After the Sunday evening service, try some of these ideas for a fun get-together!
AFTER-CHURCH EVENT: SECRET SLIDE SHOW
With the increasing popularity of camcorders, it seems as if slides are on their way out - but wait! You can find a good number of parents who have taken quite a handful of slides of their teens when they were in the baby stage. The important thing to remember is that this is to be secret - the teens should not know about this.
Start off your Sunday evening slide show with a couple of bogus slides as if you were going into a review of a mission trip or something. The first time I saw this idea pulled off was in a college and career group. The surprise was so complete - we heard gasps and even screams when otherwise dignified people saw themselves in diapers and strollers - that it made the whole evening a riot! If your parents do not have many slides, take a few of their baby photos and have them transferred to slides. However, realize this might be costly if you do too many. The point to remember is that you simply stack the slides into the carousel, flip the switch, and enjoy the show. You do not necessarily need to have a script. It's a simple way to treat everyone to a bit of a surprise.
AFTER-CHURCH ACTIVITY: RAPTURE TAPE
An after-church activity, have a camcorder set on a tri-pod. Bring the teens into the room after they've had some refreshments and tell them that you are going to have a joint effort in creating a Rapture tape. This tape will, when finished, be put in the teen room in a conspicuous place which says "To be opened after the Rapture."
Tonight you tell the teens, we are going to create the tape to let people who are left behind to know what steps to take to become a Christian. You will take volunteers and bring them into the room and have them share their testimony and to give a Scripture walk-through on how to be saved. Even if two teens repeat themselves it will have a strong impact.
When you finish taping, have a group prayer and ask the Lord to use the tape in the way He feels is best. After you create the tape, get a frame for it, seal it and put it on the wall of your Teen Room. Make a couple of extra copies to hand out to teen visitors who want to know what is on the tape. Let them take it home and see what it's about - it may spur them into thinking about salvation as well!
AFTER CHURCH ACTIVITY: "LISTEN!"
This could be played after a service you have had about having a quiet time with God, which would include shutting out the world's distractions.
Give each teen a pencil and a piece of paper. Have three tape recorders placed at various sides of the room. Each tape recorder has a different set of sound effects or words on it. At a specified signal have your leaders turn on the tape players simultaneously. The challenge is to see which teen can write down the most sounds he or she hears within the time span of the tapes. (Three minutes would be the absolute maximum.) Some of your sound effects could include a person laughing, water splashing, cat's meow, ball bouncing, glass breaking, guitar strumming, etc. Make sure you have the list of what your effects were!
Award the top teens with a devotional "Quiet Time" journal.
HERE'S A REAL RELATIONSHIP-BUILDER:
FAST FOOD GIVEAWAY AND KICK-BACK TIME
During the course of the weeks of any of our Bible Studies, we give away a Value Meal at Wendy's, absolutely free. I may pull a winner out of a hat, or even walk over to a teen in line at the fast-food place and tell them I will pay for their meal. This goes a long way in bringing teens close to you; after all, a way to a teen's heart is through his (or her) stomach.
After the meeting we invite anybody to join us at Wendy's. We have found a high interest in the teens wanting to just plop down and chat. Our "winner" enjoys the free treat, and the teens open up to the adults on various subjects from summer jobs to witnessing.
FOR SMALL YOUTH GROUPS:
THE CHEF SUPER BOWL
For this activity you will need ample room and a number of tables so your teens will be able to have good elbow room as teams of threes. Before the teams come to the Activity Area, have a number of batches of sugar cookie dough pre-made and in mounds on each table (Krust-Eaz has pre-made cookie dough you can buy by the box).
You are going to have a competition between teams to see which team can make the most decorative cookie. If it falls apart while baking, it is disqualified, so caution them about making a cookie that is too big. The ovens should be warm and ready to take the first batch. Have the teens bring food coloring if you wish. Award a dozen cookies to the winning team. Believe it or not, the guys seem to get into this activity the most.
DECIPHER is a hand-out game that will stump your teens and yet keep them intrigued. In the years since I was first given this game, I have yet to see anybody who would not give it a hearty try despite the challenge it imposes.
DECIPHER contains little phrases that have initials of words that make it a correct phrase. The teens just need to find the missing words. Copy the list below including the two examples and hand your teens a pencil each. You'll hear the brains in gear!
