What Is The Visual Faith Project?
Simply put, the Visual Faith Project is about harnessing the power of images for spiritual transformation.
The project is a method that is useful for all kinds of moments of spiritual transformation, including spiritual discipleship, scriptural engagement, and teaching from scripture. At its core, the method is simple: It involves pairing photographs with sections of scripture. So, during a Visual Faith exercise, participants are directed to connect with scripture through the stories, thoughts, and feelings they find bubbling up from an image they have selected.
Wait, what? This sounds really, really simple.
Yes! But stay with me.
It is really simple. But there is something special going on there. As Christians, we often think the best way to learn about God and to develop a relationship with Him (and our fellow brothers & sisters) is through a cognitive assent of doctrine or ideas. We should have to work hard thinking about things in order to engage with God and others.
But we’re more than “thinking things,” and we actually often learn things with our bodies (somatically), our senses (affectively), and our desires (the heart), even as we learn things with our minds. And working within those other pathways can be really simple, because they tap into our “hardware” that’s always running, always feeling, always desiring, in order to make sense of the world.
When we pair images with scripture, we allow ourselves to engage with God and one another in deeper, more holistic ways, ways that tap into our whole being. And so, conversations emerge from this collision of image with word, a collision that has a way of opening up internal rooms inside of us—rooms of memories, emotions, and thoughts—that we have often cognitively closed, or forgotten, or never knew were there!
So what does that mean? It means one image could give me new eyes to see a bible passage. New words to describe how I connect with a bible story. Or new insights from brothers and sisters, as I see how a different image touched them.
When collisions occur, hidden things are revealed. So you could say that the Visual Faith Project is in the business of collisions, all for the sake of spiritual transformation for God’s people.
Over the next year, the Visual Faith Project will be sharing exciting new resources to help you and your congregations harness the power of images for spiritual transformation!
Author: Wen Reagan, Project Manager, Visual Faith Project
Wen is the new project manager for the Visual Faith Project here at Vibrant Faith. He hails from Durham, NC, where he also serve as the Director of Worship at All Saints Church, as well as an adjunct instructor of church history and worship at Duke Divinity School.
When not working on the Visual Faith Project or these other endeavors, you can find him writing new songs with his wife, Casey, wrestling with two boys, Ezra and Pax, or taking photos of all three. Wen is passionate about discovering tools that aid in spiritual transformation, and that’s exactly what the Visual Faith Project is all about!