Illustrations

EGG-tra Strength

Point: Alone, we aren’t very strong or capable, but when we surround ourselves w/ God, we can triumph.

Supplies:
*10 Large Eggs
*A board about 1/2″ thick and big enough for someone to stand on, mine was about 18″ square.
*10 bottle caps from liter or 20oz pop bottles – Just make sure they aren’t the big 2 liter size ones
*Modeling clay

Prep: Take a good size chunk of the clay and put it around the edge of each of the bottle caps. Make sure the cap’s edge has about a 1/2inch of clay on it. Put one such cap on the bottom of an egg and one on the top. It has to be the top and bottom of the egg because those are structually the strongest points of the egg. I if you put the caps on the sides, this won’t work. In the end you will have 5 little egg “sandwiches” (bottle cap, clay, egg, clay, bottle cap)that can stand upright on their own .

Lesson: Have a volunteer come up, probably best if it’s one of your lighter students since I really don’t know how much weight these eggs can support. First take 5 of the regular eggs place them on the floor and place the board gently on top. Ask how many people think that the eggs will support the weight of your volunteer. Then have your volunteer step onto the board. In my case, the girl barely touched the board and all the eggs broke. Talk briefly about how the eggs on their own aren’t strong enough for all that weight. Next take out your egg “sandwiches”. Place them so that there is one on each corner of the board and one in the center. Again, have your volunteer step on the board, and impressively, it should hold 🙂

Explain that with the right foundation and the right protection, the eggs became much stronger. You can also take the caps and clay off one of the eggs and break it to prove that they are the same eggs as before. It’s very effective, and who doesn’t like to make a mess? 🙂

Ephesians 6

I came up with this idea of learning about the armor of God. Draw an outline of a man on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Read from Ephesians 6 about the armor of God, and after explaining each one (i.e., belt of truth), have the teens come to the board and draw what they think the belt should look like on the man. In the end, you’re going to have this funky guy wearing the armor of God that the teens drew up on the board. After they draw each one, ask them a question such as, “What is truth, and what does it mean to have truth?” Continue all the way through the verse, asking them about salvation, righteousness, faith, etc. I also drew a figure of the devil right next to the guy when the verse explained fiery arrows from the devil, and how the shield of faith protects them from the arrows.

Equally Yoked

Have a boy and a girl come to the front of the room. Then have one of them stand on a chair – he/she represents the Christian. Have the Christian on the chair try to pull the unbeliever up with them onto the chair. (Then explain how hard it is to witness to someone who doesn’t believe.) Now have the unbeliever pull the Christian down and explain to them how easy it is for a Christian to fall down when they’re with a non-believer.

Exploring the Power of Words

You’ll need a tube of toothpaste for each kid or you can put the kids in pairs. (I found they had more fun with a partner) and a paper plate and a $10.00 bill.
Give each person or group a tube of toothpaste and a plate. Tell them to squeeze the toothpase on the plate. Have fun with it, make designs etc. Then place the $10 bill on the table and tell the kids they have five minutes to put all the toothpaste back in the tube. The winner gets the money ( your money is safe). DISCUSS: Which is harder, squeezing out or putting back in? How is this like words coming out of our mouths? When have you wished you could take back words you’ve already said? In other words, what comes out of our mouths cannot be taken back. We can apologize but are things the same?

Faith in a Box

Scripture verse used: “So don’t throw away your bold faith: it will bring you rich rewards.” Hebrews 10:35

Items needed: a small box, something to put in it (candy, etc.), lots of wraping paper.

You put an item in the box and wrap it in many layers of paper. You tell the group, “There is something in this box you will enjoy.” You ask, “Do you have faith there is something in this box?” Faith is something that you hope for, but can’t see. “Can you see what’s in this box? Throw the box in the trash can and watch reaction. Will I ever know what’s in the box if I throw it away?”

