Disruptive Listeners

Split the group into two equal teams . Have three blown up balloons tied up above each team. Say there is a sweet / chocolate for everyone that listens well , if anyone doesn’t listen you will burst a balloon from their side if all the balloons are popped that team forfeits their rewards they are given to the other side. You rarely have to burst more than one balloon. There is a lot of peer presure on the usually disruptive children. At the end of the meeting say they can take their reward IF they feel they have deserved it. You will be surprised at the honesty from those you would least expect to be honest. You can then call that person back and reward their honesty.

Do You Have Your Marble

Do you have your marble is a great way to teach youth about responsibility and also raise money – just simply give each teen a marble tell them they are responsible to keep the marble on them at all times. If you see someone that you know should have the marble (maybe at the mall, school etc.), ask them “do you have your marble?” If they don’t, they give a donation to the youth fund – you can set a price like a buck or fifty cents. Real fun!

Drive-Thru Nativity

Set up a number of nativity scenes using kids from your group as well as live animals if possible. Held in your church parking lot, make the scenes as authentic as possible, each one with a sign with appropriate scriptures. Coloured lights really add a nice touch. The scenes are viewed from cars, and at the starting point a program is handed out explaining the scenes. Cars lights should be out (as long as the lot is well lit). At the exit point, they are thanked for coming out and reminded to turn on their lights. Kids can work one hour shifts. The event should be publicized in the community through community access TV, newspapers, radio, etc. If you’re gonna make a big production out of it, go all out with the advertising!

Easter Caroling

While this may sound silly, our group had such a great time that some have asked for it to be an annual event. We sang a medley of Easter songs and gave each house a basket of goodies (the baskets were made from lunch bags). We also included a “happy holidays” Easter card and ended the caroling with a rousing chorus of “We wish you a happy Easter.”
It was much warmer than Christmas caroling and we found more people at home.

Family Movie Night

Offer families an inexpensive way to go to the movies – Monthly Family Movie Nights! Each month our youth group features a www.dove.org approved movie for the whole family. Admission is free. We made a concession stand complete with popcorn and snacks for very reasonable prices. We also allowed kids to bring pillows, blankets and sleeping bags to make it more comfortable. You could even do a theme night complete with dressed up characters from the featured movie. This has become a big hit at our church!

Food Drive

Our town is very small, 450 people. Every fall our youth group, made up of 20 kids, spends a Sunday afternoon going door to door collecting food for the county food pantry. We advertise in the paper and local radio. Residents who are not home leave bags of food on the front steps. Members of our church from out of the area are encouraged to bring their items to Sunday morning worship. It is a great way to get the gets out into the community and help those who are less fortunate.

Freak Day At The Mall

Take the youth to a shopping mall, but tell them in advance that they are to dress as “freaky” as they feel comfortable doing. Then you can just window shop as a group or do a scavenger hunt, etc. Afterwards you can debrief this activity by discussing how they felt people treated them based on their appearance, and talk about how we tend to judge people on looks.

Game Show Buzzer

Need some buzzers for contestants to buzz in answers during a game show you’re running? Try kids’/pets’ squeeky toys, have them slap their hand down and crush a styrofoam cup, or better yet… get a couple of those Staples “That Was Easy” Buttons that they sell online or in-store.

Garden Competition

I get the youth at my church to plant flowers, plants and award them at the end of the year. Fisrt I put them into groups and then I allow them to choose the location they want to use. Next they fence it around with whatever attractive material they can find. The youth will learn to be dedicated, and nurturing. They pull out all the stops in collecting they most beautiful flowers they come across. In competing they beautify the church grounds and work towards the coveted trophy and a cash award donated by the youth department!

Good Friday Progressive Lockout

Instead of having a Lock-in at the church, ask members of your church or local businesses to host the youth for one to two hours throughout the night. At each house, have a plan activity plus snacks. We start at 5pm at the church and end at 7 am back at the church. The Kids have a blast!
Examples of activities
1.Wal-mart supermarket sweep and all items will be purchased for the local food banks. 3am in the morning is a great time. Only workers are in the store. Always have an adult with the groups of kids. Put clues in easter eggs and send them on their way.
2.Midnight Easter Egg Hunt – use flash lights or car lights
3.Slinky races down the stairs. Metal works the best
4.Tug of War
5.Dye easter eggs
6.Flash Light Tag
7.Easter Egg toss
8.Tumbling Contest in members yards
9.Hula Hoop Contest
10.Pudding Eating Contest – the catch is, MUST BE DONE THROUGH A STRAW
11.Pizza at the Pastor’s house
The list can go on and on.
Keep them busy or they will get tired. SO WILL YOU!

