Tossing out the photos onto the table, the workshop participants were invited to choose a photo that best represented ‘How well is your soul?’.  At each table everyone shared their photo and why they chose it. I had no idea that the community had suffered through a suicide at the local high school and two had just been diagnosed with the terrible-awful. We prayed with. We prayed over. We prayer through. Then we were able to carry on the scheduled training having addressed the many elephants in the room and the heavy baggage most of us didn’t even know about.

Tossing photos onto the floor, the children were invited to choose a photo that best represented sadness. Photos were chosen that were black and white, a colorful clown, and others. They were asked to show the photo each one chose and why it made them feel sad. Then I began teaching about how Jesus might have felt when praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as he kept coming back to ask his friends to “watch and pray, watch and pray”. Bringing scripture to a heart and mind ready with a visual image made for a swift application of the Jesus moment as best a 1st grader could understand.

Third through fifth graders chose from a group of photos one picture that represented ‘waiting’. After sharing each photo chosen and why it represented waiting with the great silliness and laughter that only comes from third-fifth graders, we began to learn how long David waited and persevered in God’s big adventure for him from being a shepherd boy to king of Israel. God has a big adventure for each of them and it’ll be worth the wait. Spiritual conversations began as soon as we searched the scriptures in 2 Samuel when we each brought our idea of waiting to the table.

A colleague from Discipleship Ministries shared The Visual Faith Project with me a few months ago. I ordered the kid pack of images and another pack of images. There are several to choose from on the website.  I’ve been playing with the images in the settings above and I don’t even know what I’m doing. What I do know is I’ve already found several ways to use them to begin spiritual conversations with adults and children.

Images provide vocabulary, prompt memories, initiate conversation, and allow connection quickly in a small group. So we’ve set up a training sponsored by North Georgia’s CEF team for using images and The Visual Faith Project.

We are wired for imagery. Exploring scripture through the use of images creates a connection in our biology and our souls that allows us to experience God’s Word in new and transformative ways. Rev. Dr. Scott Hughes, Director of Adult Ministries of United Methodist Discipleship team will lead training to use these and other images for faith formation.  Will you join me?  I stand in wonder for how I can be better equipped when I know what I’m actually doing. I’m always looking for new tools in my toolbox to be a better teacher, a better coach, and a better disciple. Aren’t you? Register here.

“Ears that hear and eyes that see – the LORD has made them both.” Proverbs 20:12