As long as we don’t throw it away we are going to eventually know what’s in it. As long as we don’t throw away faith in God and his plan, there is a reward in the end which is heaven. The group moves to a circle on the floor. Talk about how it takes patience to receive God’s promises. Take turns giving each child a turn at ripping off a layer of paper until the gift is revealed.

Follow Jesus

This activity illustrates the need to follow and listen to Jesus when peer and worldly influences abound.

One student is needed to volunteer as the “Christian youth.” Another is needed to serve as the “voice of Jesus.” All others are employed as “bad influencers.”

The Christian youth is blindfolded and seated. The “voice of Jesus” volunteer is instructed to spend a little time talking to the “Christian youth” so that he/she learns his/her voice. John 10:1-5 “…the sheep hear his voice…”

A simple maze of chairs is created that leads to a desk or table with a blessing (candy, prize, etc.). Put a couple of left and right turns in your maze, but not cluttered. Walkways through maze should be at least two folding chairs wide.

Once the maze is complete. The Christian is asked to stand. Explain that his/her goal is to reach the “blessing” by following the instructions/commands of the “voice of Jesus”. The job of the “bad influencers” is to give bad instructions.

Explain that everyone must stay at least 3 to 6 feet from the blind youth. No touching or obstructing allowed.

Have the blind Christian stand. Give a few turns and see if he or she can get to the blessing by following the “voice of Jesus”, while ignoring the “bad influencers”

(Note: Walk carefully to avoid injury) A timer can be used for team scoring or to maximize time to reach the prize.

Have had 100% success each time this activity has been used. Some good discussion questions posed to the listener, voice of Jesus, and bad influencers:

1. What was hard about getting to the blessing?
2. What was most frustrating?
3. What did you find easy?
4. What did you like most?

Responses are great for talking about peer pressure, seeing God’s perspective — ready and wanting to bless us if only we would listen to him, emphasizing the prudency of following God’s will who sees and knows all, and on and on…

Proverbs 3:5,6 is a good scripture to use.

Get Janey Out of Jail

This is a game and an illustration all rolled into one that my kids loved and dreaded(in a good way — you’ll see:-) This can be done in teams or as one big group.

Supplies: Masking Tape or something to mark off boundary, Items for “challenges/dares” (to be described).

Choose one person from each team to be “Janey”, if one group choose just one “Janey”. Prior to the start of the game mark off a starting and finish line approximately 10-12 feet apart. Connect the starting/finish lines to create a long rectangle. Have whoever is “Janey” stand behind the starting line. The starting line to the finish line represents “jail”. The goal of the group or each team is to help “Janey” get out of “Jail” or to the finish line. If playing in teams, the first “Janey” to accomplish this is the winner.

In order for Janey to move toward the finish line a member of her team/group must decide whether or not to complete a “challege/dare”. If they complete the challenge then Janey gets to take one step (heel to toe) toward the finish line. If they refuse or cannot complete the challenge then Janey stays where “she” is in jail. Challenges can be as easy/hard/gross as you want to make them. Try to vary the degree of difficulty and grossness so that kids will really have to think about whether or not they will attempt a challenge or not. Be creative! Examples I have used are: Shave one leg(regardless of whether you are a boy or girl), chug a can of warm coke, run around the church building in a minute or less, kiss 5 people in the room on the cheek, eat/drink a raw egg, etc.
Illustration: In this game “Janey” represents us as people. The “jail” represents our life of sin. Just as Janey was unable to get “herself” out of jail, there is nothing that we can do on our own to free ourselves from our life of sin. The team-members willing or able to complete the challenges to help free Janey are like Christ who willingly gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we could live a life of freedom from sin. You can lead a discussion comparing the choice to complete the challenges of the game to the difficulty of the choice that Jesus made in dying for us, and also that Jesus did it by himself (illustrating God’s power). There are many different scriptures that can be used here but the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is my favorite.

Glittered Trash

This is an illustration to show that sin is sin no matter how glamorous it looks.

