Enhancer of Joy
Lesson Developed by
Kelly Antonson and Caroline Ainsworth Hughes
Creating Team Cohesion
Tips to Prepare
If you have more than 12-15 kids in your group, you may want to consider creating teams, especially if you will be traveling for a retreat or mission trip. If you are going to create teams, have kids fill out a “Team Preference Card” at a regular programming event prior to this event. This card will ask them to indicate the top 2-4 people they’d like to have on their team. You will then review the cards and form teams. A good rule of thumb is to guarantee that each child be placed with one of their preferences, but be sure to break up social groups and diversify amongst grades and genders.
Each team can be assigned a color and you can purchase decorative party hats, t-shirts and festive supplies in those colors to use for the “reveal”.
Once teams are built review them so that you feel confident that each group will do well as it’s own mini-family.
- Name tags
- Colored party hats, boas, bandanas or other fun attire in team colors
- Speaker to play music
- Colored balloons to match team colors
- A large piece of fabric in each team color for making team flags
- Candy or snacks
- White board or flip charts and markers
- Pieces of paper with nouns written on them
- Assign someone to take photos
Setting the Atmosphere
Student leaders and/or volunteers should be decked out in the team color they have been assigned and be hidden so the kids can’t seem them until the big reveal. The kids will really look up to their leaders so this is important.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
1 Corinthians 1:10
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.
This lesson focuses on helping your youth group to break through traditional social boundaries and get outside their safe space. They will be assigned a “team”, a mini-family of sorts for the year who will walk the year-long journey with them.
The goal of this event is simply to build excitement about teams and for these small communities (within the larger youth group community) that will be nurtured over the course of the year.
Duration: 10-15 minutes
Greeting One Another:
- Have an adult or student leader greet each student as they arrive.
- If you have a student leader, have them engage in conversation with students while they are waiting for the event to start.
Ask someone from the group to open the event with a prayer.
Introducing the Session:
The enhancer of joy for this session is community/diversity. Some youth will have their best friend come with them to youth group each week and some will not. All youth will be different whether it be in their grade, gender, race, sexual orientation, or social circles. They will not look and or act the same. The scripture from Corinthians reminds us of the call to the people of Corinth to gather together while embracing their differences instead of letting their differences separate them. We know what happens when divisions take center stage – silos and fear persist. So during this activity, and through the creation of teams, we celebrate community and our differences. All language around splitting the larger group into teams should be framed positively around the fact that small groups are where we can really get to know others better.
The inhibitor of joy is fear. Some youth will be timid and quiet within their teams initially because they fear the unknown. They fear exposing themselves to possible ridicule, especially with people they do not know. Yet, we know from Matthew 18:20 that God is present where two or more are gathered. Acknowledging that it might be challenging to break out of our typical friendships can be useful, so long as you explain why it is important that we push out of these comfort zones.
Duration: 60 minutes
Activity 1: Team Reveal
- Gather youth in one room and have one adult emcee the reveal.
- Have the kids bang their hands on the floor for a drum roll and play loud hype music, then call in one of the team leaders (blue team for example), introduce them, and announce their team!
- The kids on the blue team will be handed out blue gear from student leaders or volunteers – make sure the kids put on the gear.
- Immediately after all team members are names, have that team leave the main room and find a space in the church to decorate their flag.
- Continue this process for each team until all teams are revealed.
Activity 2: Decorating the Flags
Each team should spend time decorating their flag, which should include the following:
- a symbol that defines their team
- a scripture that they all love
- their names
- whatever else they feel called to include!
Activity 3: Team Pictionary
Set up: On pieces of paper have nouns (flower, trash can…etc) have an adult positioned at the back of one room with them. In a separate but nearby room you should have a white board or flip chart split into halves on both sides. One half for each team.
How to: One member from each team will run from one room to the back of the other and grab a word from the adult. They will run back and begin drawing the word. When the team gets the word right they get a point and they send another team member to get another word. The game is over when all words have been guessed and there are no more words to hand out. The team with the most points wins. You can also write parables on the pieces of paper to test the youth knowledge of their bible stories!
Note: Separate doors should be used for entering and exiting so kids don’t run into each other.
Duration: 10 minutes
- Have teams return to the main room and display their team flags.
- Circle up the entire group and have them each share how they think their team mimics what God wants for our lives.
Duration: 5 minutes
- Encourage youth to greet their new team members in the hallways and throughout town to build upon their relationship. Explain to them that bonds in youth group can be built beyond the church.
- Ask a student to close the group in prayer.