This Object Lesson works best in smaller groups, because the crowd needs to be able to see the Etch-A-Sketches when finished. Lemme explain:
Bring several students up front. Using a few Etch-A-Sketches, have several teams of 2 students compete against each other in drawing a simple picture that you decide upon (something simple like a smiley face, dog, etc). But there’s a catch: teammate 1 will control the knob that moves the drawing tool up/down while teammate 2 controls the knob that moves the drawing tool left/right. Of course, this makes the task slower and more difficult.
Give the teams a time-limit, and play some pumping music in the background. When the time is up, judge the drawings. It’s usually good for a few laughs.
Say, “Under our control, our lives typically end up messy and ugly, just like their pictures. Like these Etch-A-Sketch pictures, we can get so messed up it’s hard to even tell what we’re supposed to be!” (While saying that, take the Etch-A-Sketches and hold them out in front of the group so that everyone can see the poor attempts at drawing.)
Then say, “However God offers redemption and a new, clean slate through His Son Jesus Christ. (Now shake the Etch-A-Sketch back and forth to “clear” it.) No matter how many times we draw out of the lines, or how ugly our life is, God has the power to make us clean.”
Then go on to explain God’s plan for salvation.
NOTE: If you have someone in your group that has artistic ability AND can use an Etch-A-Sketch, you may want to have them draw up a cool picture PRIOR to the discussion. That way you can show them that picture and say, “And with God’s help, our lives take on definition and beauty.” Again, not necessary, but if you have someone who can, why not?
Idea by Neal
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.