You need a big bag of trash and glitter. The trash illustrates sin. That sin is messy, smelly, just plain nasty, just like trash. But Satan comes along and tries to tells us that sin isn’t as bad as it looks. Just what he told Eve. Now sprinkle glitter on the trash. Explain this is what Satan does to sin. He make it look all fun and glittery. Then show that even though the trash has glitter on it it’s still trash. Just like sin. No matter how great it looks it’s still sin in the end.

God Cleans And Renews

You need a clear glass, some instant coffee powder, water, and a bucket

You hold up the clear glass filled with water so everyone can see it. Tell them it represents How God wants our spirit/heart to be clear and pure and healthy. But things happen though out our lives that hurt that. Then add a small amount of instant coffee powder to the glass which will make the water a little darker, that represents our spirit/heart being damaged like when some one makes fun of you. Give many examples like that and add coffee after each example making the water darker and darker like when you are wrongfully accused or when you were picked last in baseball, etc. Now you see a damaged spirit/heart, but when you have God he takes all that dark and nasty damage in our spirit/heartaway, then add water to the glass until it turns clear again. This was a pretty powerful demonstration that worked for us and I hope to pass it on.

God Gives Us Balance

I was speaking on burdens one night and came up with this illustration about letting God make our burdens easy to bear…

Supplies:
Three 10 foot 2×4’s
One cinder block
One rope

Preparation:
I took two of the 2×4’s and laid them on edge, side-by-side about 2 feet apart and cut the other one up to connect the two (basically i made something that looked like RR tracks). Then I took the rope and tied it to the cinder block and made a loop on the end so it would be easy to pick up.

Lesson:
I told the youth that life is tough enough without problems, it’s like having to walk on the edge of a 2×4 without falling off. I challnged one youth to walk the 2×4 without losing his balance and he did with only a little struggle.
I then said but life isn’s that easy, we have problems that we have to deal with. I then handed the guy the rope with the cinderblock on it and told him to walk the 2×4 again. He could not do it because his balance was thrown off.
I then said we need to let God balance us and preferrably we need to let Him have our burdens. I then jumped on the other 2×4 and put my hand on his shoulder and said now walk to the end of the 2×4. Walking with him, I was a counterbalance and kept him from falling.
I proceeded to explain that we need to let God be the one who balances us, but better yet we need to let Him take the burden from us so that all we have to focus on is walking the same speed as God. If we hold on to our burdens we can sometimes lose our focus of staying in step with God.
There are many different ways that you can end this and many different lessons you can apply it to. I would say that if you have the resources to actually try and get a section of railroad track for the lesson and run it down the center aisle of your youth room if size permits it.

God in a Box

Take a small box or shoebox and place odd objects inside (like pencil,eraser, balloon, key, nail, gum, candy, etc.}.

Have the students pick one object from the box. Take the first letter of that object,for example, balloon is “b”. Have kids think of a word to describe God that begins with the same letter. B for balloon could be “Buddy” like God is my buddy.

Then you can ask:
1.How is my object NOT like God?
2.How is my object LIKE God?

The lesson is that there are people in this world that know ABOUT God, but don’t KNOW God. This really gets them thinking about GOD!!

God is the Most Powerful 409 Cleaner

I was having some trouble reaching my boys during our weekly bible study and suddingly, this hit me. It showed the kids how we need Jesus to solve our problems and made a great impact.

What you need:
A plate of glass (I used 2’x2′)
A hammer
A permanent marker
A bottle of Windex/409
A rag

First I had the kids think of all the possible sins they could and write them on the glass with the permanent marker (it’s important to stress they don’t have to be a sin they’re struggling with as it causes embarrassment). Then I had one of the kids try to wipe them off themselves with the Windex and 409 and the rag. When they didn’t work, I brought out the hammer (Jesus). I had all the kids back away and showed them how Jesus cleansed us of our sins when He died on the cross. This really drove the point home that we can’t do it on our own. Wakes up the sleepy youth too! Just be careful to clean up right after so no one gets hurt!

