Fellowship / Friendship

Dinner Theatre

Find a short play on a Christian theme. Prepare a stage in the fellowship area, where people can eat just before the performance. If you can get the food donated, all the better. Your young people are both the cast and the waiters. They should wear their costumes under neat, matching aprons (you may be able to convince some of your parents to make simple chef’s aprons for this purpose). Be sure to prepare them for serving the food as well as presenting the play. Have them work in teams, with the larger, stronger kids carrying trays of plates and the smaller ones serving (with flair and style, from the left) the people of the congregation. As soon as desserts and coffee are served, hang up the aprons and hand towels, and CURTAIN UP! Both the young people and the congregation will appreciate this special chance for the young people to serve.

Easy Food Ideas

1.) Molded ice-cream for season: especially Christmas, Valentine’s Day
2.) S’mores: sandwich of toasted marshmallow, and chocolate between two graham crackers
3.) Watermelon and cantaloupe a la mode
4.) Make your own: cupcakes, pizza, Mexican foods, cake.
5.) Make your own sundaes with all the fixings: ice-cream, syrups, nuts, sprinkles, M&M’s, hot pudding makes a cheap “hot fudge”, whipped cream, etc

Elders’ Ball

Plan a night just for the elders of your church (You can even send invitations made by the youth to the elders). You can have the youth serve them a nice meal dressed in nice clothing (banquet attire). You have the youth share with the elders about how they appreciate them. They can read poems, perform a song for them and read scriptures showing the worth and importance of the role of an elder. The youth can hand out letters of appreciation to each elder. You can also do it as a total surprise. Just announce in church that there will be a dinner and give date. Everyone else in the church will have already been in formed of the real event. Then when the elders arrive seat them first and then start the dinner! There can be lots of ways to do this one!

Encouragement Plates

One of the most encouraging things I’ve found for the youth is to do “encouragement plates.” It’s very simple, fun, and has a major impact.

All you need is paper plates, duct tape, and pencils. Each teen gets a plate taped to their back and must go around to other teens and write something they like about him or her. I try to discourage generic comments. Each teen should write something on everyone else’s back. It’s fun because you get in chains and have lots of laughs over the awkwardness of it all. By the end of the night, don’t be surprised if you have tears from people who were moved by what was written about them.

Father – Daughter Dinner

We have had great success with a Father-Daughter Dinner. We send out formal invitations to the girls inviting her and her father. Then we put together a formal diner, complete with china dinnerware and catered dinner. Before dinner we have a photographer there to take pictures of the fathers and daughters and a time to chat. After the dinner we generally have a speaker. We have had college girls talk to the fathers, adolescent girls talk to the fathers, and even fathers talking to the girls for speakers. It has become an event that the girls enjoy and look forward to each year.

First Sunday Dinners

At every group I have been a part of, I implement First Sunday Dinners. This is where I get a different family to host a dinner on the 1st Sunday of the month. This is a TOTAL fellowship night. We break bread together and hang out. The kids seem to love it, and it helps to bring parents into the mix and give them a feeling of being a part of the ministry! It works!!!

Fishbowl Fellowship

A.K.A. – Four-by-Four Fellowship. This idea works great for full families (possibly better) as well as the youth. It’s simple. On a designated day each child/family writes their name on a small piece of paper given to them upon arriving. A fishbowl is passed among the congregation, similar to the passing of communion or the offering plates. Each child/family places their paper in the fishbowl, and then it is passed again. This time the papers are drawn out. If the child/family pulls their name they just try again. Then, they have a certain amount of time to arrange an event with the name they drew. This could be as complex as dinner at their home or as simple as getting together at the church to play games. The idea is to promote fellowship, but not embarass anyone about money or the appearance of their home, so it’s up to them. We usually use a time period of about two months just because of how hectic schedules can be. Those families that are not able to attend can pre-arrange to have their names added. Of course, this means that each child/family will be responsible for connecting with someone as well as someone will connect with them. It’s great fun and there are so many possibilities. Then in that two months or so, do it again!!!

Formal Fellowship Banquet

Make formal invitations and invite the youth to join you in dress clothes. Make a formal dinner in courses and have a little play or some short skits preformed by some of the youth. Have a theme for your dinner just to make it more interesting. For instance A Night With The Lord…or even decorate like they are at the pearly gates waiting to get in. My idea was to eat dinner while some youth are preforming and then having the youth go through the pearly gates for a bible study on Revelation or even on how to be saved so that one day they can really walk through the pearly gates.