Google It!

This game is so quick and can be hilarious…

Ok, everybody that has internet access uses the Google search engine. That is the only tool needed…

This game is very funny and easy to prep. It can be played in various ways and involves the most popular web-search tool.

Version #1:

Have contestants give you a word that you enter into Google. Whoever has the highest hit rate wins.

You can go for lowest hit rate, or limit the possible words by asking for words in a particular group, such as color, food…etc.

Version #2:

You enter a word of your choice. Record the number of hits it returned. Make a multiple-choice selection for the contestants to try and guess which word it was.

This is my fav because you can put the multiple choice answers on powerpointand use some pretty funny or disgusting words!!!

Version #3:

Put in 4 or 5 words and record the number of hits for each. Have the students see which group or person can put them in the correct order according to number of hits.

Guidelines For Your Testimony

*** This can be printed up and given directly to the teens giving their testimony.

Thank you for being willing to share your testimony on Sunday. One of the most powerful ways to convey God’s power is to tell how he has been working in our lives. As a result, I want to make sure that our personal testimonies are well thought out and well organized. Below you will find some general guidelines for presenting your testimony. Please stay as close to them as possible. We all are looking forward to hearing of the many ways that God has been working in your life.


1. I realize that many of us know each other, but humor me and introduce who are and give your name, age, grade, school, how long you have been a Christian, etc. (Don’t assume people know fully who you are; take your time and get us all on board). It will give you time to get comfortable as well as prepare the rest of us. Choose from one of the following sets of questions for building your personal testimony:

– What was your life like before you became a Christian?How did God begin to get your attention?
– What were some of the struggles you faced in putting your faith in Christ?
– What have you struggled with since becoming a Christian and how has God brought you through this?
– What was the defining moment that caused you to become a Christian?
– How has your life changed because of this?

Describe the process of your growing in your relationship with Jesus:

– How did he draw you to Him? What key person or persons has God used in your life?
– What were some of the struggles/trials you faced growing up?
– Did you ever experience doubt and how did you handle this doubt?
– How did God show Himself faithful in your life?

2. What are one or two things that God has been doing in your life in the past year. Examples, God has given me the desire for… God has convicted me of… God has shown me the joy in… God has turned my world upside down by…

3. As a result of God doing this in my life, I am different in these ways…

Guinness Games

A night/day of contests in which kids may try to set a “world’s record” a la The Guinness Book of World Records. However, the kids don’t compete against the book itself but against each other. The 1st year, “records” are set and the following years kids try to break them, and set new records which last for another year. Sample contests: Eating contests (marshmallows, onions, lemons) Endurance contests (standing on your head, running in place, talking, stare down, pogo stick jumping, keeping eyes open without blinking) Skill contests (free throws, Frisbee throwing, burping, bubble blowing. There should be a separate contest for guys and girls in the athletic competitions. Kids can pay an entry fee for whichever events they’d like to try. *** I think this would be better for youth retreats and do it annually… this may help to keep attendance up at the retreats. Videotaping should be fun.

Happy Meal Frenzy

This is the funniest thing when you see the youth’s faces. Ask for volunteers before you do anything. Establish that they must at least try this game. When they agree, pull out a blender (This is eher they start to get nervous). Then pull out a Cheeseburger Happy meal from McDonalds. Put it in the blender, drink and all (I’ve found Rootbeer is the best!) and blend it up right infront of them, then pour it in individual cups and just watch their faces as they first taste it.

Happy Potatoes

Divide group into small groups of five or six. Give each of them a two raw potatoes, construction paper, scissors, ribbon, markers, and tape. Give them a time limit (I usually play a song off a CD twice) and ask them, as a group to make a “happy” potato and a “sad” potato. It is amazing what they will create! I use it as a catalyst to discuss real happiness in the world. I also them to write on a posterboard things that make them happy on one side and things that make sad on the other side.

