In studying through the Old Testament at youth meetings, we arrived at the instance of Miriam and Aaron’s rebellion against Moses. This led to a discussion on authority, as well as how God designed authority to work. This could also work for the passage of Scripture which relates Korah’s rebellion. Though youth are tempted to view teachers/parents/pastor/youth leader as people in authority who just enjoy bossing them around, the truth is that they have a huge responsibility in caring for those in their charge, and they will answer to God for how well they fulfilled this role.
We have a really good group of youth, and after discussing just how important it is to honor our pastor/elders/etc, they were willing to participate in an exercise the following Sunday morning at church. We have a small church (about 60-70) and our pastor often asks for spur-of-the moment testimonies on Sunday mornings before he preaches. Our surprise for him and his wife was that one at a time, the youth stood up to give “testimonies” of how much they appreciate our pastor and his wife, with specific examples. One said that our pastor’s wife is a tremendous worshiper, and she learned from her. Another said that he appreciated their example, another their sincerity and obvious love for the flock. Since the youth were creative, specific and authentic in their remarks, this was all the more effective. By the time all who wanted to say something had done so, our pastor and his wife were in tears. They were so encouraged. Some of our youth didn’t want to stand up and say anything because of a fear of speaking to a crowd, and I didn’t oblige them. I did heartily encourage them, however, to overcome their fears in order to bless others in this way, and those who did were really glad that they had done so.
Try this: After an appropriate teaching time on worship, invite your kids into the sanctuary. Turn the lights down and have your worship leaders lead everyone in a time of singing and prayer: except with there eyes closed or blindfolded. Get the kids to spread out too so they can’t jostle each other around as they do this. Have a scripture reading or two that focuses on the sights and sounds of God’s creation. End in prayer.
First you blindfold all the youth and tell them they are no longer allowed to talk ‘or else’. Then you whisper a different number to each of them. The numbers can be any range, we threw some minus numbers in once, they don’t have to be consecutive, (ex. 1-2-3..), you could go -4 -3 -1 -1 0 2 4 4 7 8 9 13 17 40… and so on, depending on how hard you want it to be you can spread the numbers out, or make em’ close, with no negitive numbers.
Without talking or being able to see the kids have to put themselves in order from least to greatest. Some times this goes on for a long time and most kids give up and just sit down. At this point you can take off the blindfold of one of the kids who’s actually putting effort into it and let them have their sight, yet they still can’t talk.
Once they think they’ve completed it, go through the line asking them their numbers. Once they have successfully completed the task, have them sit down and ask them how it made them feel. You will get a range of answers like frustrated, or angry. Then you can do a little devo about how, it’s like how we are sometimes lost and we can’t see where we are going in life. And when people come along and try to pull us or push us different ways, and we are afraid to trust them, or we just want to give up when things get tough. Or sometimes we are holding on to something we think is safe and the right thing, but maybe God has a better place for us. It’s hard to let go. God is in control and He see us and is with us even though we don’t realize He’s there. You can go other ways with this too. It’s just an example of a debrief we used.
Form groups of 4-6. On separate 3×5 cards write different body parts, such as “hand”, “eye”, “mouth,” etc. Give each group a different card and tell them to prepare to act out what’s on their cards for everyone else. Each person in the group must play a role in acting out the body part. For example, one person can curl up to form the palm of a hand while the others pretend to be fingers. When ready, the groups act them out while the others guess what they are. Questions to ask: How did it feel to work together in this activity? What can we learn from this activity about how we should work together in service to Christ? Ask… Why do you think God chose to compare the church to a body? What was the hardest thing about working together to create your body part? What’s the hardest thing about working together as the body of Christ? How can we discover our roles in the body of Christ?
To illustrate that all are important in the body of Christ. I had the kids try to race without using their toes, sit without using their knees and (this is the best) eat without using their elbows. This is a good way to show how important to life all parts of the body are…and so how important all people in the Body of Christ are.
Use the game of Operation to illustrate how we need to not only work together as one body but not fight with ourselves in order to accomplish a task. Take two people as volunteers and tie their hands together. Give one person the tweezers to the Operation game and tell him to get a piece out from the board. They should do this fairly easily. Next tell the other person to try to stop him from getting the next piece out of the board. This time it’s nearly impossible with their hands tied together.
