The famous painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by French Impressionist Georges Seurat is a powerful illustration of the church as God’s work and the role of youth ministry within the masterpiece that is the local church. The painting, which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago, depicts an assortment of people spending a sunny Sunday afternoon in a park in 19th century Paris, but it is the style that Seurat used for the painting and not the subject that illustrates the church and youth ministry. Seurat used the painting style known as Pointillism, a technique that involves created a painting by using small strokes or dots of color that, from a distance, blend together to create a beautiful work of art (the painting in real life is 7’x10’ … It’s HUGE and quite impressive).
In his painting Seurat placed each dot of color in a specific place purposefully. Each dot of color continues to exist as a unique dot, yet when viewed as a whole the thousands of dots of color work together to create a masterpiece. In Ephesians 2:8-10 Paul reminds the believers in Ephesus that they are the result of God’s grace. They are God’s workmanship, or masterpiece, drawn together from divergent backgrounds for His mission, for it was God who saved them, adopted them into his household, and created them anew as a church. This is an amazing picture of the church, discipleship, and youth ministry; walking with young people helping them discover their uniqueness in Jesus Christ and their place of belonging within the “masterpiece” that is the missional life of the church.
It needs to be a powerful reminder to us that ultimately the goal of youth ministry is not to get kids involved in youth group, but that the ultimate goal of youth ministry is to help teens become a real part of what God is doing in and through the missional body that is the local church family.