It is not too late to give praise for victories won thousands of years ago! In fact, it is when the people of God lose sight of His wonderful works on their behalf that we lapse into idolatry, spiritual adultery, apostasy, lethargy and apathy. We need to rejoice in Christ’s victory over sin and death! “Oh grave where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting. Death is swallowed up in victory! Hallelujah!” Is this the statement of your heart today? It will need to be if you hope to convey this truth to your people.
a) Room Set Up: The room should be in total darkness. (Windows could be covered with large garbage bags if you do not have blinds or curtains that will block out the light. Have an overhead of the crucifixion (Excellent graphics of the life of Christ are available from Dawson McAllisters series on The Life of Christ) up at the front of your room as they enter. (If you don’t have access to an overhead, you may be able to put up a cross, a poster or some way to represent the crucifixion.)
b) After everyone is seated you can announce that you are gathered in honour of the greatest event in all history… “I want to take you back to Calvary. Let us focus today on the victory won for us!” (Then play “The Champion” by Carman).
Sometimes You Have To Get In The Dark To Get Out Of The Dark
Get blindfolds and anoint them as your youth comes in give them one and have them place it on their wrist, don’t tell them what it is or what it is for. When you get started have them go sit in a place away from someone else. After everyone has moved and they are sitting alone tell them to take it off of their wrist and place it around their eyes, make sure they can’t see. Have them to empty their minds and put their mind on God. It has to total quiet. Walk around the room to a few people and tell them things like “I am here”, “I am always with you”, and “You are never alone” after you have done that have the people that you told repeat what you have said. Let everyone know that God is always by their side we just have to take time and listen. Turn on some worship music and let the Lord have His way.
Sometimes in life people think they are to busy to worship God. You need to take time. Make Him your number ONE. When it comes time to worship don’t worry about what is going on around you, or what someone might think of you if you raise your hands. Worship the Lord. The whole purpose of the blindfolds is so that you will put your mind on God and give Him the praise and worship that He so deserves. Sometimes you have to get in the dark to get out of the dark.
May the Lord bless you always.
Some of these ideas may have seemed so structured that they leave very little room for the Holy Spirit to interject. It is my hope that you would not use any idea that you have not already prayed over in His presence. Seek Him for ideas, that will lead the people into a greater awareness of who He is. There are many symbols of the Holy Spirit, dove, water, oil, wind, fire. There are as many facets to His personality; counsellor, advocate, baptizer, guide comforter, source of power. To base a worship time on the Holy Spirit you can highlight any of these symbols or any of these aspects of His personality or function. There are also nine fruit of the Spirit in Galatians and at least nine gifts of the Spirit in I Corinthians. Once again the possibilities are numerous:
a) Place a sign on the door of the room where you meet. “Welcome to the Upper Room. Please come in. Find a spot and begin praying ” (Chairs could be placed around the edges of the room. The lights could be dimmed, or curtains closed. You can have a praise tape playing. I found that some people are apprehensive about entering a room when people are praying, especially if they have arrived late. To avoid this problem, you can have one volunteer to act as an usher to make sure that no one remains outside the door until they think it is alright for them to enter the room.) You should be in the room praying. It helps sometimes if you are praying and praising out loud so that the others will not feel inhibited to do likewise. No one wants to draw attention to their prayers, so the more fervently you pray the more comfortable they will feel to seek the Lord.
b) When I did this I purposely had no set plan and chose to pray that the Lord would guide me. What ended up happening was that about seven members felt comfortable to enter the room. We all sought the Lord together, praying that the Holy Spirit would give us direction about how to reach out to the rest of the members of our group.
c)After praying separately for about fifteen minutes I called the group together and we united in a prayer huddle. Each person prayed about the burden on their heart in turn.
d) We joined hands and worshipped by singing praise songs without any music. The Spirit was leading each person to just sing out a new song and the others joined in.
e) The Holy Spirit came upon the group and everyone was praising God in an unknown tongue except those who were never baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some of the teens who had not spoken in tongues in months or years, began to do so.
f) I then counselled the group to find their own spot to pray again on their own. The room was almost quiet. Some teens were in tears. Some prayed in tongues. Everyone was praying with an unusual intensity.
g) I felt led to pray for those who had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One of them did and began speaking in tongues. I also went to pray for the rest of the people in the room. I was helping bear the burden on their hearts.
h) After I had prayed for each person they each were feeling a sense of victory in prayer. We all began praising God. We gathered together in praise, and sang loudly with great joy. We composed ourselves somewhat and opened the door to invite all those waiting at the door to come in for the message. I allowed time for the ones who had been praying to testify to what God had done in their lives, sang a few songs and went into the message.
Pretty simple. We ran out of power to our house sound last Sunday night and had to think on our feet. Our worship leader and lead guitarist (both youth) just grabbed some candles and greatly polished silver trays to put them on. We blacked out everything and lit candles around Paul and Jennifer. The effect was awesome to say the least. There was NO amplification whatsoever. Straight acoustic worship. Taught me a great deal about the simplicity of worship. Just when we youth pastors think we have to have the greatest sound system with the latest color lights, all God really needs is two in His Name. Wow, what a concept.
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.