Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    Community Builder: Affirmation Circle

    Jesus' ministry was often to those who were the outcasts and the forgotten in his culture.  Time and again he empowered them to see themselves not as the discarded or the insignificant but as God's beloved children.  The world might be a more compassionate and peaceful place if more people embraced this simple truth and truly trusted it.  I'm a firm believer that we can't really learn to fully love others until we learn to fully love ourselves.

    With that in mind, invite youth into a simple experience of affirming each other as an expression of love and care for their fellow youth group members.  Tape a simple, white paper plate to each person's back and give everyone a magic marker.  Invite youth to mill around the room as they take time to write one or more affirming words on each person's plate.  Challenge them to think of descriptive words or phrases that describe each person's unique qualities.  When finished, take off each person's plate and write their name on the back.  Consider closing your meeting by sharing and discussing Psalm 139 and passing out the plates for youth to take home and hang in their rooms as a reminder that they are wonderfully made...and as a daily challenge to see others this way, too.


    Christopher Wesley said...

    Nice and simple suggestion, great for the students to hear something positive. One thing I find hard is for the students to really find authentic affirmations. A lot of the time when we've asked them to affirm someone, it's something like, "I like your shirt." It would be great if we could get them to look deeper, but then again I know teens who's days have been made when you compliment a piece of clothing that they are wearing.
    Right now we have a small group with only two girls (looking to recruit more), but one girl is special needs and the other is a little frustrated. I think an exercise like this could really help break the ice.

    Brian said...

    That's an excellent point. Often when I do this activity I rule out affirmations of a person's appearance and encourage youth to focus on a person's abilities or character. All of us, I guess, (not just teens) tend to focus on the superficial and it takes some pratice to learn to see each other more deeply.