This is an activity to do with your youth group based on the Parable of the Lost Sheep. For the “twist” element to the activity to be effective, you may not want to give away the verse and theme of the meeting right away. Start with the activity and let it lead right into your teaching.

Scripture Reference: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:12-14).

The Supplies: You will need enough 100-piece puzzles for every five students in your group. You can find these in the children’s toy section at a dollar store. You will also need a very enticing prize for the winning group. A pizza works as a great incentive for anything involving teens!

The Prep Work: Before everyone arrives at your meeting, open the puzzles and remove one piece from each box. Carefully hide each one of the pieces in a different spot throughout your meeting room or for an extra challenge, the entire building.

The Activity: Once your youth arrive, divide them into teams of five. The first group to complete its puzzle will win the prize. Give the go and watch as your youth scramble to construct the puzzle. It will take a few minutes for them to realize they are missing one piece of the puzzle. After the first few groups start to realize this, announce their missing pieces are hidden somewhere throughout the room or building. Remind them again the entire puzzle must be completed to win.

The Teaching: Use the activity to help your youth understand the verse from Matthew 18. Though the 99 pieces of the puzzle were important and necessary, it was the one missing piece they rejoiced the most over finding. The teaching could take many different directions. You could speak about how much God’s love and His desire to see each and every one of them to come to Him. The verse and activity could also be used for a talk on evangelism by encouraging your youth to go after the one at their school who seems to be missing. Another idea would be to speak on repentance, forgiveness and the mercy of God. Take time to pray about how the Holy Spirit wants to use this activity to speak specifically to the needs of your group.

Discussion: It is always helpful to have your youth discuss. By asking them questions in a large or small group setting, you are reinforcing the message of the meeting and helping them think deeper about the activity.
– How did it feel when you discovered you were missing a piece of the puzzle?
– How did it feel when you found the missing piece?
– Why do you think Jesus shared this parable with His apostles? What was He trying to say?
– Have you had the experience of being found by God? Share your story with the group.
– How can we help lead the lost back to God?

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