Youth ministry programs

Christian Youth Activity: Hike and Learn

We used this as a way of sensitizing our young people to the extraordinary spread of the gospel in the first century A.D.

First I asked this question. We get a phone call from a teenager that says she and a few friends want to start a youth group but they do not know where to start. They heard that we have a successful program in Deer Park and want to hear some of our ideas. How many youth members would be willing to call them? Some members would do so but most preferred a group response.

So we discussed the group response but imagined that it is 100 years ago. There are no telephones, no internet, no automobiles and our pastor says he heard at a meeting that there are youth in the next town, nine miles away, that want to meet with us. We, then, asked how many people would be willing to take a nine mile hike and back, three hours of walking each way to spend an hour sharing youth group ideas. There are a few less volunteers.

We pointed out that the trip from Beersheba to the Bethlehem was about the same distance from our church in Deer Park to New York City. It would take about 12 hours to walk each way, not counting breaks. We could leave at seven on a Saturday morning and, if we took two half hour long food breaks, could arrive about eight at night. A local church would let us sleep on it's basement floor and the next morning we would meet with the youth for about an hour. After meeting we would attend worship with them, then leave at eleven A.M. Taking two one half hour breaks, we would arrive home at 12 midnight. Who is going to volunteer?

One more scenario was given. The trip from Jerusalem to the Sea of Galilee and then the Sea of Galilee to Caesaria was just a little more than the distance to our church camp, a trip our young people were familiar with. Let's say it is a 100 years ago and we can only get there by walking. This would be a three day trip and, since it meant sleeping overnight, we had to carry our gear. The minimum size pack for such a venture would be 30 pounds and so a thirty pound backpack was created. I asked for volunteers to do this three day backpack and then placed the 30 pounds on the volunteer's back. Our volunteers were surprised how heavy even this light pack was.

We then took time to discuss the amazing journey of the gospel in the first century A.D. No T.V., no radio, no internet, most of the people sharing the story were illiterate, poor, did not own a horse or a donkey. Yet the gospel survived and grew. It was because believers were committed to sharing the story. It is a goal for all Christian youth to share such commitment.

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" 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)

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