What do you do when your tween is too old for VBS and too young for the heavier issues of high school, but you still want to give them a love for Jesus?
When my daughter, Daley, was in fourth grade, she began to struggle with the issues of identity, faith, and just plain growing up. Like many moms, I wanted something more for her. I wanted her to believe in her God-given gifts and talents. I also wanted her to know she was special and uniquely made with a purpose and a plan. Most importantly, I wanted her to know Jesus.
When I searched for tween curriculum, and couldn’t find the perfect blend of age-appropriate topics, I decided to write and design my own studies. Being an artist and graphic designer, I used art as a creative tool to explore and remember the Bible. Little did I know, I was about to launch into a 10-year adventure of developing a non-profit ministry called ThouArtExalted where our mission is to creatively equip this generation to know Christ.
But what’s the importance of art?
Using the word C.R.E.A.T.E, here are six reasons I use art to teach God’s Word:
1. Art reflects the C-reator
Did you know the fifth word in the Bible is create? I love this! We were made by the Creator in His image and are called His masterpiece.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
Not only are we a reflection of God’s image (Genesis 1:27) but God’s artwork is all around us displayed in the beauty of creation. Think about the color of the ocean, or the texture of a hedgehog, or the pattern in a simple leaf. It’s amazing! I believe that when we create, we are tapping into the creative side of God Himself. Art inspires us to discover the “good things he planned for us long ago, so that we can walk into them!” Art teaches us the creative side of God and also reveals who we are as individual masterpieces.
2. Art R-eminds us of Scripture
At ThouArtExalted, every piece of art we create is a reflection of Scripture. It’s a tangible and accessible reminder of God’s promises. We study a passage of Scripture, then create a visual connection through art. Just like Jesus used parables to teach people Biblical concepts, I believe art is a powerful memory tool for teaching and connecting with the Word of God.
“When I study Bible Studies with Ms. Annie, it always helps me remember, pieces that I have done with art, because on each one of these pieces there are different Scriptures. For instance, this one helps me to remember that I am an individual, and I don’t have to be like anyone else.” – Caroline Grace.
3. Art is E-vangelistic
From the paintings of the Last Supper to stained glass windows, art has always been an evangelical tool and powerful form of worship. Great art can be a compelling, yet also a practical form of communication. ThouArtExalted’s art pieces are designed to be tools that share the good news of Jesus. I have walked into many girls’ bedrooms where they can explain why the art reflects Scripture and what it means to them personally. Not only does it encourage their personal journey with Christ, but also can be used as a way to talk about their faith with their friends. Art becomes an evangelistic tool and opens the door to share the true meaning of Scripture.
4. Art is A-rtistic
Art allows us to explore our artistic side. I can hear you saying, “But, I am not artistic!” This is simply not true. Because we are created in the image of the Master Artist, we are all creative. Art is not limited to a canvas. It can be gardening, sowing, cooking, drawing, building, or even communicating. There is no limit for creativity. Breaking the belief that we are not all creative is freeing! I see girls and women who cower at an art project because someone told them long ago they were not creative. Bah-humbug! ThouArtExalted believes that while we are not all “fine” artists, but we are all “fun” artists! We are all artistic.
5. Art is T-herapeutic
Art allows us to let go of the worries of this world and be still in the present moment. When a group of girls gather together, I see the weight of the world fall off their shoulders. And while they might be a little intimidated to get paint on their hands, once they step into the creative process, they seem to let go of all the burdens they are carrying. There is laughter, smiles, and fellowship. New friendships are made and memories are being sowed. Art is a safe place to cast off stress and allow God’s seed to be planted in their hearts.
6. Art is E-ncouraging
In today’s social media-driven society, tween girls are facing a real “identity crisis” as they wrestle with feelings of intense inadequacy, distorted desires, and obsession with appearance and performance. When they begin to focus on creating a piece of art that reflects who they are in Christ, it breaks down walls of insecurity and frees them from the pressure to perform. Creating art encourages them to use their imagination and discover who they are as a masterpiece created by God. Art helps us to celebrate our uniqueness and not get weighed down by comparison and jealousy. Art liberates and encourages us to know that God has made each and every one of us with a special purpose and a plan.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
My passion is to creatively teach the Word of God and help tweens know they are loved by the Creator who is crazy about them! And I bet, you are a mom like me, who loves her girls and longs to share the love of Christ with them.
If your daughter loves to create, but you shy away from “artsy” things because you think you’re not creative, I want to encourage you! You CAN do it. God created you to be creative. Creativity is a process. It’s a journey. It’s not always perfect. And sometimes, it’s about the lesson of perseverance and not so much about the end result.
I am your biggest cheerleader!
If you’re interested in ThouArtExalted’s art-based Bible studies for tween/teen girls, you can visit our website at www.thouartexalted.com to learn more. Don’t forget to download ThouArtExalted’s FREE daily devotional app for tween/teen girls. We are reading through the entire New Testament in ONE YEAR! Click here to download: http://get.theapp.co/998f
Today, ThouArtExalted has developed nine art-based Bible studies for girls, including one Mother/Daughter devotional study, as well as three Bible studies for middle school boys. Two Bible studies are written for women, PLANTED: Sit, Stand, and Walk with Jesus and Riding Tandem: Leaning into the Leading of God.
“Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11King James Version (KJV)