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What could be more unique than bowling a frozen turkey at bowling pins in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday? Students love it! The main event of this meeting is a hilarious game where three or four teams of three students each “bowl” against each other for the “Turkey Bowl” championship. It is a lot harder than it looks and makes for some good fun! A festive pie-eating contest and a silly turkey call contest will provide for more laughs!

Why a Turkey Bowl? First of all, it’s fun! But, more importantly, it’s a great draw for all types of students. Everyone likes to laugh and Thanksgiving is a holiday that most students celebrate. Remember, in order to reach a greater number of students with the gospel, it’s important to have appealing meetings that will attract a variety of students.

Sample Outreach Schedule

  • Welcome (3 minutes)

    Include an explanation of your campus ministry (i.e. group for high school students who are interested in knowing more about God and how He relates to their lives).
  • Turkey Strut Contest (10 minutes)

    Ask for volunteers without telling them what they will have to do, then when all are selected, tell them they must do their best imitation of a turkey (both the strut and the gobble). Have audience response decide the winner! Don’t forget a prize (i.e. candy corn) for the winner.
  • Pie-eating Contest (10 minutes)

    Pre-select some big eaters before the meeting for your competition. Break the traditional mold and have a thin girl who can eat a lot compete with the big boys!
  • Introduction of the Teams (3-5 minutes)

    You can really play this up! The teams can have funny names or even team cheers. Another idea is to feature a celebrity bowler (popular teacher, etc.).
  • TURKEY BOWL (30 minutes)

  • Award Grand Prize (2 minutes)

    Offer free bowling passes from a real bowling alley for each member of the winning team.
  • Testimony (4 minutes)

    Work with a mature student to help him clearly articulate why he is thankful for God’s presence and work in his life.
  • Gospel Presentation (15-20 minutes)

    Give a clear presentation with an opportunity to place their faith in Christ at that time. The Four Spiritual Laws booklet provides a great outline for a gospel presentation.
  • Comment Cards (7 minutes)

    Preprinted cards for students to fi ll out after the gospel presentation allow students to make a public profession without being put on the spot. They also help facilitate follow-up of those who receive Christ because you have an accurate record.
  • Collect comment cards/Draw for door prizes

Turkey Bowl Materials

  • Frozen Turkey (with the plastic and netting left on)
  • 12 Bowling pins or 2-liter bottles fi lled with sand
  • Plastic tarp (long enough to serve as your “lane”)
  • Oil or water (to spread on tarp so turkey slides more easily)
  • Sturdy, stable backboard for end of lane – a table on its side would work well. Nail or tape securely to the ground or floor
  • Person to set up pins after each bowl

Rules of the Game

  1. Each team has three participants. We suggest having three or four teams for your game.
  2. Game consists of three rounds. First student from each team bowls in the fi rst round, second student in the second round, third student in the third round.
  3. Scoring is just like regular bowling except there are only three frames. The third frame is the equivalent of the tenth frame in regular bowling with the potential for an extra bowl if the participant scores a strike or spare.
  4. Each participant gets two bowls with the exception of the third participant who will have the opportunity for an extra bowl if he/she scores a strike or spare.

Meeting Maximizers

  • Ask a well-known student from each grade to organize a team of three to represent their class. These students don’t necessarily need to be involved in your ministry. Most students would be flattered to be chosen to represent their class and think it sounds like a fun game. Students who know these students will want to come and watch their friends “bowl” a turkey. Remember you want to draw students who might not normally attend.
  • Have a student dress up as a turkey during lunch to promote the meeting. Have the turkey emcee the meeting that night or just be a cheerleader for the teams.
  • Hold the meeting at a non-threatening place like a school cafeteria, student’s backyard, or com-munity center.
  • Ask several community businesses for door prizes. Restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc. are usually open to donating door prizes because it gives them publicity. Most businesses only require a letter describing the event.
  • Atmosphere is crucial to a successful meeting. Always have hip music playing as students come in! Good food and a good sound system are a must, too.