Friendship Questionnaire

Many young persons first attend a youth group with feelings of apprehension and timidity…To promote each young person’s self-confidence and to better facilitate conversation with his/her group members, a questionnaire is distributed to the class…generally at it’s initial meeting or shortly thereafter. On the questionnaire are items asking the usual, i.e. height, hair color, eye color, etc…but when favorite class in school, least favorite class, favorite movie, book, musical performer(s), activities in which the person is involved, if they had the ability to change the world, they’d___________, things tend to get interesting! All kinds of questions can be asked to provide a bridge for others to use in finding congruence among one another’s interests. The neat twist is:
After all of the forms are handed in, a person who is a cartoonist does a three-foot high caricature of the respondent, ALWAYS FLATTERING, and it is then posted on a divider in the Jr./Sr. High meeting room.

The cartoon “tells” all of the information given on the questionnaire, via a “balloon” from the cartoon figure’s mouth. (Check any strip in a newspaper to see what this means)

Many adults are in and out of the area during the week, and the drawings allow for the youngsters’profiles to become known to many. Increased self-confidence and a greater sense of belonging generally results.

Fruit Feast

Good as a Bible Study. On a predetermined evening ask kids to come to the church for a fruit feast. Have kids each bring a different kind of fruit (the more variety the better). Purchase a watermelon and cut it in half using a jagged line. Use a small scoop to make melon balls as you empty out the inside of the watermelon. This will be your fruit bowl for the feast. As kids arrive have them each cut up their fruit and place it in the feast bowl. Mix in each new fruit with the others to create a giant fruit salad. If possible, provide drinks, yogurt, or ice cream to go along with the feast. While they’re eating read Romans 12:4-8 or 1 Cor 12:12-27. Ask: How is the Body of Christ like this fruit salad? How do we each add a different and unique flavour to Christ’s body? What kind of fruit are you most like? Explain. What role do you often play in Christ’s body? Why is that role important?

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

How about a “Girls Night Out”? Have the young married women host a make-over/girl talk party to mentor the younger generation! Have different rooms set up for different activities…makeup, hair, nails, etc…be creative! At the end gather all the girls together and have the 20something girls give their testimonies. Have a time of worship and praise. This is a great way to encourage the older ladies to invest in the lives of the younger girls!!

Halloween Dinner

We’ve used this supper idea with our High school youth group before they head to UNICEF during the Halloween season. Decide what your menu items will be (i.e. we had spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and pie) and then you make up names for each item of food (i.e. spaghetti, was worms, spaghetti sauce, was blood and guts, salad dressing was calf scours, you even give the silverware a name like fork, was devil’s tool, etc..even the drink is named something.) Then you make up a menu for each person and have them circle 6 items off the menu that they would like. Then you have parents or sponsors fill their plates in secrecy and deliver it to them. It was hilarious to see our youth wondering why they got 2 pieces of pie, a thing of spaghetti sauce and no silverware. Once we filled everyone’s plates and listened to their reactions, we opened up the kitchen for them to fill their plates and get silverware if they wanted. It’s a great time.

Heritage Dinner

Helps get in touch with kids’ own backgrounds and to facilitate communication of this to the other members of the group to get an idea of where each is “coming from.” A potluck dinner variation. Each person brings to the event a dish that represents his/her own ancestry. The kids should also bring a “family treasure” or some relic or photo or other item of interest and be prepare to tell its story. The item need not be valuable except in terms of the story behind it.

Hoot ‘N’ Holler

A Hoot’n Holler is simply a monthly afterglow. Usually held the last Sunday night of the month. After the evening service all the youth meet in the fellowship hall. The music is blasting and the food is waiting. Each month we have a different theme (i.e. Extreme Water Fight). This gives our youth an opportunity to bring their unsaved friends, who may not have ordinarily come to church. It is also a great way to celebrate the birthdays of your youth each month.

Hot Seat

This activity is intended to encourage students, primarily from the lips of their peers. Hearing affirmation spoken aloud in the presence of an audience is a powerful thing, and I think teenagers gobble this up because they are starving for it, though they rarely show it. I highly recommend setting an appropriate mood for this activity, as it is meant to have a lasting emotional impact, and cannot afford to be derailed by silliness or selfish humor. This is meant for retreats or camps where a group has been together for at least a day.

