The Story of the Shoes

The Story of the Shoes

Sometimes the delivering the children blessing can be quite tricky. It can be a difficult task to pitch it at the youngsters while keeping the rest of the congregation engaged. I recently used this poem by Leanne Freiberg called ‘The Shoes” and found that it connected well. So I thought I’d share. I showered and shaved, I adjusted my tie. I got there and sat in a pew just in time. Bowing my head in prayer, as I closed my eyes, I saw the shoe of the man next to me touching my own. I sighed. ‘With plenty of room on either side,’ I thought, ‘Why must our soles touch?’ It bothered me, his shoe touching mine. But it didn’t bother him much. A prayer began: ‘Our Father.’ I thought, ‘This man with the shoes, has no pride. ‘They’re dusty, worn, and scratched. ‘Even worse, there are holes on the side!’ ‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on. The shoe man said a quiet ‘Amen.’ I tried to focus on the prayer but my thoughts were on his shoes again. Aren’t we supposed to look our best when walking through that door? ‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor. Then the prayer was ended and the songs of praise began. The shoe man was certainly loud, sounding proud as he sang. His voice lifted the rafters. His hands were raised high. The Lord could surely hear the shoe man’s voice from the sky. It was time for the offering and what I threw in was steep. I watched as the shoe man reached into...
The Story of Love Animation

The Story of Love Animation

http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/The-Story-of-Love-Animation.mp4 This is a video that I stumbled across from the folks at LoveGeniuses called the story of love. This engaging animation is ideal for use with youth groups and would work well within a school/religious observance setting. When we showed in this weekend with our group one of the young people said: “Whoever created love must be really heart...
Reflection: Responding to Tragedy

Reflection: Responding to Tragedy

There are moments in life where you remember exactly where you were when news of great suffering breaks. Today’s events in Brussels brought back memories of the Paris attacks and how the indiscriminate acts of terror in the French capital brought the world to a standstill. Today like then leaders have been quick to talk about being at war against terror. But there is another way! One news item stood out among the many hours of news coverage and that was the powerful response of Antoine Leiris whose wife was a victim in the attacks. We might not always know why things happen the way they do but how we respond to the situations we face is important. Finding a practical outlet for our feelings and emotions is crucial; Job ripped his clothes and shaved his hair, Antoine Leiris penned a letter. As a response to the video invite  members of the group to light a candle – you could play some gentle music in the background. As they do so encourage them to think about a form of suffering in the world, a situation they are going through, or perhaps someone they know. They might want to say their own silent prayer but once everyone has lit a candle you could close with a short prayer. For those who suffer and those who cry this day, give relief from all that they carry Lord. Let them experience your true peace. Love them when others cannot. Hold them when human arms fail. Hear their prayers, and let them hear Your Word of Peace in their lives....
Anger Management Guide

Anger Management Guide

I stumbled on this Anger Management guide from Moodjuice – it could be adapted to use with group of young people or used in mentoring work.  I’ve found the worksheets and sections on patterns of thinking particularly helpful in exploring with young people. Anger management guide I combined some of the worksheets with this Jim Borgman poster for identifying the emotions that might lie behind outbursts of anger. I’ve also used the guide alongside this anger map from Sheffkids. It is helpful in assisting young people to process situations where they were angry helping them to become more self-aware. Anger Map Moodjuice have a series of other guides available on issues ranging from anxiety, to depression...
Girls Session – Emotions

Girls Session – Emotions

Girls’ Session – Emotions Session looking at emotions; what they are, how we recognise them, and how we react to different situations. Secret Emotions Each person is given a ‘secret’ emotion to adopt for the next five minutes. Ask them to describe the past week, but in the style of their emotion. Angry, Happy, Afraid, Excited, Confused, Sad, Stressed, Jealous, Shocked, Calm, Hurt, Lonely, In Love, Thankful, Thrilled. Discussion using scribble sheets How do we know what people are feeling besides what they say? How can we read others face accurately and know how they feel? What emotions are the most difficult to read? What emotions are the easiest to read? We’ve been created with the ability to experience emotion – but we’ve not been made to be controlled by them. As girls we can have strong emotional reactions to circumstances. But it’s no fun going through life feeling you’re out of control and on an emotional roller coaster. Name That Feeling Read out the following situations. For each one ask the girls what they might feel and what they would want to do. E.g. mum complains about their room, they feel mad, and want to tell her off. Parents complain about school grades Someone starts spreading rumours about you at school You get an email from a long distance friend Your friend says they like your new top A guy makes a derogatory comment about you A teacher compliments your work at school A teacher gives you an unfair grade You’re excludes from a big party or social event Discussion using scribble sheets In your experience do females...
Training: Looking to the Future

