"Grant us wisdom to make wise use of technology, that we might experience your presence in our daily lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen."
Connecting Scripture and Social Media
We live in a world saturated by technology and images. With this in mind, we designed an all-ages activity to help youth and adults talk about how technology can inspire faith. The 'product' of the activity is scripture-based graphics for social media.
You have probably seen such graphics/images on Facebook or other platforms. There is usually a background image overlaid with words of text – often from scripture or a prayer. You may have wondered where these inspirational graphics come from. Well, people make them... and so can you!
A Church Activity for All Ages: Making Social Media Graphics
We gathered for our graphics-making activity a few weeks before Advent, but the activity could easily be adapted for Lent, Easter or a sermon series. At the end of the evening, we had a meaningful set of graphics, created by the group, to share on our church’s social media sites.
A variety of photographs (at least 4 per person)
Seasonal Scriptures or prayers
Graphics app, like Canva
Social media account
Place all of the images in the center of the room. As participants arrive, ask them to choose one image that reminds them of God. When everyone has arrived have each person share briefly why they chose the image. Return the images to the center of the room.
The leader introduces the activity by mentioning the number of images we see per day (up to 5000!) and the amount of screen time people have per day. It is easy to become distracted from God in the digital world.
Ask the adults and youth which apps, sites and tools help them to practice their faith. At our gathering I was impressed by the variety of ways people used their phones for faith practices: Bible trivia apps, daily prayer apps, scripture verse wall paper and social media articles were all mentioned. Let them know that the purpose of this activity is to find ways that their screen time can contribute positively to their faith.
Next, put the scriptures and prayers you are using into context. Briefly mention what books of the Bible they are from, what types of literature they are and any themes that connect the chosen scriptures.
Have adults and youth break into groups of 3-4. Give each group a different scripture or prayer. Ask participants to read the passages, discuss their meanings and relate them to their own lives. Then, ask each group to find a photograph from the center of the room that best relates to their reading of the scripture. Finally, use a highlighter to mark the section of the verse that they would like to match with their image.
Allow groups to share their pairings, explaining how they chose each one. If participants have their own devices and the images are available digitally, they can easily design their own graphics. Otherwise, the leader or youth may create the digital graphics later. We used Canva, which you can learn more about with this article from Building Faith.
Spreading the Love with Social Media
This is an activity which keeps on giving! Share the images one at a time to the entire congregation through email or social media. The images might make great bulletin cover art, too! Let participants know where to look for the finished product. Hopefully, the graphics will be a reminder to read scripture throughout the week.
Gracious and Holy God, We give thanks for your Word and for the beauty of your creation we see in photographs and the world around us. Grant us wisdom to make wise use of technology, that we might experience your presence in our daily lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Christine V. Hides is the Director of Faith Formation at Grace United Methodist Church in Lake Bluff, IL, a mother of two, and a student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She writes about Christian education at Bless Each One.