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Rally. Put on your own youth rally. Find a local gym or fellowship hall and invite nearby churches and teens to an event a few months down the road. Brainstorm a theme, then design all the events to build on it. You may want to recruit a local Christian band to perform, and find a talented speaker to talk. Set a small fee to cover costs for food and materials, then advertise. Assign a team to pray for the event before, during, and afterwards. Get everyone involved, from preparing food to advertising to presenting drama.
Adopt a Missionary. Find missionaries in a distant area and "adopt" them. Post maps and pictures in your youth group room of their country, their family, and the people they're serving. Study their area's culture and beliefs. Have your group write them letters of encouragement, and commit to regular prayer for them. Find out their greatest needs, and put on fundraisers to help them. Contract groups such as Adventist Frontier Missions for more information, and to put you in touch.
Pastoral Appreciation. Videotape your pastor's next sermon and then review and make written notes of all of the positive elements of the sermon. Next, make an appointment and share these with the pastor. So many people criticize sermons and those who make positive comments are usually quite vague about it. If you develop the art of discovering the positive elements in sermons (both content and delivery), it may do you more good than even your pastor! (From Steve Case's Program Ideas)
Giving Back to the Givers. Contact a local food bank or soup kitchen and find out who their suppliers are. You're likely to discover grocery stores, donut shops, produce markets, and even farmers who make consistent or sporadic donations. Send thank you cards or make brief visits to thank them for making a difference in your community. You might be surprised how many people already donate. Feel free to identify your religious orientation and ask if God is part of their motivation for giving. Whatever answer they give will be material for debriefing later. (From Steve Case's Program Ideas)
How Far Does Ten Dollars Go? Support the $10 church program. Places of worship are desperately needed all over the world right now. Without a place of worship, new converts drop out. Many new congregations are too poor to pay for a church on their own. In addition to other building, Maranatha Volunteers International constructs two churches a month with $10 church donations. Your donation does make a difference. Contact Maranatha for a free video and get started: www.maranatha.org or call (916) 920-1900. (From Steve Case's Program Ideas)
Road Rangers. Find a couple of adults in your church who are auto mechanic types. Tow-truck operators are a bonus! Team your youth with your mechanic volunteers. Go down to your local auto parts store and purchase simple "road side repair" items (flat tire fixers, water containers for overheated radiators, gas cans, etc.). Now you're ready to go out onto the local highways and roads in search of drivers in distress! Make sure each has a cell phone so they can call tow trucks and AAA when needed. (From Steve Case's Program Ideas)
Truly Twisted. Do balloon twisting at a kids' or family gathering spot. The reason so few people do balloon twisting is that it's difficult to inflate the balloons. Get a balloon pump for a few dollars and go for it. Specialty or party stores carry balloons, pumps, and even basic books for making some of the animals. For $20 or less you'll be equipped. Practice a few times and you're ready to draw a crowd to any event you do or just as a fun service activity. (From Steve Case's Program Ideas)
Unexpected Thanks. Create a care box for teachers for their first day back at school. Collect items from an office store, such as gel pens, colored paper clips, glue sticks, etc., plus snack items like breath mints, gum and M&Ms. Make your own greeting cards with construction paper, glitter, colored markers and glue. Wrap your carebox in wrapping paper. Next, deliver these anonymously signing them from "your adoring students and other supportive fans." (From Steve Case's Program Ideas)
Food Festival. Plan a food festival. Each family or small group is responsible for building a small booth and decorating it to represent a country of their choice. Next they will prepare two or three dishes that represent the country, and provide small serving portions to sell. It will also add authenticity if the family or small group that runs each booth dresses in the typical costume of the country they are representing. Plan the festival so there is a large variety of ethnic representation. Advertise and invite the community to your festival. Each family/group donates the food for their individual booth, then each item is priced accordingly. The profits can then be contributed to a community project or agency. A program, play, or musical group could provide entertainment while people are eating. You can make this as large or as small as your facilities allow. (From Cornerstone Youth Resources, 4th Quarter 1998, pp. 8-9, "The Friendship Factor," by Karen Patton. Adapted from an idea by Wes Blumenberg.)
Scrubbing Service. If your church doesn't have a professional cleaning service, have each teen show up on Sunday morning with a vacuum cleaner and a bucket (the church would happily provide the cleaning supplies). Have your team go through the church with their vacuums and then with buckets to wash any stains or marks off the walls. (From Cornerstone Youth Resources, 1st quarter 1997, pp. 8-9. Outreach, by Milton Nebblett.)
Lemonade? Go to your town's running trails on a hot day after church and pass out free lemonade and ice water. Tell people it's a gift from your church's youth group. Be prepared to share your faith with a smile.