Children & youth ministry

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Chad Allred


Relationships that Matter

Quarters- Split the students into pairs. Each pair will have 30 seconds to find 5 things they have in common. At the end of the 30 seconds, put two pairs together and give the foursome a minute to find something all 4 students have in common. Finally, each group can present the list of things they have in common. (You can use this activity to form student groups.)( Hawley)
M&M Pass- Pass around a bag of M&M's. Tell the students to take as many as they want. Once all the students have M&M's, tell them that for each M&M they took they have to say one thing about themselves. For instance, if a student took 10 M&M's, they would have to say 10 things about themselves(Hawley)
Hum-Dinger- Write down well-known songs (Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, etc) each on two pieces of paper. Every participant is given a paper and walks around humming their song until they find someone else humming the same song. This is a good way to pair people up for an activity(Resident Advisor Resource.)
Honey, If you love me, will you please smile for me?-The group sits in a circle facing inward. One member of the group is 'it.' The objective is for this person to make another smile. He goes around the circle, picks a person, kneels, and asks him/her, 'Honey, if you love me, will you please smile for me?' The person must respond with, 'Honey, I love you, but I just can't smile for you,' without smiling. If he/she smiles, that person becomes 'it', replacing the first. If the person 'it' does not convince a person to smile, he/she must approach another until he/she does. The person 'it' may do any gestures he/she wants to make the person smile (e.g. make funny faces, do a stunt), but cannot touch the person. This is a circular game, meaning it does not end. A good length for this game would be 20 minutes, or when most of the group has been 'it.' (
Deadly Glance -Stand in a circle and place an object in the centre. Leader calls ‘look down’ and everyone must look down at the object. Then leader calls ‘look up’ and everyone must look at someone directly in the eye. If your eyes meet you are both out and must tell something about themselves to the group (Hawley)


Sticker Stalker - When residents arrive at your program, give each 10 stickers. The object of this game is to get rid of all your stickers by sticking them on the other guests and then asking them a fact about themselves after stickering has taken place (One sticker per guest). However, if the guest you are "stickering" catches you, he/she gets to stick one of his/her stickers on you and asks you a fact. If you are "caught", you must temporarily take your sticker back, and you can try to sticker that same person later (at your own risk). But if someone falsely accuses you of "stickering" him/her, then you can automatically put one of your stickers on that person and ask them a fact. The first one to get rid of all 10 of their original stickers and remember a fact about each person they stickered is the winner! (Resident Advisor Resource.)

Thumb Buddy- Have everyone pair up by the person who has the thumb most similar to their own thumb in the group. Tell them to take their time in choosing a partner. Then they must present the thumbs for comparing and a interesting fact about that other person.( Resident Advisor Resource. )

Electric Fence-This is a fun game as well as a leadership training scenario. Set up a 15' x 15' area surrounded by a rope on post about 4'-5' high. Place the group inside and tell them they have to get out without touching the rope or the invisible fence from the rope to the ground. (The best solution is to throw people out so make sure your not playing on broken glass, etc.) (

Backdraw -Break your young people down into several teams. Have the kids sit on the floor (or in chairs) facing back to front in their teams (similar like that of a train). With the group in single file lines, give the persons on the back of the line an object to draw. That person then is to draw the object you gave them (drawn on a small piece of paper, etc.) on the back of the person in front of them with their finger. Then the next person does it likewise and so on and so on until the person in front of the line draws on paper what you gave the person on the back of the line. The first team done and draws the best picture wins

On The Couch -Everyone writes their name on a piece of paper and folds it up.  Put all the pieces of paper in a hat or bowl.  Everyone takes a new paper out of the hat.  Now that is their new name, and they can't show it to anyone.  Everyone is sitting in a circle with part of this circle containing a couch or 4 seats designated as the "couch".  The couch must have 2 girls and 2 boys seated on it in the beginning.  The object of the game is to get all girls or all boys on the couch.  It is good if you have a fairly even split between the boys and the girls if not you can assign some girls to be boys or vice versa.  In your circle of chairs there should be an empty one.  The person on the right of the empty chair attempts to call off a boy or a girl depending on what they are.  If they are a boy they will want to call off a girl so a boy could replace them on the couch.  They call a name of someone in the group but remember no one knows anyone’s name yet.  Who gets called goes and sits in the empty chair and exchanges names with the one who called them.  Now the one on the right of the new empty chair calls someone.  It continues this way until you have all girls or all boys on the couch.  It really makes you think because names are changed so often.  No one should be giving clues to the person whose turn it is. (Riemer)

