Theory & Research Findings
Scripture must lead the process of spiritual transformation
Funded by a generous grant from the Seafoam Corporation, the Visual Faith Project is an action research project using evocative photographic images as a vehicle for Scriptural engagement and Christian transformation. In an image-rich world, we know that provocative images can connect people’s imaginations and hearts to form convictions with their minds and allow them to act in the ways of Jesus across the myriad of life’s contexts. This project seeks test and expand our knowledge by connecting the power of image with the promised power of God’s word.
Theory + Research Report
Scroll down to see what we’re learning. Plus, download the initial theory & research report, laying out the connections between spiritual transformation and evocative imagery.
A Model for Spiritual Transformation
Visual Faith Theory
At its core, this project is exploring a methodology for discipling, engaging, and teaching the messages of Scripture. The methodology consists of pairing images with sections of scripture and participants are encouraged to connect with Scripture through the story in the images. The conversation is guided by a series of questions designed to mine the lenses through which participants view the world and that influence their ability to absorb the messages of God’s Word.
Much of our discipleship processes have been designed to engage our minds. Even in the church, we have looked to knowledge and information for growth in faith. However, more than knowledge is needed when it comes the process of forming faith. Our hearts must also be engaged. With heart and mind, our actions are shaped. What we think, feel and imagine deeply impacts what we do and how we do it.
The Visual Faith Project encourages “visualcy” in three substantive ways:
- Visual Faith accompanies provocative images with questions that allow people to see and hear one another’s hearts and engage one another’s souls.
- Because of the use of images, this methodology engages the individual’s natural attractions and aversions and as well creates a natural invitation encouraging deeper levels of conversation and space for the Spirit to move and have impact through the words of Scripture.
- The use of provocative still images is intentional. Still Images invite people to use their own story to engage Scripture.
We believe this is a powerful tool for discipleship, with individuals and with groups. The process of listening and asking questions about people’s connection with an image accompanied by Scripture is simple, accessible and will allow people of all ages the opportunity to engage Scripture together. Our research project is designed to test out our hunches with a wide variety of people in a variety of settings.
The research design consists of two initial rounds of testing:
- Using images to test adolescent and parental starting points (what images tell their spiritual stories)
- Use of that data to create multiple prototype Scripture engagement tools and test their use and efficacy.