Try at a retrea. Pass paper cups half-filled with Bisquick during breakfast. Get everyone to mix some liquid with the Bisquick to form a dough (milk, orange juice, coffee, maple syrup, whatever). Get each person to place their lump of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Then the dough is pressed together lightly to form a loaf but not enough to mix the individual lumps together. After the dough is allowed to rise, bake the loaf. At the communion service, the loaf is broken and passed around. Perhaps you can discuss how communion symbolizes that we are all individuals but we become one “mixed up” loaf through Jesus Christ.
Bible Refrence: Matthew 11:28-30
Gather many large rocks, not too big..but as many as you think you need….for us we didn’t have enough so they had to carry “imaginary rocks”. Youth leaders: tell the group on this walk to be completely silent. Once you get to your destination set them down and have them listen to (?”Lay your burdens down”?) tell them to reflect on one burden in particular. Then after the song ends ask for any volunteers, tell them to talk about their burden and throw it into the creek (if you don’t have a creek or pond near your church, just pitch them into the woods) I hope this helps you get your point across…it really helped me!
NOTE: Once we got down to the creek there were some gravel…those people with imaginary rocks had something to throw.
Conducted during a retreat. The participants came from many different places. The goal was to try to respect their uniqueness while moving them into community during a call to worship. With masking tape, a circle is formed on the floor for each person. Lights are dimmed and quiet music is played. Group members are called into the room and remain silent… then say “Let’s worship God.” Each worshipper sits in a circle facing different directions. They close their eyes and reflect on what they left behind. Ask: “What person’s face do you most vividly see? What are this person’s problems? What things have been left undone?” Then ask youth to focus on a nearby person. Ask them to think about that person’s world, leave their circles and sit in pairs. Encourage pairs to share their earlier reflections. Then you can lead the pairs to join up with a new pair. Continue until a new community has been created.
To encourage youth, lift them up, and teach them about worshipping God have a Praise & Prayer Night. In our church, we have many youth that are musically inclined (many play guitar, sing, or drums). Encourage youth to meet on a regular basis (i.e. third friday of every month) to play and sing praise and worship songs to God. Everyone can get involved, youth who don’t know how to play an instrument can sing, or bang a tamborine. Have the coordinator pre-select a set of songs, about a dozen, to teach the kids. Make copies of the music to distribute to each youth so they can practice when they go home. Next time you meet mix half songs you did from the previous month and half new ones. Open and close this time with group prayer so your group can bond with eachother and grow closer to God. Take the opportunity to teach them that worship is not a show or playing for people, but homage and adoration to God.
Some of the most fulfilling times of worship with our youth group have been in the dark with just a minimum amount of light. Everyone is less concerned about who’s looking at whom and is able to focus on God. When weather permits we will hold our times of worship under the stars, in the woods, by the lake, etc. God’s creation inspires worship of the Creator. Other variations are to turn out most of the lights in your meeting room then sing and pray in “candlelight”.
I listed the age group as mid-late adol. simply because there is an element of maturity needed to understand the full power of this activity. You can use your own judgement, though.
This activity also requires using fire, so please do not do this activity indoors, and have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher ready, just in case.
I’ve used this at camp several times and it has been a life changing activity for several people I’ve known. Here’s how it works.
1. Make sure that everyone knows that this is a serious activity and that we should shift our hearts and minds into a place of worship.
2. Distribute pencils and pieces of paper (5.5 X 8.5, or roughly a piece of notebook paper cut in half) and ask the kids to write a personal letter of confession to Jesus. Tell them that no one will ever see what they are writing and that they will be burned immediately after (This helps them be more honest in what they write.) Encourage them to open up completely and honestly, since Jesus knows us so well anyway, he’d know if we were bluffing.
2. Have them find a private place to write these letters (under a tree, at a picnic table, etc). Make sure they are well seperated. Give them about 10 – 15 minutes.