(At the end of the night, read aloud the answers - for now, I've put them at the bottom of the puzzle)
EXAMPLE #1: 12 = M. in a Y. ANSWER: 12 Months in a Year
EXAMPLE #2: 26 L. of the A. ANSWER: 26 Letters of the Alphabet
7 = W. of the W.
9 = P. in the S.S.
88 = P.K.
13 = S. on the A.F.
32 = D.F. at which W. F.
18 = H. on a G.C.
90 = D. in a R.A.
200 = D. for P.G. in M.
8 = S. on a S.S.
3 = B.M. (S.H.T.R.)
4 = Q. in a G.
24 = H. in a D.
1 = W. on a U.
ANSWER KEY: 7 Wonders of the World, 9 Planets in the Solar System, 88 Piano Keys, 13 Stripes on the American Flag, 32 Degrees Fahrenheit at which Water Freezes, 18 Holes on a Golf Course, 90 Degrees in a Right Angle, 200 Dollars for Passing Go in Monopoly, 8 Sides on a Stop Sign, 3 Blind Mice (See How They Run), 4 Quarts in a Gallon, 24 Hours in a Day, 1 Wheel on a Unicycle
Get permission from a local bowling alley for you to keep the "Bumper Pads" up in the gutters. Play Pool Bowl. The bowling ball must make one bounce off the pads before it touches any of the pins. You will be delighted at how this adds a little spice to the game!
Go even further: Add a "Masked Marauder" Challenge Team that will take on all comers through the night. We gathered four pretty decent players and gave them masks for the night. Teams lined up to try to take them down. They made the night undefeated but twice they won by only a handful of pins.
THE CHEF SUPER BOWL
For this activity you will need ample room and a number of tables so your teens will be able to have good elbow room as teams of threes. Before the teams come to the Activity Area, have a number of batches of sugar cookie dough pre-made and in mounds on each table (Krust-Eaz has pre-made cookie dough you can buy by the box). You are going to have a competition between teams to see which team can make the most decorative cookie. If it falls apart while baking, it is disqualified, so caution them about making a cookie that is too big. The ovens should be warm and ready to take the first batch. Have the teens bring food coloring if you wish. Award a dozen cookies to the winning team.
BANANA SPLIT OLYMPICS
It's summertime, it's hot, and it's important that we not let our teens get into a rut. Why not have an after-church Team Banana Split competition? We divided our teen group into three teams. The three teams were given a week to gather up their supplies to make the best banana split they possibly could. Each was given a six foot table in which to work, but each table had a three square foot taped area on it. That was where the banana split would be on display, and the only place the judges would look to see the finished product. We gathered eight adults and let them judge based on originality, appearance and, of course, taste.
After church the areas were shown and the teams were given twenty minutes to gather their supplies and do the assembling. What a display! Our judges voted on a 3-2-1 tally; that is, the best one got a '3', second place got a '2' and third place got a '1'. We had an adult scorekeeper who added up all the judges' tallies. What creativity! Our top prize went to a graham cracker banana split creation that was a replica of Noah's Ark. Animal Crackers made up the on-board zoo, and green Jell-O surrounded the boat and made a convincing 'ocean'!
The most delightful part of this event was the total teamwork involved. Every teen got right into the fray and nobody stood aside. Even adults donated brownies, bananas, and tubs of ice cream! Total cost to our budget: about $8 for Cokes and Pepsi.
You're wanting an end-of-the-school-year banquet in recognition of some great Christian efforts put forth. Do you let the teens vote for themselves? Nah, that would be a popularity contest. So, if you're letting your teen staff vote, what awards would be given out?
Here are some suggestions:
Spirit Award: (Voted by the staff) One teen from each team who has showed good sportsmanship and enthusiasm as well as a strong Christian testimony throughout all competitions.
Friendship Award: (Voted by youth leader and spouse) Friendliest teen to both regular attendees and visitors; also zeal for soulwinning.
Parent Appreciation Award: (Voted by Staff) Parents who supported the teen and the teen group the most.
NOTE: Dinn Brothers has a catalogue of Trophies that offer awards for over a 50 percent discount. Engraving is free up to 40 letters. They can send trophies and get them to you within 72 hours. Shipping is free. Call them at 1-800-628-9657 and ask for a free catalogue.