Graffiti Leader's Guide: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves

Graffiti Leader's Guide: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves

by Erin Davis

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781575673943
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 80
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others. She is the author of many books including Connected, Beyond Bath Time, and the My Name is Erin series. When she's not writing books, you can find Erin chasing down chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.
ERIN DAVIS is the founder of Graffiti Ministries, an organization dedicated to addressing the issues of identity, worth, and true beauty in the lives of young women. A popular speaker, author and blogger, Erin has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others. She is the author of several books including Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess:Embracing Humility in an All About Me World, The Bare Facts with Josh McDowell and the Lies Young Women Believe Companion Guide with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. Erin and her husband, Jason work with youth and families at their church in Southwest Missouri. They are the parents of two adorable boys, Eli and Noble.

Read an Excerpt

Graffiti Leader's Guide

Learning to See the Art in Ourselves

By Erin Davis

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2008 Erin Davis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57567-394-3



Note: If you are using this guide for an eight-session retreat, this session will be used to welcome the girls in attendance and set the tone for the weekend. If you are using this guide as an eight-week curriculum, this session will serve as a kickoff for the remainder of the study.

THE GOAL: To begin to build unity among your group and introduce the universal nature of beauty struggles among girls.


1. Human bingo sheet

2. Small gift for each girl (optional; small group leaders may choose something for team unity, such as matching T-shirts, bandanas, glow-in-the-dark jewelry)

3. Large sheets of sketch paper (one for each girl)

4. Art supplies: markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

5. A copy of Graffiti: Learning to See The Art in Ourselves for each girl

6. Journals for each girl and pens

7. Name tags

8. CDs, player

9. Equipment/space for break time games; or plan a different activity


1. Read chapter 1 in Graffiti.

2. Preview study guide materials.

3. Set up/decorate large livable space for your group.

4. Prepare name tag/arrival station.

5. Purchase lots and lots of yummy snacks!


Take some time to greet the girls who have attended your Graffiti event. Introduce yourself and the other adult leaders. This would be a great time to announce small group assignments.

Groups can be assigned in advance or just before the retreat begins if you did not require preregistration. There are lots of ways to assign your groups. You can do it based on age or grade, church affiliation, or something more random like favorite color or sport. I would not recommend letting girls choose their own groups as this can cause hurt feelings and prevent your participants from mingling with one another.

Encourage your small group leaders to be enthusiastic about their group assignments and to be prepared with a small gift for each girl in their group (suggestions above). Let the girls know that this event is about girl time and that they should feel free to be themselves. Give them a preview of the weekend by sharing part of your beauty testimony or having another adult prepared to share, but keep it light for now. This is the time for lots of fun and giggles. They will have time for more serious conversations soon.

Game: Icebreaker (10 minutes)

It is possible that the girls who attend your Graffiti event won't all know each other. Even if they do, it is important to get them talking and interacting as soon as possible. After welcoming them, do a few icebreaker activities. You can choose from the examples below or create your own.

Cooperative Musical Chairs

Have your students form a circle of chairs and then remove one chair. Much like traditional musical chairs, students will move in a circle around the chairs until the music stops. However, unlike the original game, once the music stops, the person without a seat is not out. Someone must make room for her by sharing her chair. Then, remove another seat and keep playing. Before long, the girls will be getting close to each other, literally, as they all try to fit into fewer and fewer chairs.


Have students form a circle facing each other. Then chose one person to leave the room while the group chooses a leader. The leader's job is to make movements for the rest of the group to mimic. Examples could include snapping, licking her lips, sticking out her tongue, or hopping on one foot. The leader will start with one movement and change her movements frequently. The job of the rest of the group is to mimic the movements of the leader without revealing who the leader is. The volunteer should be brought back into the room and placed in the center of the circle. Her job is to watch the group and try to figure out who the leader is. It is a game of concentration and body language that is sure to produce a giggle or two.

Human Bingo

This will require some prior planning. You will need to create a bingo card with different characteristics that might be found within the group listed on the card. Examples could include: only child, straight-A student, cheerleader, shy, outgoing, has her driver's license, ate fast food today, etc. Come up with an even number of characteristics and list them in squares like a bingo card. Students must mingle and find someone who matches each characteristic. You can play four in a row, four corners, or blackout, just like bingo. Have small prizes ready for the winners.

