Programs

Party Of Five

Host a once-a-month dinner/party at your home for a short time in the evening where only five or so people in the youth group are allowed. Goof off, chat, have a great time, and just spend some quality time with these youth. Set up a rotational sign-up system to determine who can come so that no one is left out. Concentrate on new/unchurched youth.

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Come To The Table

This is something that I did with my youth group in Friona, TX last summer along with Lessie Collins, we were summer youth interns. Every week (or every other week if schedules are stuffed to the brim) we would host a lunch. It can be anytime during the week or weekend. We usually tried to do them on Sunday after church. Lessie and I would cook for about 10-12 youth, make sure to mix it up and have people that don’t “hang out” often, and also have little cards with a verse centering around a specific theme; friendship, honesty, faith, etc. After lunch we would all gather and the youth would read their cards and tell us what it meant to them and then we would discuss the theme after everyone was finished. Later that same evening we would have all the youth at the church for dinner and a devotional. The youth that were at the Come To The Table earlier would then serve the youth that were not at the lunch. They could also be the ones giving the devotional for the dinner. It was a big success. It gave us a chance to connect with smaller groups at a time and break the ice between people who normaly wouldn’t associate with one another.

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Pre-Youth Orientation

Does your church host VBS every summer? And do you promote sixth-graders into your youth group at the end of each summer? Then take both of these ideas and form a healthy transition for you incoming youth group members from sixth grade. Talk with your senior pastor and VBS workers, and explain that you would like to “pull” the sixth-graders out of normal VBS activities and do something special for them during the same time they would normally be in VBS. Make it a “Pre-Youth Camp,” or something similar. Get to know the new kids. Reach out to the fringe kids who thought they were just showing up for simple VBS for a week. Share basic Bible studies with them in the fun ways you do in the youth group. Introduce them to all of the games, songs, and traditions that the youth group is so familiar with. This way, when they become official youth group members, they will have had a fun and memorable experience with peers and not feel so intimidated at their first event/activity.

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1derful Wednesday

Discipling Youth by reaching children.

The idea seems too simplistic but it is a powerful transferable concept. As part of my Master’s Program of studies, I had to design an urban ministry. My concept was to run programs in a local park during the summer to reach disciple teens by reaching and discipling children, and then move the program to a school gym in the colder months.

I began with a few youth who helped put up posters in the neighbourhood on telephone poles. Kids were invited to a neighbourhood water fight. The first day 60 kids showed up. We had them all register to participate. The girl doing the registration was only 10 years old!!

All the kids were told to stick around after the fight to receive a prize. At the end I spoke for five minutes about Jesus, announced next Wednesday’s event and then gave out prizes. (on the first day a ten year old boy named John stuck around to pray the sinners prayer with me and volunteered to be a helper!)

In a few months we had twenty teens who wanted to volunteer and a dozen kids who wanted to be part of our discipleship program called DC (direct current)

The really 1derful thing about the Program was the way teens boldly took leadership and shared their faith. Over 6 years 2000 kids in that Toronto neighbourhood accepted Christ. Over 600 of these kids also graduated from our discipleship program that met on the same day half an hour before the event.

Today some of the teens who ran those programs are pastoring, leading Christian organizations, and being effective leaders in their churches.

Originally I asked teens in my youth group to devote one summer to Christ. Over time they came to devote their whole lives. If you want to hear more about this or would like some tips on getting started please email me at rpowell@vanguardcollege.com -Ron.

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Sister City

Have your youth group join/adopt another youth group from another city. The primary purpose is edification and and encouragement. Keep up monthly correspondence with your sister city through a newsletter, videos, pen-pal letters (you could match up each youth here with a specific youth there), etc. Lift each other up in prayer, share ministry opportunities, plan simultaneous events or Bible studies and then share the results, etc. If possible, plan a trip to meet up with the other youth group at some point.

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T.N.T. – Tuesday Night Teens

Once a month on Tuesday night (or any other time — change the name if necessary), invite youth to come together for a time of formal outreach. Divide into groups, go and visit/share with visitors and unchurched friends, and then head out to something fun — like bowling, volleyball, etc.

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Urgency Room

Once a month, perhaps in place of your regular Wednesday night Bible study, host Urgency Room, or UR. The name is related to the TV show ER and has a similar function, only on a spiritual level. This night will be a time to open up spiritually and emotionally and put problems “on the table” to be examined and doctored.
Here’s how it works. Divide your group into small groups of two to seven of the same age and sex. Make sure you have one adult properly prepared for each small group. Each person in the small group will now share the one thing that is troubling them the most (that they feel comfortable sharing with the group). The other peer members of the group will now do one of two things in response: they can either share what they would do (or did) in the same situation, or suggest a biblical passage/story that would offer guidance. No direct advice is offered — just indirect advice through sharing. The adult serves only as a facilitator and can steer the conversation away from rabbit-chasing or potential problems. One ground rule, what is said in the group stays in the group (unless it requires legal action). This gives every member of your group a chance to open up and share difficulties and discover that they are not alone.

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Girls’ Night Out

Once a month, we have a Girls’ Night Out. Sometimes we do a “Dinner and a Movie” night – we feed the girls and then watch chick flicks. Sometimes we take them out shopping, or to a nice restaurant. The girls love the attention – and my husband, the youth minister, gets lots of funny looks for being the only guy in a huge group of girls!

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T.G.Y.F.

Thank Goodness it’s Youth Friday

A Teen youth fellowship at the youth pastor’s house on the last friday of the month. It is a pressure free atmosphere where we gather to eat, play games and get to know one another.

We started this at another church and it was successful now at both churches.
Teens are not only excited about getting together outside of church, but they are excited about the games and food as well.
We alternate the menu and hype up the food aspect. We have had Mexican night, Breakfast at night, pizza, etc.

One of the greatest aspects of T.G.Y.F. is that it gives young people an informal atmosphere in which to enter church. I have seen young people visit TGYF and get to know one another and then say later that it helped them be more comfortable when they came to church on that Sunday.

I would encourage others to start this program or one like if you don’t have something already. It is one of the few things I have done right in my short work with youth.
Let me know what you think.

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W.A.R. Wednesday

This is something that our youth participate in every summer. The acrostic W.A.R. stands for: Worshipping God through godly music, Adherence to God’s Word through relevant lessons, and Recreation through fun games. These can be done in any order, but variety is the key. The name W.A.R is derived from the competition between teams through the summer. Every Wednesday night we spend time in worship, Bible study, and competitive games that add up to points. Teens really enjoy this and are encouraged to recruit new teens to be part of their teams. Who ever has the most points at the end of the summer receives a special prize, which should be relevant to your youth group.

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