Most young people would agree that what they want in life is to fit in and be accepted by their peers. Many are willing to go to great lengths to be considered as one of the “cool kids.” They may take part in negative or even dangerous behavior to gain popularity and acceptance among their peers. A Stranger Things retreat can be a great way to help young people see the value in standing out from the crowd and being the “peculiar people” they have been called to be.
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1 Peter 2:4 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
4 Coming to Him, a living stone—rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God—
Good news! The world and society do not have the final verdict on your worth! Use this scripture in 1 Peter to show young people that they are important to God. He has chosen them and sees them as valuable and worthwhile. They are stones with which He can build incredible things. No matter what society thinks, they have value and purpose in God’s eyes and they play an important role in the building of His kingdom.
Craft: Living Stones
Gather medium sized smooth stones for this creative activity. Supply paints and/or permanent markers and other items: glitter, stickers, googly-eyes, etc. for your attendees to use to decorate their rocks. Instruct them to create a rock with a positive or encouraging message or picture. Include this section’s scripture on the bottom of the rock as a reminder of their worth to God.
For another activity, take your young people out and let them drop the painted rocks in various locations as part of The Kindness Rocks Project. The rocks can be left for others to find who, in turn, pass them on, encouraging others! Use the link above or Facebook to find Rock Drop groups in your area, or start one of your own!
Be a Light!
1 Peter 2:9 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
When young people shine the with the Light of Christ, they are going to stand out. Sometimes that may feel awkward. It may even lead to ridicule. Use the verse above to explain to your young people that this is part of the calling of believers. We are chosen to stand out and light the way to God by telling others about Jesus.
Craft: Bee a Light
For this craft, supply your attendees with lightbulbs, black and yellow paint and other items to use to customize their bees. Make sure to write “Bee a Light” somewhere on the craft as a reminder to them to be unafraid to stand out and shine.
Game: Send the Light
This game requires a large clear area for play to avoid anyone tripping over or bumping into anything. Hide a number of small LED flashlights around the room and then turn off the lights. Instruct the attendees to find the flashlights in the dark. Once they have found one, they can use it to help another person find a flashlight until all the flashlights are found. When the game ends, be sure to share that this is how our lives as believers should be. We should use our light to help others and lead them to Jesus.
1 Peter 2:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
11 Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.
Young people today are bombarded with messages and images that urge them to take part in negative behaviors that are contradictory to the teachings of the Bible. Commercials, television shows, movies and social media show young people having a good time and enjoying notoriety while engaging in activities that are less-than honorable or holy. The scripture above teaches that we should go against what society and even our own baser instincts tell us and live a life that stands out as an example of holiness. It isn’t always easy, but our “strangeness” will be rewarded when we stand before God.
Craft: Majestic Unicorn #16
Did you know the Bible mentions unicorns? It’s true! (Psalm 92:10, Numbers 23:22, Isaiah 34:7). Okay, so God was most likely talking about a rhinoceros, but the image is still pretty cool, right? Things that are rare and unique are often said to be unicorns. This silly and simple craft can be a fun way to demonstrate how we as believers should be unusual and strange to a world that demands conformity. Our faith should cause us to stand out in a positive way.
If you have teen boys who balk at the idea of a unicorn hat, give them a fun flag template, colored felt and glitter paints to create a one-a-kind personalized “Freak Flag.” Instruct them to make it symbolic of the strengths God has given them and how they can use those strengths to stand out and make a positive impact on their peers.
Game: Strange Scavenger Hunt
This is a fun twist on the standard photo scavenger hunt. Instead of run-of-the-mill items, provide a list of truly weird things for your teams to find. This list is a fun example. Have the attendees take selfies or video doing the actions or finding the items. The first team finished wins.
This is a perfect activity to get attendees talking. They can debate over what reaction they think will take place once the experiment has begun. When it’s finished (*Spoiler Alert-the popcorn rises to the top!) share with them how, as believers, our actions of faith will always separate us from the norm. We can be among the world, but our faith in Christ and our commitment to follow Him will make is rise to the top.
A Stranger Things retreat can be a unique and fun way to show young people the importance of being true to themselves and what they believe in. It’s nice to feel accepted, but sometimes we have to stand up and stand out. With this retreat theme, young people can be equipped to handle situations that call on the unique strengths God has given them. They can find courage in knowing that being strange is a great thing in God’s eyes!