Genesis 1:27; 1 Samuel 16:7; James 2:1–9
To help students think about image and understand that, whatever your image, you are special and valuable.
Things you’ll need
- A flipchart
- Selection of teen magazines.
1 Ask students to think about examples of some of the following:
- a typical business person;
- a typical footballer;
- a typical TV celebrity;
- a typical young person.
Include different examples which you think are relevant to your particular audience, but make sure the last example is the typical young person.
2 Ask a volunteer to come to the front and draw a quick sketch of their idea of one of the typical characters you’ve mentioned (leave the ‘young person’ until last), on a flipchart. Talk about the sketch, then ask for another volunteer to draw another ‘typical’ example. Finally, ask for a volunteer to draw a typical young person.
3 As each drawing is finished, talk about it, asking students for their ideas about what they would expect people like that to wear, or how they would expect them to behave, for example:
- What does the typical footballer/young person wear?
- How do they speak?
- How do they behave?
- What do they do?
4 Talk about the ‘typical’ young person, encouraging students to give some ideas on how typical young people look or behave. There will probably be some difference of opinion!
5 Make the point that when it comes to how we look and live, all of us are searching for identity and acceptance by others: our culture seems to put lots of emphasis on body-image. Give some examples from current teen magazines (eg Bliss, Cosmo Girl), TV programmes or celebrities. Comment that people worry about how they look, being too thin, too fat, too spotty or too tall etc.
6 Give some examples of how the pressure to ‘look good’ has caused illnesses for some people like bulimia, anorexia and depression. Some people get bullied because they haven’t got the ‘right’ image.
1 Ask the students to think about their image, encouraging reflection and feedback with questions like:
- What kind of image do you project to others?
- Is it the real you?
- What do others think of you?
- What do you think of yourself?
- How do you think God sees you?
2 Say that Christians believe God has made people in his own image, and that he loves each person for themself and has made them special, whatever they look like. Comment that this means we can know we’re OK – you don’t have to have some other ‘right’ image. It also means we need to accept others, whatever they’re like, and treat them with respect and care.
3 If it’s appropriate, read these Bible verses: 1 Samuel 16:7; James 2:2–4,8.
1 Ask students to think about their own image. Is this a true reflection of what they are really like, or is it a mask?
2 Ask them how they think God sees them, as he looks at their thoughts and attitudes to others.
3 Remind them that Christians believe that whatever they are like – tall, short, thin, fat, spotty, super-model, clever, sporty or not – God loves them and thinks they’re special. Created by God, that’s the only ‘image’ that’s important.