Youth ministry programs

The Great Race

Here is an event we have used many times, purely for fun. As I think about it there is a message from the Apostle Paul that could follow. But first the event.


1. Take construction paper and make line of six or seven pages in a row. Make six rows so you have a matrix of 36 or 42 sheets depending on the space you have. I have always used a ping pong table covering it as fully as possible.

2. Find six contestants for the race. Make them as varied as possible and give them creative names. At our last Great Race our contestants were: "Two Hearts" - an ornament with two intertwined hearts; "Rudolph" - a deer; "Salvador Bus" - a small matchbox bus I had purchased during a mission trip to El Salvador; "No arms knight" - a knight which had a missing arm; "Cactus Cowboy" - a cactus trinket with a cowboy hat leaning against it and "Skiing troll" - a troll wearing a pair of skis. Pick out your own special contestant as long as they are no larger than a piece of construction paper.

3. Make up small sheets of paper with each of the above names written on them, one name per sheet of paper . If you have six papers per line on your matrix, you need eight pieces of paper with the names on it. If you have seven sheets of paper, you will need nine pieces of paper with names on it.

4. Here's the real fun part. Make up some additional papers. For example:"Skiing troll does not pay attention. Takes wrong ski trail and ends up in woods. Move back two spaces" or "Two hearts breaks up. Holds 'pity party' Move back two spaces" or "Snow storm cancels Christmas. Rudolph goes back two spaces". Be creative and make them funny.

The Game:

Christian youth entertainment

Ask each youth member to pick a favorite or, if you wish two, that they think will win.

Place each contestant on the first construction paper in the row of six or seven pieces.

Place all sheets of paper in a hat and pull them out one at a time. Move the contestant forward when their name is called. Do not return the name to the hat. Due to limited number of papers with names plus the special "Back two spaces" papers you have written, one for each contestant, you will find the contest to win will be extremely close at the end. You will also find that most youth will get very enthused about routing for their contestant to win.

The game is great fun and we have even done two "Great Races" in an evening if time allows.

The Lesson:

After the event read Paul's advice about "The Race" found in Hebrews 12:1-2. Discuss the important race that is set before us, that we run with patience with our eyes fixed on Jesus. Ask youth if we were enthusiastic about this race to follow Jesus' lead as we were routing for our favorites earlier, what growth we would find in our walk with God.

January 6, 2013 Revision

Instead of lining the "racetrack" up in columns, one for each contestant, we made one loop of construction paper segments aroung the ping pong table. This resulted in twenty-two steps to win. All figures started on step one. Contestants had three choices. One was as above - one step forward or a circumstance with no movement or a third with a step backwards. Each contestant had an envelop with four tags stating a step forward, one a step backward and one - no movement. We tried to be creative on the "no movement" or "step back tags" as before. Forinstance, a contestant, the donkey, had a tag that read "got lost on track; take a step back".

Here is the big difference. Youth had a choice. They could take the tag out of the envelop,or ... answer a sports question (worth two squares) or ... answer a Bible Trivia question (worth three squares). The event was great fun and quite close at the end, taking about forty minutes to complete. We also learned what stories of the Bible the youth were familiar with and which they were not.

Afterwards we continued reading "The Chest of Visions" and saw the competitions of the youth of the new world,Caperston, found on pages 14-15 of "The Chest of Visions" .

Click: The Chest of Visions

There are many other games like the Great Race with explanations of scriptural references that are found in the book " Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings". Troy in July 2011 wrote the following ...

"This is an excellent book packed with games and activities that can easily be used in conjunction with some good, sound Biblical teaching. I highly recommend it!"

See more reviews of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)