Salt & Light

Great ideas from youth groups like yours
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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.

Now You're Really Cookin'!

Need an outreach that really, uhh, cooks? Just turn your house into a gourmet chef's school! That's what Linda Riley did. Linda, an adult volunteer for Living Word Fellowship in Torrance, California, put together a series of cooking classes for the senior high youth group. And she encouraged them to bring friends.

Every Friday night, 15-20 high school students crammed into the Rileys' kitchen to learn how to plan a full meal complete with salads and dessert, how to keep the kitchen safe and germ-free, how to set a decent-looking table, and even tips for polite dinner conversation (hint: no belches allowed).

Since these were meant to be meals just about anyone could make at home, Linda kept things basic. No beef Wellington with a rich hollandaise sauce here—just simple stuff like tuna-noodle casserole, steamed veggies, fried chicken and meat loaf. And, of course, dessert. The group learned to make all kinds of cookies, cakes, and brownies. The biggest hit? Mexican night, where the class made fajitas, refried beans and homemade salsa. Yum!

Everyone who attended helped out with some part of the meal, whether it was chopping veggies for a salad or mixing up the fresh guacamole for the fajitas. Everyone had to try at least one bite of everything, giving the class the chance to taste things many of them had never eaten before, like jicama and garbanzo beans. When clean-up time rolled around, everybody pitched in.

And added to all the fun was a good measure of evangelistic outreach. While the food was cooking, the students in the class watched videos of Christian comedians, who got the group laughing, but also presented the gospel.

For Linda's daughter, Amanda, the classes were the perfect mix of fun and outreach. "I felt really comfortable inviting my non-Christian friends to the cooking classes because the atmosphere was so casual," says Amanda. "The evangelism part was there, but it wasn't 'in-your-face' evangelism, which can sometimes turn them off. Mom's been teaching me to cook my whole life, but it was fun to see my best friend, whose family doesn't cook at all, get excited about making dinner for her parents. It was a really fun way to spend a Friday night."

Now that's food for thought!

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