God or Mammon?

This is a great way to introduce a discussion on Matthew 6:24. I used it in conjunction with a month long study on oppression, how people use money to oppress others and it is God’s desire His people not be oppressed. Why did Jesus specifically use money when pointing out one cannot serve two masters? Why didn’t He use alcohol, or any number of other things, even possessions in general?

You will need 2 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes, 2 quarters, 4 dollar bills, 1 five dollar bill and 1 two dollar bill. Cut each clue into a strip, fold and have one youth draw. Have them read aloud the clue and let the group figure the answer out together. The person who drew the clue gets the coin or bill once the group figures it out. The fun is who gets the penny and who gets the five! You can make up new riddles if you want to add bigger bills or more bills depending on the size of your group. Now, can you guess which clue goes with which coin or bill? Have fun!

Considered one of our greatest presidents, this man shines on as the Great Emancipator.

Not once, but twice, this great American President appears, but alas you must add thrice to win this prize!

Carried on its back, the scene is set. Let us sign the great Declaration bringing our Independence from that oppressive agent Britain that twice taxed us without representation.

A fitting notation for our first president!

The Great Seal of the United States carries the motto Novus Ordo Seclorum: New Order of the Ages beneath a single Pyramid.

This smackeroo has an average life of 22 months according to the American Federal Reserve and makes up 45% of all US Currency circulation.

Thirteen appears all over this currency, but alas you must divide it by the same to get its equivalent.

My face in profile represents more in number than it does facing forward in paper.

Redesigned in the last century to accommodate all 50 states, my quantity is only half that much.

The longest sitting president am I; now etched in profile forever in silver.

The torch glows bright on my back with olive branch and oak at my side representing a tithe.

The only coin of my color, my back and front bear the same images as my paper friend.

My face on one side, my home on the other but count five coppers to get my grin!

Going Up Or Down?

Have all youth stand in the middle of the room. Label one wall “Heaven” and one wall “Hell”. Before hand tell one person in secret that they are the only one with the answer to the question and the answer is “John 3:16”. Now, have your “person with the answer” stand among the others and tell the group that only one person in the group knows how to become saved. They must ask everyone that they can if they “Are Saved”. When the “answer person” is asked, they whisper John 3:16 to the person who asked them. Now there is 2 answer people. This goes on for about 1 min. then blow a whistle and announce “There has been a devastating tornado that just swept through town. If you live in a house without a basement and you have been saved go to the wall labeled “Heaven”, if you do not know how to be saved yet go to the wall labeled “Hell”. Let the remaining kids continue to ask others if they “are saved” for another 30 seconds. Then blow the whistle and announce: “There was a terrible car accident involving several teenagers- if you drive a vehicle and you have been saved, go to the wall labeled “Heaven” if you drive a vehicle and are not yet saved, go to the wall labeled “Hell”. Continue playing with ! the remaining kids giving them 30 seconds to find out how to be saved. Then blow the whistle again and tell them that: “ A strange disease has swept through town, if you are wearing tennis shoes and know how to be saved, go to the wall labeled “Heaven” if you don’t yet know how to be saved, go to the wall labeled “Hell”. Finish playing with the remaining kids for about 30 seconds or so and then blow a trumpet and announce that: “Christ has returned for his children- if you are saved go to the wall labeled “Heaven” if you are not go to the wall labeled “Hell”. There should be no one left in the middle and this is a great discussion starter for topics like witnessing, salvation and the Second Coming. It will really make an impact when the kids look around and actually see how many of their friends were not reached and were left standing under the area labeled “Hell”.

Gossip Spreading

Our youth leader had one of the youth adults spread a rumour about the leader. This was all planned out to find out who found out and how many told others. Well, the majority found out about it and that Sunday night he old us all it was not true and that was the opening to his lesson on gossip.

