Fellowship / Friendship

50 Foot Banana Split

This is an add-on to any event, but works great with a “Banana” Themed event, and works best in the summer months. What you need, is a whole ton of ice cream (depends on the size of your group), a ton of plastic spoons, bananas (pre sliced), all the toppings, and an eavestrough.
An eavestrough can be found in any large hardware store, and the size will depend on the size of your group.
Our group used a 10′ trough for 20 people, but I’ve also seen a 50′ length trough for close to 100 people (approx 6″ per person). The youth have a blast seeing that large a banana split, but also the fact that they’re eating out of a gutter.
*note* I suggest cleaning out the gutter prior to filling it with ice cream!

50’s Night

For our 50’s fun night, we advertised it as “Hot April Nights,” and any month could be inserted. We asked the youth to dress in 1950’s clothing and had fifties music blaring. We played the following games for our group of 100. The kids, 6th through 12th grade, loved it and are still talking about it a year later!

Hula-Hoop Hoopla:
We had teams of equal size line up along one side of the room. The first person in line put their forehead on a bat (or dowel) and had to spin around it 10 times. have the person in line behind them count for them! Then they had to run to the other end of the room and get a hula hoop to go around themselves 5 times. It’s hilarious to see the crazy dizzy walking! First team to get all of their members to complete the task wins.

Bazooka Joe:
We had enough bubble gum for every youth. We lined teams up facing each other across the room. In relay fashion, they had to run across the room (so individuals were running towards each other) to a piece of paper taped on the wall. There they unwrapped a piece of bubble gum and started chewing it. They had to then blow a bubble and then stick the bubble to the paper on the wall. We gave prizes for most pieces of gum that stayed (more gum!) and for the biggest bubble. The kids loved this for the gross slobber factor. We used bazooka joe gum, but it is really hard and takes A LOT of chewing to get it to be blowable.

T.V. Dinner Roulette:
Like hot potato, but with T.V. dinners! We gave each youth a spoon and heated up 5 of the most disgusting T.V. dinners we could find. The youth stood in a circle facing in and we put all 5 dinners in the circle at some point and started the music. When the music stopped, whoever was holding the dinner was out and the person to their left had to take a bite of the dinner. We kept this going until we ran out of food and had only a few kids left. Either the kids flip for the dinners or think they will die from the food. It’s great!

All prizes given for games had 50’s leanings – Barbie, Mr. Potato Head, etc. We went on some 50’s retro websites and looked at what was invented in the 50’s and gave those things out for the winners.
To end the evening, we made a 30 foot bannana split (thanks to our parents it was already assembled and ready to go at the end of the games!). We made ours in 3 pieces of plastic rain gutter with connectors. When the evening was over, we took it outside and hosed it out. We did this right after the musical dinners game so that everyone already had their spoon and could just dig in.

7 UP! Fellowship

Each spring I have a special fellowship/informational dinner for 6th graders who are about to become 7th graders. I invited the 6th graders and their parents to come to a dinner where I share with them what to expect from our Youth Ministry.

I give them the following items:
– “Who Am I?” handout (for the kids to fill out)
– A Super Summer Calendar “Light Reading” (announcement sheets that we give youth on Sundays)which has the latest on the cool things we do
– an index card with a key taped to it that reads, “Our house is always open to you”
– Medical Release forms (for the parents to fill out)
– a calling card with my phone numbers and email address
– a handout of “Youth Ministry Terminology” (many parents wouldn’t know what Prime Time is or T.N.T. for example)

I also have 4-5 youth to share what the Youth Ministry has meant to them. I answer any questions they might have at this time as well. I also decorate the tables with items that have 7UP on them as well as appropriate colors (green, white, red)!

Affirm Me

I still have the sheet in my warm fuzzy file. All it says on the top is AFFIRM ME. It sounds like a pretty blunt cry for affection, but it came from an activity run on a retreat with Bible College students years ago.