Human Machine -Break your group up into groups of no smaller than five and no bigger than ten. Each person in each group now must become one of the following body parts -- eye(s), ear(s), mouth, brain, leg(s), arm(s), hand(s), etc. You can add or take away body parts, depending on the size of your group. Just keep the most important ones in place. Instruct each group to do their best to perform a simple task, with each body part performing only its function. Here is a sample task. Place a Bible across the room and have each human machine attempt to "walk" over to the Bible, find Romans 12:4 - 6 and read it out loud. Remind your machines that each body part can only perform its function. For example, the legs cannot go to the Bible until the eye tells the brain where they are and the brain tells the legs how many steps to take and in which direction.



Romans 12:4-5 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

See the writer here was telling us that we are the body. That is we all serve a purpose in everyday living for the kingdom of God. The body knows each and all the parts. This something we should strive to do that knows each other. Also not only does the body know each part but the body recognizes each part has a purpose or job. We also have a job not one of is more important than the other. Just as in the game Human machine you all saw how you had to work together to make it work, the body has to work together to function properly and as the body of Christ or the Church we have to work together to make it work. See we need to build friendships that will last a lifetime and relationship that can stand the test of time. We need to stop drawing the wrong picture of someone on other peoples back and talk directly with them and get the situation resolved if there need to be reconciliation. For to long we have acted like our actions only affect ourselves, but see our relationship with one another matters because we all belong to one another and if one part of the body is hurting all of the body is hurting. So tonight after seeing and learning and experiencing new relationships let us all make a commitment tonight to not try to do without another part of the body. If there is anyone here tonight that feels they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit and needs to ask forgiveness of a person they have tried to cut off from the body come down and seek direction on how God can help you resolve the solution. Also those of you that have been cut off or feel like your barely hanging on to the rest of the body because you feel like your being attacked come down so that you can receive the love of God that heal the deepest wound. See not only does our relationship with one another matter but our relationship with God matters because ultimately this is all for his glory any way. See relationships do matter.

Bibliography “Honey, If you love me, will you please smile for me.” Oct 1997. April 2003

Hawley, Chandra. “Quarters,” “M&M Pass,” “Deadly Glance,“ 1996 Indiana University. April 2003

Riemer, Corine. “On the Couch.” April 2003

Resident Advisor Resource. “Hum-Dinger,” ”Sticker Stalker,” “Thumb Buddy,” California State Univieristy Northridge. April 2003 “Electric Fence” April 2003

Becky Bryant

Game Night- Family Vacation

This game night has been intended to make individuals feel like they have a place to belong through the theme of “family vacation” and by encouraging them to take part in activities that remind them of the acts of preparing for and experiencing a family vacation, an event which in itself instills a sense of belonging in those traveling together. Also, these games are in no particular order.

Ice Breaker #1- Been There, Done That

Purpose & Scenario: This game allows participants to find something in common with other members of the group, even if it is just a vacation spot!

Materials Needed:



Set up a circle of chairs with one less than the number of participants. Have one persons stand in the middle of the circle and tell everyone else their most interesting or favorite vacation spot. Those who have not been to that particular location must get up and exchange places with another person who has not been there either. The last one standing becomes “it” and must share their favorite vacation destination, with the same results happening. The only caveat is that they are not allowed to move to the chairs on either side of them. They must move around the circle.

It might be good to have some ideas for locations in case someone cannot think of a place or no one is standing to play (Burns 24).
Ice Breaker #2- Trains

Purpose & Scenario: This game allows the students to learn the names of other students!

One of the funnest parts of vacation is how you get to your destination, whether by airplane, car, bus or train, the result is still the same they all get you where you are going.


Have everyone form a large circle, and choose some leaders, depending

on your group size. The leaders will become the “engines” for the “trains.” In turn, the “engines” move to another individual in the circle, place their hands on their shoulders and ask them their name. When the person says their name, the “engine” hops on one leg and says the person’s name, until they have completed a total of five hops. After this is completed, the other person becomes the “engine” and the process is repeated. Eventually you will end up with a bunch of “trains” of students who know each others names (Burns 155)!

