Friday, October 20, 2017

3 New Resources for Young Life Leaders

Below are three resources recently released by friends of Young Life. 

"Longing to Experience More of Jesus" 
by Ty Saltzgiver

Many of you have read "My First 30 Quiet Times." This is another 30-day book, written for spiritual formation. It's a great introduction to 15 different spiritual disciplines that help us experience more of Jesus. 

Buy it here for only $2.50!

Beyond the Castle” 
by Jody Jean Dreyer & Stacy Windhahl 

This book is an insider’s view of the magic of Disney, full of one-of-a-kind stories and insights that will help you in the discovery of your own happily ever after. It's the story of one of Young Life's current board members who spent 30 years moving up the ladder at The Walt Disney Company. 

It’s also the product of a friendship rooted in Christ and Young Life. Author, Jody Dreyer, first came to know of Young Life as a high school student in Ohio. Then, as a student at the University of Kentucky, she served as a volunteer leader. According to Jody, “Young Life was where I first experienced God’s personal invitation and started a relationship that wasn’t just about my family, or a specific church, but personal; just me and God.” You may recognize Stacy Windahl's name from her work over the last 16 years writing for Young Life Relationships magazine.

"The 426 Series" 
by Kit Sublett and Ned Erickson

Kit and Ned, YL veterans, have put together a series of small books that can be used to lead Campaigners Bible studies. They call the series "426" because each study is 4 to 6 weeks long. The books were written with Young Life kids in mind.

Kit and Ned have also provided study notes for leaders to download for free online here.

Do you know of other helpful resources for Young Life leaders? If so, email us here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Club Game of the Week: Nerf Blaster Extravaganza

Looking for a fun mixer for club? This one will work with middle school, high school or college!


You don’t need a nerf gun/person for all the game variations. You can rotate and have some people sit out for one game. You can also pair 2 people pair up and share 1 gun--one is the "protector" and one the shooter.

  • Have folks "sign in" to check-out a gun.That's a good way to get folks contact info as well. As they get a gun, they also get 6 nerf bullets. The remaining extra bullets are stored in buckets at the end of each end zone so folks can easily re-fill.
  • If you're doing it at a college, play the game in the quad.
  • You can do it at any field- maybe even ask to use the school soccer field if you don't have a large outdoor space where you hold club.


Target Practice

To start out, have everyone practice shooting at a target of some sort--a YL sign, a tree, the buckets. Then, I usually have a "gorilla" or "banana" (some leader in a costume) run through the practice time and we all shoot the character.

Freeze Tag  (5-7 minutes- sometimes we do this twice)

Goal: To freeze every member of the opposing team. 

Rules: This game is extremely simple. It's exactly like regular freeze tag, but with Nerf guns. If an opponent hits you, you must stop all movement (no reloading, relocating) until unfrozen by a team member. You are not required to strike a comical pose while frozen, but it is encouraged. You can unfreeze teammates by either tagging them, or shooting them. When everybody on one team is frozen, the game ends. You cannot run around constantly tapping another player to stay "invincible." If you are staying in constant physical contact with another player and you are hit, they are hit also (aka the conga-line rule).

Zombies vs. Humans

Divide the group into two teams, the Humans and the Zombies. The Human team has Nerf weapons as usual, but the Zombies have no weapons at all. When a Zombie touches a Human, the Human becomes a Zombie. Zombies have 3 "lives" and are "out" when they have been hit 3 times. Play until all become Zombies, or a time limit.

Grab and Go

Goal: Steal balls (or glow sticks) from the other team's bucket or pick balls up from the field, and bring them back to your bucket. Whoever has the most balls in their bucket at the end of the round wins. 

Rules: Each team starts with a bucket with the same number of balls in it. Each team has a "spawn point" that is close to their bucket, but out of shooting range. Every time you are hit, you must return to your spawn point before clearing in. If you are hit while carrying a ball, you must drop it where you were hit. You may only carry one ball at a time. After the time limit is reached, the game ends and whoever has the most balls in their bucket wins. You can play this game with any number of teams. Mostly ends up being a free for all, just everyone shoots everyone else and runs around.