This is much like the affirmation activity where students write affirming statements on each others backs but in this instants students are to list the Fruit of the Spirit that they see exhibited in the lives of that student. You can either put the sheets up with the students name on a wall during a retreat and at any time the students can go by and indicate the fruit they see exhibited. It is always more fun to tape it to each others backs. As the leader you should join in as well and some time when you feel like throwing in the towell put out your affirmation sheet and you may want to wait a few more weeks.

Angels Unaware

Ask each of your young people to identify someone at school who doesn’t attend any church. For the 12 weeks have kids each commit to becoming that person’s “undercover angel.” Weekly, have kids each slip a card into their person’s locker at school, leave a gift for him or her in the office, write a note of encouragement after a poor grade, or offer some other kind of secret encouragement. Each week in the youth group meeting, have kids each report on what they did and what their person’s reaction has been. Weekly reports will help keep the motivation and interest high. After 12 weeks, kids can choose a new person to reach out to. Encourage kids not to reveal themselves to their secret person, even after they’ve moved on to a new person.

Backwards Dinner

This is a great way for a couple of your youth to get to know each other on a more personal basis, as well as their parents, youth leaders, and other willing members of the congregation. The idea is to get together a relatively small group of youth for one evening of the week. The idea works best with 8 or less youth because of carpooling and available space. This activity usually should not take more than 3 hours. What is needed: Willing chaperones that can drive the youth to the designated areas. Willing adult participants, parents or other, that can cook at their home and then invite the youth to join them.
Have the youth meet at the church around dinner time. Including family or friends would work but the idea is to get to know someone new, so keep that in mind when selecting the groups. Once the group is assembled proceed to your first house. Here the host should have dessert prepared for the group. Enjoy eating dessert first and getting to know the hosts and their family as well as each other. Repeat this at seperate houses for each course. The evening can include as many courses as desired, but keep in mind travel time when planning. At each home you can also play board games or use the handy book of questions, whatever works for getting the youth to learn about their new friends in the church.
A nice touch after the fact is to have the youth write thank-you cards to their hosts from the evening. In the past some youth have invited the hosts to their homes to return the favor and introduce their families. By switching the groups and hosts it is a good way to make connections in a large congregation.

Backwards Dinner Devotional

This is an idea of a devotional that we used for our group in addition to the backwards dinner post on egadideas.com.

For our backwards dinner, we developed a menu to use as a devotional. each course represents something in the Christian walk. The courses are listed as follows and for each course there are several Scripture verses. At each house we assigned different verses to different kids and they looked them up and read them aloud. As each one was read, the youth tried to guess what each course represented. (on the menu, it was left blank and they could fill it it. ex: 1st course: dessert = ___________ )

Here goes:

1st course: Dessert = Heaven
Genesis 1:1
Matt. 4:17
Luke 23:43
1 Thessalonians 4:17
John 14:1-4
Romans 8:17

2nd course: Side Dish = side blessings from God
Mark 3:1-6
Luke 21:33
Luke 12:22-23
John 10:10
1 John 2:15

3rd course: Main Dish = personal walk with God
Luke 9:26
1 Peter 4:16
2 Tim 4:1-2
Matt. 4:3-4
Matt. 28:19-20

4th course: Soup = missions; Salad = growth
Soup: Revelation 14:6-7, Philippians 2:5-11, Acts 14:21-23
Salad: Acts 17:11, Ephesians 6:10-20, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

5th course: Appetizers = salvation
1 Tim 2:5
John 3:16
Romans 3:23
Romans 10:9-10

The point of this devotional was, 1) to offer them salvation at the end, once they had eaten and were filled, they could learn that they could “never hunger” by giving their lives to the “bread of life” (John 6:35). 2) to share with them that as much as you would probably like, you can’t go from salvation (appetizers) straight to heaven (dessert). You need to run the race as God has planned for you. Many times we fill up on side dishes (side blessings) and forget about our personal relationship with the KING.

We hope that this devotional will bless you and serve you.

