Ministry Internship, Brazil 2001

While looking out over Rio de Janeiro,
Christ the Redeemer in full view,
I saw a city beaming with light.
And I knew I’d never see the world the same.
There are no wasted spaces.
Even in the darkest places, light can break in.
Joy is real. And it can enter us all.

I’ve been using the words “stations” and “spaces” synonymously over the last few months to describe what we do on the last Wednesday of every month.

I wonder if “stations” really describe what we’re trying to do here, getting students to places where they are safe to pray, to think, to reflect, and react in their own ways.

I guess that’s why “spaces” seem like maybe a better way to describe the whole set up because every teenager has a little bit of space–a spot of their own to listen and to make their own mark for what’s going on in their heart.

At the same time, if we are standing at a train station, all of us together–we still have the option of boarding the train but disembarking at different times and in different places to go in different directions. I like that too.

Image: Art & Culture, Immerse Journal

So, I’m not sure which I like better, stations or spaces. Regardless, the goal is the same and I hope that every month we work on the ideas together that this goal stays at the center… setting the space to amplify God’s Word and voice in the life and heart of a teenager.

My leanings this month come from the article From the Block to the Crew (Immerse Journal Crew–seriously people, I’m still camping out in this issue from four months ago! I can finally get caught up and read the two fresh issues sitting on my desk. Thank you for what you provide and how you inspire.)

Here are the art stations that my friend Emily Johnson dreamed up in our dialogue. She makes samples of each response that are helpful for students trying to get started. Find someone who enjoys art in your church and set them loose. The ideas and creativity are endless.

A CITY FULL OF JOY

We have a gnawing sense that God’s spirit is moving in our spaces, giving life and beauty to that which seems wasted and unredeemable. 

 *(Adaptation: From the Block to the Crew, Brandon Winstead)

Art Space 1:
Focus: Life Still Thrives In Our City
In “Beautiful” Eminem shares how despite depression and struggles, he is still able to see life and hope find its way into the neighborhoods of Detroit. He sees vacant lots and abandoned buildings, but in the midst of this he still sees kids playing and families sitting together on porches. In the middle of the brokenness he sees life.
Verse: 2 Corinthians 6:10 Our hearts ache but we have joy. We are poor but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing but we have everything.
Materials: cardstock, pencils, and neon colored markers
  • Students will use pencil to draw a broken, abandoned, and forgotten place. 
  • Think litter, trash, boarded up buildings, fences, barriors…
  • Don’t use any color at this point. Just use your pencil to draw and shade.
  • Now add a symbol for life and hope in the middle of that place.
  • A symbol means something that stands for something else. So think of something that symbolizes hope and life.
  • Examples could be flower, water, tree, children, balloons
  • Make this symbol of hope in color. It will be the only thing that is in color on your drawing to show the importance of it.
Art Space 2: (High School Option)
Focus: Respond to Jay-z’s lyric that says, “Even Jesus can’t save you.”
Jay-z, a hip hop artist has a song lyric, “Even Jesus can’t save you.” The lyric shows how lost a person can become believing that not even Jesus can save them.

Verse: Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be.
 

Verse:Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars.
 
Materials: card stock, pencil, and neon markers
  • Students will sketch a spray paint can with spray coming out
  • In the spray they will write a response to this lyric
  • It may just be a twist of the words to say, “Jesus can save even me.”
  • Or they may wish to go deeper and explain what it means to them to have the hope that Jesus is capable to saving everyone in every corner of the earth, in every neighborhood, on every street.
  • This should make them think. Is there anyone that is so lost that not even Jesus can save?Is Jesus capable of turning around any life? 
  • Share With Others Option: Have students write a letter to someone they love by telling them what they know about Jesus and how much he loves them.
Art Space 3:
Focus: Broken Places Being Redeemed 
Hip Hop artist Talib Kweli, of Brooklyn, raps about his neighborhood being beautified and redeemed. This same image is seen in the bible about the restoration of Israel.
Verse: Ezekiel 36:33-36 I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt…This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cites now have strong walls and are filled with people!
Materials: paper bricks, a large white paper with the drawing of a brick wall in black marker, glue sticks, oil pastels
  • Students will take a paper brick from a pile on the floor that symbolizes desolation and ruins
  • Think about what it means for a wasteland to be restored to beauty.
  • This is what God specializes in!
  • God loves the dirt and the broken places of the world.
  • Students will draw rays of light on the bricks as a symbol for redemption with oil pastels
  • They will then take their brick and glue it to the large white paper drawing of a brick wall
  • Slowly the wall will be rebuilt as students add their bricks to the wall.
Art Space 4:
Focus: Flat Bill Hat turned into a work of art

Verse: Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Materials: Flat bill hats and sharpies 

The flat bill hat is a symbol of modern hip hop.
Students will use sharpies to draw on a few white hats. They will add color as an expression of God beautifying brokenness. Each student will write the word “hope” in their own handwriting and in many different colors. Every area of the hat should be filled with color and the world “hope”

September Stations | Windows and Words
October Stations | Space to Lament Space to Celebrate

If you would like PDFs of this month’s non-art stations, comment with your email and we’ll send them along to you.

One of the non-art stations this month will be a live graffiti installment on a baby grand piano. The piano will be at the center of the room for students to sit around and hear worship being led by Jessie Goodman of Carver Village of Hope. Click here to hear her voice and heart. We hope to see the piano covered with thoughts born in prayer and in response to God’s amazing grace and love. Can’t wait to see how the Spirit moves and reveals.

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