The following Lenten creative project is an adaptation of a previous post, but new-and-improved after the teens who tried it out took a better approach than the one I had planned. As Lent is intended to be a season of introspection, of looking inward (inspired by the story of Jesus' forty days of discernment in the wilderness), inviting youth to create a self portrait can be a way of encouraging them to look within themselves.
Supplies needed: LCD or overhead projector, pencils, colored construction paper, scissors, glue, magazines, markers.
Opening: Set up an overhead projector or LCD projector to cast the shadow of each person's silhouette on the wall. Invite teens to pair up, tape piece of construction paper to the wall and help each other trace their silhouettes onto the paper. Next, have each person cut out their silhouette and glue it onto a contrasting color sheet of construction paper. Provide the group with lots of magazines or other scrap ephemera and challenge them to cut out words, symbols and photos that reveal who they are on the inside: their likes, dislikes, gifts, loves, hopes, fears, limitations, doubts and so on. They then glue these onto their profile. You might also invite the group to look for words and images that they feel help to describe their fellow group members and to share them with each other (in our box of scraps I came across a map of Texas which was perfect for the girl in the group who was able to find her hometown on the map and add it to her portrait).
When finished, give everyone a marker and ask them to go around and write descriptive and affirming words about the other group members in the blank space around each person's silhouette. Challenge youth to meditate on their portraits and make a Lenten practice of looking inward and considering where they may want to make changes in their attitudes, behaviors, and priorities in life and faith.
Closing: You might want to share the music video of "Remind Me Who I Am" by Jason Gray, a perfect Lenten song. Close by reading together Psalm 139.