Suzybower's Blog

Creative ideas for church and youth ministry.

Archive for Minimal prep needed

Letting go


Things needed:

– A4 Paper & pens

– Instructions on making origami boats

– A flowing river

What to do

People write down things they want to let go of. This could be a number of things such as regrets they are holding onto, people or situations they overly worried about, or a goodbye to someone who has died.

Once this has been written, make a boat out of the paper (click here for instructions).

Take it to a river, and voilà – a simple but potentially powerful act to symbolise letting these things go. For a Christian audience, the focus could be on letting them go and trusting God with them. Or the letters could be written to ask for forgiveness from God for things.

Perhaps you could read a poem or Bible verses, or say a prayer as the boats float away.

The story behind this lil idea

I recently heard some sad news about a friend of mine. I found it difficult to let go of worrying about the situation and to not carry it. This idea suddenly popped into my head on the way back from church after I had asked for prayer for the situation and that I would be able to let it go. In my job as a youth worker in schools I listen to a lot of young people who have difficult and chaotic lives. So I used this idea as an individual act of worship by writing a letter and making a boat out of it for my friend, but also for each of the young people that I need to make sure I don’t carry. I think I will do this from time to time to make sure I let these things go and trust God with them.

Some considerations…

Some of what I wrote in the letters the young people had told me in confidence. So I did not write any names in it, or anything that they would be able to be identified from. Perhaps being overly cautious, I stuck another piece of plain paper over each letter before I made it into a boat so no writing was visible – just in case!

I’m not sure it’s very eco friendly to be putting paper in rivers! I should look this up sometime and perhaps use eco friendly bio degradable paper. You may want to consider this if you are making more than a few boats.

My final consideration is that the swans thought that I was bringing them some lunch. In future I hope not to disappoint by providing them with something a bit more nutritious as a side order for the paper boats.

Post-it note prayers

Things needed: post-it notes (preferably in 3 different colours) and, pens.

Context: can be used in lots of different contexts.

This very simple idea uses the beautifully adaptable medium of post-it notes to facilitate prayer. If you have 3 different colours or shaped post-its then write the word ‘thanks’, ‘sorry’, or ‘please’ on each and stick them on some paper/the wall. It would be worth saying to people here that they do not need to write down their sorry prayers. They can just leave it blank, or draw a symbol or write a code word.

The group then spends some time writing or drawing prayers on the post-its and sticking them up with the rest (they follow the colours of the original ones, for example by writing their thanks prayers on pink, sorry prayers on yellow etc.).

This activity works well within a variety of contexts, but particularly with small groups. And it’s great for people who aren’t used to praying out loud. I have often used it when people have only just become Christians as a way of facilitating them to pray.

As ever, feel free to use this idea, adapt and change it – and let me know how it goes!

Shibboleth: Theological Reflection using Art

A little while ago there was a piece of artwork in the entrance hall of the Tate Modern called ‘Shibboleth’. In essence it was a giant crack in the floor stretching the entire length of the space. It was pretty impressive! I was inspired by the meaning behind this piece and based one of my Sunday morning youth group sessions on it. I think it was particularly suited to young people aged 14+, but some of the younger ones did engage with it. I also think it would be suitable for an adult audience. Have a little look for yourself what the art is all about (check this out), and then feel free to use the study I created for it:

Information sheet – Work through the blue boxes first, followed by the pink then the purple.

Blank sheets for people to fill in

The Tate Modern often have really impressive pieces of art in the Turbine Hall, so if you’re interested then keep checking up on what they have there. I plan to take my YP’s sometime if they want to go.

Creative prayer idea: oragami game thing

I haven’t used this idea, and it’s not totally formed yet, but thought I’d share it with you anyway!

Who doesn’t remember making one of these oragami quiz/game things in boring lessons at school? I seem to remember them being particularly good for predicting who you would end up marrying, whilst at the same time being exceptionally excellent at getting that particular fact so very wrong…

Anyway, how about a bit of reclaiming of this old school time filler, as a creative prayer resource (click here for instructions on making/using it). You could either make them beforehand with prayer requests already inside them, or you could get people to make them during a session and fill in their own, or the groups prayer requests. People then play the game in twos and pray for the request they end up landing on. They then take it home with them and continue to use it for prayer during the following week.

Alternatively you could be used in a response time where people write their thoughts, or commitments to actions in the spaces e.g. people could write in things like: ask a random person if you can pray for them today, bless someone financially today, make someone laugh. Then each day they play the game and try to do the thing it lands on.

Or you could write Bible verses in them e.g. verses relating to our identity in God and do something with that.

Basically, you can use it however you like really in a variety of different setting. Let me know how you get on with it if you do use it, I’d be interested to know.

Faithbook: creative prayer idea

Things Needed: Card/thick paper, projector if you want to use the video clip.

This is pretty cheesetastic, but you’ve gota have a bit of cheese once in a while. So Faithbook, basically it’s like Facebook, but on it’s on paper and can be used as a prayer tool.

I used this at a youth group one evening when we were talking about prayer. I got them to fill in their name, and draw on their profile picture. They then filled in the ‘mutual friends’ column as they prayed for their Christian friends, followed by the ‘friend’ section for other people who aren’t Christians. I then asked them to take this home and use the status update boxes to chat to God about whatever is on their heart for that day.

We also watched the clip from my previous post ‘videos’ which is about praying in all circumstances.

To download Faithbook, click here.

Thanks to Viz-a-viz Innovation team for the original Faithbook idea.

Cake or death: video

Eddie Izzard clip about cake or death. Could be a good introduction video when covering themes about what happens when we die.

Awareness Test (Children’s talk)

I played this clip at the beginning of the all age talk in church. I then spoke briefly about tuning in, and being more aware of what God is already doing around us and joining in with that (check out missio dei if you want to know more about the theology behind it).