What’s a picture worth?
Visual 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.