To God be the Glory.

Beach Party

In the middle of winter, up here in Canada, we heat up our gym to 85 degrees and bring in a full size pool to set up in the gym. We also use tractors and wheelbarrows to bring in sand to put around the pool and to make a full beach volleyball court. The sand is about 1 foot deep. It is a blast to clean up :). We also rent two hot tubs and have a climbing wall that is inflated and a bunch of games like pool and ping pong. Also video games are available on the big screen for those who want. It goes on for the whole night. We have many groups that use it throughout the night to bring down the cost. It is a lot of fun for our student leadership team to do!! We have a group of between 200 and 300 and it works excellent.

Beach Party on the Cheap

If you like the beach-party-in-the-middle-of-winter idea but don’t have that kind of budget, you can try our version.

Our youth group meets in our home, so we don’t have as much space as a gym, and we only met for our usual 2 hours. We happened to have a sand-coloured carpet, but you could put down beige blankets for sand. We put a tape on with sea sounds and turned up the thermostat. We asked kids to wear (or bring to change into) shorts and t-shirts and bring lawn chairs.

For part of the evening, we put up a net across the livingroom and played beach volleyball with a balloon. They loved it and went back to it after snack time. (We had summer foods like ice cream.) After the sea sounds, we put on the Beach Boys music. It was a lot of fun.

Birth Of A New Year Party

The New Year is typically characterized by the exit of Father Time and the entrance of Baby New Year. This event is based on babies. Everyone should come dressed like a baby. The following games can be played. 1.) Best Dressed Baby 2.) Baby Picture Guess: pictures are brought and put on a wall and people are a piece of paper with the corresponding numbers and must match them up for points. 3.) Baby Buggy Race: get an old buggy or stroller for each team and have a race, relay style with each person pushing the carriage around a goal and back with a teammate riding on it. 4.) Bottle Drinking Race: fill a bottle with juice and have races.

Board Game Tourney

*** Good for an evening at winter retreats or camps when the weather won’t allow outdoor events. Gather popular games such as Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Scattergories, and Taboo. Set up game stations around the room with a game and necessary items (such as paper and pencils) at each station. Have kids form pairs and joining pairs at each station. Allow 5 mins for setting up and going over the rules. For team games such as Pictionary have the 2 person team play together. If it’s an individual game such as Monopoly, have kids play for themselves – but keep in mind that they’ll be adding their scores to their partners’ at the end of the game to determine the winning pair. When teams are ready, allow them to play the game for 15-30 mins. Kids should complete as much of the game as possible in this time. When time is up everyone stops and determine who wins. Record scores and go on to the next station.

Cafe’ Amore’

Our senior high youth group came up with this meal idea as a way to minister to the seniors of our church.
We themed it around Valentines Day and decorated our fellowship room accordingly. A few adults in the church agreed to prepare the meal, while the teens took care of the rest of the preparations. We had small tables that seated four seniors each, and each teen was the responsible for serving a designated table for the evening. The mood was romantic with soft music from the 40’s and 50’s playing in the background. The teens and leaders were dressed semi-formal.
Our senior youth leader was the MC for the evening, and kept continuity between courses. We sang some old love songs for a nostalgic feel. (Even some of the seniors sang a solo for their partner!) A few question and answer games were played, such as- married the longest, most kids/grandkids etc.
It was a great evening of Christian service for the teens, and the positive comments we received from the seniors who attended made it a very worthwhile and rewarding experience.

Careworks

At our church we have a monthly meeting with all of our Sunday School classes (youth & adults alike–in different places). On the first Sunday afternoon of every month the youth prepares for a time of fellowship where they can invite all of their friends to hang out…. Sometimes we go out to eat, play capture the flag, invite other churches to fellowship, have a youth choir performance, have a contemporary worship performance, and sometimes we just hang out around our youth building and get to know each other better!!!

