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What’s a picture worth?

IMG_3683Visual images  allow us to communicate in ways that  words aren’t always capable of. Think of the Vietnam War and the naked girl running from a napalm attack. Think of the two airplanes flying into the World Trade Center. Think of the Neil Armstrong taking his first step on the moon. Think of the imagery associated with Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.

We live in a image-rich culture. Tex Sample and Leonard Sweet often share research about images being the language of the brain and remind us that the church needs imagesmiths as much as it needs wordsmiths.

The photo highlighted in this blog is more that just a nice picture of my time in South Africa. For me, it’s a visual reminder that I’m part of  the body of Christ and that there are people across the globe who join me in seeking to BE the church everyday, everywhere, with everyone. It reminds me that Jesus invites us to  go and make disciples of all nations and to be  blessing to others. It reminds me that everyone is a teacher and a student, and that I have much to learn from other people ,and other cultures.

I believe that the power of pictures are being underutilized in our homes and congregations.  I believe that pictures help people understand and embrace the Good News. The parables shared by Jesus illustrate the power of visual images.

I’m beginning to see more congregations tapping into the power of pictures.  A congregation I work with invites parents to share their life and faith story to their children by showing and describing ten pictures from their past.  Another congregation invite parishioners once a quarter to post pictures in their narthex related to topics such as where members are aware of God’s presence, ways that they practice their faith beyond the congregation,and what they’re praying about based on current events and news reports.  Another congregation invites new members  and new congregational leaders to post picture collages about their life to help other members get to know them. Several congregations regularly use Soularium Cards as a way to help members share faith stories and discuss God’s preferred future for their congregation.

Are you tapping the potential of pictures?  If so, please share your ideas and insights.

Some Toughts (2)

  1. Jeremy Hall
    added on 9 Sep, 2013

    great post, one of the ways we use this in our HS ministry is that we make a cover slide/logo for each event/teaching series, after the series is over we use these images to decorate our HS youth spaces to remind them of where we have been, what we have done, and what we have learned… there have been some really cool moments where students have reminded or even taught other students about the topics in conversations started by the pictures.

  2. Jeramy Girard
    added on 11 Sep, 2013

    I’ve just started at a church and they utilized visuals by lining the youth hallway with photos of Mission and Adventure trips that groups from the church have gone on for the last 20 years or so. It does a great job of visually showing the legacy and tradition that the young people are growing into.

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