16 01 2012

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

– 2 Corinthians 3:18

Last night was one of my favorite youth group meetings ever.  One of my high school seniors is taking a “Career Mentorship” class this semester, which means he gets to come hang out at the church for one hour every day.  At first I had my doubts about how much work we would actually get done…but  last week, we spent a couple of days reflecting on Scripture and devising an elaborate art project for youth group.  (Side note: How much better is it to work with youth when writing your lesson plan??? You get great ideas, buy-in, and immediate feedback about whether something will work!)

Part 1.  Canvas

We started out by remembering the story of Moses: how his face glowed when he returned from Mount Sinai.  We talked about how it is impossible to spend time with God and remain unchanged.  (I brought up the saying, “Come as you are, but don’t stay that way,” and we discussed how this applies to the Christian life).

Earlier, we had painted two canvases black.  On one we had attached vinyl letters to read, “God is…”  On the other, I invited the youth to fill in the blank with Sharpie poster paint pens:

We then read 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 using a modified type of Lectio Divina.  In our response time, we discussed what it would look like for us to reflect the glory of God today (hint: we probably won’t actually glow, but we want it to be just as obvious that we’ve been spending time with God!)

Part 2. Mirrors.

Self-Portrait: forgiveness

The youth divided into pairs, and each pair picked one attribute of God to reflect back into the world.  Then we created mirror etchings based around each of their attributes, etching the negative space so that the design itself would shine through.  (So whenever you look into the mirror, the only part that reflects back would be “Love,” “Joy,” etc.)

I got my directions from Dancing Commas (she did a fruit bowl, but the technique is the same).  Here’s my quick rundown of instructions:

1. We used 12-inch square mirror tiles, marking off a six-inch square (the design area) in the middle with masking tape.

2. We provided the youth with a variety of letter stickers, and several sheets of plain vinyl stickers (which they could cut out into any shape).  I also printed out some Christian symbols, which they could trace onto the vinyl.  Stickers and stencils were a really good idea; the non-artistic youth ended up just writing their word onto the mirror with the stickers, and they looked just as good as the more elaborate squares!

3. The etching cream is really acid, so take precautions if you let youth use it.  No horseplay, don’t let it touch your skin, etc.

washing off the etching cream

washing off the etching cream

4. We waited about 30 minutes before washing off the etching cream (which means they haven’t seen their final products yet).  Just a warning: no matter how many mirror tiles you do, you will still have a minor panic attack every time you wash off the etching cream, because you will think it didn’t work.  I promise, once it dries, it will be awesome!

I love the variety of images that were created last night!  We intend to hang all of the artwork in our Youth Wing in the next week or so.  And at Prayer Breakfast tomorrow, I’m going to give each of the kids a tiny mirror tile (you can get them cheap at Hobby Lobby) with a characteristic of God written on it in Sharpie.  We’ll challenge them to carry it with them all day as a reminder to reflect that characteristic back into their schools/homes/etc.

the word "alive" etched into a mirror, with a tree

"Be Alive" (created by two students)