Game idea shared by Linda Nikcevich, Butler University.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tons of Hoe-Down Club Ideas

The fall has arrived and its a perfect time of year to plan a Young Life hoedown club!


  • Borrow a barn!
  • If you can't find a barn, find a field. It's better to do the field party earlier in October so it's not dark as early or as cold. Daylight Savings Time ends on Nov. 5, so after that, it will get darker earlier.
  • If you use a field without lights, you could circle up cars and use headlights. Bring jumper cables in case you drain a car battery! 
  • You'll also want to make sure a bathroom is close by. You can rent port-a-potties for $150, maybe even get a parent to sponsor it. Who doesn't want their business logo on a sign taped to a portable bathroom?
  • If you can't find a barn or a field, you can do it anywhere, just make sure to decorate!
  • Christmas lights are a must.
  • Aluminum bins filled with ice and bottled cokes.
  • Hay bales are great. Try and get them donated, but if not, you can probably get 30 for $100 from a local supplier. 
  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Tons of ideas on Pinterest


Finger Countin

Use your skit characters to do a funny game sell about how their mama taught them to count and add. Stand back to back, each person holding out one hand. On that hand they can hold out no fingers, 1, 2,3,4, or all 5. When they turn around (on the count of 3) they add the fingers together with their opponents. First one to yell the correct sum moves on to the next round.

Seed Spittin'

Kids race to cut open a pumpkin, pull out the seeds and spit them towards their partners who are holding a plastic jack-o-lantern. The one with the most seeds after 90 seconds (with loud music playing in the background) is the winner.
You can also spit sunflower seeds into a cowboy hat.

Plunger Olympics

If you're going for more of a red neck theme instead of a barn party, you can make up all kinds of games using plungers.
  • Ring toss on the plunger
  • Unrolling toilet paper race with the toilet paper roll on the plunger
  • Using the plungers as gloves to catch balls being tossed
  • Get creative

Pie-Eating Contest
Few things are as redneck as eating contests. You can go many different directions with this one. Just call 3-5 folks up front and pick one of the options below or create your own.
  • Fill pie tins with gummy worms and whipped cream and have a race to see who can get all the worms out first without using their hands. Start a rumor in the crowd that real worms are mixed in with the gummy worms.
  • Fill pie tins with M&Ms and flour and have a race to get the M&Ms out using no hands. Make sure to have water for them to drink after getting a mouth full of flour. Take pictures!

Turkey Head
If you're doing it in November, you can do a slight twist on the ol' surgical glove on the head game, because it does look like a turkey. Get three volunteers to pull the glove over their head, just below their nose. When the music starts, they race to blow it up as big as they can. It can get huge! Take pics.


Here's a link to download the script we used for our program characters. They were Hot Sauce Cowboys and the "bad guy" was a cranky old man. 


  • Make a good country music playlist to have going as kids arrive. Ask a kid to help make it (but make sure it's clean.
  • Here's a Spotify playlist a friend made for a hoe-down club, but it's a couple years old.
  • Use eyeliner to draw freckles on girls, like we do at camp.
  • Considering getting 2 skit characters to host the whole night. They can learn some redneck jokes and do a little routine throughout club.
  • Get someone to come call a square dance or learn to do it yourself by watching Sean McGever at


Download a song sheet we made here. It feels more "hoe-down-ish" to pass out song sheets than to use a screen and slides. It includes the following songs:

  • Mama Don't Allow
  • Wagon Wheel
  • Chicken Fried
  • Springsteen
  • I Saw The Light
  • Amazing Grace

Download guitar chords for all the songs above here.

Last year we did use slides. Download PowerPoint Slides for all the songs below here.

  • Wagon Wheel
  • High FLyin Lord
  • Let my light shine bright
  • Barefoot Bluejean night
  • Chicken Fried
  • Banana Song
  • Springsteen
  • Let there be light
  • I could Run Away
  • I am Yours

What other Hoedown ideas do you have? Email us here and we'll add them to the post.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Special Deal for Young Life Leaders to attend the NYWC in Memphis, TN

Check out this 52-second video from Cesar Castillejos, a YL Area Director in Minnesota.

The National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) is next month in Memphis, TN. It's put on by Youth Specialities and they are offering a special deal for Young Life leaders.

