One of the challenges at any youth fellowship is breaking the ice and allowing everyone to feel comfortable with the environment and getting to know one another. Activities are the perfect way to break down any walls or apprehension and give everyone an opportunity to let their voice be heard. Activities give room for people's guards to come down and relax so they are ready to receive in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Contests are a great way to give room for goofiness and break the ice in a group. It is advisable to plan three contest activities--two that are team orientated and one that highlights the individual. Start out with a team contests so everyone feels included. A few ideas are potato-sack races, raw egg throws and relay races. After the team contest, choose a few volunteers to participate in an individual contest. Eating contests are a great individual efforts. You could have a pie-eating, pickle-eating or ice cream-eating competition. Play some upbeat music in the background while the individuals are eating to spur the crowd on to cheer. End the time with another team contest. By this time, the youth will be ready to listen and receive the message.
Get as creative or simple as you like with games. Provide board games and split the youth into teams that play a particular game for 10 minutes, and then have everyone switch. You can get creative and host an "American Idol" spoof where various youth can audition to perform in front of the group. This is a way to open the microphone for the youth who are more outgoing and allows the ones who are shyer to enjoy the entertainment. Other common games are capture the flag, flag-football and a scavenger hunt.
Encourage Spiritual Growth
An idea for a youth fellowship is to encourage spiritual growth. Do this by breaking the youth up into small groups, gender specific, providing them with some pointed questions that require them to open up to each other. At the end of the sharing time, have them pray for one another and encourage them to find Scriptures that pertain to the various situations. This enables the youth to minister to one another, which creates intimacy and sense of belonging with one another. It also places the power of prayer and ministry in the hands of the youth so they feel like they can minister too. This lets them see first hand that the youth pastor isn't the only one who can minister, which encourages them to minister at school and work.
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