The choices teens make can affect the rest of their lives, whether those are choices about which secondary school to attend or social choices. Renewing your teen's faith in God can provide her with the moral fortitude and inner strength to navigate the tricky teen years.
1. A Debate
Before beginning this activity, read Esther 4:1–17 with the teens. Divide the teens into two smaller groups. Give one group the passage from Esther 4:1–9. Have them prepare a monologue from Mordecai's point of view and his request that Esther intercede for her family. Give the second group Esther 4:1-14. They have to write a monologue from Esther's point of view and her personal struggle with Mordecai's request. Each group can select one person to deliver the monologue or take turns. After the groups have finished, discuss how difficult decisions usually require us to choose without knowing the consequences or outcome. Discuss with the teens how it can be challenging to trust God and to make a decision based on faith that God will help guide you to the proper results.
2. Decisions, Decisions
Reading Romans 8:26–27 and Colossians 2:13–15 gives us the opportunity to examine what God has done to free each of us from our mistakes and how He gives us the courage to make better future decisions. This game will be helpful for teens who know each other well and are comfortable together. Ask the teens why some decisions are harder than others. Give each participant a piece of paper and ask him to write down the hardest decision he ever had to make. Ask everyone to draw a piece of paper out of a hat and have him guess who made the decision. To be fair, ask him to write his answer on the piece of paper -- that way the last person doesn't have an advantage when only one person is left. After the person reads the decision and guesses who made it, ask the real writer to speak up. Ask him the consequences of his decision and what he thinks would have happened if he'd decided differently.
3. Wild Animals
Blindfold the teens and then have them stand in a circle. Go around the circle, whispering in each participant's ear whether he's a monkey, lion, boa constrictor or crocodile. When you give the word, each must think of a way convey which animal he is, whether through movement or imitating the animal's sound. The objective is to find the other animals who are the same and stand as a group together. When everyone is in a group, ask who is a monkey, who is a lion, and so on. Point out if some people end up in the wrong group. Ask each group when it's hard to be a monkey (or their animal) and when it's easy. Point out that when it's hard or dangerous to make a decision, some people use the expression "it's a jungle out there." Ask them what causes an animal to make a wrong decision and what the consequences are, then ask them the same question about humans. Are we motivated by fear, greed, love? Read Romans 7:4–24 and discuss why it's so hard to make God-pleasing decisions.
4. Walking in Faith
This game will have teens making decisions in the dark. Divide the group into groups of three. Have them stand in a row, one behind the other, and the person in the middle will be blindfolded. The teens in the front and back have to lead the blindfolded person through a house, maze or some other obstacle course. The leaders can choose to turn the person around randomly or lead them straight through. After they lead the person back, have that person do the course alone while blindfolded. Time each person, making changes to the course as you go so there isn't an advantage to playing later. Remember that if you include stairs, someone could get hurt. Keep the way smooth and flat. After the game is over, there are a few lines of discussion that you can pursue, depending on how the teens played. If the leaders were often trying to trick the blindfolded player, you can read Isaiah 7:15 and discuss choosing good actions over evil deeds. If course-goers tripped in their haste to be the quickest, you can read Peter 5:5–6 and discuss humility. Discuss how it felt to navigate the course blindfolded. Compare this to making decisions without knowledge of the outcome. You can talk about the need to trust God and lean on him for support.
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