Enhancer of Joy
Lesson Developed by
Rev. Ruben Ortiz
Using Our Minds to Help Bring About Transformation
Tips to Prepare
Create a list of things for students to take a picture of. These items should be easy such as a ceiling vent, a plant leaf, a pew, etc. Then include on the list more specific and tougher things to photograph such as the bottom right front leg of a chair with a bottom up angle, the tip of a light switch from the left side, one stretched out staple, etc. Additionally, include more imaginative things such as something green from nature, something over 6ft tall, something that squeaks, etc.
- List of things to photograph
- Cell phones
- Colored pencils or markers
- Drawing paper or easel pad
Setting the Atmosphere
The youth group will be moving around and photographing things during this session. Ensure that there is sufficient space and variety of things for them to take pics of.
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The goal of this session is to introduce young people to the idea of prophetic imagination. To give them the space and time to begin understanding the concept and begin practicing a spiritual way to imagine a better future.
In this session, participating students will practice looking at things from a different perspective. They will work together to creatively demonstrate personal and/or collective transformation.
For more on perception and how our mind sees things read Ways of Seeing by John Berger.
Gather (5 minutes)
- Opening Prayer
- Greeting One Another
- Introduction of Session: Welcome the students and express your joy in seeing each of them. Say: we have approximately 37 trillion cells in our body. These cells frequently renew themselves. It has been said that it takes about 7 years for all of the cells in our body to renew the selves. Therefore, we may be an entire biologically new person every 7 years! However, there are aspects of our lives that we have to be more intentional about renewing. Read today’s passage. Then state that doing the same things over and over does not change us. However, we have to challenge ourselves with new ways to break old habits, move away from “the pattern of this world,” and fit better into the will of God. Share that today’s activities will require us to use our bodies and our minds to be creative and imaginative.
Engage (30 minutes)
• Activity 1: Word Game
Do a word game aloud to get the group’s minds warmed up for creative writing. Sit in a circle. Have a student begin by saying “I am going to the _________ (have them state a destination) and I am going to bring _________ (an item which begins with the first letter in the alphabet). The difficulty is that each person must first recite the objects that each other person chose to bring before adding his/her own object beginning with the following letter in the alphabet. This continues around the circle until the list ends with the letter “z”. Example: The first person will begin by saying, “I am going to a concert and I am going to take an axe. The next student will say “I am going to a concert and I am going to take an axe and a baton. The following student will say: “I am going to a concert and I am going to take an axe, a baton, and a couch. It’s hard to remember each item, so remind the group to listen closely!
• Activity 2: Picture This!
This is an unusual take on a scavenger hunt activity which allow young people to make use of their creative abilities as well as their photographic talents. Each team should have a cell-phone (for use of the clock and to take photos). The leader will give them a list of items they have to hunt down and photograph. Break the group into several teams, depending on the size of the youth group. Give the teams a specific length of time to complete photographing as many items as possible, after which they have to return regardless of whether they have completed the task. The team that has taken pictures of the most items in the most creative way wins. Encourage each team member to be as creative and imaginative as possible in deciding which photos to take – their choices may surprise you. Less obvious photos get extra points, so watch out for the unexpected.
Reflect (20 minutes)
• Activity 3:
Bring the young people back together and have them talk about the activity. Then have each team draw their most imaginative picture and share it with the larger group. Address the youth group by repeating the Bible verse of the day. Say that thinking deeply is hard work. Our minds and bodies generally go through each day on auto. In other words, we mostly follow the same patterns from when we get up in the morning to when we go back to bed at night. This Bible passage encourages us to “renew our minds.” We must constantly work our minds to explore, learn, imagine, think, seek, grow, etc. Our daily routine usually does not encourage this. By taking pics of things from a different angle it allows us to see things from a perspective we may not see every day. Society pressures us to conform to their lifestyle, values and norms. However, we are to align our lives with His desires for us. This make take some creativity and imagination. It may take some prophetic imagination. In other words, we have to put our minds and spirit to work at imagining a different future. A future with a more intimate relationship with God. A future where everyone has equal opportunities. A more just world. Ask and Discuss: Who here can imagine how this could happen? What are the things we need to start thinking about now, in order to get there in the near future? When are the best times in our lives to take moments like these aside to imagine these things? Where do we need to focus on first, second, and third? Why is it that we have a need to be continually transformed?
Send Forth (5 minutes)
- Sum-It-Up: After a time of this discussion the young people will sum up the time together. Have each team document one transformative aspect of either their lives, the youth group, their church, their community, or the world. They must do this in a creative way such as a drawing, colored pencil painting, poetry, lyrics for a song, etc. You can prompt them with ideas such as a drawing of a local public school that has ethnic diversity, with freedom of religious expression, whose focus is on creating peace in the community.
- Closing Prayer
• Sum-It-Up: After a time of this discussion the young people will sum up the time together. Have each team document one transformative aspect of either their lives, the youth group, their church, their community, or the world. They must do this in a creative way such as a drawing, colored pencil painting, poetry, lyrics for a song, etc. You can prompt them with ideas such as a drawing of a local public school that has ethnic diversity, with freedom of religious expression, whose focus is on creating peace in the community.
• Closing Prayer