We are the body of Christ. When we are gathered together we are more than just the sum of the collected parts. We need to affirm this reality in our worship. People need to sense that it was better worshipping with the whole body than being by themselves in their own room at home. Unfortunately this is not always the case, because they do have a bad experience specifically because of an the people around them. Meaningful involvement and warm experiences should help believers to appreciate worship within the context of the body of Christ. People who continually talk through the worship time, or having annoying behaviour that distracts or irritates those around him/her, should be approached lovingly to discover the reason behind their behaviour and confronted about how this is annoying others. Praying daily for those individuals who exhibit this behaviour has had a profound effect on them.
Here are some ideas that can be used to promote this sense of community in worship:
1.) Hold hands: for prayer, for praise and for songs. (Ease the group into this and remember to indicate when they can let go.
2.) Have them gather, standing together at the altar or the front of the room (especially if they are confined to pews most of the time).
3.) Let them sing in rounds, or in parts. Emphasize that harmony adds beauty but requires more than one person.
4.) Encourage improvisation. This allows individuals to create harmony and special touches to the songs. You can even distribute maracas, and tambourines at times.
5.) Do things in unison. Try reading the Bible (in the same version) or songs (on overheads or from the hymnbook) all together. Or have them repeat after you in unison. Some action songs that are not too childish can also create a sense of functioning as a body. Clapping together, or in special beats can have a similar effect.
6.) Provide interaction time in worship. Allow people a time in the service to greet those around them, shake their hands or hug, or to get acquainted. They can pray together in little groups, break bread together at communion, or choose songs together as a group.
7.) Allow them to pray for one another. Ask those requesting prayer to raise a hand, while those around them lay hands on them and pray.
8.) Promote giving as an act of worship, praise, thanksgiving and obedience. Take up offerings for special needs and allow them to see that as a body they can do so much more than as an individual.
9.) Share praise reports, and prayer requests of individuals who cannot be there or for missionaries connected with the church, sponsored children, world needs etc.
A sample body worship experience may include:
a) A body shaped graffiti sheet that each person must sign as they arrive.
b) Songs that affirm unity five or six) to begin the worship time.
c) God bless you testimonies (i.e.: testimonies that tell how God has used someone in the group to bless you. It must be someone who is present. That person must then give a testimony of how God has used someone else in the room to bless them, and so on).
d) This can be followed by a prayer time either in little groups, or needs could be suggested from the group. The group then agrees together in prayer as two or three people lead out.
e) Corporate praise can be offered — hands joined and raised while singing “We Are One in the Bond of Love” or any praise songs that affirm that WE worship Him.
You will need 3 volunteers. Each of these volunteers will either be: the Body, the Soul, or the Spirit. The person who is chosen to be the “Soul” will be in-between the “Body” and the “Spirit.”
Explain that the “Soul” contains our mind, will, and emotions. Continue to tell them that our “Soul” can either go with what the “Body” wants (worldy things) or want what the “Spirit” wants. Tell them that often times, many of us want to do what the “Body” wants and do what the “Spirit” wants. Explain to them that they’ve got to make the decision to pick either one.
A good passage to go along with this would be James 1:8 (you might want to read this verse in context for better understanding) which tells us that a double-minded person doesn’t receive anything from God
You will need a clear plastic bag, a brown paper bag, a tying string, and of course the Loaf of BREAD. Before everyone enters the room, have a loaf of bread sitting on a table. It must be uncovered at all times. From time to time play with the loaf of bread (toss it around, pass it from youth to youth, etc.)
At times, pretend to remove the dust from the bread as well as other insects. After a reasonable time, offer the youth a piece of bread. You will likely not find anyone who is willing to consume a piece of the bread because it has been exposed to the environment. Likewise, our bodies, are not to be touched or handled by anything or anyone. Just like a piece a bread, we need to take care of our bodies. We need to cover it to keep from plain view. We need to cover it to keep flies from it. We need to secure it to keep its integrity.
A challenge to live a life of abstinance, purity and godliness.
Materials needed: 20 or more empty cardboard boxes
I first used the text from Ephesians 2:13-17 and explained that Jesus broke down the wall between God and us that was created by sin. We took empty cardboard boxes and stacked them up in the hallway to form a “wall” and then took turns breaking through it. Kids from ages 6 to 14 really enjoyed it and made the connection.
*Be sure to use heavy cardboard boxes because the kids really hit them hard!