HANDS-ON HELP: STUDENTS

HANDS-ON HELP: STUDENTS

Musselwhite, Chuck

YOU’VE BEEN MUGGED!

When new visitors attend our youth group, we visit them within a week and give them a mug of goodies.

We start by buying glass root beer mugs from Wal-Mart for about $1.50 each. Then we make customized stickers using a desktop publishing program, such as Publisher, which allows you to print your own decals. We add these to the outside of the mugs and then place the following items inside each mug: a calendar of events, a youth ministry brochure, candy, and an eraser that says, “God loves you.” Then we wrap the mugs in cellophane and deliver them to newcomers. The kids love them.

CHUCK MUSSELWHITE Santa Maria, California

CLIP & USE

‘WHAT’S IN THE BAG’ WORD SCRAMBLE TRY THIS ONE: GAME

Use weird-feeling objects to spark a zany game.

You’ll need one paper lunch bag for each player, tape, candy, and numerous “mystery objects” that feel weird to the touch, such as mushrooms, grapes, cooked noodles, dog biscuits, modeling dough, and marshmallows.

Before the meeting, you’ll need to choose one funny or trendy phrase for each group of players. (The number of letters in each phrase should equal the number of players in each group.) Write one letter of the phrase on a paper bag, and assign each letter a con secutive number. So, for example, for the phrase “SpongeBob,” you would make a bag that has S-1, another bag that has P-2, another bag that has 0-3, and so on. Fill each bag associated with one phrase with one of the mystery ingredients, then fold down the tops of the bags and tape them shut.

When teenagers arrive, give them each a bag and tell them they can’t open their bags or tell anyone else what they think might be inside. Tell everyone that the goal of the game is to find the others who have the same mystery object-by feeling the contents of the bags-and then form a group. Then each group must figure out what its phrase is. The first team that correctly identifies its mystery object and phrase wins.

To add a level of challenge, don’t add the numbers to the bags, and have teams try to de-scramble their word phrases.

REBECCA REYNOLDS Kingsport, Tennessee

HANDS-ON HELP: STUDENTS

YOUTH MINISTRY ‘PROBATION’

All youth leaders experience frustration when students make bad choices-but it’s especially difficult when the students are leaders in the youth ministry and you need to ask them to resign from their leadership positions.

Rather than cast students into oblivion, a new program we instituted last year allows them a chance to redeem themselves. We made a connection with an inner city ministry that works with middle school boys and girls, and set up an opportunity for our “probation” students to become more other-centered by helping with tutoring, abstinence programs, and basketball leagues. It was amazing to see how this not only helped the middle schoolers but also woke up the previously self-involved high schoolers. In the past when we disciplined kids, they’d leave and never come back. Now we’re retaining students, who often return to their leadership positions after only a few months.

DAVID LONG Fort Wayne, Indiana

HANDS-ON HELP: STUDENTS

ALL-POINTS BULLITEN

As a condition of graduation, many high schools require that students volunteer a certain number of hours of community service-so encourage them to volunteer in the church.

Use your church’s bulletin to publicize a “wish list” for teenage volunteers, describing the various church projects and ministries in need of help. Students will learn how to give of their time and also be able to observe the fruits of their labor within the church community.

RACHEL NANCE Raleigh, North Carolina

CLIP & USE

RANDOM FRISBEE FUN TRY THS ONE GAME

Easy setup and scoring turn this game into quick Frisbee-Golf fun!

You’ll need one flying disc for each player in this game, which can be played in any location with open space. Determine the number of holes prior to starting, based on how much time you have to play.

Select a player to go first, and allow that player to select a “flag”: essentially anything in sight that’s not a hazardous target-a tree, shrub, telephone pole, or playground equipment, for example. Each player then attempts to throw the disc to that flag and tracks his or her number of throws. As in regular Frisbee Golf, each person must throw his or her disc from where it lands. A flag is considered “holed” if any part of the disc touches the flag. Players can move their discs six feet in any direction from where they land, but players must take a stroke in order to do so. The player with the best score for each round chooses the next flag, or you can rotate players to begin each round.

DAVE BOSTROM Maplewood, Minnesota

DISCUSSION DON’TS AND DO’S

Giving teenagers the opportunity for small-group discussion and reflection can make the difference between an unsuccessful and a successful lesson. First of all, here’s what not to do:

1. Don’t talk. A discussion leader’s primary purpose is to keep the conversation moving in a positive direction. I’ve found that many times leaders end up doing all the talking because they can’t stand the tension of silence. Don’t be afraid of silence; most likely it means that your students are thinking!

2. Don’t preach. Small-group time is your chance to sit back and listen to students’ ideas. Again, be conscious of how often you tend to speak up and declare what’s right and wrong. You’ll find that if your teenagers have the opportunity, they’ll actually preach your lesson for you.

3. Don’t rush. It’s important to have an outline of questions, but don’t follow it so closely that you aren’t giving your students time to “unpack” their ideas. Steer clear of asking yes or no questions. If a teenager does respond with a yes or no, follow up by asking “why” or explain.

