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.
CYMT is excited about its newest endeavor, Theology Together. Theology Together educates both teenagers and youth workers as they engage in theological reflection, spiritual practice, vital service, and vocational discernment. The Theology Together process produces reflective action that is embedded in the fabric of youth ministry in all of its contexts. We believe strongly that youth are theologians and belong at the center of tough, life-changing dialogue around faith, relationships, and life. We place teenagers in the driver seat alongside their youth pastors and leaders, equipping each individual to think differently about youth ministry, to provoke a sense of awe and wonder: a WOW moment.
Youth theology is theology built upon the simple doctrinal principle of the priesthood of all believers, and takes that principle right down to its natural conclusion: that all believers, including youth, teens, adolescents, etc. are theologians. It is theology that values all youth as theologians. Here we will share with you how to engage with youth theology in your own ministry.
A few weeks ago, we shared the launch of Theology Together 2.0. Today, Dwight (the director of Theology Together) will be sharing with us one experience […]