Bible Lessons and Discussion Starters
Sermon Illustrations
Sermon Illustrations 2
Games - Indoor
Banquet Ideas
Trivia Questions
Games - Outdoor
After-Church Activities
Camp and Retreat Ideas
Hints and Tips
Outdoor Events
Dealing with Parents
Holiday Stuff
Outdoor Events

Every idea on these pages have been tried by us.


It's fun to have a retreat with your teen group, and it's even more fun to have a theme to build on. We call 'em retreats because we feel the teens need a little "first aid" as they are out at the campsite, away from the bustle of everyday life. Getting into the Bible and sharing with others may be just the "medicine" your teens need. Let's carry that idea a little further. Local doctor's offices may be able to get you a box of surgical masks. Start a competition to see which teen shows up Friday night for the trip with the best medical gear on! Award points for doctor bags, stethoscopes, and surgical caps. Emphasize the need for Christians to be willing to help other hurting Christians heal and for each of us to be willing for the Lord to do "spiritual surgery" and remove sins that so easily beset us.


A Grand Prix road rally is always a hit with teen groups. It's a scavenger hunt on wheels. Remember, you must arrange for adult drivers! In 90 minutes, the teams must complete as many assignments as you give them. Here's the difference: You are stationed at Command Central at the church. Every three assignments completed give the teens the right to call you for the next three challenges! Teens love the cloak and dagger of running to a pay phone in order to find out the next three assignments! Here are some of the items needed on the Grand Prix list:
1. Get a napkin from McDonald's with the managers signature on it.
2. Obtain a shoestring - and it can't be from anybody in your group.
3. Go down to Finley's BP gas station and call from the pay phone. When you call in, tell me the phone number of the pay phone you are using.

By this time they will call in - tell them:
Go to the mall...
1. What is written on the orange display cake at Martin's Bakery?
2. What is the name of the redheaded salesman at Kinney's Shoes?
3. Stop at Charley's Barbecue in the Food Court. Buy only one Buffalo Wing and eat it in front of the cashier.

Get the idea? Winning team gets first dibs at refreshments as well as a gift certificate to McDonald's or Baskin Robbins.


Our church will be having an event that we have heard is a great success in introducing a ministry to those who might otherwise never step on our property. TRUNK OR TREAT is where the people of the church each bring their cars and line them up in the parking lot with the trunks open. They have decorated their trunk with a nice fall theme (avoiding the supernatural or grotesque). The bottom of the trunk is filled with candy, and children who come to the parking lot get to move from car to car, collecting treats and having a great time enjoying the themes and costumed characters! Tracts and invitations are handed out with the candy so that the adults may have a chance to become familiar with the ministry of the church. Children are in a safe atmosphere and are moving from row to row, enjoying the fun. Our church had heard of this successful ministry from other ministries in other parts of the country. It's a great idea! Run the program from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Blitz neighborhoods with invitations to come and enjoy the fun!



No More Written Lessons, all you do is . . .


1. Phone the First Phone headquarters every day this week, Monday-Saturday, 9a.m. 6 p.m., to hear the scripture you should read and the question to answer.

2. After you hear the question, hang up then call back when you are ready to answer. (You have 20 seconds to complete your answer) Only one answer per name will be accepted.

3. Answer with your name first, time you are calling, then your answer.

4. If you make one mistake, you are disqualified for the rest of the week.

There will be one weekly winner every week through September. On October 6 I will take all the weekly winners to Upon This Rock Amusement Park. There will also be a daily winner as follows:

1st caller on Monday

2nd caller on Tuesday

3rd caller on Wednesday

4th caller on Thursday

5th caller on Friday

3rd caller on Saturday

Each of these winners will receive a token to spend on a game at Upon this Rock.

The First Phone number is 555-1037.


1. Serve vanilla ice cream in bowls and daub half of the ice cream with blueberry jelly and the other half with strawberry jelly. Not too much; just enough to give it a good color. Avoid the syrups - too expensive.

2. Give four teens a twenty minute time limit to make a dessert and win a prize. You supply the pie crust, flavored yogurt, toppings, sprinkles, etc. (Yes, flavored yogurt) When they finish, stick the pies in the freezer for an hour and go on with your other activities. Judge them after the hour when they have solidified. You will be surprised at how good they are!

