Hey guys, it’s Melissa Lee here. I think creativity is an important part of being a human. Whether it’s drawing, singing, writing, coloring, doing your makeup, or building something; life is just more fulfilling when we are creating. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life.” I have definitely found this to be true. I am a happier, healthier person when I give myself space to create. The new meditative coloring books that are such a craze right now are a good example of this. There is a lot of new research out about what being creative does to our brains. It’s so interesting! Coloring has a de-stressing effect and brings out our imagination. I have friends that color every night and can attest to it being a positive change in their life.
This idea of bringing art into youth group is not a new idea, definitely. I’ve been to youth camps that had prophetic painting during worship and coloring tables during free time. Nevertheless, I was still surprised when we started doing art together at youth group.
Here are three surprising things that happened when we invited creativity to youth group:
- My lovely introverts were more comfortable. We had some kids that would come and sit and not participate. I would chat with them, invite them to play games and other youth would do the same, but there they sat. When we had markers and an art project going on, these kids would say yes to an invitation to be involved! They were more relaxed and conversations were easier.
- Kids that didn’t participate in worship, could spend that time journaling. I noticed this was especially true of my junior highers. Worship can be tough, especially if you’re new to it. Some youth don’t know what to do with themselves, they are bored or uncomfortable. Even when older kids were modeling worship and we set up good guidelines around what worship time was some youth had a hard time engaging. When I brought journals and pens to use during worship these youth were the first to snatch them up. They spent worship writing and drawing. They were more comfortable and less noisy and, I hope, learning to interact with God in a new way.
- Conversations over coloring are awesome! I love asking someone how they are doing when they are coloring, because they give a real answer. There’s something about doing a project side by side that brings good conversation.
What creative things have you done at youth group? Have you had any surprising outcomes?
I’d love to hear!