Happy Shake

Get a couple of (fresh and hot)McDonald’s Happy Meals,(about 2 happy meals for every 3 volunteers,), cups, and a blender. The blender is not displayed until all the volunteers are chosen. The stated object of the game is to see who can consume the happy meal the fastest. Volunteers are easy to get! As the volunteers are getting ready to eat, get the blender out and mix the HB, FF, and soft drink in the blender and pour it into the cups. I believe it will gag a maggot.

I used this as an illustration for a lesson based on the world’s “perceived” Seven Wonders of the World which are The Great Pyramids, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Panama Canal, Empire State Building, St. Peter’s Basilica, and China’s Great Wall. An e-mail I received stated a students perceived seven wonders of the world; To see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to laugh, and to love. I compared/contrasted the world view vs. God’s word and showed how we put God’s good, (All right, you may question a happy meal being good…) and blend into the what the world says is good. An example would be for laugh: the filthy stuff comedians spew out vs. Sarah laughing at the wonder and joy of the Lord.

Heaven vs. Hell

For this idea, you need the following supplies:

1 piece of red construction paper
1 piece of blue construction paper
1 piece of paper which says Heaven
1 piece of paper which says Hell
1 package of sticky dots
Ziploc bag of pinto beans
Lots of space
2 tables

Before students arrive:

1) Tape down the heaven and hell signs on 2 seperate tables, tape the blue and red construction paper over them.

2) Affix sticky dots on the floor, in one line if at all possible approximately 1 foot apart

When the students arrive, have them sit at a third table.

What to do:

1) Have kids stand on a sticky dot.

2) Hand one person the bag of beans, on the end. Explain: I want you to pass these beans and take one out, when I call stop, you stop. People who did not get one, sit at the red table and people who did get one, sit at the blue table.

3)Time until it gets half through, then tell them to stop. People who did not get a bean, sit at the red table and people who did, sit at the blue table.

4) On the count of three, one person from the group lifts up the red or blue paper.

Questions to ask:

1. How could your friends have not gotten sent to hell.

Optional: Beforehand, you may want to have 3 or 4 students to whom you know it will be passed, the “refuse” to accept the gift.

Holding Back

Prep: You take a one dollar bill and you tear it a litte in the middle.

You talk about how when you give your life to God sometimes you don’t completly give everything to God, you hold on to some bad habits or bad friends, and it causes some struggles in your life to walk for Jesus.

So you ask “Who would like to have this dollar bill?” You have someone take the bill from you, when they grab the dollar you rip it in half. And you feign shock as they rip the bill. You explain that when you give your life to God sometimes we don’t give it all to him. We try to hold on to some parts of it. When we call Jesus our Lord, that means that he is in control of all of our lives, and we have to learn to give our lives to him completely.

Rom 10:9
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Heb 7:25
25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

* This is also a good one to explain tithing.

Hunger and Thirst for God

I use a “George Foreman” electric grill, a couple of small steaks, stuff for a salad, and pop. At the very beginning of the message I start cooking the steaks on the grill. Don’t say anything about it yet, just let the smell and sounds fill the room. Begin to talk about some characteristics of hunger and thirst. You can talk about how when your hungry you will do some crazy things. Have the kids tell you some things they have done. Then talk about how we need to have he same desires for the things of God. The same way your stomach is growling now, and your mouth waters, He wants us to yearn for Him. Psalms 63 gives a very good closure to this message. Then to end the message I’ll have whoever brought the most visitors, or whoever won the game, or let the Youth Pastor and wife eat the steaks.

Hurtful Words

Using newspaper, cut large paperdolls. Give one to each pair of students. Have one hold the doll and say something mean and nasty to it, ripping a piece of the paper doll. Take turns doing this. Have each person do this about 3 times so your paper doll is in about 6 pieces. Then give each person a roll of scotch tape and tell them to piece their paper doll back together. The results are hilarious. Have each group show their doll and tell what they have learned. Then discuss how words once spoken can never be taken back. The tape signifies an apology but as you can see, it just isn’t the same.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t put the paper doll back in perfect condition.