Training: Looking to the Future

Training: Looking to the Future This was a session I led recently with our Kirk Session and Board as part of a retreat we had. We also invited some of our young people to take part in the discussion as well. I hope you find it as useful as our leadership team did. Formula 1 Story – Glasgow Boys Join Ferrari The Ferrari F1 team fired their entire pit crew yesterday. The announcement followed Ferrari’s decision to take advantage of the UK government’s ‘Work for your Dole’ scheme and employ some Glasgow youngsters. The decision to hire them was brought about by a recent documentary on how unemployed youths from Castlemilk were able to remove a set of wheels in less than 6 seconds without proper equipment, whereas Ferrari’s existing crew could only do it in 8 seconds with millions of pounds worth of high tech equipment. It was considered to be an excellent, bold move by the Ferrari management team as most races are won and lost in the pits, giving Ferrari an advantage over every other team. However, Ferrari got more than they bargained for! At the crew’s first practice session, not only was the Glasgow pit crew able to change all four wheels in under 6 seconds but, within 12 seconds, they had re-sprayed, re-badged and sold the car to the Maclaren team for eight cases of Stella and a collection of knocked off mobile phones. Formula 1 Video I don’t know if any of you have ever watched Formula 1 or car racing…like our story mentioned a race can be won or lost in the...
Icebreakers and Energisers

Icebreakers and Energisers

A collection of icebreakers and energisers ideal for youth groups or training events. PASS THE ENERGY Participants stand or sit in a circle, hold hands and silently concentrate. The facilitator sends a series of ‘pulses’ both ways round the group by discreetly squeezing the hands of those next to her/him. Participants pass these pulses round the circle, as in an electric current, by squeezing the hand of the person next to them and literally ‘energising’ the group. BLINDFOLD PAIRS An obstacle course is set out on the floor for everyone to look at. Participants split into pairs. One of the pair puts a scarf around their eyes, or closes their eyes tightly so they cannot see. The obstacles are quietly removed. The other member of the pair now gives advice and direction to their partner to help them safely negotiate what are now imaginary obstacles. THE LONGEST LINE This game requires a lot of space and may need to be done outdoors. Divide into teams of eight to ten people. Each team must have the same number of members. Explain that the task is to create the longest line using participants own bodies and any clothing or things in members pockets. Participants are not allowed to collect other things from the room/outside. Give a signal for the game to start and set a time limit, such as two minutes. The team with the longest line wins. AN ORCHESTRA WITHOUT INSTRUMENTS Explain to the group that they are going to create an ‘orchestra’ without instruments. The orchestra will only use sounds that can be made by the human body. Players...
Video: Famous Failures

Video: Famous Failures

A short video showing famous failures and that failure isn’t the end of the story. Sometimes failure is seen as something to be avoided but it’s something we will all face.  Rather than give up when things don’t go to plan use it as a learning experience that  can help next time around. Success might be only one fail...
Listening Game

Listening Game

This is a really simple game that you’ve used in a number of different settings from children’s talks, youth groups, and pupil support. The challenge is to pick up as many different everyday sounds they can from the audio track. It will test your groups listening skills and will show how difficult listening can be. http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Everyday-Sounds-Musical-Montage-Flight-of-the-Conchords.mp3 Everyday sounds 1. Clock Ticking 2. Alarm going off 3. Tapping a glass with a spoon 4. Pressing a button on alarm clock 5. Ruffling pages of a book 6. Turning on a lamp switch 7. Playing with a spring 8. Steps across the carpet 9. Hitting a pot with a spoon 10. Police siren 11. Opening/closing of a window 12. Pigeons cooing 13. Rubbing the rim of a glass jug 14. Dialing a phone 15. Phone ringing 16. Dustbin libds on floor 17. Dragging a spoon across a radiator 18. Knock at the door 19. Door being opened 20. Person speaking 21. Floor being swept with a...
Ideas: Youth Group Games

Ideas: Youth Group Games

A collection of youth group games suitable for  groups both large and small. Can be used as icebreakers or as stand alone games. Grog You take apart a torch and hide the parts throughout the play area. One kid is the Grog, which is a monster that can freeze you in place by tagging you. Everyone has to work together to find the parts, assemble the torch , and shine it on the Grog to defeat “it.” Sardines  Sardines is hide and seek, backwards. One person hides in a dark place, and then as people find them, they join in hiding, until one person remains. This was my groups favourite game to play on sleepovers at the church. Scatterball Dodge ball with a twist. To start, everyone must have a hand on a nerf ball. Throw the ball up in the air and everyone scatters. Somebody grabs the ball in the air or off the ground. Whoever has the ball can only take two steps. After two steps, the player must throw the ball — dodge ball style — at another player. If the ball hits a player, that player sits down right where they are. BUT, they can still play, they just can’t move from their seated spot.
 If a player is hit by the ball and catches it, then the throwing player sits down. At any time sitting players can snag the ball if it rolls by, and they can throw it at standing players trying to get them out. The game ends when only one player is standing Lifesize Clue The youth group gathers in the evening when the church...