3. Have a "tag team" devotional time. Each teen is given two minutes to give a testimony and/or Bible challenge. When you call "time" they hand the Bible to anyone they choose (who hasn't already gone). That person has two minutes to speak, then they pass the Bible to the next person, and so on. Call it "fireworks devotionals."

4. Give a Bible challenge and stress the freedom given to us in Christ allows us to serve - sort of like "the freedom to be God's slave." Afterwards, have each teen go over and get an ice cream dessert and give it to someone else; in other words, they don't get their own dessert. It's the first small step in thinking of others.


Here are some good ideas. Pick and choose and make this 4th of July special for your kids.

IDEA #1: Even though you meet outdoors, provide an indoor bathroom and air conditioned room in case someone gets overheated from a game.

IDEA #2: Three of your oldest teens should be in on the cooking. Get the teens involved! Provide cooking aprons for the guys.

IDEA #3: While you're at it, run down to WalMart and pick up some chef's hats for anyone who is cooking.

IDEA #4: You should ASSIGN teens - this Sunday - to bring cameras for picture taking. Choose two teens and get them each a roll of film, promising that you will pay for the development.

IDEA #5: For the food to be brought? Each guy has his choice of bringing chili or chips. (The chili should be a contest for a $5 McDonald's gift certificate book) Girls will compete for prizes as they bring in the best dessert. Put a box with slips at the end of the table for people to vote.

IDEA #6: Sure, play volleyball, but with a BEACH volleyball. It takes away the intimidation of getting smashed int he face with a spike. In twenty years of teen work, this is the favorite way teens like to play volleyball in the groups I've led.

IDEA #7: Three teens - you choose 'em - will each give a two minute devotional. They will be held to the time limit! This is an interesting change from the regular challenge you give. Other teens enjoy the break from the routine (don't be insulted - remember, I did this myself).


Put your teens on the grill...or setting the tables, or refereeing a game or another responsibility.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why youth leaders, who have so much to do, will not recognize the fact that most teens want to help or at least keep their hands busy.

When the teens come, put a pair of tongs in one teen's hand and put him at the grill. So what if one or two burgers get burnt? Get another teen to set the tables and take orders for Coke or Pepsi. Another teen can arrange the desserts. To a couple of others, give them a Bible and a quiet corner and tell them you'd like a two-minute devotional from them (three teens would do great) Give them some responsibility.

Here's professional teaching to back up what I'm saying: When I was a college student, I was a guest at a couple of home economics majors' parties. (Teacher was there, grading the students who were taking the course) During the first party I was surprised when one of the girls sent me to the side to get a game going. Then the second time I went, they shoveled me off to make popcorn after the meal. I was puzzled, but each time we had a lot of fun. Then one of the girls told me that to the top-flight hostess, it is imperative that THOSE ATTENDING THE PARTY GET INVOLVED BY USING THEIR HANDS IN AN ACTIVITY. Although not everybody in the room was given something to do, enough people were given an easy, enjoyable task to create diversions so eveyone wasn't standing around. Now, think back to your teen outings. Weren't there teens who were sitting around that you could have involved in some activity to create the party? Besides, as you involve the teens in setting up and maintaining the party, there comes a greater respect from the teens for what you do at social gatherings.


First of all you will have to choose four teens out of your family and phone them early, telling them to bring two towels and an extra change of clothing. Purchase four cans of shaving cream. Then, have your staff collect and fill 8 water pistols - the pistols must be of the same size. Also, fill up two or three big buckets with water. THIS IS AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY!
After you have divided up the groups and announced what the group prize will be for the winners, put your four teens down at one end of the field, in line with their particular team. It would look as if you are setting up a relay race game, which in fact this is. Take each of the four teens and put a mask of shaving cream all over their face, leaving open only the eye and nose area, but covering the rest of the face. Put down a duct-tape line five feet in front of them. Half way between the tape and the rest of the teens, lay down the water pistols. The target teens may wear hats if you wish - cowboy hats would be great! Announce to your teams that you have met four of the Lone Ranger's family and you suspect there are impostors, since the Lone Ranger had only one other family member. You are going to see which team can unmask the other Rangers so we can get to the truth.

