From the Mountaintop
                                                          activities for Christian youth groups that include Bible lessons for teenagers


Sample Activity From the Book: 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 ětenî 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.

"Ha ha" game. Youth stand in a circle. One youth is designated to begin. He or she turns to the next youth and states "ha" while staring into their eyes. There are no restrictions as to how to say "ha". It can be stated loudly, softly, drawn out, sung, anyway the speaker feels he can induce laughter in the listener. If the speaker or the listener laughs (even a little giggle), he or she is out. The recipient then turns to the next youth and states/sings "ha ha". The game continues to "ha ha ha", "ha ha ha ha" and finally "ha ha ha ha ha", before going backwards - four "ha's" - three "ha's" and the like.

Continue around the circle until all but one person is left who, then, can be crowned "stone faced champion". The game is equally fun for those who have gone out as they watch their friends try to induce laughter in others. "Ha ha" is a good game to get everyone engaged and often can set the tone for active discussion afterwards.

We would love to hear if this activity was useful to your group. Please share your experience by writing to: Tim Ferguson.

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I Want to be Empowered as a Christian Youth Group Leader

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Christian youth books including Christian sci-fi coming soon Hear what Cara of Goodreads says about

"Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings"

Review: "Wow! Its one of the few realistic and useful youth books I've run across and is recommended for youth pastors and adult volunteers in youth."

Thanks, Cara, for reading and sharing.

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

"Engaging, exciting, entertaining, and easy-to-read!"

Review of The Chest of Visions/Secrets of Caperston by Melissa Jagel

"Engaging, exciting, entertaining, and easy-to-read! Ferguson's super-cool little book, "The Chest of Visions," brilliantly captures the essence of the Gospel message and shares it with fresh, fast-moving, suspense-filled 21st century appeal. Christian youth from faraway land Ferguson's journal-entry style book chronicles the intriguing pen-pal relationship between two youths from different universes with such charm and personal appeal. Caperston youth meet Christ I'd love to put "The Chest of Visions" in the hands of every youth and young adult leader in the country!" ... January 2, 2013

Click: More reviews of the book for all youth!

New Ideas for the New Year

Jo writes regarding Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings ... "I think this book is really good and helpful. I first read the online version of the book because I did not want to pay for it. But after reading a couple of program ideas and having a very very successful youth program I totally HAD to get this book. It is well worth the money."

Read more reviews like this one by Jo by clicking ... Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

Hello Tim,

I`ve just been preparing our first meetings for the youth group, reading your book and translating the lessons, It's been such a blessing; I`m amazed of how well planned are the activities, the lessons and the topics. I`m starting with some ideas to start as the wall, the rules for the group, etc.

youth ministry programs including teen discussion questions

This is a wonderful book that provides great guidance on youth ministry activities. It's amazing how well structured it is, and the Bible studies for youth that are presented are quite helpful for teaching and discuss Bible truths. It has activities for different seasons and holidays that are a great resource. I can surely presence God's work in the author, Tim, through all these years in youth ministry and it's definitely a one in a million book. Besides, the fact that it's hardcover makes it suitable for taking wherever needed without damage. I like a lot the cover design, very inspiring and meaningful.

May God keep on blessing Tim with wisdom and perseverance to write more books such inspiring like this one. It's a great book,

GOD bless you

Jose Carlos

More about the book of which Jose speaks: Activities for Christian youth

More about Jose: Jose is just starting a youth ministry in Mexico City. He is also a comic book artist. Click to see one of his works: Christian Comics

Book for Christian Teens and their Youth Leaders

Wow, what a resource!!!!, January 26, 2008 By Nalini Durgana (New York)

I've been a Sunday School Teacher since 1998 and have assisted during many youth group activities. It is always a challenge to discover ideas that are not only simply for fun but which also teach the gospel message and engage the imaginations of our young people.

"Not the Same Old, Done-it-Before Youth Meetings" does this. It has lots of fun activities but, much more importantly, it addresses the need to challenge the minds and hearts of our young people. I was impressed by our young people's response to several of the scenario's in the "Jury Speaks" chapter. The Cosmology and Genesis One lesson opened the minds of not only our young people but of myself to the remarkable similarity between the first chapters of Genesis and the most modern of scientific theories.

