Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    COMMUNITY BUILDER: Picture Scramble

    Challenge your youth ministry to work together as a community to create a shared story using only pictures.

    I just received the children's picture book Zoom, by Istvan Banyai, in the mail. It's an amazing wordless text which starts with a very simple image (a rooster's red comb) and in each subsequent page the image slowly moves backward, revealing more and more about what you are seeing. So, an overhead image of children on a farm pulls back to reveal it is really just a tabletop toy farm being played with by a young girl. The image pulls back further to show that the girl is really just an image on the front of a magazine being held by a sleeping person. And on and on until we end up out in space with the earth just a tiny dot. You can see the whole sequence of images here.

    I've been waiting for awhile to get a copy of this book to use it for a team-building activity I first saw somewhere on the web. Here's how it works: get a paperback copy and separate out all the pages. Pass one page to each group member. Explain that each of them holds an image that is part of a story and their challenge is to put all the pages in the correct order in order to tell the full story. The catch: no one is allowed to look at any other person's picture. This means they will have to talk with each other, sharing information, trying to figure out the "bigger picture." As the group begins to discern the sequence, they should begin to lay out the pages in order on the floor, but with the images face down, still keeping the images a secret except to their owner. When the group thinks they have the sequence complete, turn them over and check your work.

    There would be lots of ways to follow up this activity if you don't want to use it strictly as a icebreaker. Invite your youth to discuss how each person in the group brings something unique to share and each adds to the group's "story." Perhaps apply this activity to the way the Bible represents our faith story as a bringing together of lots of stories from different people, places, and times. How are we still adding to that story of faith today in the ways that we live in community with each other and the world?


    Jay Miklovic said...

    How about a follow up on this... did you use it? How did it go. It seems almost too hard, but maybe not.

    We had a retreat this past week and the entire focus was anger, and it was absolutely fascinating the way some of the youth opened up. I was an engineer before becoming a YP so artsy type stuff isn't really my deal, but I got this idea (which I thought would flop big time) of writing Haiku to express anger. When I get an idea that I hate, normally it is of the Lord cause I never would have done it.

    Anyway, anger Haiku turned out amazing and the kids articulated things they never would have shared in regular spoken form. So if you ever get a dweeby idea like Haiku, do not just write it off too quickly, lol.

    Brian said...

    Jay, I finally got a chance to try this activity last Sunday and it did work really well. As my class is small, I didn't use all the pages of the book. The youth really got into the activity and it was a good way for them to practice working together and communicating with each other. Once we had the pictures in the right order, I then said "Ok, share with me how this whole activity might in some reflect how the Church is supposed to be." They had lots of great responses -- repsonses I likely wouldn't have heard if I'd just started with the question rather than the activity. If you try this, let me know how it goes.

    P.S. Love the Haiku idea!