A”‘s stand to one side and the “B”‘s to the other. Explain that “A” is going to persuade “B” (pretending to be non-Christian) to become a Christian. “B” can respond positively or negatively. “B” might be very open or “B” might be closed, but “B” at least should be open to hearing what “A” has to say. While giving “A” a couple of minutes to think of what they will say, ask “B” to try to think of a couple of questions for “A”, that is, questions about problems they have with Christianity. Ask them to base it on excuses people give for not accepting Christianity. Then let “B” and “A” go for it; “A” persuading and “B” maybe asking questions.
After a few minutes, get some feedback; what worked, what didn’t, did anyone convert, what could work better? Then divide “B”‘s and “A”‘s again, this time having the “B”‘s evangelizing the “A”‘s.
Since the group probably knows each other well, they will probably feel more comfortable doing this with each other. From the results of this exercise, you can decided what the next step is to getting them excited about sharing the Good News with friends, family, and strangers.
This Hallowe’en our we had each youth bring a pumpkin to the meeting and we supplied the paint and paint markers. Each member painted a pumpkin and signed them “Happy Halloween from UMYF.” We then delivered them to the shutins of our church. It was a lot of fun, and a great project for our youth. They also are less messy than carved pumpkins and they last a lot longer! We received a great response from the both the kids and the shut ins!