Christian youth camps can have a tremendous impact on the spiritual growth of young people. Lessons and activities that are hands-on in nature and incorporate working as a team often appeal to teenagers. Learning about spiritual concepts through these types of lessons and activities makes learning more relevant and exciting for youth.
Show your youth a clean glass bowl full of clean water. Then pour a cup full of dirt into the water. Tell the youth that they have three minutes to try and remove all of the dirt from the water. When the three minutes are up discuss how even though it's possible to remove some of the dirt, it's impossible to remove all of it. Teach the following passages to your youth group--Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23 and John 3:16. These verses talk about our sinful condition and how even so-called "righteous" acts are filthy compared to God's righteousness. John 3:16 explains that God sent Jesus as payment for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Explain to the youth that just as they couldn't remove the dirt from the water, they also can't "fix" their sinfulness. They must ask God for forgiveness and depend on the sacrifice of Jesus for personal cleansing.
Untangling the Knot
Direct your youth to stand in a circle and to join hands with two different people who are not standing next to them. Once everyone has joined hands, tell the youth that they must untangle the knot but that they cannot let go of anyone's hand. Some groups may be able to do this, whereas some groups may not. Allow at least five minutes for them to work on the problem. Introduce the verse from Proverbs 3:26 that says, "for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared." Discuss how sin can be a snare that entangles you. Explain that even though God can forgive our sin, we often still must deal with the earthly consequences. Discuss ways to make good decisions, thereby avoiding sin and its traps.
Use masking tape to tape various shapes onto a hard floor. All of the shapes (except for one) should be at least big enough for several people to stand on them. Make one shape big enough for only one person to stand on it. Have your youth stand on a shape (scatter them so that there are people on each shape). Play some music and instruct them to move around the "water" while the music is playing. When the music stops, they must immediately get onto a "lifeboat" (shape) or they will be out of the game. Each time, remove one of the shapes, leaving the smallest shape until last. The last person standing wins. After the game, discuss the verse from Mark 1:17 in which Jesus promises to make the disciples "fishers of men." Discuss the importance of teaching others about Jesus' love and message of salvation as a way of bringing them onto a symbolic lifeboat.
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