Time for fresh thinking
Youth work is not always the first place to embrace genuine creativity. Even as we’ve journeyed through the digital revolution — the biggest cultural upheaval since the industrial boom of the 1800s — we’ve somehow still managed to tread a familiar path. Sunday school for slightly older kids; fun activities which build a bit of community and then tire young people out enough for them to sit quietly as you teach the Bible. Let’s be honest: the average church youth group in 2020 looks a lot like the average church youth group did in 1990.
It’s time for fresh thinking, and that’s where Showcase comes in. What if we empowered young people to explore and unleash their creative gifts, as a central part of our work together? What if we gave young people just enough guidance to set them off in the right direction on a whole host of creative projects, and then created a space where they could present and talk about them? And what if we didn’t just see this as an extra fun activity to help get them quiet and settled before we teach them, but potentially as the place in which all of us — leaders and young people together — could explore and learn more about our faith?
In this book, we give you 30 alternative ideas for exploring young people’s creativity, and giving them a chance to think and express themselves theologically through this.
The six chapters cover six broad creative areas: art; writing; food; music & dance; photo & video; construction. In each chapter you’ll find several activity guides focussing on specific mediums: from spoken word to script writing; baking to movie trailers and nature photography; dance to digital art & building design. We give you a few simple steps and examples to get started—so you’re fine you’ve never tried it before—and then ideas for what exactly you could get young people in your group doing. You’ll get unique challenges to try out, which include a theological dimension—using that art form to engage with and express questions of faith. We’ve made it to be accessible and adaptable: a guide for newcomers as well as a launchpad for your own creative ideas.
Then at the end, you’ll find a few reflections from us on how we piloted it, what did and didn’t work, and what we learned. Our prayer is that you’ll be able to build on this foundation, and find a new and refreshing way to engage with your young people, in whatever context you’re currently working.
Showcase is a fresh approach to youth ministry that explores how human creativity can help us think about and connect with Christian faith.
Books, Creative Resources
"Showcase provides you with a wide variety of ideas for helping and motivating young people in creative projects, and for then finding a mechanism to exhibit what they’ve made. If this is all you choose to do with the resource, then it will certainly have been worthwhile. This in itself will have a range of benefits for young people, from contributing to their emotional well-being, to giving them the confidence to show and talk about their work to others. It’ll unearth talents among your young people that you — and perhaps they — never knew were there. And it will add an energy to your youth ‘meetings’, whatever form they take, which comes from the collaboration and democratisation of the creative process."
Martin Saunders Director of Innovation, Youthscape