This is part two of three in a series on the Need for Art in Youth Ministry. In my last post, I pointed out that everyone is an artist, explained the importance of having art in ministry, and outlined the basics of how to plan a prayerful art workshop with youth. This post explores one of the biggest new trends in arts and crafts, Bible journaling, and gives ideas on how you can introduce the process to your youth ministry.
Definition: “Bible Journaling” is a term used to describe the drawing of pictures or words in a Bible, usually a specially designed Bible with wider margins or thicker pages, in order to illustrate the passage. Ideally, the process of journaling helps people to better understand and remember Scripture. In general, the process of Bible journaling includes reading a passage, highlighting words or images that stick out, sketching a picture or words in reaction to the text, and coloring or painting the picture.
Bible Journaling is not for everyone for three main reasons. The first reason is that the process includes drawing in a Bible, and writing in a Holy Bible is a stumbling block for many people. For this reason, it often helps to have a special Bible designed for journaling separate from your usual Bible. Providing a journaling Bible for your students may be cost prohibitive. Secondly, while Bible journaling is designed to bring people closer to God by creatively studying the Bible, if you are not careful, it can become more focused on the ego/talent of the artist. There are thousands of pictures of Bible journaling on social media, which makes it questionable if the hobby is about personal devotion, or trying to get affirmation through Instagram likes. (On the other hand, posting pictures can be encouraging to others and a blessing.) Finally, Bible journaling can be difficult for perfectionists who fear “messing up” as the write or draw in their Bible. Before you begin, you need to give yourself permission to trust the Holy Spirit, have fun, and to allow the process to help you grow closer to God. The goal is not to create an artistic masterpiece, but to enjoy the creative experience.
How to Introduce Bible Journaling to your students
Suggested supplies: Copies of a Scripture passage for each student, pencils, pens, colored pencils, watercolor paints, paintbrushes, crayons.
As I mentioned, Bible journaling is not for everyone, however the process of reflecting artistically on Scripture can be easily introduced in a youth ministry meeting. Instead of beginning with journaling in a Bible, print out copies of a passage of Scripture on paper, making sure there is plenty of margin space. Open the activity with prayer, specifically asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of the Scripture. Have the passage read silently and aloud, allowing for plenty of time to reflect on the passage. Instruct students to underline, highlight, or circle words, phrases or images that stick out. Students then creatively draw, color, write, and react to the text using the pencils, markers, paints or crayons provided. Watercolor paints are a fun and affordable medium to use that allow the words to still be read through the paint. Finally, allow time for students to share their journaling if they would like to share. Close in prayer.
The point of Bible journaling is to bring students closer to God through reading and reflecting on Scripture. The process of creating art may open up a fresh perspective and encourage students to dig deeper into the Bible on their own. If you or your students would like to learn more, here is a link to my Pinterest Board with more Bible journaling instructions and ideas.
I would love to hear about your experiences with Bible journaling with youth.