With the audience seated, place one chair, the Hot Seat, in front of the group, or on the stage. Then simply explain the concept of the Hot Seat in a similar way to this:

“This is the Hot Seat. Tonight you will all get a chance to sit in this seat. It is the Hot Seat. When one person is in this chair, I want the rest of you to take the opportunity that you have to speak words of kindness and encouragement to the person up front. You can let them know what your friendship has meant, or just affirm something amazing you have seen them do today, but use your words for good, to build them up. Please respect the person in the chair by having only one person speaking at a time. Once three people have had a chance to encourage you in the Hot Seat, please go back to the audience so that someone gets a chance to be in this chair. Remember, this is someone’s chance to hear encouragement from you, so please don’t waste their opportunity by trying to make yourself look funny or cool by what you say. This is for them, so put the person in the chair first. That said, the Hot Seat is all yours.”

After this it just takes a second for a student to go first. When I led this, I sat down and watched 23 students build up one another for about 45 minutes. I didn’t say a word the whole time. It is amazing how you will see a group come together through this, and it makes students realize how much others really think of them (especially those kids who try to remain aloof from the group–they’re loved!)

Hug Pins

Hug Pins were a favorite when I was a youth in my youth group. Each year we go on a mission trip and every three years we participate in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium and I honestly cannot remember when Hug Pins got started but before we go on our trip we gather in our youth room with lots of Sharpies and wooden clothes pins on hand. Each person going on the trip can decorate 2-3 clothes pins each and all we require is that one side of the pin have the words “Hug Pin” on them. Then when we get to a huge gathering like our Group Workcamps we try to meet as many new people as possible and give our pins away by hugging. It awesome to see how our pins get around to so many different people at camp. Some kids like to put our church initials and their name on the pins that way they can try to track them. Whenever we give away a pin we remind the person to “pin” it on themselves until they give it away and not to keep it too long!

Interaction Cards

Getting kids to talk with one another is often difficult. To get kids to interact, I have developed four levels of interaction cards (beginner to spiritual fellowhip) that first give hints at better communication then pose questions for each of the members of a pair. (the cards are included below)

To start, distribute beginner level cards to students who were born on an even day of the month. Have them go sit beside someone who does not have a card and follow the instructions on the cards for less than three minutes.

Next, get the groups attention and have them either progress to an “intermediate card” with their partner or move beside someone they don’t know really well.

This is always a good low key ice breaker that you can use every three months or so. Try it with parents as well. You may be surprised at how much they enjoy it!

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BEGINNER
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
1. Give your life story in about one minute. What were the high and low points?
2. Describe your favorite movie. Why did you like it so much?
3. Describe your family members. What do you like and dislike about each?
4. Describe your bedroom in detail. What do you think it says about your personality?

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INTERMEDIATE
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
Describe the best day of your life in detail. Try to describe your feelings too.
Describe your most embarrassing moment. How did you get over it?
If you could be any place in the world where would you be? What would you do there?
Describe the 5 best things in your life and the five worst things in your life .

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ADVANCED
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
When was the last time your cried? Describe the circumstances in detail
What are the biggest regrets in your life? If you could change things what would you do?
Describe three things that scare you? How do you deal with your fears?
As honestly as possible describe your strengths and weaknesses?
When you are alone how do you feel? What do you think about? What do you do?
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SPIRITUAL FELLOWSHIP
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
Describe a time you gave in to temptation. Explain why you struggle in this area.
Describe the story of your faith. What has happened in your relationship to Jesus?
Describe a time in your life when you doubted. What do you struggle with now?
Talk about you and prayer. When do you pray? What do you pray about?
Describe the last time you lost your temper? What makes you angry? Why?

International Supper

One time we assigned certain groups of people to a classroom. Then each team had to come up with some country that they wanted to the make food (Mexican, French, etc.). And then they were assigned a course (appetizer, dessert, etc.). Then we just together one night and each classroom was decorated like a restaurant. The auditorium was full of tables with lots of stuff to eat, and we had an international supper. Everything from egg rolls to truffles.

Jogging Fellowship

Good for some fellowship outside of the church. Find guys who are interested in keeping in shape (particularly jogging) and start out by running to one boy’s house, and having him run with you. Then run together to other houses till you have reached all of the participants’ homes. 5-8 guys should be enough. While running together, great conversations can develop. Then you gradually run each other home (you can stop for refreshments as you go if you like). The first who is dropped off, is the one who was picked up first, The last one to go home is the one who joined the group last.

Men’s Bake-Off

This is a great after the evening service fellowship. Have the men/boys bake their favorite dessert. Bring it to church. Select judges to judge the desserts. Then the desserts are eaten by all. We thought of all kinds of catagories so everyone got a blue as well as funny certificate.

We had special rules:
1. It had to be made by the men
2. The girls/women could explain the recipe or tell them how to mix or measure only.
3. The men had to do all their own clean up.

We gave a ribbon for the best use of melted marshmallows, best use of cherries & chocolate, best warm dessert turned cold (these are just examples).