Try This One
group magazine: March-April, 2003
9 tried-and-tested relationship-builders sent in by youth workers—ready to cut out and file
Game: Four Ball B-Ball
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fun...for all ages and skills!
Use this game when you have a group of teenagers with varying degrees of athletic skill. Play in a gym with basketball hoops, on an outdoor court, or in any large area with two laundry baskets as hoops.
Have kids form two teams, and place a basketball, kickball, soccer ball, and tennis ball in the center of the playing area. If the playing area surface isn’t too slick, have all the players take off their shoes and play in their socks. When you start the game, all players can go after the balls in the center and score with any of them. Use the same rules for this game as you would for regular basketball, except that each ball is worth different points: basketball, 1 point; kickball, 2 points; soccer ball, 3 points; tennis ball, 4 points. You may also want to recruit more than one volunteer to referee.
Bible Study: Rules and Authority: So What!
Use a game without rules to help young people understand why rules are important.
Have kids form groups of four to six, and give each group a board game to play. Tell everyone that the rules of the games are as follows: There are no rules, and no one is in charge! After about 10 minutes, have groups discuss these questions:
How does the game change when there are no rules? Why do you think there are rules? What are some rules that protect us? Do you obey those rules? What do you do when you don’t like a certain rule? Say: Often rules don’t make sense to us. And sometimes the authorities will let us down. We end up confused or frustrated, just like we did with these games. But God didn’t plan things that way. He uses rules to protect us. When God sets the rules, he will never let us down.
Read aloud Romans 13:1-7. Then have groups discuss these questions: Does this Scripture change the way you think about rules and authority? Why or why not? What are some situations where you struggle with authority? How can we help each other with these struggles? How can God help us?
Close in prayer, asking kids to pray for specific people in authority, for a healthy attitude toward these people, and for each person’s struggles with authority.
Crowdbreaker: Top-Secret Missions
Create a bonding experience for kids with this getting-to-know-you mixer.
Before your meeting, you’ll need to come up with one “secret mission” for each member of your group and write it on a 3¥5 card. Each secret mission should somehow encourage kids to interact with other group members. Use the following suggestions or create your own: (1) Meet someone new and find out where his or her shoes came from. (2) Compliment five people (be specific and genuine). (3) Find someone who hasn’t finished his or her secret mission, and help that person finish it. (4) Give five people a high five. (5) Introduce two people who don’t know each other very well. (6) Find something you have in common with three other people (all four of you have the same thing in common). (7) Get someone to sing to you. (8) Meet someone new and learn the names of that person’s siblings.
When kids arrive, hand each person a secret mission. Tell them they must secretly accomplish their missions without revealing to the others what their missions actually are. Give group members 10 minutes to complete their secret missions. Afterward, discuss what people learned about each other and whether they succeeded in their missions.
Game: Raptor Hunter
Kids will love this noncompetitive game based on the Jurassic Park films!
You’ll need a softball; a safari hat, pith helmet, or baseball cap; and the soundtrack to Jurassic Park (optional). Play this game in an empty church, gym, or outdoors.
Select one person to be the first Raptor Hunter, and give that person the hat to wear and the Raptor Egg (softball). All other players are Raptors. Gather everyone into one room or area while the Raptor Hunter hides the Raptor Egg somewhere in the playing area, in a somewhat visible spot. After the Raptor Hunter returns to the place where everyone is gathered, give the Raptors two minutes to find their hiding spots, and then begin the game.
Whenever the Raptor Hunter finds a Raptor, both players scream like raptors from the movie Jurassic Park. The Raptor Hunter gives his or her hat to the captured Raptor, and they switch roles. (The screams signal all the players that a switch has taken place.) Give the new Raptor 60 seconds to hide. Hidden Raptors may move if they choose to do so. If any Raptor finds the Raptor Egg, he or she is exempt from being “captured.” When an egg-holding Raptor is found and released, the Raptor Hunter must re-hide the egg. Play the Jurassic Park soundtrack as background music. For added fun, try playing the game outside, in the dark, with flashlights! This game has no scoring and can continue for as long as you want to play!
Outreach: Freebie Giveaways
Appeal to companies’ philanthropic side to help you with your outreach!
