Images of Grace: Communicating the gospel through art
Many cultures don’t have a strong tradition of reading and writing and communicate concepts and stories in other ways, often through oral traditions and through art. This often makes communicating God’s Word to people unfamiliar with it a difficult challenge. With those realities in mind, Missionary Terry Schultz began exploring ways to create art that can be used to more easily teach the Word of God in any culture.
Recognizing the great need and drawing upon longtime friendships with Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minn., art professors Andy Overn and Jason Jasperson, Schultz suggested a project involving the professors and interested students in partnership with WELS Multi-Language Productions. The project would involve creating new artwork of as much of the Bible as possible.
A group of students met with the professors and Missionary Schultz, and the project was immediately launched. An initial 54 Bible stories were chosen and divided between the students and professors. The artists spent many hours studying the Bible, utilizing commentaries, and talking with theology professors before beginning final artwork. At the same time, they needed to study various cultures to make the art as usable as possible in a variety of cultural contexts.
Each Bible story was created in a poster-sized format with multiple frames. These posters can easily and economically be printed in nearly every mission field.
Bethany Lutheran College students Holly Harris, Maida Jasperson, Lydia Kratz, and Abby Nelson joined Missionary Schultz and Professors Overn and Jasperson along with WELS World Missions Administrator Rev. Larry Schlomer for a gallery exhibition and panel discussion on September 1, 2022. The exhibition, “Images of Grace,” showcased the artwork at Bethany Lutheran College.
Bethany students, faculty, and staff, as well as guests, turned out to see the artwork and listen to the story behind the project. Missionary Schultz stressed that this project is only beginning, and his hope is to have many more Bible stories available in this format in the future.
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