Youth ministry programs

Christian Icebreaker Activity: The Three Pens Game

In this game the leader sits behind a table which is bare except for three pens. The pens are randomly set in a design by the youth leader. The youth leader rests one or two hands on the table along side the three arranged pens. While doing this one or more fingers are pointed on the table. The group is asked to determine what number is represented on the table.

It usually takes several attempts for at least one or two youth to discover the solution to the puzzle which is determined by the number of fingers pointing on the table and not by the arrangement of the pens. Of course one should take time before each guess to rearrange the pens carefully to leave the impression that you are diligently trying to get the formation of pens just right. The leader should alternate displays of fingers, using one or two hands with varied numbers of fingers pointing, after each rearrangement of the pens. The longer it takes for everyone to guess how to solve the riddle (count the revealed fingers), the more fun it is especially for the youth who have already figured out the answer and who usually cannot contain their disbelief that everyone does not get it. Make sure everyone 'gets it' sometime,even if you have to pound two hands with five extended fingers on the table and call out "ten" for those who continue to struggle

As simple as this game appears it has a very important message for the youth group year. Remind youth that the correct answer is obtained when they look at the entire table, the 'whole picture', not just the obvious (the pens). Similarly when we study things of faith, we need to look at them from various segments of scripture. Paul's views of faith and those of James are different yet the understanding of each gives us a more complete knowledge of how our faith helps us move forward in all the tasks of our lives.

" The ideas here work. I know that because I've seen them work. Every one has been teen-tested."...Frank Tangredi, youth leader, New York

Click here for Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

I Want to be Empowered with activities that are both fun and faith-based.

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