Ice Breaker #3- Where I’ve Been

Purpose & Scenario: This game allows students to get to know others even better by breaking them up into smaller groups for discussion about travel. They will also get to fellowship by telling stories of past vacations, dreams for future travel, etcetera.

Materials Needed:

-Several maps of the world

-Writing utensils



It would be a good idea to have the maps already attached to the wall, as decorations that serve a dual purpose.


Give each student a pen or pencil, 10 slips of paper and 10 tacks. Have them write their name on the slips of paper and stick a tack through one end of the paper. Divide the students into groups of 5 to 10, and assign them to a map. When they reach the map, have them stick their name to specific locations that they have been, want to go etcetera. As they do this, encourage them to discuss among themselves why they chose those particular locations for themselves as well as stories of who has the longest trip, the most boring, or the most traveled student (Burns 160).

Ice Breaker #4 Carnival Guessing

Purpose & Scenario: This game brings individuals together by learning small facts about them. As you and your family are traveling, you come upon a small traveling carnival. You decide to stop and take a look at what is going on, and this is what you find!

Materials Needed:

-Small carnival type prizes


Select two more outgoing individuals to be “barkers.” (The person at a circus or carnival who entices you to play games or other such things. Some times they try to guess things about a contestant such as age or weight.) Send the “barkers” out of the room and divide the rest of the group into two teams who will be represented by one of the two “barkers.” Then choose one contestant from each team. Have the barkers guess some thing about them from a list of items to guess. You can include things like age, birthdate, birth year, birth month, shoe size, number of siblings, middle name, grade, favorites of any type, and all sorts of other things. Give them a reasonable means of guessing room so that the answer does not have to be exact. If the barker gets the answer right, their team gets a point. I they are wrong, the contestant gets a prize. The team with the most points at the end wins (Burns 31).

Ice Breaker #5- Another Shoe Game

Purpose & Scenario:

Before one can leave to go on vacation, they must get dressed and ready. This game brings individuals together to get ready to go!


Everybody takes of a shoe from one side (lets say right side) and throw that shoe in a pile. Then everybody grabs at random a shoe from the pile and puts in on. Now the aim is to pair up the shoes. Each person must find the people who are wearing the same shoes as he/she is, and stand such that the pair of shoes are together. E.g. I'm wearing my shoe A and somebody's shoe G, I must find the person who is wearing the other shoe A, and stand so that that pair of shoes are together (AA), and I must find someone wearing shoe G, and put my shoe G with his/her shoe G. Both shoes A and shoes G should be together in space and time. The object is to form a sort of a line or 'twister' kind of formation where all the shoes have been paired up (Nielsen 1).
Game #1- Backpack Junk Contest

Purpose & Scenario: Half the fun of going on vacation is packing. In this game, you get to see just how well your students pack!


Some time before you play this game, tell your students to come prepared. Advise them to bring their backpacks with stuff that you might need on a vacation. Things that are carried in backpacks are definitely what you want to come. Then make a list of things that you might find such as:

-Toothbrush -Hairbrush/comb

-Books -Paper

-Writing utensils -Electronic games

-Travel games -Chap Stick

-Gum/candy -other snack foods

Anything that would be considered trip material is good.


Ask for items that your students may have brought in their backpacks that night. The first on to bring that particular item to you gets a prize. Just for a variation, this game can be played periodically throughout the night, between games or whenever (Burns 20).

Game #2- Tent Relay

Purpose & Scenario: This game encourages students to work together to complete a task. Another stop on your vacation is the mountains. You have been given the task of setting up the tent while others gather firewood and unload the car.

Materials Needed:

-Two tents

You might ask your royal ranger department or some men in your church if they have tents you could borrow for this game.


Divide the group into two groups, and then divide the groups in half. The first half of each team must set the tent up. After that is complete, the other half of the team will take it down and put it back in its bag, then return it to a designated finish line. The team that does if first wins. However, it will take strength as well as smarts to complete this game successfully (Burns 28).

Game #3- Snow Ball Fight

Purpose & Scenario:

After your camping trip is over, you head to the mountains. While you are there, you get in a massive snowball fight with your family.

Materials Needed:

-Old newspapers

-Masking tape or some such for a divider

-Time keeping device


Give each team an equal amount of newspaper for their “snowballs” Then instruct them that they are going to have a snowball fight and let them go. After 30 seconds or a minute, call time. Decide who has the least amount of “snowballs” and declare them the winner (Burns 150).

