Does your youth ministry observe the liturgical season of Advent? If not, your youth may be missing out on the whole reason for the season.
With Christmas music and decorations appearing in stores in the middle of October, it's a sure sign that our culture needs to slow down and cultivate the spiritual practice of waiting. Though many churches ignore the liturgical calendar, the way our culture runs headlong into the Christmas season (before we've even tasted Thanksgiving turkey) reminds us why our youth need the Advent season of waiting and contemplation.
In the coming days, we'll be sharing a number of new ideas for helping your youth ministry find meaning in the season of Advent, as well as highlighting some of our favorite ideas and links from past years.
Idea #1: Advent Themes
My youth ministry is a cooperative effort with another local church and last Friday night our lock-in centered on a great creative project. We set the youth loose to create works of art centered on the themes of advent. After getting a quick lesson on collage from an artist, the youth proceeded to gather together scrap materials, magazines, odds and ends, glue, paint, brushes and anything else they could find to spur the creative imagination. They then worked together on large sheets of cardboard to create art pieces, each focused on a different theme of advent: Peace, Hope, Love, and Joy.
The teens were encouraged to think abstractly, working without too much planning and just striving to express the feeling of each theme word. Some youth spent their whole time on one art piece. Others rotated around and added something to every piece. The image above was created as a collage of faces cut out of magazines. The favorite creation was the "peace" image below. Think about trying this with your group and then displaying each themed painting outside your sanctuary or worship space on the corresponding Sunday. Perhaps include some scripture texts or a written devotion for reflection.