The holidays can be a magnet for community in your ministry—I’m always looking for creative ways to connect with kids that capitalize on the natural energy the Christmas season generates. Here are 10 of my favorites…
1. Cookie Decorating
We ask volunteers to bake and donate plain sugar cookies for our group. Then we provide icing, sprinkles, sugar crystals, and other decorating supplies. You can either have a cookie-decorating competition or you can just make this a part of holiday-themed night. Who doesn’t love cookies?
2. Photo Booth
The Photo Booth may be overused in ministry, but it’s still fun to put on holiday costumes, hold up masks, mustaches, and glasses while getting pictures with your friends. #goodforsocialmedia
3. Gift-Wrapping Game
We purchase three sets of three identical items and have a gift-wrapping competition. These three things should progressively become more difficult to gift-wrap (box of cupcakes, a coffee mug, basketball). Once you have the gifts, all you need is enough wrapping paper and tape and ribbons for each player. Pull three contestants on stage and see who can gift-wrap the three packages the cleanest and the quickest. For a twist, have three teams of two. Have one person describe how to wrap the gifts while the other person wraps them blindfolded. When you’re finished, decide where/to whom you’ll donate the gifts, then go do it.
4. Human Christmas Tree
Form three or four teams. Gather Christmas ornaments, tinsel, string popcorn, streamers, and anything you like to use for tree decorations. Have one volunteer from each team be the Christmas tree, and give four minutes for the teams to decorate their volunteer. Pull aside your adult leaders and have them judge which team decorated the best tree.
5. Frozen T-shirt Competition
The night before you meet, go to the store and buy a few T-shirts. Get them wet, fold them up, put them in a gallon-sized baggie, and freeze them. The game is pretty simple. Whoever can unfold the shirt and put it on first wins. I recommend you personally trying this yourself a few days before you’re going to play. Getting the right amount of water is a science. One time I had the shirts so frozen, no one could unwrap the block of ice. Oop!
1. Christmas Shopping For a Ministry
For the past several years our church has provided Christmas presents for families in need. We’ve given one name to each of our high school small groups and ask them to bring their own money and shop for the needs of the family. It’s been a great character-builder, and it only costs a few bucks per kid when you combine all their money, depending on size of the group.
2. Operation Christmas Child
This is similar to shopping for a family in need. Maybe your church or a local church is participating in Operation Christmas Child. Have your kids participate by forming “Christmas Child” teams, each one shopping to fill a box. You can also inquire about volunteering to help at an Operation Christmas Child distribution center. For more information, click here.
Have students bake cookies and go door-to-door Christmas caroling, giving cookies away to each house. Or call a local nursing home and ask if you can go Christmas caroling up and down the hallways. Our middle schoolers have done this for several years and it’s a blessing for them and the residents.
4. Christmas Cards
Reserve a portion of your holiday-themed night and ask teenagers to write thank-you notes to members of your church staff or other church leaders.
5. Christmas Stories
Ask your children’s ministry leaders if your kids can pop into Sunday school classrooms to read the Christmas story to the kids. Choose your more “drama-gifted” teenagers for this, and add a short devotional at the end.
The holidays present a unique opportunity to share the story and the love of Jesus. We have an open opportunity to focus on Jesus more than any other time of the year. Expand your possibilities by considering the needs of nursing homes, a veterans association, or homeless organizations in your community.