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Yesterday my church’s faith formation team met to discuss the beginning of the church school season. The Sunday school, youth group, GEMS, and Cadet’s kickoff actives came up and someone shared an idea that I wanted to pass along.

Our programming (especially for GEMS and Youth Group) often has a theme for the year, and we have some artist in our congregation. So the kick-off lends itself well to a group project designing a wall hanging or piece of art that will express the year’s theme and represent the contribution of each child or teen.

A few years ago a particular Psalm was the theme for GEMS. Each of the girls was given a fabric square and a verse within the Psalm to illustrate on the square. Then a quilter from the church sewed the squares together and filled in the gaps to create a lovely pattern. The wall quilt hung in the space where the GEMS met throughout the year.

Similarly, we’ve had the middle school group work with paints to create a large mural, each painting one section in a particular way. Then an artist follows up to tie it all together and create a piece that can be displayed and appreciated throughout the year.

Our youth room has a coffee machine so every couple years the group starts the year off by visiting a paint-your-own pottery place to paint mugs to be used in the room that year.

The value of an art project is that it allows time for kids or teens to sit and talk to one another as they work on their individual sections together. They get to know one another and as a group create something together. The bonus of having an artist involved is that the finished piece turns out to be something that everyone will admire and feel good about! 

What about you? What does your church or program do to kick off the ministry season?  

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