James - 8-Week Youth Group Program
“Where the Rubber Hits the Road” – Youth Group Program (8 Weeks)
Where the Rubber Hits the Road is an 8-week program for high school aged youth groups. It is written to partner with the Bible study series available here.
This program is for young people, either in church youth groups or in school lunch time groups, etc. The various activities included in this program are suited both for students who identify as Christian, and those who do not.
Some of the study question in the accompanying study guide will be most suited to students who are Christian or at least familiar with Christian thinking, although there is an anticipation that at least some doing these studies won’t call themselves Christian yet, and the introductory questions are generally written in the hope that everyone will be able to answer them, regardless of where they are on their faith journey.
Each session includes a short talk (5 minutes) for one of the leaders to present, a memory verse to be learned, and a theatre sports game. Other activities in the sessions vary.
In your preparation, you may find it helpful to listen to, watch, or read some sermons from the letter of James.
Click here to download this 8-week program, or see a sample session below.
Sample: Session 1 :: Kick-Off Amazingness
This introductory session is to give groups a chance to get to know each other, and to introduce group members to the letter of James.
If the members of your group are new to each other, or one or more member has joined since you last met, make sure you spend good time in the getting-to-know-you discussions.
Each pair or small group collects a pile of animal names and animal baby names, and a pile of animal names and collective nouns.
For each animal name, correctly assign its baby name or its collective noun.
In pairs, have one student choose a song and whistle it. Their team mate has to guess the tune. Repeat in an elimination competition until only one pair remains.
Find a Twin
With all students together, call out a personal characteristic category, and students have to find someone who matches them, ie “school you attend,” “born overseas or not,” “has one sibling,” etc. Avoid physical characteristics and those which highlight difference, race, etc.
If it’s a new term, ask students to share what they did in the holidays.
Sharpen the discussion by asking specifically what they learnt, or who they met.
Introduce New Members
If new members feel comfortable, ask some questions so others can get to know them.
We once developed a tradition in which newcomers would stand on a particular piece of furniture and answer “would you rather …?” questions from the group. This became a highly-anticipated part of the group that students that because part of the attraction when other students heard about it.
Introduce all the leaders, and give students an opportunity to ask questions to get to know the leaders. Even if your group has only one new member this term or week, creating opportunity for questions is an important thing to do.
Sessions in this program include an opportunity for AROMA, an easy opportunity for students to share with their peers how they’ve lived out their faith in simple ways, based on 2 Corinthians 2:15 – 16.
A – Answers to prayer.
R – Readings from God’s Word.
O – Opportunities to share your faith.
M – Mission stories.
A – Acknowledging God’s Goodness.
Prep a leader or 2 to share first then ask if any students would like to share any encouragements or even tough experiences they’ve had in any of the areas.
Introduce Small Groups
If your group breaks into smaller groups for study, explain and then divide into groups.
Read the Letter of James
Invite each student to write on a piece of paper to be sealed in a “time capsule” which will be opened at the end of the term/year/etc as appropriate.
Ask them to respond to the following statements.
This term, I would like to learn ….. from James.
This term will be a success if …
I’d like my understanding of Jesus to …