Game #4- Water Balloon Volleyball

Purpose & Scenario:

You finally make it to the beach after an already eventful vacation. While you are there you play a game of volleyball.


-Water balloons

-Net or divider of some sort


The water balloons will need to be filled before the game begins. This game would also be best played outside.


Divide into two teams. Then give water balloon to one of the players. They will throw the balloon over the net to the other team. That team will try to catch the balloon without breaking it. If the balloon breaks by falling or hitting the players, the serving team gets a point. The first team to five wins (Trentham 10).

Game #5- Monument Reminders

Purpose & Scenario:

Along the way, you see different sights as you travel. Now you have to guess what these famous landmarks are.


This game requires some overhead projection or computer programming to work well. It also requires the time to put together questions.


This game can be played one of two ways: the whole group answers in their heads or on paper, or one individual in front of the others.

Display the question, and then give the students a few seconds to think of the answers. Then reveal the answer. If doing it with one person, award them a prize for a correct answer. If having all students answer on paper, reward the participant with the most correct answers. Below are some examples of questions.

  1. It’s the huge bell in this London clock tower

  2. The sands of Sahara buried this monument for most of its history.

  3. This steel Parisian giant stands 320 meters high.

  4. This Italian tower continues to lean more and more each year.

  5. This Egyptian monument took 100,000 people over 20 years to construct.

  6. This Greek temple was originally built as a tribute the goddess Athena.

(KFC lap top pack)

Game #6- Car Relay

Purpose & Scenario:

To get past some obstacles while traveling. As you are driving along, your car suddenly

has a blowout. The only problem is, you have no spare, and the closest service station is a few miles down the road. After you fix the tire, you encounter an area of heavy rain and run into an oil slick. After that you get stuck in the mud because of the heavy rain that just went through the area.


This game will be kind of messy, so you will need to play it either outside or in an environment that is cleaned easily.

Materials Needed:

-Tarp - Two old tires

-Baby oil or soap -Goop type stuff that can be colored brown


Divide the participants into two teams, then separate each team into thirds, one for each are of the relay. Since you have a flat tire, the first thing you will have to do is retrieve the tire. Set up the tires at one end of your area. Have the first person run to the other end of wherever you are and get the tire and run it to the next station. Since it is a tire, they will probably need to roll it back. After receiving the tire, the next person will roll it through the “oil slick” (tarp covered with baby oil and water or soap and water) to the next station. When the third person gets the tire, they take it through the “mud” (slime or some thing of that sort turned brown for color). They then pass it on to the next person in the group who starts from that end and goes towards the beginning. The team who gets all their players through first wins.

Family- A Place to Belong

Hey guys, how many of you like to look at pictures? I know I do. I love to see what other people look like and to see all of the smiles and to hear the stories that go along with them and everything that like that. Now since I’ve been doing all this talking about pictures, I’m sure all of you are ready to see some, right? Well, it just so happens that I brought some pictures with me tonight. Here’s the first one. (Display a picture of family members) Now can someone tell me who this is? I bet no one can guess! Well in case you hadn’t already figured it out, this is my family. That’s my mom and dad and brothers and sisters. (Have an old church directory with pictures or a picture of the group or something like that) Now let’s look at the next one. Who are these people? Right! They are people in our church.

At this point you may be wondering what all of these pictures have in common. Someone tell me what you think the connection between the pictures is. (Take responses, using discretion as to when to stop and give the answer if not given.) Well, here it is. All of these people are my family.

Yes, you think I’m crazy, but it’s true. I may not be related by blood to all of these people, but they are all still my family. How, you might ask. Let me read you a verse from Ephesians chapter 3 and I’ll explain. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, f

rom whom his whole family[[15] Or whom all fatherhood] in heaven and on earth derives its name.” You see, when I was born, my parents gave me a name. Rebecca Leigh Bryant. The thing is even though they gave me my whole name, the most important and special part of it is my last name, Bryant. That name belongs to my dad, and when they got married, it became my mom’s name as well. Before them it had belonged to lots of other people who had done the same things. What this verse in Ephesians says is that when we become a part of God’s family, he gives us His name. This name sets us apart from other people just like my name makes me different from you and your family. It gives me a place to belong, someone to identify with. Someone to turn to when I need help or encouragement.

