I was a youth minister for almost four years. Four wonderful, faith-filled, warm-hearted years. Those years taught me more about my faith than I think I taught those junior and senior high school students about their Catholic faith. I have several friends (even a few of the kids from my old youth group) who are now in youth ministry. I also have an advanced catechism certification, and several years of experience teaching the faith to our spongy-minded young people! Now that I have a family of my own, the ideas for games and fun while teaching the faith never stop! I really feel it is important to share these ideas. They are like clutter in the garage! I must remove them from my brain and hope they become useful to someone else.
The following is a post for two friends of mine who recently started a junior high youth group at our parish. It is wildly successful! Kids come from all over the metro area to attend! It is a group of about 100 kids, so you can understand when you read the following, this idea was posted for junior high (or senior high) youth ministers with larger groups.
The story is from the book I am reading “The Gift of Faith” (Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer) and it is actually from the bible, the story of Gideon.
I will type this out as you could present it, quoting the words in the book, and the words in parentheses are how you should act otherwise/instruct the group. The bold type is what you can say to the kids. (Jg 7:1-8, 10) in the Bible OT.
“The Might of God needs the weakness of man”–he uses this story just before the chapter with this title, to demonstrate that “Faith is the acknowledgement of one’s own helplessness, the belief that one owns nothing, that everything is a gift.” The opposite of this would be pride. p. 62.
You know, when you think are having a bad day, and you feel you aren’t important to anyone? Well this is the time that you can be a great soldier for God! He uses our weakness and bad times to make the world better! Listen to this story from the old Testament about how Gideon was having a hard time and God showed Gideon that He needed him to be even weaker to make God STRONGER! This is told to us from a book called “The Book of Faith”….
To begin…let’s have this half of the room stand up and go to the far side, and this half of the room stand up and go to the other side! (Divide the room in half and then say) Does anyone have a birthday today (or tomorrow or yesterday?) This person can be Gideon. Let’s have Gideon stand in front of his/her army! (If there are several people with birthdays, the others can be the enemy leaders of the other army. It would be great to bring a football helmet or batting helmet to place on “Gideon’s” head and maybe a blanket or towel to wrap around his/her shoulders and secure with a wooden clothes pin!)
Gideon’s enemy had one hundred and thirty-five thousand soldiers and Gideon had 32,000….four times less.” So let’s take away part of this group so it is about four times less than that group. (Help move several kids to other side).
Now God needed to really set the stage for a miracle, so he decided to have Gideon trust Him even more, and reduce his soldiers to 10,000. Now Gideon’s army was 13 times smaller. (Move more kids…but not too many!)
Now in history, man had never a battle with these odds, but God wanted to make sure that no man would take credit for this kind of victory, so he had Gideon get rid off even more soldiers until his army was down to….can you guess? (Let kids take a guess at how many soldiers God wanted Gideon to have!) 300!!! (Move all but maybe three kids to the other army).
Now it is almost funny to Gideon, because there is almost NO WAY he can win! The enemy is 450 times stronger! There was no way that if Gideon EVER won the battle, he could say it was his own victory. Only a miracle of God would be able to make this happen! Can you guess what happened?
(Ask for a show of hands to see how many kids think Gideon’s army won. If many kids raise their hands, ask why they think that. My guess is that you will be amazed at the show of trust and faith in the Lord. Make a HUGE point of saying “WOW!! YOU GUYS HAVE AMAZING FAITH TO THINK GIDEON COULD WIN WITH GODS HELP!”)
GIDEON WAS VICTORIOUS!! (Ask Gideon’s army to do the Victory Dance…like a football player in the end zone if they are silly kids who don’t mind having fun. If they are shy, ask them to give HIGH FIVES to God!)
So this is just ONE of MANY examples of how AMAZING GOD IS and how He can do ANYTHING for us…even the impossible!