You know that the great adults in your church family were not born that way. Their lives are the results of hundreds of decisions made over their lifetime. However, teens in the throes of adolescence don't necessarily know that. As they're finding their way into adulthood, they may think that those wonderful adults were always so wise and godly. This group activity is fun as well as insightful into the adolescence of these great people. And maybe a youth or two will find a common insecurity with some of those great adults in your church family.
Somehow (you know the process of your church) have the adults in your church family answer the following questions. For our church, we had them printed on an insert in the church bulletin and the adults filled them out and put them in the offering baskets. The questions are:
- Were you considered popular in middle school or high school? Why or why not?
- Did kids ever make fun of you for any reason? What is your strongest memory about that?
- Did you have big fights with your mom or dad when you were growing up? If so, what were they usually about?
- When did you finally come to understand that you were a Christian? Please share as much background information as you are able.
- How often do you go over the speed limit (now)?
Have everyone sign the bottom of the sheet and fold so the name and the answers are confidential. Note: If an adult isn't healed from some of their adolescent memories, this may be too emotional for them to fill out. Be sensitive to that. As for the speeding question, since one of the major rites of passage for a teen is the driver's license, this is a curiosity teens have and provides for even more common ground—and maybe a check of conviction in the adults knowing that the teens now know.
At a youth meeting or a lock-in (so you have extra time), pull out the answers at random. Read what was written down and ask the teens to guess who that was. Use your group dynamic leadership skills to emphasize what is being learned through this random process.
At the close of this activity, encourage the teens to thank the adults who contributed, particularly those who contributed surprising information. Not only does this show appreciation to the adults, but it opens up a verbal line of communication between the adults and the teens.