With 350 pages of ideas, youth leaders may wonder where to start but the multiple indexes by topic and by bible verse - really help us focus on finding the right activity for the meeting at hand. So far, everything has worked. I recommend this book for any Christian educators but particularly for youth group leaders.

The book begins - youth want to make friends, expand their horizons and find ways to "make a difference". This book will help any youth leader, as it has helped us, attain these goals.

Learn more about the "themes and ideas for communicating the gospel" to which Nalini is referring.

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

  • The ideas here work... Every one has been ‘teen-tested.’

    Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings is a practical, eminently usable handbook by someone who has devoted himself heart and soul to working with youth. The practicality of the book is its most important feature. The ideas here work. I know that because I’ve seen them work. Every one has been ‘teen-tested.’

    They shouldn't work, of course. After all, everybody knows today’s teens aren’t interested in anything serious. Today’s teens are ruled entirely by hormones. You can’t capture the interest of a teenager today unless you come at them via the Internet or text messaging. Right?

    Well, if those are the kinds of teens you have in your youth group, then the ideas in this book may not work so well. It’s not a book of magic spells that will transform a hoodlum into a choirboy. But if you’ve got teens like the ones I know – good kids who maybe have short attention spans sometimes, but who also care deeply about the world and about right and wrong – then this book is a treasure house of ideas. And it’s not just a random bunch of ideas. It shows you how a gifted and experienced youth leader plans an entire program.

    Not everything here will work with every group, of course. Every group is different, and every youth leader has different strengths. But even if you can’t use every activity, some of the ideas may inspire you to create your own, adapted to the needs of your particular group.

    One of the most useful features is the detailed Appendix, featuring actual skit scripts, questionnaires, etc. Again, this is extremely practical. (One minor quibble: it would have been useful if the Table of Contents included a list of everything in the Appendix.)

    I recommend Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings both for youth leaders who are seeking new ideas, and for anyone who is interested in the thought processes behind the planning of a successful youth program.

    -- Frank Tangredi

    More on the book that has ideas that work and are "teen tested" ... click

    Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings

    I have finally got the book - on March 20, 2009 and I now (April 2009) wish to share my review ...

    The Book: "Not the same old, Done - it - before Youth Meetings", is a super tool that helps me work out and cover all aspects of a youth leader’s vision with planning and preparing. The book intertwines itself with the expected success of the leader and group.

    Youth are now living in the time of persistent unrest. They fear and their faces and moods are harder, when compared to that of youth 50 years back. With the type of games in this book - like the Stone - Face - Champion game (aka Ha Ha), we can let them (youth) know it is nice to laugh - to loosen up their soul. For laughter is like a medicine and it tickles our very souls.

    This book inspires a youth leader to tirelessly continue fulfilling God's PURPOSE in his/her life - He/she begin to enjoy doing that which God had wanted you do.

    This book shows through its many pages that youth can get the highest quantities of fun, pleasure and good times, plus answers to their numerous questions, such as: who actually they are, while being involved in Christian youth activities. They (youth) can do it - just faith, fun, and friends plus we (leaders) who they need to guide them.

    This Easter I used the skit: “The look of love in His eyes” (pages 297-302). That was glorious as everyone in the Church shared tears except for small few.

    Whenever I look at that book you sent me I got filled with more inspirations.

    Mr. Ferguson, I am overjoyed to receive your wonderful book -filled with joy at a level wherein words can't express. I just want to say: Thanks a million times. You are fuel that is now set to propel me and my actions concerning my ministry. Let us remain in His service and may God continue blessing you.

    In His Vineyard,

    Horatius, Liberia, West Africa

    Something new, something different: fresh, fun and effective ideas for youth groups
    Click here: Activities for Christian youth

    More ideas ... try our newly formed website .... Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings at ... Site Two Return to Original Site - Stars

    Activities Prayer

    Mighty Lord, Mighty God,
    Bless we youth leaders with a zeal to seek out and a wisdom to choose activities, which will promote an understanding of your transforming love.
    Help us discover events purely for fun that bring laughter and build bonds of trust amongst our youth. Guide us to other activities, which teach your truths and motivate youth to seek a deeper understanding of your call for them. May these activities strengthen their individual faith in each other and in you, O God. May their call be one of joining together as a team of Christian youth seeking to make a difference in this world.