Like Young Life, Youth Specialties (YS) places a high value on discipleship and leadership development.  YS wants to get behind the movement of YL Forward and help foster relationships between Young Life and the local church. Youth ministry advances when we can all work together to serve the young people under our care. Come to Memphis and dream with us, as we all move forward together seeking new ways to reach more kids in our communities.

Check out this special deal for Young Life Leaders.

Monday, October 16, 2017

15 Ideas for Costume Club

Who doesn't love a YL style Costume Party? Below are a few ideas to help make it YL'd and festive.

Costume Scavenger Hunt
If your club meets in a home, check with your host to see if it's a good neighborhood to pull off this scavenger hunt. It's similar to "Bigger, Better, Best," but teams are searching for items to collect in order to make a costume for one of the team members. Divide up into teams of around 5 folks. Each team picks one person to dress up and one or two streets to hunt on. Don't let teams overlap streets and hit up the same house. Teams go door-to-door, asking at each home for one or two items they can use in creating a costume for their model. At one house they may get an old hat, at another some lipstick, at another a wig, and so on. Set a time limit, and a limit of 2 items per house. When teams report back to club, hold a competition for the best costume.

Pre-Club Photo Booth 
It's a great night to get some photos to post on Instagram throughout the week. Ask a high schooler to shoot the pics and post them up.

Entry Music
Here's a video you could have playing on the screen as kids enter the club room. It's old school, but still fun- a Halloween light show to Gangnam Style.

Monster Video
Use JibJab to make a Monster video with pics of 5 of your YL kiddos. It costs $ to download the video, but makes a funny transition between different club elements.

Costume Contest
Instead of your typical club mixer, hold a costume contest. Build a runway. Invite everyone wearing costumes to participate. Identify the best costumes before club starts, as those folks cross centerstage, pull them aside. Once you have the top 5 and everyone else is sitting down, vote by audience applause. Award 3 prize catergories: Creative, Insane, & Hilarious. Give a good prize.

JigJaw Jack-O-Lantern
This works well with a smaller club or larger Campaigners group. Divide into teams of 3 people per pumpkin. Give each a good cutting knife and ask them to be careful. Works best if there can be a leader with each team. They have 3 minutes to cut the pumpkin into 10 pieces. Play music while they cut (see songs below). Then have the teams rotate to a different pumpkin. Have a ton of round wooden toothpicks available. Give each team just 2 minutes to put the jigsaw puzzle pumpkin back together, using the toothpicks to hold the pieces in place. The first team to finish is the winner. Pumpkins must be able to stand alone to be considered.

No Costume Smackdown
You know those folks who are too cool to dress up for Costume Club, well this game is for them. Call up 4 folks without costumes and tell them you found the perfect costume for them to wear, then make them put on a sleeping bag. After they're wearing sleeping bags have a wrestling match. Pair off 2 at a time, winners face one another for the championship. Just a Costume Club spin on the old sleeping bag wrastlin' game. Make sure you don't do this on a hard floor. Carpet is key.

Pumpkin Head
Carve out some real big pumpkins with some funny faces. Cut a hole big enough in the bottom where kids can actually wear them as masks (while holding them). The funny part is the people actually wearing a pumpkin head, once that happens, you can go a few different directions with the game. Either have a running race, which is hard since they can't see well. Call it the "Pumpkin Run.'  Or you could cover the pumpkin in cake icing or whipped cream and have kids throw Halloween candy at the people wearing pumpkin heads, seeing who can get the most stuck on their pumpkin.

Seed Spittin'
Kids race to cut open a pumpkin, pull out the seeds and spit them towards their partners who are holding a plastic jack-o-lantern. The one with the most seeds after 90 seconds (with loud music playing in the background) is the winner.

Pumpkin Smash 
If your "Costume Club" happens to fall AFTER Halloween, you can get a good deal on pumpkins. Hold a pre-club "pumpkin smash."

The Great Pumpkin Hunt
Check out this link for all the details! 

Candy Apple (Onion) Eating Contest
All you need are 3 apples, 1 onion, 4 popsicle sticks and some caramel coating.  Cover the onion to look like an apple and have that eating contest. Pretty hilarious. Provide milk and breath mints for the contestant who draws the short straw.  

