Invite Students to an Amazing Race

First Assembly of God in Coraopolis, Penn., about 15 minutes outside Pittsburgh, attracted dozens of teens to a special youth outreach event based on the hit TV show The Amazing Race.

Youth were divided into teams of four and raced to and from 15 stops as they vied for bragging rights at the popular annual event. Tasks ranged from locating a relic from one of the city’s first steel mills to melting an ice block, in which the final instructions were frozen.

Additional events held the night before the Saturday race have included gathering to hear an evangelist speak and a concert featuring a Christian band.

About half of the youth who participated in the event were not involved with the church’s youth group.

Stephen Jackson, a regular attendee of the youth group in 2008 when he was 16, saw the event affect his friends.

“I have this friend who had kind of been back and forth in his walk with Jesus and just not hanging out with the right friends,”Jacksonsays. “It really helped him out. He’s just not doing the things he used to do, and he’s hanging out with better people.”

Another friend Jackson invited in 2008 didn’t attend church or youth group, but Jackson hoped the race event would help change that.

“He doesn’t really like to come to youth group, so doing these things, hopefully, he’ll find more friends here and he’ll feel more comfortable with us,”Jackson says.

A version of this article originally appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of Outreach magazine.