Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission.
by Brian Kirk
Mini-Altars Help Students Keep God with Them
During the exile, the Israelites came to understand that God didn’t dwell in just one particular place but that God’s presence could be experienced anywhere. Yet how many of our students believe that worship of God mostly happens in the confines of a church sanctuary one hour a week?
To encourage teens to develop a practice of tuning into God’s presence the whole week long, invite them to create mini-altars or worship centers. These can be carried in pockets or backpacks and used as visual inspiration for moments of prayer throughout the day.
The process for making these pocket altars is simple and allows for each person’s individual expression. Encourage teens to consider what focus they want for their mini-altars. They might want them to remind them of things for which they are thankful, images from nature, words of Scripture, and so on.
You’ll need one empty Altoid-like tin for each person (can be purchased at a craft store) and a variety of art supplies. It helps to use sand paper or steel wool to take off some of the outside paint on the tin first. Students can decorate the tins with acrylic paint, or decoupaged images and words cut out of magazines. Small objects like buttons and shells can be easily attached on the inside or outside of the box using a hot glue gun or Diamond Glaze.
Encourage teens to consider placing helpful items inside the tin such as a written prayer, a passage of Scripture, mini icon images, a cross, photographs, a small votive candle, and so on. When they are finished decorating, consider spraying the inside and outside of the tins with clear spray glaze to protect the decoration.
See below a pocket altar I made myself, or check out these other examples.