Stories of Visual Faith
Did you ever go through a time of great change at your church, and no matter how much you talked or wrote about the change and why it needed to happen, you still couldn’t figure out how you were going to REALLY get people on board? Here’s a great story from Heidi Kleine, one of our Visual Faith Researchers, who used the visual faith process to do just that.
My congregation recently called a new senior pastor. This kind of change is always a challenging time for a congregation. Our pastor chose a verse to guide him and us through this transition. The chosen passage was: ‘For God does not give us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-control’ (2 Timothy 1:7).
I used the Visual Faith Process to help groups have conversation around this verse to explore this new time for us.
I began with a collection of images on a table and asked each participant to choose an image that spoke to ‘who they are today.’ Everyone had the opportunity to introduce an aspect of themselves to the group. By saying that it only applied to today, members of the group who know each other well got a little insight into each other, and new people were on equal footing because everyone was introducing themselves.
After introductions, we moved to the Bible passage. I asked the participants to close their eyes and listen as I read the passage. Since they have just been focused on images in the introductions, they could more easily see images as they heard the passage. After a brief time to ponder, I asked the participants to listen to the passage again, but this time go back to the images on the table and choose an image that reflected the passage to them.
As we talked about why they chose that image, I was amazed the way the Visual Faith process reflects how God’s Word is alive. Each participant heard the Scripture in the way the Spirit called them to hear it.
After exploring each person’s ideas, I asked, ‘Why do you think this scripture was chosen to introduce our pastor?’ This conversation took the focus off the details of the person or potential changes in our church and helped ground the discussion in the Word. The question helped them talk about how God is calling each individual to be a part of a new era at our church.
That conversation was incredibly diverse and deep. One group of older women talked about the most difficult time they experienced– WWII, and told how this verse reminded them of the fears they had to overcome in order to support the war efforts. Another focused on the verse preceding this passage which referenced the saints who passed on this “spirit” to her.
I believe that the Visual Faith process allowed us to explore our connection with Scripture on a deeper level and changed how we think about our future together.
In the church, we often ground our new programs in Scripture. It helps to present the “why” and clarify direction. But we neglect to take full advantage of the power of God’s word. As I explored using the Visual Faith Process this year, I found it to be a powerful vehicle for making connections: between individuals stories, scripture, and the church itself.
Learn more about Visual Faith and how you can get started at your church here.