A friend asked me about my paint parties. He would like to start doing them in his ministry as well he asked me for more information. This was all done through a Facebook conversation and it ended up being more of a booklet than a series of private messages. I decided to condense it and share it here.
I started doing paint parties almost by accident. When I lost my day job, I began looking for work. One day I saw a listing for a “master artist.” While I don’t know that I consider myself a master, the word artist was too much to pass up. I applied and it ended up being for a paint party company. I went to one of their parties, had a good time and they wanted to hire me if they could get something going in my area. That never materialized but I realized this was something I could do on my own, so I decided to give it a shot.
In the beginning I saw it only as a way to make side money and didn’t really consider it to be a ministry opportunity. I was just going to do it for supplemental income. Well as you can probably imagine, I got convicted on that pretty quickly. When I started to pastor my church and decided to try it as an outreach. It actually worked very well and so I began offering it as part of my ministry. I’ve only done it about five times so far but it has been a real blessing.
The key, at least as I’ve found it, is to keep it fun. Most people are intimidated by making art so one of the big things is to help set their minds at ease. The goal here is for the people to have fun and to come away with something that they will at least be reasonably happy with. This means the designs are crucial. You need to come up with something that will be visually appealing and yet simple enough that even a novice can be successful with. My guideline is if I can do it in 45 minutes to an hour, I can teach it in two (which is about the average length of a paint party. If it takes me longer than that it either needs to be scrapped of simplified.
I usually recommend serving snacks and refreshments. There is usually a period of time in there where you need to let the paint set a little and this makes a nice intermission. I usually encourage them to mingle and look at what others are doing during this time. This will help them to get ideas from each other.
Again remember this is not art class. It is supposed to be fun. There is no grading and it’s about helping people enjoy the experience of making art. For some it will be a night of fun and laughter. For others a lifetime avocation will be discovered. I think by now most of my readers know the power of art to help us get out what’s going on inside us. This can be a wonderful blessing to a lot of people.
One other thing, and you are free to disagree. While the paint parties are part of my ministry, this is not a heavy handed gospel presentation. I view it as outreach. I want people to come in and get to know us. I will share encouragement and maybe a few words about God and an invitation to worship the next day, but that’s about it. The real ministry happens around the tables as people get to know one another and fellowship together.
Tomorrow I will share more about the logistics.