Pumpkin Prize
For one of the games or the costume contest, award a pumpkin with a crown on it as the award for being the 'Pump-king."

Background Music (to play on iPod during games)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
Rock Lobster (B-52's) 
Ghost Busters (Ray Parker Jr.)
Monster Mash (Boris Pickett)
Thriller (Michael Jackson)

Club Songs 
Thriller (guitar chords) Download the Thriller lyrics on ppt slides here.

Ghost Busters: It's pretty simple to play on guitar, just five chords. Here's a guitar chords link.  Download the Ghostbusters lyrics on PowerPoint slides here

Lean On Me: We re-wrote a Halloween version. You can download the lyrics and ppt slides here.

Pumpkin Olympics
If your club meets after Halloween, you can likely get really cheap pumpkins. If you have 30 kids at club, buy 90 pumpkins, so you have around 3/kid. Divide into at least four teams for the Olympic events. It's messy, so have them dress appropriately. Below are 8 different events you could use.
  1. Dodge Pumpkin. Everyone sits in a large circle with one person in the middle. Choose a large pumpkin and roll it at the person in the middle, trying to hit the person. Roll it, don't throw it. To make it interesting, increase the number of pumpkins. If a pumpkin splats, replace it.
  2. Pumpkin Bowling. Set up empty 2-liter bottles, cans, or bowling pins. Each person rolls a pumpkin once and tallies the total number of pins knocked down. A leader can be constantly resetting the pins.
  3. Pumpkin Toss. Similar to an egg toss, two people from a team toss a pumpkin back and forth, stepping farther apart each time, until someone drops it.
  4. Pumpkin Put. Put (as in shot-put) a pumpkin through the air and measure how far it goes. Competition may be based on using the largest person from each team, the smallest person, the largest pumpkin, or the smallest pumpkin.
  5. Pumpkin Catapult. Using a cinderblock with a board over it and the pumpkin on one end of the board, jump on the other end and measure how far the pumpkin goes.
  6. The Great Pumpkin Relay. Set up an obstacle course. Players carry a large pumpkin as they negotiate the course, then hand the pumpkin to the next player.
  7. Pumpkin Soccer. Dribble the pumpkin around a cone or other marker and back to the starting point, where the next person takes a turn. Time it.
  8. Pumpkin Pick-up. By the end of the Olympics, the grounds are a mess, so have a clean-up contest. Provide plastic trash bags and award megapoints to the team that collects the most pumpkin debris. Have a scale on hand to weigh the bags if possible.

Make sure the winning team takes home a prize!

*We found some of these great games on

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

The Great Pumpkin Hunt is similar to an Easter Egg Hunt, but the prizes aren't inside the pumpkins, instead it's more like a raffle.

How It Works
  • Buy 50 mini-pumpkins. You can probably get them from a local pumpkin lot or Wal-mart for around .75 cents/pumpkin. 
  • Take a sharpie and number each pumpkin 1-49. 
  • Use gold spray paint to paint the 50th pumpkin and make it the elusive "Golden Pumpkin"
  • Write down numbers 1-49 on scrap pieces of paper and put them inside a plastic pumpkin or bowl. 
  • Hide all the pumpkins so none are visible from the starting line. If you're having club inside a barn, hide the pumpkins in places where kids won't find them when they're hanging out before Club. Maybe there are woods behind the barn where you can hide the pumpkins. 
  • Explain to the kids that they're only allowed to find as many pumpkins as they can carry in their arms, so no collecting pumpkins in book bags. 
  • After kids have gone on the hunt, they will all return with the pumpkins they've collected. Then have one kid come up and draw a number out of the plastic pumpkin. Whoever found the pumpkin with that number on it wins a prize.
  • For prizes, you could give away Halloween candy, lunch with a leader, costume mustaches, etc...
  • Draw 5 numbers and give away 5 prizes. 
  • Whoever finds the Golden Pumpkin gets $100 off of summer camp!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Young Life Fried Night

As a southern boy, I naturally associate the month of October with the fair coming to town. In addition to the pig races, one of the best parts of the fair is "fair food." I mean, where else can you get deep fried Mac-N-Cheese?!