Art Activity: Self-portrait (30 minutes)

Objective: To create a self-portrait. To begin to highlight that we don't always see ourselves accurately.

Tell the girls that they each need to create a self-portrait. Assure them that artistic ability isn't important, but that they should do their best to portray themselves as accurately as possible. Instruct them not to put their names on their self-portraits. Let them sprawl out on the floor and visit while they create. It is a good idea to play some music during this time. Some girls will finish relatively quickly. Other girls will take more time to create. Encourage them to use their free time to visit with one another and continue getting to know one another until everyone is finished.

Who's Who? (10 minutes)

Gather up the self-portraits and mix them up as much as possible. Ask your girls to sit in a circle. They are going to guess which self-portrait goes with which girl. Hold up each self-portrait and ask who they think created it. If you have a very large group, just choose ten or fifteen examples. If time allows, let a few girls explain why they drew themselves the way they did.

Use this game to segue into the first teaching session. Explain that for many of us, the way we look and the way that we feel about ourselves is a touchy subject. Most girls struggle to embrace their beauty and worth. Assure them that this weekend is designed to apply God's truth to the area of their beauty and to equip them to see themselves in a new light.

Chapter 1 (30 minutes)

As a group, read chapter 1 of Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves. This chapter is Erin's testimony of her own struggle with beauty and identity. This would be a great time to have a couple of other adult leaders or girls share their beauty testimonies. Ask them to prepare their testimonies in advance. The purpose of this time is to expose some of the specific struggles that girls are subject to in the area of beauty, and to highlight that the individuals who are attending your event are not alone in their struggle.

Alone Time (15 minutes)

Chapter 1 concludes with Erin encouraging her readers to write a letter to God about their beauty struggles. Provide time for the girls to do this after you finish reading chapter 1. Each girl will need a journal for the weekend. Pass out their journals at this time, and encourage them to spread out and read Erin's instructions. Play soft music and give the girls plenty of time to think deeply about this task. After you sense that most of the girls are done with their letters, bring them back into the large group and ask if anyone would like to share what they wrote. After a few girls have shared, move into a time of group prayer about the weekend.

Small Group Discussion (15 minutes)

• What do you hope to learn about during our time together?

• What specific areas of your beauty are difficult for you to accept?

• Can you identify with Erin's testimony? Which parts were particularly meaningful to you? Which parts do you find it difficult to identify with?

• What do you think the Bible says about your beauty?

Journal Pass (20 minutes)

At the conclusion of each small group session, girls will write affirmations in each other's journals. Have each group sit in a circle and pass their journals clockwise. Ask the girls to write a few words of affirmation in each person's journal as it is passed. Affirmation can be about elements of each girl's physical, emotional, or spiritual self. They will have many opportunities to repeat this activity, so affirmations should be brief. The purpose of this activity is to heal some of the beauty wounds that have been inflicted though criticism and harsh words offered by others. Research indicates that it takes seven compliments to undo each negative comment we have heard about ourselves. At the end of the weekend, each participant should hear many, many words of affirmation through this exercise and other activities.

Break (30 minutes)

After each group has concluded their small group activities, move into a time for just plain fun. Roll out the snack food and have the group participate in a high-energy game. You'd be surprised how much your girls will love playing an old favorite like kickball, volleyball, or hide-and-go seek. Keep the energy level high—you don't want your gang getting sleepy before session two!



THE GOAL: To explore the following truths about our bodies.

1. The body is important.

2. The body is not all there is.

3. Your body is a temple.

The goal of this session is to encourage the girls to begin to think about their bodies from a spiritual perspective.


1. Body Trivia board

2. Manicure supplies

3. Fragrant lotions

4. Art supplies (paper, markers, crayons, scissors, glue)

5. Magazines (if doing all-about-me collages)

6. Paper cut into the shape of T-shirts (one for each girl), or bumper stickers (if using these activities)

7. Music; upbeat for manicure time, quiet for alone time


1. Read chapter 4 in Graffiti.

2. Preview study guide materials.

3. Prepare human body trivia.

4. Set out art supplies for easy access.

Game: Human Body Trivia (15 minutes)

Quiz your girls' basic knowledge of the human body by playing a round of human body trivia. Choose four or five categories such as bones, cells, the heart, the brain, etc. Prepare a trivia board with five questions in each category. You can use the sample questions provided in appendix A or create your own. Encourage girls to play in their small groups, and award a small prize to the winning team. Keep the questions relatively easy and the game light and fun. Work to create a game-show feel with your staging, and recruit one of your adult leaders to be the host.

