Games, contemplation, reflection, creativity, Bible study, connection, fun…it isn’t easy to create a youth group event that includes all these elements. But, sometimes it clicks! When it does, I love to share what worked.
Below is an outline of our evening including our ending labyrinth prayer. What worked well was that we had activities for a variety of different energy levels, that we engaged with the story on a deep level, and that there was time for reflection.
GaGa Ball. I have wanted to try using folding tables turned sideways for the pit walls. It worked!
Check -in questions:
Name something so good about God that we spend 4 weeks decorating, preparing, and giving during Advent and Christmas? Answers included God’s love, God’s creation of the universe, forgiveness, healing, and “God brings us together.” Note: This question was adapted from my recent Evangelism class taught by Dr. Mark Teasdale.
What questions do you have about the Christmas story?
My youth love using Kahoot! During youth group. There are lots of quizzes already created, or you can create your own. The game allows for team or individual play. The fact that the Bible never mentions Mary riding a donkey really surprised them!
Each person made a character from the nativity story that they identified with. As we created, using leftover Halloween candy that youth brought with them, we talked about their questions from check- in. After 15 minutes, each person was asked to share what part of the story they created and why they related to it. Then, we read Luke 2 and placed our created a scene with our candy creations. While the scene didn’t end up being Pinterest worthy- it was fun! The youth related to the different expectations the people in the Bible faced. Some expressed a desire to be a sheep with no responsibilities. Another felt as though they were asked to do a lot, as Mary was.
We spent 30 minutes playing large group games. Judge happens to be this year’s youth group, signature, play in the dark game.
To mix things up, I created four stations along an indoor labyrinth with each of the four Advent themes: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. Youth were invited to mo
ve at their own pace through the labyrinth or use a finger labyrinth if they chose not to walk. Download the simple Advent Labyrinth Stations here.
Hope: light a candle. Materials: Directions, candles, matches, cup of water for matches.
Peace: mark places on a map in need of peace. Materials: Directions, map, markers.
Joy: describe God using Scrabble letters. Materials: Directions, scrabble letters.
Love: Reflecting upon Emmanuel- God with us. Materials: Directions, nativity set.
You did all of this in an hour and a half?!
And I never knew that Mary on the donkey wasn’t in the Bible, either. It’s depicted in every children’s book I read to my kids.
What is the game you play in the dark? “judge”? could you tell me how that is played?
Sorry for the delay. Judge is a hybrid of follow the leader and hide and go seek. The judge is at the front of the line, walking around the church. The person at the end of the line tries to break off and hide without being noticed (when they go around the corner, for example). If the judge finds someone who has hidden, then that person goes right behind them in line. If all the people break off and their is no line, then the judge loses. You need to establish rules about what is in bounds (works best played on one floor or outside) as well as how often the judge can glance back. This was THE favorite game of my youth group a few years ago.