Now when you belong to a family or group or anything like that one of the first things that you learn is the rules. How many of you have rules at your house? What are some of them (allow for response)? When I was growing up, we had rules like “pick up your toys” and “make your bed” or “obey your parents.” Although I did not always like those rules, I still had to follow them otherwise I had to suffer the consequences for my actions.

If you think about it, God has given us some rules to follow in his word as his family. The most important is found in Matthew chapter 22. It says “Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[[37] Deut. 6:5]
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’[[39] Lev. 19:18]
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In the family of God, we have two simple rules to follow. Love God and Love people. Anything and everything that we can and will ever try to do hinges on these two ideas. There are times when these simple rules will be hard to follow, but in the long run following them will help us to not make as many mistakes and not to hurt others as much by our actions.

But being part of a family does not stop there because families take work. Most of you said that you had some sort of system of rules in your house, so how many of you some sort of chore or job that you have to do? When I was younger, I had to do things like wash the dishes and fold the laundry or feed the dog and all kinds of things like that. As members of God’s family, we too have jobs to do. Our main job as Christians is to tell other people about our family and what it is all about. Just before he went back to heaven, Jesus gave his disciples these instructions: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[[19] Or into; see Acts 8:16; 19:5; Romans 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13; 10:2 and Gal. 3:27.] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The first job we have to do is as I already said that of telling others about our new family. If we don’t tell other people, they will never know the joy of living as a child of God. The second thing that we have to do according to Jesus’ words is to teach them.

Now this may not necessarily be all your job because each person has different abilities and tasks, but it may mean doing something like bringing some one to a church activity or something like that with you so that they can learn. Just know that although there are jobs for you to do, all God expects is what you have to offer, you!

But wait there’s more! Up to this point the only things that I have told you are taken from my experiences as a child in God’s family, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Think back to the pictures that I showed you earlier. As I already said, all those people are my family, whether physically or in God’s family. The awesome thing is they can be your family too, if you choose to become a child of God. It doesn’t matter how many how many people are already there, there is always a place for you. (Have a puzzle that is put together except for one piece and get some spare pieces from other puzzles that don’t match in shape or size ect.) Take a look at this puzzle. As you put the pieces of a puzzle together it grows and gets bigger, but at the same time each piece only fits in a specific spot. I can’t take this piece and put it here because it is too big. This one doesn’t work because it is not the right shape. This one however fits perfectly. It’s the same way in God’s family. There only one place that you fit. You are the only one who can fill that spot, and until you do, the puzzle will never be complete.

I realize that this may be hard for some of you who have difficult family lives, but it is the truth. You never have to worry about finding a place to belong, a place to call your own, because all of that can be found in the family of God.

I also realize that right now, being part of God’s family may seem a bit overwhelming and over your head, but it is one of the best things you could ever do. It looks like a lot of work, and at times it may be hard, but our heavenly Father will never fail us. SO if you have any questions about being a part of God’s family, feel free to ask me or one of the leaders. And always remember that in God’s family you have a place to belong.

Works Cited

Burns, Jim. Games, Crowdbreakers, and Community Builders. U.S.A. Gospel Light: 1997.

KFC Lap Top Pack.

Trentham, Jeff. Fun Games 4 Kid’s Ministry. Handout. ND. NP.

Brienna Caldwell


This is a fun night where everything will be done opposite of the way you do them usually. Invitations and posters will be printed backwards from the bottom of the page to the top. Students should be asked to come to the church that night with their clothes on backwards or inside out. When the youth arrive that night they should be directed to enter in through the back door or some other way that is unusual. They should be greeted with a “goodbye” or “Hope that you had a good time” etc; whereas when they leave for the night you would greet them as if they just arrived. On this night all the announcements will be made with your back to the audience. Change the order in which you sing your songs (go from slow to fast) etc. Make everyone turn the opposite way while worship. If you play games, you could give each team 10,000 points and for wining, you would take away points instead of adding them; the team with the least amount of points wins the prize. Anything can be done that would be opposite of how you normally would run the youth service.


  1. Scrambled Name

Instructions: Pass out slips of paper and pencils and have everyone write down their own name with the letters all mixed up (example: if your name is Harvey Furd-then you might write it as “Vreahy Urfd”). When all the names have been put in a hat, have each person draw one out. On the command of “go”, the kids try to unscramble the name on their paper either by themselves or with help from others. Once they know the name of the person, they must seek that person out-either by shouting out the person’s name or by asking individuals their names. Once they find the person, they must have the person sign a piece of paper. The game continues until a time limit is up or until everyone has figured out all the names.