I'll tell you where. Young Life club.

It's a fun, low-key idea for a theme night this fall. All you need to do is gather some deep fryers (ask parents and your YL committee to borrow a few). Have kids bring any food items they want to fry, the possibilities are endless. Bring some extra random foods for kids who forget to bring something. 

Fun Foods To Fry

  1. Candy bars
  2. Ear of corn
  3. Hotdogs
  4. Avacado
  5. Cookie dough
  6. Bacon
  7. PB&J
  8. Cheescake
  9. Oreos
  10. Bananas

Pro-Tip: Ask some responsible parents to come and help be your fryers! 

Here are some instructions for frying a snickers bar. 

1. Place the Snickers bar in the freezer until it is hard so the candy bar does not melt when it is fried. This step is optional because the candy bar will be delicious either way. However, an unfrozen Snickers Bar will be stickier and messier.

2. The safest way to fry a Snickers is in a deep fryer. Don't panic if you don't have one because you can also use a deep pot with a glass lid. Preheat peanut or vegetable oil to 375 degrees.

3. Prepare batter to coat the Snickers bar. You can use funnel cake batter, cake batter or pancake batter. Take the Snickers out of the freezer and completely cover it in the batter.

4. Use tongs to place the Snickers into the deep fryer or deep pot with the heated oil. When it's golden brown, remove it from the hot oil using the tongs. The total frying time should be about three minutes, but keep an eye to determine when it is ready.

5. Let the fried snack cool for a few minutes because the inside will be hot and you could burn your mouth. You can top it with powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, caramel or any other sweet treat.

*Never put water on a grease fire, but instead put it out with a glass lid or baking soda.

Another great idea would be to sing the song, Chicken Fried.

HT to Ken Tankersly for sharing this idea!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Camp Musician of the Month: Carly Escoto

Our featured Camp Musician this month is Carly Escoto!

Carly first got involved with Young Life in high school. Her soccer coach was a leader in the greater L.A. area. She met the Lord at Woodleaf when she was 14 years old and went on to serve as a WyldLife leader, on work crew, on summer staff, and volunteered as a Young Life leader while in college.

While serving on summer staff at Woodleaf, Brandon Heath told her, "you have a voice." At the time she didn't have any intention of singing in front of people but if Brandon Heath said so, it just might be true. She was encouraged to start praying about it and from there started to write and perform her own music.

Carly first started serving on summer camp assignments as a volunteer program director, then eventually helped lead music and shared original songs with campers. She recently completed her 10th summer assignment and 7th as camp musician. Carly spends lots of the year singing at weekend camps, staff/leader retreats and her local Capernaum club. She feels connected to almost every part of Young Life because she has lived almost every aspect of it.

Carly says, "I am blown away by the way the Lord moves through this ministry. Obviously, God can do anything through anything, but truly my life would not be anything like it is, and I would not be the woman I am if it weren't for Young Life. I met the Lord through Young Life, I learned how to serve, met my husband, formed the closest relationships I've had to this day, found my calling, watched my parents get brought to the Lord, heck, even where I now live is because of Young Life... God has been so good to me through this ministry. There’s nothing like it, and I feel incredibly privileged that my gifts found a home within it."

Carly’s album, Light the Dark, is available here.

Visit Carly's website.

Follow Carly on Twitter: @Carly_Escoto.

Follow Carly on Instagram: @carlyescoto.

Email Carly to play at your Young Life camp or banquet.

Here's a video of Carly at Woodleaf this summer.

What other Area Directors are saying about Carly:

Carly is a ’tried and true’ camp musician with an extensive history of serving the mission of Young Life. Time after time I have heard from Speakers and Camp Directors of their appreciation for the way in which she weaves her gifts into the flow of serving kids and leaders with excellence and passion. Carly has a unique capacity to connect with kids from every walk of life. In the West, we have an amazing opportunity to walk alongside kids that represent a broad spectrum of ethnicities and cultures. I have personally had the opportunity to see her in action on multiple occasions and would highly recommend her!” 
-Alberto Cuellar, Missionwide Cultural Intelligence Training Coordinator and Mission Executive for Special Initiatives, Diversity, Information and Projects.

