great ideas from youth groups like yours

This Michigan youth group throws a major parking lot party—and everyone's invited!
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Kickin' Off the New School Year

Is your youth group looking for some new ideas? Well, we've heard about some great stuff going on in church youth groups and Christian clubs all over the world. Check out these awesome ideas for challenging your faith, reaching out to your community, and just having a good time with your Christian friends.

Need a few fun, easy events to start off the new school year? Take a look at some of the cool stuff being done by the youth group from the Kalamazoo First Church of the Nazarene in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The members of the group wanted to find a way to let the whole school know about their group. So they came up with a great idea. During the football season, the group throws a tailgate party before a game at one of the local high schools.

In the week before the game, members of the group spread the word to their friends. Meanwhile, youth pastor Joel Gay gathers donations of food and beverages from local businesses.

Come Friday night, the group sets up a major parking-lot party. First, they get permission from the school to use a corner of the lot for the event. Then they break out the free hot dogs, burgers, chips, hot chocolate and soft drinks. They crank up some great Christian music, add some colorful banners and make sure to welcome anyone who drops by.

Through the tailgate party, students at the Church of the Nazarene have found a creative way to "connect" with their school friends. The party has also been a low-key way to introduce an entire school to their youth group.

And that's not all. Throughout the last week of summer vacation, the Church of the Nazarene sponsors a bunch of awesome activities. During "Summer Blowout Week," students from the church's youth group and their friends can hang out at a pool party, kick back at the beach, head to a family cookout, a canoeing trip, a softball game or a miniature golf tournament. With this huge line up of cheap, fun events, "Summer Blowout Week" is a great way to end the summer with a bang.

Fixer-Uppers

The youth group at Creator Lutheran Church in Sumner, Washington, found a cool way to brighten up the lives of some people living in an area homeless shelter. With the help of a service grant from Aid Association for Lutherans and donations from local businesses, the group fixed up a room at the shelter. They painted and carpeted the room, then brought in tons of homey furniture—a full-sized bed and new sheets, a dresser, lamps and pictures for the walls. In the end, the residents of the room had a warm, comfortable place to stay. So was it hard work? Oh yeah. But, as group member Vince Masden says, "We were doing God's will by helping others." Another member, Jenny Coleman, adds, "It feels good to help people who don't have what we have. That's why I really like doing service projects."

The Big Chill

The youth group from Evergreen Bible Church in Vancouver, Washington, planned a really cool icebreaker. And we do mean icebreaker. The youth leaders took small pieces of paper and wrote instructions on them—things like "Find someone with the same shoe size as you" and "Find someone who has the same middle name as you." Then, they froze the papers in ice cubes. The youth group had to find ways to break open the ice cubes without any tools (most threw 'em against the walls of the youth room), then read the instructions and go find the right person. Once they made a match, the students checked in with the youth leaders and got new ice cubes. The person with the most "found" people after 15 minutes was the winner. As group member Bobbie Jo Mitzel says, "Try it. You'll get to know new people and you'll have a blast!"

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