I think every church youth room in America should have a wall of pictures. Why? Because, pictures tell the story of your youth ministry.
Let me offer four reasons you should have more pictures in your youth room.
The Original Instagram
A picture wall is where students see themselves in the story of your youth ministry and their faith journey. Students can see where they started and where they are now. I my youth room, we started taking a group picture every week so students will see who was there and the guests we had. I take the pictures and put them in a poster frame and every week.
Taking the group pic got old so I just started snapping random pics and putting them up. Students still stop and look at the pics to see what I captured.
This is my first year with this group and in a few months I will take the pictures out and let students sort through them and reflect on events, their faith journey (who they were and who they are now) and where we are as a youth ministry.
Your youth ministry has a past, a present and a future
When a new student shows up to an event, it’s like they’re coming in late to a movie they haven’s seen.A picture wall allows them to catch up quickly by seeing pics of events, meetings, etc.and they are deciding if they want to be a part of the movie you’re making.
I think teens, like all people, think in one-offs so a meeting is just a meeting until they see that this is one meeting among 52 others. A picture wall show that your youth meeting is more than that; that’s it’s a family that gathers together, travels togethers, worships together and laughs together.
A picture wall shares your youth ministry’s narrative and spiritual journey
Are their pictures of kids at an altar or being baptized on your wall? If not, your are missing an opportunity to show the spiritual progress of the students you lead and whet the appetite of guests who may be wondering what this whole Jesus thing is about.
Capturing spiritual moments should b tasteful. I wouldn’t put up a picture of a girl having an ugly cry during worship or a guy responding to an altar call about pornography. Context is everything so be careful with the pictures you do put up and if you have questions, ask the student if it’s ok to put it up.
These next two reasons came from my friend Mark.
Visitors can see themselves in your story
If you were a visitor, and came to an event, within one week you could come back and see yourself up on the wall. There was a serious power in seeing yourself become a part of the room as the picture was kind of a permanent way to say, “yeah you’re part of our youth ministry now“
What did I miss?
Another important function was that if you missed a youth ministry event we wanted to pictures to make you feel like absolute crap for doing something other than coming and having fun with us. We put up the pictures that said “boy you missed something amazing and fun“.
Mark also had a great idea for using pictures at the end of the year,
“One final an amazing function of our pictures happened when we had our transition program for the outgoing seniors to the juniors. It’s an evening where our seniors talk about the impact of the youth ministry and challenge the next class to step up their leader ship to the other grades. One of our traditions became to pull down the pictures of the seniors and put them on tables for them to take away with them to college/future”
I’m dressing up my picture wall and you can too.
I also have over 35 room idea videos here 👇
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