Here are a few suggestions to help your small group be more effective:

1. Keep order. Begin every discussion time by going over the ground rules. Let your students know that this is their time to talk and to share their opinions. Explain that only one person may talk at a time, and make sure that you point out to the group the expectation of confidentiality.

2. Encourage. Teenagers need encouragement to speak up, so start discussions with icebreaker questions to get the ball rolling. For example, have students share high or low points of their week. During the discussion, respond to teenagers’ input by saying something such as “That’s a good point,” “I can understand why you might feel that way,” “Thanks for sharing,” and so on.

3. Dig deeper. Small-group discussions give teenagers the opportunity to open up and discuss things in a safe environment. When students answer a question, follow up and ask deeper questions like “Why do you think that is?” “Can anyone else relate to that?” “Does anyone else agree or disagree?” or “How does it make you feel when that happens?”

NATHAN KILGORE Belaire, Maryland

CLIP & USE

MARCH MADNESS LOCK-IN TRY THIS ONE: OUTREACH

(Especially effective for junior highers)

Use the popularity of the Final Four basketball championship to draw community teenagers to your next lock-in.

Sometime during the Final Four tournament plan a youth lock-in with a tournament twist. Prepare to have three simultaneous competitive events every half hour throughout the night. You might try some of the following: 3-on-3 basketball, trivia, pizza-eating contest, talent show, makeovers, dumpster pushing, paper airplane toss, hockey shots, free-throw challenge, soccer, Lord of the Rings trivia, puzzle marathon, charades, timed cup-stacking, or poetry writing. Try to be as creative and gender neutral as possible.

Before the lock-in, publicize the event in your community, and give teenagers a signup sheet for individual competitions. As teenagers arrive, hand out name tags and tournament schedules. You might have motivational sports movies such as Cool Runnings playing throughout the evening. Have volunteers with attendance rosters supervise each tournament station. Include a sunrise awards ceremony held after the all-night event has ended.

Include discussion before and after each event to add a spiritual focus. Use 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 as the theme for your lock-in, with the goal of making sure that each teenager leaves the event knowing there’s only one race that really counts!

MICHAEL FERBER Clarksburg, West Virginia

OPERATION WELCOME MAT

Your soon-to-be youth group members will love this gesture of welcome and friendship.

Here’s what you need: A car full of energetic students, directions to the homes of recent visitors, leftover youth ministry T-shirts, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, youth group newsletters, invitations to get involved in the youth ministry, and a night set aside to get a little crazy.

Here’s what you do: Roll a newsletter and invitation around each T-shirt, and tie the bundle together with a glow-in-the-dark bracelet. Next, fill your car with some of your most enthusiastic youth group members, and proceed to the houses of the preselected teenagers. As you approach each house, designate someone to drop off a bundle at the front door. Now it’s time for a friendlier version of Ding-Dong Ditch. Just leave the T-shirt on the welcome mat, ring the doorbell, and run back to the car.

The T-shirt with the glowing bracelet makes a nice surprise for whoever opens the door, and the success rate of return guests is amazing. Many teenagers will even be wearing the T-shirt you gave them.

SHAD PURCELL San Antonio. Texas

CLIP & USE

INVITATION TO PRAYER TRY THIS ONE: BIBLE STUDY

(Especially effective for junior highers)

Here’s a Bible study that makes the idea of prayer simple and inviting for junior highers.

Tell students they’re going to be creating invitations, and set out the following: construction paper, scissors, markers, scrapbooking supplies, and glue. Have each person fold a sheet of construction paper in half, and instruct everyone to begin by creating a cover design on the front half of the sheet.

After kids have finished their covers, tell them that the invitation they’re making is for them and that it’s an invitation to prayer. Ask them to open it to the inside, and write these lines:

Who: You and God (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

What: A conversation with God (Psalm 139:23-24)

Where: Anywhere (Jonah 2:1)

Why: For peace (Philippians 4:6-7)

How: With good motives (James 4:2-3)

With confidence (Hebrews 4:16)

After they’re finished writing, read aloud each Scripture and discuss: What does this verse tell you about prayer? What does this verse tell you about God?

Tell kids to keep their invitations and refer to them when they have trouble going to God with their concerns. Close in prayer, thanking God for the open invitation that he’s given us to turn to him for all our needs.

DOMINIQUE NEWMAN Dolton, Illinois

CHUCK MUSSELWHITE Santa Maria, California

REBECCA REYNOLDS Kingsport, Tennessee

DAVID LONG Fort Wayne, Indiana

RACHEL NANCE Raleigh, North Carolina

DAVE BOSTROM Maplewood, Minnesota

NATHAN KILGORE Belaire, Maryland

MICHAEL FERBER Clarksburg, West Virginia

SHAD PURCELL San Antonio. Texas

DOMINIQUE NEWMAN Dolton, Illinois

Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Jan/Feb 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved