Relationships

Halloween Dinner

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We’ve used this supper idea with our High school youth group before they head to UNICEF during the Halloween season. Decide what your menu items will be (i.e. we had spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and pie) and then you make up names for each item of food (i.e. spaghetti, was worms, spaghetti sauce, was blood and guts, salad dressing was calf scours, you even give the silverware a name like fork, was devil’s tool, etc..even the drink is named something.) Then you make up a menu for each person and have them circle 6 items off the menu that they would like. Then you have parents or sponsors fill their plates in secrecy and deliver it to them. It was hilarious to see our youth wondering why they got 2 pieces of pie, a thing of spaghetti sauce and no silverware. Once we filled everyone’s plates and listened to their reactions, we opened up the kitchen for them to fill their plates and get silverware if they wanted. It’s a great time.

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Heritage Dinner

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Helps get in touch with kids’ own backgrounds and to facilitate communication of this to the other members of the group to get an idea of where each is “coming from.” A potluck dinner variation. Each person brings to the event a dish that represents his/her own ancestry. The kids should also bring a “family treasure” or some relic or photo or other item of interest and be prepare to tell its story. The item need not be valuable except in terms of the story behind it.

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Hoot ‘N’ Holler

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A Hoot’n Holler is simply a monthly afterglow. Usually held the last Sunday night of the month. After the evening service all the youth meet in the fellowship hall. The music is blasting and the food is waiting. Each month we have a different theme (i.e. Extreme Water Fight). This gives our youth an opportunity to bring their unsaved friends, who may not have ordinarily come to church. It is also a great way to celebrate the birthdays of your youth each month.

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Hot Seat

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This activity is intended to encourage students, primarily from the lips of their peers. Hearing affirmation spoken aloud in the presence of an audience is a powerful thing, and I think teenagers gobble this up because they are starving for it, though they rarely show it. I highly recommend setting an appropriate mood for this activity, as it is meant to have a lasting emotional impact, and cannot afford to be derailed by silliness or selfish humor. This is meant for retreats or camps where a group has been together for at least a day.

With the audience seated, place one chair, the Hot Seat, in front of the group, or on the stage. Then simply explain the concept of the Hot Seat in a similar way to this:

“This is the Hot Seat. Tonight you will all get a chance to sit in this seat. It is the Hot Seat. When one person is in this chair, I want the rest of you to take the opportunity that you have to speak words of kindness and encouragement to the person up front. You can let them know what your friendship has meant, or just affirm something amazing you have seen them do today, but use your words for good, to build them up. Please respect the person in the chair by having only one person speaking at a time. Once three people have had a chance to encourage you in the Hot Seat, please go back to the audience so that someone gets a chance to be in this chair. Remember, this is someone’s chance to hear encouragement from you, so please don’t waste their opportunity by trying to make yourself look funny or cool by what you say. This is for them, so put the person in the chair first. That said, the Hot Seat is all yours.”

After this it just takes a second for a student to go first. When I led this, I sat down and watched 23 students build up one another for about 45 minutes. I didn’t say a word the whole time. It is amazing how you will see a group come together through this, and it makes students realize how much others really think of them (especially those kids who try to remain aloof from the group–they’re loved!)

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Hot Spots

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Have parents and kids get to know each other better by including a “Hot Spot” column in your church or youth newsletter. In each newsletter, feature a biographical sketch of one young person and one parent. Group members can volunteer to be reporters and interview each “Hot Spot” person. Reporters can ask about unusual hobbies, dreams for the future, and one thing the featured people would like to tell their parents (or children). In addition to being a fun feature, these columns will help kids and parents understand each other better.

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Hug Pins

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Hug Pins were a favorite when I was a youth in my youth group. Each year we go on a mission trip and every three years we participate in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium and I honestly cannot remember when Hug Pins got started but before we go on our trip we gather in our youth room with lots of Sharpies and wooden clothes pins on hand. Each person going on the trip can decorate 2-3 clothes pins each and all we require is that one side of the pin have the words “Hug Pin” on them. Then when we get to a huge gathering like our Group Workcamps we try to meet as many new people as possible and give our pins away by hugging. It awesome to see how our pins get around to so many different people at camp. Some kids like to put our church initials and their name on the pins that way they can try to track them. Whenever we give away a pin we remind the person to “pin” it on themselves until they give it away and not to keep it too long!

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Interaction Cards

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Getting kids to talk with one another is often difficult. To get kids to interact, I have developed four levels of interaction cards (beginner to spiritual fellowhip) that first give hints at better communication then pose questions for each of the members of a pair. (the cards are included below)

To start, distribute beginner level cards to students who were born on an even day of the month. Have them go sit beside someone who does not have a card and follow the instructions on the cards for less than three minutes.

Next, get the groups attention and have them either progress to an “intermediate card” with their partner or move beside someone they don’t know really well.

This is always a good low key ice breaker that you can use every three months or so. Try it with parents as well. You may be surprised at how much they enjoy it!

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BEGINNER
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
1. Give your life story in about one minute. What were the high and low points?
2. Describe your favorite movie. Why did you like it so much?
3. Describe your family members. What do you like and dislike about each?
4. Describe your bedroom in detail. What do you think it says about your personality?

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INTERMEDIATE
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
Describe the best day of your life in detail. Try to describe your feelings too.
Describe your most embarrassing moment. How did you get over it?
If you could be any place in the world where would you be? What would you do there?
Describe the 5 best things in your life and the five worst things in your life .

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ADVANCED
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
When was the last time your cried? Describe the circumstances in detail
What are the biggest regrets in your life? If you could change things what would you do?
Describe three things that scare you? How do you deal with your fears?
As honestly as possible describe your strengths and weaknesses?
When you are alone how do you feel? What do you think about? What do you do?
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SPIRITUAL FELLOWSHIP
For The Listener
Read the question to your friend.
Be warm. Make eye contact.
Let them speak. Encourage them to add more
Ask questions that look for more details
Thank your friend for being open with you.

For the Speaker
Be as open as possible. Imagine you have known this person for years. Speak in full sentences and give as much detail as possible. Take your time and enjoy the interest they are showing in you.

The Questions
Describe a time you gave in to temptation. Explain why you struggle in this area.
Describe the story of your faith. What has happened in your relationship to Jesus?
Describe a time in your life when you doubted. What do you struggle with now?
Talk about you and prayer. When do you pray? What do you pray about?
Describe the last time you lost your temper? What makes you angry? Why?

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International Supper

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One time we assigned certain groups of people to a classroom. Then each team had to come up with some country that they wanted to the make food (Mexican, French, etc.). And then they were assigned a course (appetizer, dessert, etc.). Then we just together one night and each classroom was decorated like a restaurant. The auditorium was full of tables with lots of stuff to eat, and we had an international supper. Everything from egg rolls to truffles.

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Jogging Fellowship

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Good for some fellowship outside of the church. Find guys who are interested in keeping in shape (particularly jogging) and start out by running to one boy’s house, and having him run with you. Then run together to other houses till you have reached all of the participants’ homes. 5-8 guys should be enough. While running together, great conversations can develop. Then you gradually run each other home (you can stop for refreshments as you go if you like). The first who is dropped off, is the one who was picked up first, The last one to go home is the one who joined the group last.

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Life App. Bible For Students

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Version: NKJV or Living
Publisher: Tyndale House

The Life Application Bible For Students includes Moral Dilemma notes that utilize real-life situations and biblical guidance, Megathemes that relate significant book themes to everyday life, Ultimage Issue notes addressing tough questions such as “Does God Exist?”, personal testimonies by students who explain how they applied the Scripture to difficult situations in their lives, and numerous life application notes, profiles on important biblical characters. Great for the studious Christian looking for gobs of information.

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