Henna Tattoos

Try this instead of, or in addition to, ashes for Ash Wednesday. Our high school group tattooed ourselves with henna for Lent. You can get henna for tatoos in many places–mainly stores with “funky” stuff, but also at beauty shops. Each person had to be able to express aloud how their design reflected their relationship with God. I put crosses on my palms and feet to symbolize Jesus’ nails. One young man put a superman symbol on his stomach because Jesus is his superhero. And on it went. After we were all decorated, we formed a circle and laid hands on each person, praying that Jesus will use the tattoos to speak to the person during Lent.
Henna is a natural dye that is absorbed in the skin. It produces a rusty brown stain on the skin that last approximately 3 weeks, or until that layer of skin is worn off. I think this will become an Ash Wednesday tradition for our high school program. It is just crazy enough to be attractive to the kids, but not so crazy that parents object. And I know that Jesus has used the crosses on my palms to teach me a thing or two!

I’m Taller Than You

I am 5’3″ and many of the middle school youth love trying to get taller than me. I finally remembered a friend of mines family tradition, which was when the kids get taller than the mom, they have to buy her dinner. So I created the knew rule for youth group. Now, when they get taller than me, they have to bring breakfast. I also give them a certificate that says: “I’m finally taller than my youth leader”. They love being taller than me, it makes them feel so special, but at least I get breakfast out of it! 🙂

Laser Egg Hunt

Hire out a local laser tag facility, as close to Easter as possible, so that your youth group can have the whole place to themselves. With permission from the manager, hide candy-filled Easter eggs throughout the “war zone.” They will play the game like normal. But not only will they have to shoot each other, they will also have to find the eggs. Points are awarded like normal, but they also get points for the amount of eggs they collect. They need to have some kind of pouch or bag they can put the eggs in.

Lost Opportunity

If you are a youth pastor, you understand how frustrating it is to see your youth talking, passing notes, etc. during worship, and/or sermons. I began to pray about how I could address this issue without pointing anyone out, but still get the message across crystal clear. God heard my prayer and the Holy Spirit led me to do the following:
You will need seven youth (four boys three girls), and two assistants to help you. Line seven chairs in a row in the front of your class (these will serve as “pews”) and either ask for seven volunteers or choose them yourself (you can choose a couple of your “chatters” if you’d like). Scatter the girls out between the boys, don’t let the girls sit next to each other, and make sure one of the girls sits on the very end of one side of the row. Have one assistant stand about 10 feet in front of them and say “this is the preacher, it is Sunday morning (or whenever you have the most problems) and he his delivering the message.” Have your second assistant pose as the Holy Spirit, and introduce him/her as such. You are the devil.
Stand behind one of your male students sitting on the furthermost end from where you sat the girl in the very last chair on the opposite side. Tell your assistant who is posing as the Holy Spirit to go from one student to another whispering in their ear “you need Jesus” continually. But he/she is to skip the boy that you are standing behind. As the “Holy Spirit” continually goes from one to another in this manner, you get down in the boys ear and say, where everyone can hear, “Boy! Look at that girl down there on the end of the row, man is she something or what!” The class will get a laugh out of that. Keep at the boy to look down at the girl (who is trying to hear the sermon that your preacher assistant is preaching, have him/her act like they are preaching, just in a mute mode). Then say, “I wonder if she’d go out with you!” From out of nowhere hand him a piece of paper and a pen and say, “let’s write her a note and see what she says.” By this time the class is loving it. Make it funny by telling the boy what to write such as, “Do you like me, yes or no.” Have him past the note down the row to the girl on the end. Just as the girl begins to read the note have your “preacher” blurt out and say, “If you need Jesus in your life he’s here today to set you free, come forward now to receive him as your Lord and Savior”. By this time you’re hovering over the girl saying “Check one, check one! Yes or no!” When she checks one have her send it back down the row to the boy, and end the skit. Now on a serious note, tell the kids the rest of the story. Tell them that the young lady on the end didn’t hear the call to salvation because she was distracted. So she leaves the meeting, and two or three miles down the road is involved in a serious car accident, and is killed.
She experienced a lost opportunity because someone was goofing around. This will illustrate to the youth the seriousness of “God’s time” and how if we neglect to listen (and cause others not to listen), then someone will have a lost opportunity to receive a blessing.

Magic Mirror

Decorate a wall with a large oval mirror frame and a pane of glass instead of a mirror. Coat the glass with a sheet of aluminized window reflector (available at hardware stores), making the glass into a 2-way mirror. Put an operator behind the glass in a darkened compartment, with a dim green bulb in his compartment and a bright light in the viewer’s side, connected by dimmer switches. The viewer will look into the mirror and see only his own reflection when the light is on his side. The operator (dresses in black except for a white face) should dim down the viewer’s light and turn up the green light on his face. The viewer will them see the face in the magic mirror talking to him.