Simply put, Carly is the real deal. She gets it, lives it, embodies it. . . Our Assigned Teams throughout the years have been consistently impressed and grateful for her talent, servant heart, spirit, energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism. She truly comes to each assignment with a ‘serve first’ kind of posture, thus why teams fall in love with her. I pray that we will have 10 Carly’s in the next 5-7 years in the Southwest!” 
-Angel Ruiz, Field Ministry Vice President & National Latino Director

Carly Escoto is a gift! Carly has a very natural, genuine, and approachable style both as a musician and a person. Carly understands Young Life and teenagers and is gifted in using her musical abilities to help break down barriers and connect others to Jesus. Carly and I have worked together on many assignments and each time I am with her I walk away excited to be in this mission alongside of her. She is a beautiful person and her music is a reflection of her thoughtful, engaging, and fun spirit.
-Kristy Fox, South Coast Regional Director

You can see other Young Life camp musicians here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ideas For Going Deeper With Campaigners

A friend recently sent me the email below. I thought it would be a helpful discussion for all of us who lead Campaigners.


I'm currently leading a Campaigners group of around 15 guys. We meet every Sunday night at one of their homes and average 12 guys every week, which is great! The guys are all 'good kids' - most of them are really good athletes and come from good homes. We've been together for most of their high school years, this is our 3rd year doing Campaigners together. What I'm running into is this: they all have a lot of head knowledge, by now they know the 'answers.' They all hang out together and pretty much stay out of trouble, but it doesn't go much beyond that -as far as really understanding a relationship with Christ. In Campaigners they can tell you what they SHOULD be doing, but they're not really following through. I'm just having a really hard time getting anywhere remotely deep with them. They don't really go below surface level on anything. Like I said- they're all GREAT dudes and stay out of trouble, but it almost seems like they think that's enough. They take the approach of "well, we're hanging out together on the weekend instead of partying, so that's pretty much all we have to do." I feel stuck. How can I take them deeper? -Mark

Below are some ideas I emailed back to Mark. I'd love to hear any ideas you have as well. (Email me here) What have you done that has helped take your Campaigners group deeper? 

How To Take Your Campaigners Group Deeper

A Rhythm Of Death & Resurrection

Life with Christ is a daily practice of dying to our sin and allowing His presence to live in and through us. In my typical world of upper-middle-class-white-suburban-Christianity it's easy to become independent and convinced that we don't need God. Paul points us to dependence in Philippians 3, "I long to know Christ and the power shown by his resurrection. I long to share in his sufferings, even to die as he died, so that I may perhaps attain as he did, the resurrection from the dead." Our only hope for experiencing the resurrected life is Christ in us.

How do we help our high school friends experience dying to self and being raised to life in Christ?

Leave The Comfort Zone

Help your friends get into a place where they must depend on Jesus. Practice the spiritual discipline of fasting. Go serve together in uncomfortable places. Ask them what would be hard for them to do if God asked them to do it, then encourage them to do it. Who is hard for them to love? Encourage them to love them. A great way to do this is with some of our amazing Discipleship Camping Opportunities with YL Adventures.

Listen To Stories Of Spiritual Death & Resurrection

Ask your pastor or area director to introduce you to someone in the community who has a powerful redemption story. For example, I'm friends with a 40 year old who almost lost his marriage and family because of a porn addiction that led to multiple affairs. It would be powerful for him speak about how God brought resurrection from the death of that addiction. Bring in a set of parents who have adopted an orphan and have them share that rescue story. Invite another YL leader to share their testimony of how they moved from death to life.

Confess Sin

It's hard to do, but commanded in scripture. James 5:16 reads "You should get into the habit of admitting your sins to each other, and praying for each other, so that if sickness comes to you, you may be healed." What if you had a night of confession at Campaigners? Might sound like crickets, but pray and ask the Lord to move, it could be a night that changed lives forever.

