I came across this community builder recently and thought it was a great idea, especially for a small group (and every youth group should should either be a small group or have small groups!). Take a road trip with your teens (a group of 5-7 would probably work best) to your local big box bookseller (Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.). Before entering the store, pose a question to the youth that will help you get to know one another better, such as:
- How do you see your relationship with God right now?
- Where are you on your faith journey?
- How are you feeling about life?
- What is the Bible to you?
- How would you describe our youth group?
- How would you describe your family?
- How would you describe how you are feeling about _______? (e.g. starting school again, graduating, getting baptized, growing up, your friends, etc.)
Next, send the youth on a search for one or more books whose title speaks to them in some way about the question you posed. For example, if you ask "How are you feeling about your life?" one of your teens might return with a copy of Something Wicked this Way Comes, The Wind in the Willows, or The Giver. If you ask "What is the Bible to you?" teens might return with The Secret (a really horrendous book, by the way) or How Good People Make Tough Choices. Youth could select books they already know, but they could certainly pick books they have never read since you are really only concerned with how they connect with the title and not the content of the text. Once everyone has made their pick, gather in the bookstore cafe for beverages and a time of sharing and talking about the titles and reasons for each person's choices.