Team Building

Envisioning, Building and Sustaining Thriving Youth Ministries

This lesson is designed to support team building. This is particularly helpful in creating bonds before a mission trip.

Enhancer of Joy


Lesson Developed by

Kelly Antonson and Caroline Ainsworth Hughes


Building Community

Tips to Prepare

Leading up to this event be sure that you have read the supply list and organized needed items for each portion of the event well so that there is a smooth transition between each activity. These events will bring a lot of energy, so the better prepared you are to usher the youth into the next activity the better.

Materials Checklist

  • Face paint in team colors
  • 10 garbage bags to store inflated balloons in
  • Balloons in team colors
  • Bandanas in team colors (saved from Team Reveal)
  • Sling shots
  • Yarn balls
  • Cones (10)
  • Plank Pieces (2×6 cut into 16″ pieces – 25 total)
  • Igloo cooler with water or lemonade
  • Snacks
  • Med kit
  • Assign someone to take photos

Setting the Atmosphere

Check the weather the week of the event to ensure you can be outside. Prepare a rain/back up plan if you will need to be inside.

Have everything set up in advance of the event so that you can jump right into the activities with the students.

Scripture Focus

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

1 Corinthians 12:17-20

If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.


This session focuses on working cooperatively together to accomplish goals. It allows youth to cross new boundaries in a safe way by learning to trust those whom they might not know well in the youth group.


The goal of this event is to push youth outside their comfort zones and build on newly forged friendships. Youth will be pushed to listen to one another and give each member a turn to speak in order to effectively accomplish tasks.

Introduction for Leaders

The enhancer of joy for this session is community. We know that youth long for a place in which they feel as though they belong. This lesson provides an opportunity for the voices and ideas of all youth to be heard – something which should be replicated in how youth are encouraged to treat each other not only at youth group, but beyond. When they see how listening to one another can create successful and fun outcomes, they may just be that much more likely to listen well and respect their fellow brothers and sisters in the world.

The inhibitor of joy is competition. Often competition takes center stage at this point in a youth’s life. They yearn to be noticed, to excel, and to fit in. Their desire to be noticed can make activities like this challenging, but all the more reason to talk about respecting everyone. This day is not about being the best, but rather, being the best together.


Gather [10 minutes]

Greeting One Another:

  • Circle youth up in a large circle and have them share their name and something fun they did that week and why they enjoyed it.
  • Split students into teams if you don’t already have them assigned and let them paint their face in their team color.
  • If you are still waiting for students to arrive, have an adult leader slingshot the yarn balls into the air – students can engage in catching them if they need something to do while waiting.

Opening Prayer:

Dear God we give thanks for this day in which we can be outside in your creation and learn to be as you intend for us – in community. Help us today to have the patience to listen when we are working together and remember that we are all here to have fun. Keep us safe and help us to form new friendships. Amen.

Introducing the Session:

  • Explain to youth that today they have a chance to have fun in a whole new way. Our first scripture focus for this lesson (Hebrews 10:24-25) encourages us to gather together to help promote the values of our faith. That when we gather together we are one people.
  • Our second scripture (1 Corinthians 12:17-20) reminds us that everyone brings a unique gift and talent to our group, that if we were all the same we wouldn’t be complete. That we all need each other to be whole and thus, to be one.


Engage [40 minutes]

Activity 1: Plank Walk

  • Purchase wood from local hardware store and cut or have cut into pieces 16″ in length. You will need at least 25 pieces total for this activity.
  • Talk to youth about best practices for safety and building trust.
  • Explain the challenge.
  • Place all plank pieces in a straight line as though one was walking down steps laid out for them. Have youth line up on either side so they are each at one end of the wood pieces. You must have a person on both sides of the wood, any extra pieces can be removed.
  • Choose who is going to be the first person to walk the plank. Work with the kids to determine a plan to lift their wood pieces off the ground so that the plank walker can successfully and safely move from one end to the other. The wood must be off the ground at all times.
  • After one person completes the walk, have them share what their fears were, when they felt comfortable and when they didn’t.
  • Continue to move people through the exercise who wish to complete it. Not everyone has to participate by walking. Use your discretion on when and who to allow to walk.

Activity 2:  Balloon Walk

The goal of this activity is for youth to cooperatively work together to move “as one”.

  • Determine the course they must successfully walk and mark it with cones. As each round moves on you can make it more or less challenging depending on how well the group is doing.
  • Youth should line up in a single file line. They must have a balloon connecting them to another youth (balloons cannot go under clothing and no arms/hands may be used to assist them. Most likely they will have the balloons between them front to back, although if they come up with a more creative and safe option that is fine. You can determine if they are allowed to hold the shoulders of the person or not, etc. The line leader is allowed to hold their balloon (only person).
  • If the group drops one balloon, they are allowed one “life line” and that front balloon can be used to replace the one that fell.
  • If a balloon pops, drops or isn’t connected, the group must start from the beginning. This will be more challenging than one might think because everyone will move and operate at different paces.
  • During this activity, the Corinithians scripture again and emphasize how we all bring something different to the table to make us whole or one.

Activity 3:  Yarn Connection

  • Make sure you have large yarn balls for this game.
  • Provide at least half of the students with their own yarn ball.
  • Gather the group into a circle.
  • Each youth with a ball will have the opportunity to throw it to someone without a ball and ask them a question.
  • Once that person catches the yarn ball, they will pull the yarn taught and wrap it around their hand multiple times so it is secure.
  • That person then throws it to another student, asks them a question, they pull it taught, wrap it and throw it to another student.
  • Continue to have the kids ask questions and answer as long as you can before it becomes chaotic. As they make connections about questions they are answering they will physically be able to see the connections they are making as well.
  • If you trust your group and the circle is big enough you can have everyone lower close to the ground and have someone lay in the middle of the yarn web and have the group raise them off the ground.



Reflect [10 minutes]

Gather the group back in a large circle and have them share a new connection they made today that made them feel part of the community.


Send Forth

Send Forth [5 minutes]

Encourage the students to consider today’s activities as a lesson on respect. We all have something to bring to the table and our opinions are all worthwhile. When we allow others to be heard, the same respect we receive back helps us build trust and community.

Closing Prayer

Ask and adult or youth leader to lead the group in a prayer in which everyone has an opportunity to lift up a time when they are grateful that they heard/experienced today.

Yale Youth Ministry Institute