3. After time is up ask them to come back to the group in silence. Have a metal bucket with you and ask them to come up one at a time. Take and light the first letter on fire and drop it in the bucket. Each of them puts their letters in the fire one by one.
4. When the last letter is put in the fire, have them make a circle around the bucket, and say a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for taking the sins. Allow them to watch the fire burn. This can be very powerful, to watch your sins burning away in front of your eyes.
5.After the fire has gone out, stir the ashes around in the bucket until they are completely out and have cooled. While singing “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” or some other song, have each kid come up and use the ashes to form a cross on their cheeck (I personally use cheek, because the forehead seems a bit too sacramental to me — pastors or other ordained folk can make a judgement call on that one).
End in Prayer. You might be surprised how long they leave the cross on their cheeck. I initially thought that they’d wipe it off as soon as we were done, but they kept it on for the rest of the night! It served as a tangible reminder of the love of Christ.
The gospels record seven last statements that Jesus made on the cross. Each one has significance for believers today. Each one gives greater insight into the mind and the suffering of Christ. Begin the worship time with seven lit candles. Turn out the lights in the room and introduce the meaning of the worship time. Invite the worshippers to participate in the scene of the crucifixion. Have seven members of the group read the sayings at the appropriate times. The order could be:
1. Read the saying.
2. Lead a song that relates to that saying.
3. Have one person pray a short prayer.
4. Then blow out one of the candles. Have a time of praise in the dark when ALL the candles have been blown out.
We did this one year during our annual retreat. We prep the room to make it darker to create a worshipful environment. I first suggested that worship to God is like writing a love letter to God and led them into a few worship songs. After that, while music still playing on the background, I pull out a plain transparency on the overhead projector. I submitted to them that we want to write God a love letter publicly together as a corporate worship to Him. I invited them to come up one by one to write something on the transparency in the form of “I thank You because…” At first it took awhile for the first person to come up. But after awhile, students (and adult helpers) keep coming up to write on the transparency – make sure you prepare more transparencies in case they get filled up. It was a great experience as the whole group watches each other give thanks to God, hence, a corporate worship. At the end, we close with a prayer. It was a very touching experience for our students.
The focus of this worship experience is the marvelous works of God. The possibilities of this kind of service are numerous! Pick four or five miracles that you wish to highlight. Post headlines in the room that resemble newspaper clippings. E.g. “GOD WIPES OUT ISRAEL’S ENEMIES…AGAIN!” “Jericho collapses at God’s command!” Choose songs that relate to God’s triumphs, miracles, power etc. A few days in advance approach someone who will be there to give a testimony of how God has accomplished the miraculous in their life. E.g. transformation, deliverance, protection, providence, etc. Allow a time for people to praise God in the congregation as King David said that he loved to do. Have each person stand and announce one thing that amazes them about God. It can be something from the Word, something from their experience or something God has done for someone else. Limit the people to one or two sentences of praise. Give them examples like: I praise God because of the way He parted the Red Sea.” or “I praise God because He has never given up on me.” or “I praise God because He still speaks to people today like when he told Hudson Taylor to go to China!” End the worship time with corporate loud and lively praise. Songs that could be sung are: “Our God Reigns”, “We Clap Our Hands with All Our Might”, “Ye Shall Go Out with Joy”, “I Will Sing Unto the Lord for He Has Triumphed Marvelously…” etc. (El Shaddai may be a good solo if you wish to have a solo.)
Set up a game of Jenga, but have pieces of paper blu-tacked to each Jenga piece, with stuff written on it, such as names of God, or promises of God. Get the youth sitting in a circle, and play Jenga. Each time they take a piece, they have to read what is on it, and say a short thank-you prayer for what they have read. If the tower falls over, just build it up again. Afterwards we wrote some of the names of God that were on the blocks onto A4 sheets and stuck them around the room. The youth then went around the room and spent a few moments at each one, reflecting and saying thank you to God.