Yesterday I wrote about creating a Bible Blackout, being inspired by the work of Austin Kleon and his Newspaper Blackouts. And I’m always looking for new activities to do at youth group and new ways to get youth interacting with scripture, so it seemed like a pretty good idea.
And the youth loved it.
Or maybe it was the Sharpie fumes…I’m not sure – but either way – it’s worth doing sometime with your youth, or with any age group in the church. Here’s how I went about creating Bible Blackouts with the youth.
- Copies of scripture(s)
- Sharpies (I recommend the normal Fine Point for drawing the boxes or circles around the words, and the Chisel Tip for blacking out all of the rest of the text)
- Some thick paper (or something) to put underneath your sheets so you don’t get permanent ink on the table
Introduction: Our group has done Lectio Divina a few times together, so we were used to the idea of listening to a scripture passage and seeing what words stood out to us. If you haven’t done that before, it might be helpful to give just some brief comments about how sometimes when we read scripture or listen to it, some things stand out to us more than others, or we hang on to some words more than others.
Then I gave a little background of Austin Kleon and his Newspaper Blackouts, and how I thought we could do the same thing with scripture – take something that is important and already has meaning, but see what we could create out of it that would be new.
And then I gave basic instructions for creating the blackout (put boxes or circles around the words that stand out to you, and black out the rest of the text…it’s pretty simple).
Leading the Bible Blackout: Then I passed around the sheets with the scripture on it. I decided to go with familiar passages for this first time of doing it, so I passed around Psalm 23 and Matthew 6:5-15. We took the Psalm first, and we all went around the table, reading the Psalm verse by verse, slowly. Once we had read the Psalm, we spent about 5-10 minutes going through the text and creating our Bible Blackouts. The youth were really all into it, which was fun for me to see.
After everyone had created their Bible Blackouts, we went around the circle and shared what we had come up with, and if there was any reason why we went in the direction we did. It was so cool to hear the different prayers and versions of the scripture that people came up with. Then we did it a second time with the Matthew passage.
I think this is such a cool way to get youth (or anyone) to sit down with a passage, to read it carefully, and to see what God might be saying to them through it. In a way, it’s just a different form of lectio divina. And at the end…you’re left with a pretty cool piece of art that you can take with you.
I would highly recommend trying this out at your church. Below are the two Bible Blackouts that I came up with last night.
The LORD keeps me alive,
and you protect me.
You spill faithful love
I will live.