  1. The Interview

Instructions: Have student’s pair up with someone who they don’t know very well.  Assign one partner as "A" and the other as "B".  Each student is given 3 minutes to interview his or her partner. Instead of finding out things they have in common, they have to find out things that they don’t have in common. Example: what their favorite animal is: one likes dogs, the other likes cats) Encourage them to try and discover and remember as many details as possible.  Randomly select a few students’s to introduce their partner and give a short report on what they have learned about them.

  1. Birthday Barnyard

Instructions: Give each person a list like the one below. Instruct players to look at the action described for the month of their birthday. When the lights are turned out, they are to stand up immediately and do the appropriate action listed next to their name. As soon as a player finds a person doing the same thing, the two must lock arms and look for the rest of the team. As soon as all the team is together, they are to sit down at a designated place in the room. The first team to find all it’s members wins. An example of actions for each month are listed below:

  • January-shout “Happy New Year”

  • February-say “Be my Valentine”

  • March-puff up cheeks and blow (like a March wind)

  • April-hop (like an Easter Bunny)

  • May-say “Mother, may I”?

  • June-say “Will you marry me”?

  • July-make fireworks sounds

  • August-sing “Take me out to the ballgame…”

  • September-Fall down (live leaves)

  • October-shout “Boo”!

  • November-say “Gobble-gobble”

  • December- say “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas”.

  1. Getting to Know You...Multiple Choice Style

Instructions: This icebreaker helps students to understand that they are not as different as they may think. This is an active learning activity in which the moderator/teacher/leader reads a series of questions and participants respond by selecting a multiple choice answer. Instead of handing out papers, each corner of the room should be a designated letter. Example statements:

  • If I had to see a movie, I would rather see: (A) Dumb and Dumber (B) Acaconda (C) Star Wars (D) The Little Mermaid.

  • If I could hold one of the four jobs listed, I would be: (A) Pilot (B) Webmaster (C) Teacher (D) Doctor.

  • If I could go out to eat, I would eat at: (A) Red Lobster (B) Olive Garden/Pasta House (C) McDonalds (D) Applebee’s.

  • My favorite thing about myself is: (A) My personality (B) My looks (C) My car (D) My brain.

  • If I had to give up one thing at home, it would be: (A) Air conditioning (B) Television (C) Microwave (D) Computer.

  1. Is this true?

Instructions: Have a bingo type grid where you have typed down different things in each box like “has brown eyes” or “is in 9th grade” (usually there are around 15 boxes). Give a grid-sheet and a pencil or pen to each youth. Then they must go around and find people who do not match the question on the sheet (example-for has brown eyes-the person who signs that box must not have brown eyes). The person signing the sheet must sign their last name first and their first name last. When a person has all the blanks on their paper signed have them go to a certain location or line up behind you. When you notice that almost everyone is done you can end the game.

Six Games:

  1. Backward Charades.

Instructions: This game is just like regular Charades, except the titles must be acted out in reverse. For example, instead of The Sound of Music, the player must act out Music of Sound The. The team must guess correctly the backward title.

  1. Backward Letter Scramble.

Instructions: Prepare ahead of time four sets of cards (one set for each team) with the letters B-A-C-K-W-A-R-D on them. In other words each team gets eight cards, each with one of those eight letters written on them. The cards are passed out to the various team members. You then call out certain words that can be spelled using those letters, and the first team to get in line spelling the word backward is the winner. Words to use include backward, drab, rack, ward, raw, ark, back, crab, bark, etc. If you called out the word drab, for example, the kids with those four letters must quickly line up facing you so that the cards spelled it b-a-r-d.

  1. Behind-the-Back Pass.

Instructions: Teams line up shoulder to shoulder. Several objects are then passed down the line from player to player, behind their backs. The first team to pass a certain number of these objects all the way down the line is the winner. For fun, try using cups of water. Spilling is a penalty and points will be added to the score. 1

  1. Sit-Down Game.

Instructions: This game is always fun and requires little preparation and no props. It involves everyone. Simply have everyone stand up. Announce that you will be reading from a list of "If" statements. Since it is backwards night, if the statement does not apply to them, they must sit down. Feel free to come up with your own statements in addition to these:

• You didn't use a deodorant today.

