This is probably one of the best things our youth group has done recently, maybe even ever. We are still in the beginning stages of making it a permanent part of each week, but I am confident it is going to be a part of our weekly meetings every week.
How it works
Each week we give the youth 10-15 minutes to write. Typically more time is allowed if needed, but that is the allotted time that youth are asked to write. They are given a blank journal each week and can write whatever they want in it. They can also write the name of a volunteer on the front of it as well. They are challenged each week to do both; write stuff and give to a volunteer. After they are done writing they turn in the journal to the youth leader and that person hands out the journals to the volunteers at the end of the night. There is room for the volunteer to respond at the end of the journal. The volunteer should respond before the next youth group meeting. The next week, the youth are given their journals back and can keep them forever.
We have two rules that you must follow
- It is vital that you respond and that you respond with care and prayerful consideration within one week.
- You are not to share information from the journal with anyone unless someone’s life is in danger. You may speak generally to the youth leader if you need advice or direction on how to handle a certain topic, but keep the student’s name confidential
Putting it Together
You can do just about anything, but we typed up a very simple journal, put a blank sheet of paper in the middle, folded it and stapled it. Our journal is available for you to print out below if you would like. We also typed up a quick sheet for the volunteers to help prepare them for the things that may come up from the activity. That is also included below.
The best thing you can do is to make sure the youth are prepped well. Each week give them the broad scope of what these are for (general discussion to prayer requests to problems at home).
We will also come out with some helpful things for this activity like a weekly challenge or hint on what to write about. For those youth who are not so great at talking or writing, these little things might spark something from them.
Please discuss in our comments section if you have any thoughts on this!
Printable Discussion Journal – .pdf
Printable Volunteer Information Sheet – .pdf