Cereal Bowl

It is a new spin on 2 tried and true classics- Potlucks and Bowling.
Have everyone bring their favorite cereal to share. You provide the milk, juice, pop-tarts, etc… Then have a cereal pot-luck dinner and before going bowling for the evening. You can do it at the church or if the bowling alley has a meeting room.

Children’s Mega Mingle Night

Our youth group put on a mingle party with a Veggie Tales theme for the children fellowship. We played icebreaker games that got the kids to partner up with our older youths, sang Veggie Tales karoake songs, had popcorn and juice as we watched Veggie Tales tapes. This is a fun way for your fellowships to interact with and get to know the children in your church.

Christmas Gift Baskets

I read once that Christmas time is the loneliest time for widows, single moms or anyone who lives alone. This thought prompted a wonderful time of fellowship and a way to reach out and let the lonely know they were loved.

First, we prayed, and the youth leaders made a list of who they wanted to give to, We then put the lists together and discovered that our lists were pretty much the same. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some were members of our church and some were some not. Some had just lost a spouse or were going through divorce. We also gave our master list to the associate pastor to look it over and see if he wanted to add anyone.

Then we put a list together of what would go in the basket. pumpkin bread and cranberry bread. cookies (decorated by the youth group) tea, hot cider and coco packets, homemade jelly , popcorn balls, (the elderly will love these its an old favorite) Let your imagination go wild. We chose a night to do all the baking and wrapping the baskets up. We purchased the baskets and decorating things at dollar tree ๐Ÿ™‚

The following day we had our personal UPS man make us up a delivery plan and split up into 5 groups to make deliveries. The next Sunday when we all got together we talked about the experience and what a blessing it was for the people who received the baskets. Some of our students who drive made deliveries alone and appreciated the opportunity to see the faces of gratitude.

It will be something we do, God willing, every year. The widows especially appreciated this as well as those living in nursing homes.

Christmas Gift-Away

During the Christmas season this year, have your youth group sponsor a Christmas gift list for young children in a nearby hospital, orphanage, detention centre, or disadvantaged apartment complex or neighbourhood. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, 5 weeks before Christmas, have the youth group canvas one of these groups of children and learn what -personal- gifts they’d appreciate. If your focus is on children in a hospital or orphanage, have the kids ask the staff for suggestions for each child. Have kids set up a Christmas tree in the entry area of the church building. Place tags on the tree that describe each gift the group needs. Church members can review the the tags, choose a gift they will bring and place it with the tag under the tree. Encourage church members to purchase the suggested gifts so members of your group can experience giving something meaningful to another person.

Coin Drop

Place a large bank in an accessible area in your church or youth room. Make up a sign that states what you are raising money for, and the instructions to drop off those unwanted pennies that everyone has too many of. This is a great inexpensive way to raise funds for an event.
Ed. Note – Maybe make a crazy “machine” (like the game “Mouse Trap”) that the coins will drop and roll through before they get into the jar/container to interest the kids and keep everyone giving.

Crazy Fellowship Potluck

Set a night and have the kids bring their favorite craziest dish. Anything goes!! Tell them that their dish must represent their personality. Have them explain what the dish is and why its like them or why its their favorite. I’m sure everyone will enjoy surprising each other with their cooking skills and its a fun way to get the kids to fellowship. Make sure to tell them not to let anyone know what they are making because the surprise is half the fun! (younger youth may need to ask a parent to help)

Creation Celebration

Have teens plan a party for the younger children of the church emphasizing the wonderful variety and beauty of God’s creation. Also, ask several parents to donate treats such as cookies and punch for the celebration. Use tables to create a number of booths where group members present inexpensive, creation-based entertainment for the children to enjoy. I.E.: booth entertainment might include examining an ant farm, petting a snake, or looking at empty birds’ nests and eggs. You might also borrow some makeup and gave a face painting booth where teens paint animals on children’s faces. Have animal-imitation contests to see who can do the best imitation of a cow or chicken, etc. End the party with a time of singing. This party is especially fun during Springtime.