Our group struggles with making worship too serious. Sounds crazy but they lose sight of the joy of worship. To balance this we did a teaching on joy and celebration…We topped it off by passing kazoos out to all the kids and then attempted to worship with them. Everyone had a good time and it was a needed break from our usual lights off, people crying, times of worhsip.
Try this: After an appropriate teaching time on worship, invite your kids into the sanctuary. Turn the lights down and have your worship leaders lead everyone in a time of singing and prayer: except with there eyes closed or blindfolded. Get the kids to spread out too so they can’t jostle each other around as they do this. Have a scripture reading or two that focuses on the sights and sounds of God’s creation. End in prayer.
Adoration is an activity that basically teaches kids that worshiping is not always just singing. You have, perhaps a small group of kids. All you need is a chalkboard or a white board and one writing utensil. Play quiet music for approx. 15min. and pass the pen to one person. That person can then approach the board and write one or two words that he/she is thankful for (forgiveness). Then the student passes the pen to anyone in the room, and so on until each person has finished their own public adoration. After each student has finished allow the group as a whole to reflect upon what has been written. This way you can give your praises to God by meditating and thanking Him for what He has done.
This will only take 10-15 minutes. Good for Sabbath school or retreats. Items needed: small 3″ x 5″ cards or pieces of paper, pens or pencils, and a jar or box representing a trash can. Hand out the pieces of paper and pens to the youth and ask everyone to write down at least one sin or worldly thing that takes them away from God. Could be anything that person thinks is a vice in their lives. (i.e. listening to rock music, watching too much T.V., or swearing)
Tell them that no one will ever see this piece of paper, but God will know what you have written. Tell them all to pray and ask that God give them the strength to let go of these sins.
Now tell them to shread the papers into the smallest possible pieces and then place these pieces of paper into the jar or box that will be passed around. After the container is filled take it up to the front and pray that God take these sins away for good and ask for God’s forgiveness. Before you pray, you can talk about how Paul had a sin that he called “a thorn in his flesh” found in 2 Corinthians 12:6-9. But, no matter how bad you think you are or how hard it might be to let that sin go, read that text, where verse 9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Afterwards throw away the trash in to a real trash can so that no one will ever be able to see those sins again.
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.