• You have worn the same socks for two days.

• Your belly button is an outie.

• You are a girl and have a run in your pantyhose.

• You still suck your thumb.

• You are good looking.

• You hit the snooze button on your alarm clock.

• You watch reruns.

• You have never eaten snail.

• Your mother dresses you.

• You have a hole in your sock.

• You recently got a traffic ticket.

• You are on a diet.

• You have a false tooth.

• You are mad at your boyfriend or girlfriend right now.

End by saying something such as, "Sit down if you are tired of standing." This will usually get everyone to sit down.

  1. Mad Relay.

Instructions: This is a different kind of relay race in which each contestant does something different. What the contestants do is determined by the directions that were placed in a bag at the other end of the relay course.
At the beginning of the race, each team is lined up single file. The first person on each team runs to the other end of the course to a chair. On the chair is a bag containing instructions written on separate pieces of paper. The contestant draws one of the instructions, reads it, and follows it as quickly as possible. Before returning to the team, the contestant must tag the chair. The contestant then runs back and tags the next runner. The relay proceeds in this manner, and the team that uses all of its instructions first is the winner. Here are a few examples of directions:

• Run backwards around the chair five times while continuously yelling, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"

• Run backwards to the nearest person on another team and scratch his or her head.

• Stand on one foot while holding the other in your hand, tilt your head back, and count backwards, "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!"

• Take your shoes off, put them on the opposite feet, and then tag your nearest opponent.

• Put your hands over your eyes and snort like a pig five times and meow like a cat five times.

• Sit in the chair, fold your arms, laugh hard while making a sad face, then cry loudly while making a sad face. Do each for five seconds.

• Run around the chair backward five times while clapping your hands.2

  1. Musical Chairs.

Instructions: Place chairs in the center of the room in a circle. There should be one less chair that there are people. Everyone must walk around the chairs backwards while the music is playing. The person that is left standing when the music is turned off must go to a designated spot in the room until the next game starts. You continue to do this, taking one chair out each time a person is left standing until there is only one person left. That person is the winner.


1 John 4:19

“We love Him because He first loved us”

Introduction (hook): As you have seen tonight-We have done everything backward. From the way we dressed, to the way we mingled, and in the games we played. When you first arrived here, people were saying to you “good-bye” and “hope you had a good time”. Some of you were even a little un-easy because of all the things being done backwards. Some of us get the same way when it comes to God’s love for us. We don’t understand why someone would love us for no reason at all. Especially why someone would love us first. Not because we have done or said anything good for that person, but just because. Isn’t that backwards? Shouldn’t we have to show love first to get love in return?
Read the passage: 1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.”

Explanation (book): The passage that I have just read to you explains Christ’s love for us clearly. He loved us first. And because He loves us, He sent His son for us, to take our sins upon Him. God is love and while we were still sinners, He died for us. He loves us so much and that is why we love Him. And the Bible says that nothing will ever be able to separate us from that love, not heights nor depths, angels nor demons, etc. Nothing!
Illustration (look): I will show a movie clip from Cinderella. The clip where Cinderella brings in breakfast to her step mom and step sisters. A mouse gets loose and her stepfamily blows up on her. She simply apologizes and says that she will fix everything. Cinderella loved her family and worked for them even though the despised her and treated her in terrible ways. Her stepfamily did nothing for her, yet she did numerous things for them, helped them out in anyway, and love them.
Application (took): His love for us compels us to love Him. There is nothing that we can do that can make God love us. Nothing we do or say makes Him love us more or less. Most of the time, we have to give something to someone, we have to love him or her first, and we have to do something first in order to receive love back from him or her. But with the Lord, it is different. He loved us before we even knew Him. Before we did one thing for Him that was good. Before we even knew who He was. He was there-loving us-for no reason at all, but just to love us. He loved us to the point of dying for us. Enough to suffer the shame, humility, and pain of the cross for us. He loves you so much!
Conclusion (took): We have a table set up in the back. On that table we have tons of small metal crosses. To remind you of tonight and of God’s “backwards” love for you, pick up a cross. Put this somewhere visible, to remind you daily of God’s love for you.

Bibliography Page
Youth Specialties Inc. Ideas Library. Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids MI. 2000.
Internet source. Thornton Consulting & Training Services Web Page address is:

Geoff Cravillion

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