Introduction (25 minutes of teaching time)

Introduce the next session by pointing out that our bodies are amazing. Without much effort from us, our lungs take in and expel oxygen, our heart pumps blood, and our digestive system processes our food into nutrients.

As Erin points out in chapter 4, sometimes as Christians we are encouraged to minimize the feminine body. We are encouraged to ignore it and to turn our attention to anything other than our physical appearance. But the purpose of this session is to highlight that the body is important. We need to take care of our bodies. It is okay to marvel at all they are made to do! Together, you and your girls are going to use the next session to explore three foundational truths about the body.

Truth #1: The Body Is Important


"So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought 'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering."

This passage is from the New International Version. Use another version of Scripture if you prefer. The Message puts it this way.

"A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, 'If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.' The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change, and knew her plague was over and done with."

Ask the girls to brainstorm what life must have been like for this woman. Use the following questions as a guide:

• What kind of suffering would bleeding for twelve years produce?

• Why do you think that she spent all she had on doctors, even though they didn't provide any relief?

• What do you think her social life might have been like?

• Can you relate to this afflicted woman? Has there ever been a time when your body didn't work properly? What did you feel during that time?

HAVE YOUR GROUP TURN TO CHAPTER 4 IN GRAFFITI. Beginning with "Imagine what her life was like" on page 43 and ending with "it is still okay to recognize that it is God who created our bodies; our bodies matter." The point of this section of the book is to give the girls the freedom to treasure their own bodies. To hammer this point home, move into a time of pampering.

Activity: Manicures and Hand Massages (20 minutes)

INTRODUCTION: Tell the girls that since it is okay to treasure your bodies, you are going to move into a time of pampering. Bring out the manicure supplies. It is a good idea to encourage girls to bring manicure supplies as part of their packing list. This will cut down on costs for you, and the girls will love to share their favorite polish with each other. Play some fun, upbeat music, and instruct the girls to give each other manicures. This time will encourage further bonding. While the girls are giving each other manicures, have the adult leaders circle the room giving hand massages. This is a great way to make your girls feel special. If you want to, you can award prizes for the manicures in categories such as most artistic, most professional, wackiest color, most colors, and so on.

Truth #2: The Body Is Not All There Is (15 minutes)

(The girls will explore truth #2 in their small groups.)

Activity: All-about-Me collage, T-shirt, or Bumper Sticker (15 minutes of teaching time)

Give the girls an opportunity to create something that makes a statement about who they are. You can have them create collages using pictures and words from magazines, design a T-shirt that sums up what they are about, or create a bumper sticker with a slogan that they think best describes them. Whichever project you choose, make sure that it fits into a fifteen-minute time slot. Girls can get very enthusiastic about this project and take too much time creating their project. This is just a short introduction to the teaching.

As a group, read Proverbs 31:30: "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Use the following questions to guide your discussion:

• What does the phrase "beauty is fleeting" mean?

• If our beauty is guaranteed to fade away, how should that affect the way we spend our time?

• What are your interests, hobbies, hopes, and dreams?

• Can you see that who you are is more than what you look like on the outside?

Activity: Journal Pass (20 minutes)

Have your girls pass their journals around again and write words of affirmation to each other. (Review instructions for girls coming for the first time if you're doing the eight-week study.) This time, give them specific instructions that they are to write positive comments about something other than the person's physical appearance. The purpose of this time is to affirm to your girls that while their bodies are important, they are not the most important part of their identity.


Excerpted from Graffiti Leader's Guide by Erin Davis. Copyright © 2008 Erin Davis. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


A Word from Erin
Sample Schedule

Session 1: What Do You See in the Mirror?

Session 2: Laying the Foundation

Session 3: Taking Aim at Your Enemy

Session 4: Mixed Messages

Session 5: Walking on Broken Glass

Session 6: The Trouble with Body Image

Session 7: God's View of Beauty

Session 8: Royal Banquet

Appendix A: Human BOdy Trivia
Appendix B: Know Your Enemy
Appendix C: Know-Your-Slogan Quiz
Appendix D: Anna's, Mary's, and Erin's Stories

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