I had given each student a blank card and a pen, and I told them to take some time to pray and think about a secret, a struggle, a habit, an addiction, a sin, SOMETHING that they were holding on to that was hurting their relationship with God. I told them to write it as non-specifically as possible on the paper (as to not give themselves away) and then to bring it to the front of the room and put it in a bucket. I told them I would read them aloud and then throw them away, and that I wanted them to know - just for a second - what it would feel like to have whatever they had written out there, spoken aloud, shared with the group, in hopes that they would understand how opening up about these things could lead to freedom from them.
I did encourage students that if they weren't ready for this step, or uncomfortable in any way, to simply put a blank card in the bucket.
I was staggered by the response. I only had a few blank cards, and the ones I read aloud were dripping with pain. "I don't have anyone I can trust." "I struggle with lust and pornography." "I hate the way I look." It was powerful.
I finished by challenging the youth to find someone(s) they could share these things with and go deeper.
It was an amazing exercise, and one you could use with your group as well!