Commit to the Spiritual Success of the Other
Idea from Rick Beckwith (Discipleship Coordinator-Eastern Division)

What aspect of a small group affords the most lasting impact? I believe it is when Christ comes into the center of two or three existing friends, and they agree to run after Him together with reckless abandon. It's when they actually commit to the spiritual success of the other. “Hey, I’ve got your back. When you head off to college, I will not only be praying for you each dayd, but checking in with you to see how you’re doing. When you struggle, I expect a call, and I will do likewise. There is nothing more important than our personal relationship with Jesus; nothing!” That sort of covenantal relationship, certainly from my experience, is what gives us the best chance of thriving and bearing fruit over the course of our lives.The classic biblical example of this is with Jonathan and David depicted in 1 Sa 18:1-5 – “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him…” So when I seek to form a new small group, I look for kids who are already friends, and then go to work helping them put Christ in the center of their friendship.

Silent Retreat

What if your Campaigners group did a silent retreat together? When teenagers are forced to be quiet and have no phones, they're faced with their own inadequacies and need for Christ. Painful, but powerful.

Teach Them To Look For Life & Death

Ask them, "Where did you experience death and resurrection with Christ this week?"  

  • "I cheated on my test, but God convicted me and so I confessed to my teacher and my parents. I got a ZERO on the test, and my parents grounded me, but I experienced freedom from guilt in a way I never have before." 
  • "I have been addicted to porn since 8th grade. It's had a death-grip on me. This is the first week in 3 years that I've experienced freedom. Because my will-power to stop has always failed me, I know it's Christ alive in me that gave me strength to choose life over death this week."

Speaking of dying to self. I read this article by Ann Voskamp and it's beautifully convicting. I'm planning on using it in our co-ed Campaigners time this Sunday night.

Plan A Mission Trip

Planning a trip together is bonding. Keep it simple. Go somewhere close. You can experience pure poverty and depravity in your own city. It'll take some work and planning, but experiencing a weekend of serving together reveals our own brokenness in a unique way.


Apart from the mercy of God, your Campaigners group will never go deeper. Have you committed this to prayer? Have you fasted about it? Have you believed God to move in a way that only He can? Often we try to be so strategic that we don't leave room for God to do God-sized miracles. Believe. God loves it when we trust Him.

Throw A Change-Up

Instead of having a typical Campaigners "cabin time" each week, consider creating a monthly rhythm similar to this below.

1st Sunday: Study the Bible together.

Consider inviting a "guest" from the community lead your discussion. It could be your Area Director, your pastor, or anyone who is spiritually mature and could offer some Biblical insight to highschoolers. Prep your guest to lead a discussion more than to give a lecture.

2nd Sunday: Serve together.

Gather at one of the guy's homes and work together to cook a meal for a sick or needy family. Go visit a nursing home, visit sick folks in a hospital, pack Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, surprise your Area Director and rake their yard, etc..

3rd Sunday: Play together.

Plan an out-of-the-box event for your group. A scavenger hunt, trampoline park, board game night, Big Boy Bowling, invent a frisbee golf course, or go roll your team leader's house. Just as pain often opens the heart of an adult, laughter often opens the heart of a child. Have pure, childlike fun together.

4th Sunday: Fast together.

Give up something individually, yet together, for 24 hours. Start on Saturday night and then break the fast when you come together on Sunday. If it's food, break the fast with a huge celebration pot-luck meal where everyone contributes. But it doesn't always have to be a food fast, maybe its a phone fast or a video game fast. During the fast, encourage your guys to pray specifically for one another, expecting God to move in each other's lives.

5th Sunday (when it occurs): Become Men together.

Invite a man in your community to come teach a different man-skill once/month. They can teach your group how to change oil in a car, how to grill a perfect steak, fly-fishing tips, how to create a budget, etc...

Other Ideas To Rotate In

  • Visit a church together that is a different tradition or culture than you're used to. Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Have A REEL theology night where you watch a movie and discuss the spiritual implications. Check out my friend Mikey's website for helpful conversation starters. I highly recommend his podcast on the movie "Creed."
  • Host a Challenge Night where your Campaigners group plays another group from another school in stickball or Ultimate or Spikeball.
Here are 100 questions to help your Campaigners group open up.

What have you done that has helped take your Campaigners group deeper? Email me here and I'll add it to this post. Thanks! -Drew Hill