At the whistle, the first person in line will run up half way to the target teen and pick up one filled water pistol, run to the tape, stand there and squirt as much of the shaving cream off of their designated target teen as they can. Every fifteen seconds you will blow the whistle. When the whistle is heard, the teen must lay the gun down on the tape and run bag "tag team style" and get the next teen in line to run up and start shooting. The extra squirt guns are in case of breakage. The tubs of water may be used for refilling if necessary, but the teens will get no time outs - one teen may spend his whole fifteen seconds just "reloading!" Every fifteen seconds the whistle blows and there is a change. After four minutes, the game is over and you can announce the winner.


Now's the time to do it! Use the whole youth group and make sure everybody contributes. Senior high girls need to bring 1/2 gallon container of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Senior high guys bring chocolate, caramel, or strawberry topping - you assign the list. Junior high girls bring Cool Whip or Froot Loops cereal for a topping. Junior high guys bring 1/2 gallon of Neapolitan ice cream. Adult leaders bring soft drinks.

Lay out church tables end-to-end. Roll out tinfoil the length of the tables and crimp up the edges all the way around. After everything is laid out and topped, let everyone have 12 inches of eating space...and dig in! With everyone pitching in "stone soup" style, you will find this big event is easy on your budget. Do remind the teens right up to the day of the event so you don't come up short. Visitors, of course, do not need to bring anything.

The longest split we made cleared 100 feet. See if your teen group can break our record.

Yes, you've probably already tried this activity. Well, try it again with some of these new twists added to them!

Rent a snow-cone machine - we obtained one for around $35. Getting cups for the snow cones ran about $3 for 100. Juices for the snow cones were almost $9 a gallon - the juice (cherry, banana, etc.) feeds 120.

We also got colored Malibu lights and clipped them on various areas. We wrapped a couple of trees with white Christmas lights.

Everyone had to wear Hawaiian shirt.

Tables were set outside. We brought in a church member who played the guitar. The tables were decorated with pineapples and coconuts. The "poi" was actually vanilla pudding.


Here's a fun fall event that can be a regular feature in your teen calendar. YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE A LARGE POT, PREFERABLY ONE THAT IS AT LEAST CAPABLE OF A 20 GALLON CAPACITY. If you can get an old-fashioned one, great. See if you can meet at a property located outside of town - do any of the church adults have land in the country where you can get a nice big fire going? Send out postcards early in the week telling teens what food to bring, including a tin and a cup for their own "mess kit." In fact, have a contest between the guys and the girls to see who can bring in the most ingredients.

When the teens arrive at church, have them give their ingredients to a specified person who will check off the items and give that individual credit. You might even break down the groups into grade classifications for an even better competition.. Dice the vegetables into the pot right before the evening service. Have the teens dress up as hobos right after church and judge the best costumes. Play an activity and then have the teens come by and have the stew slopped into their tin and cup. The winning teams get to eat first.

Each freshman boy should bring 1 turnip, one carrot and an ear of corn
Each freshman girl should bring 1 med. potato, 1/2 onion, and an ear of corn
Each sophomore boy should bring 1 stalk of celery, 1 tomato, and I ear of corn
Each sophomore girl should bring 1 med. carrot, 1/2 package of crackers, 1 ear of corn
Each junior girl should bring a tsp. salt, 1/2 lb. meat, 1 ear of corn
Each junior guy should bring 1 tsp. pepper, 1 green pepper, and 1 ear of corn
Each senior boy should bring 1 bay leaf, 1/4 lb. meat, 1 ear of corn
Each senior girl should bring 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 package beef stew mix, 1 ear of corn
Season to taste! Too much seasoning will blow you all out!


You keep mentioning that your ideas have been tried. What's the big deal? An idea is an idea, right?

No, I'll have to disagree. In the Christian youth ministry, it's important to have a fun game, but it's also important to know that this game or activity has been tried. I'm sure you don't want your group to be a guinea pig and be the first one to try out a game that turns out to be an absolute bomb!

There are some publishing companies that print ideas for you to use that nobody has ever tried! There are not many who do this, but I am aware of some, and I think it's a terrible thing to do to a youth pastor. For this reason, I make sure that our games have been tried and tested by youth groups before I publish them.

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