Have your kids bring in their favorite CDs, books, videos, DVDs, video games, and so on, and collect the names of distributors, publishers, or manufacturers from the labels. Then write letters to these companies, explaining your desire to use the companies’ products for giveaways that will promote your church youth group to teenagers who aren’t familiar with your church. Mention that you’ll also accept promotional materials such as T-shirts, hats, or CD singles. (You can also mention that the giveaway will help promote their products in your community.) After you’ve collected a lot of items, plan a free giveaway outreach at a local high school event, or at a mall or arcade. Be sure your freebies include an attached invitation to your next youth group event.
Afterward, write to the companies who sent you freebies, thanking them and telling them the success stories that those items brought to your youth group. You may even include pictures of your group and its new members!
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Outreach: Sidewalk Talk
If your church is near a junior or senior high school, you can take advantage of your location as a venue for low-tech evangelism.
Our church is located on the walking route for many students on their way to a junior high school. Once a week I go out and try to get to know the students. Sometimes I give away free soft drinks, cookies, or hot chocolate. I write positive notes on the sidewalk with chalk (such as “Teenagers are cool!”) or challenging questions (such as “How is God like a bubble?”).
This has given me a chance to model relationship-building to students in my youth group, to encourage kids from other churches, to start conversations with students who aren’t Christians, and to try to encourage better behavior (for example, not skateboarding on private property). I really enjoy building these relationships. I hope to keep it up even while the snow flies!
Discussion Starter: Flicks and Food
Turn a progressive dinner into a progressive discussion starter on faith, hope, and love.
At church and at two homes, you’ll watch movie clips and have discussions while you eat. Start the progressive dinner at church and watch the segment from Toy Story in which Buzz “proves” he can fly. Talk about faith and how important it is to accomplishing goals. (Scripture link: Matthew 17:20; clip location: 29:45 through 31:00*.)
At the first house, watch the segment from Castaway in which Chuck talks about clinging to hope when things seem hopeless. Talk about the way hope works together with and strengthens faith. (Scripture link: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; clip location: 2:09:00 through 2:12:15*.) At the last house, watch the segment from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in which Dr. Evil bounces a rubber globe off Number Two’s face. Compare the way people treat each other with the way God loves each of us. Talk about how love works together with faith and hope. (Scripture link: Luke 6:27-36; clip location: 50:45 through 51:30*.)
Use Scripture to reassure teenagers that God loves them, that your group loves them, and that you will be there for them during tough times to show them faith, hope, and love.
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
*00:00:00 Studio logo appears
Helpful Hints: Youth Shower
Use the concept of a bridal shower to help your kids feel like an important part of the church as a whole.
You’ve heard of baby showers and bridal showers—why not a youth shower? Send a letter to each committee in your church, asking for a small gift for your youth group. Suggest that the gift be something related to that committee’s ministry. Ask each committee to include a card with the gift explaining the committee’s purposes or activities, as well as ways that the youth group members might be able to offer their help. Then invite committee representatives to bring their gifts to the youth shower. As you enjoy snacks and games, let kids open the gifts.
Our youth shower turned into a ministry fair with a twist! We received wind chimes from the choir, a Monopoly game from the finance committee, and baked goods from the hospitality committee. Our kids were amazed at how our church operates, how it helps people, and how they fit in as a part of the church.
Mary Mattingly and Marlene Wukusick
Fund-Raiser: Carhop Concessions
Take your community back to the ‘50s for food, music, and fun!
Schedule a time that the youth ministry can use the church’s parking lot for this fund-raiser. Recruit adult volunteers to prepare the food and drinks. Plan to serve hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breast sandwiches, French fries, nachos, soft drinks, root beer floats, and hot fudge sundaes. Come up with creative ‘50s-style names for your menu, such as Big Bopper Burgers and Hot Diggety Dogs.
Set up a CD player and play ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. Have the young people work as carhops, dressed in poodle skirts and sweaters, cuffed jeans and T-shirts, or leather jackets, and have as many kids as possible wear skates while they take orders and serve people. You can set up tables and chairs for those who don’t want to eat in their cars.
We hold this fund-raiser every September, and many of our “customers” even bring out their old Mustangs, Thunderbirds, or other old cars!
WE’LL PAY YOU $40!
We’re on the lookout for discussion starters, crowdbreakers, group builders, helpful hints, publicity ideas, special events, and especially fund-raisers, games, no prop–no prep ideas, and active Bible studies. If you’ve created a tried-and-true idea found in no other publication, send it in. We’ll pay you $40 if we publish it. Just send your ideas, daytime phone number, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to group’s “Try This One,” P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539-0481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more ideas visit our Web site at Youthministry.com.