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.
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.
Learn about the Visual Faith Practice
Here is how it works:
- Thought-evoking Images
- Explore Scripture & Story
- Consider Reflective Questions
It’s that simple. That’s the beauty of Visual Faith.
Humans are wired to appreciate and recognize imagery and using images allows our brains, hearts, and souls to ENGAGE Scripture and one another while opening pathways toward understanding and transformation.
Three elements of scripture, image, and questions are used in partnership and can vary in order to create a unique experience of learning, growth, and communication. While this practice is simple, it is deeply grounded in and supported by decades of research.
The Visual Faith Project is more than just a selection of beautiful images.
- It is a conversation.
- It is a community.
- It is a practice that guides people through imagery into deeper faith formation.
The Visual Faith practice has vast applications in multiple ministry settings – preaching, personal devotions, small group discussions, Bible studies, staff and volunteer training, intergenerational interactions, and more.
Learn about the Visual Faith Research
The research article, “The Visual Faith Project: Engaging Scripture and Life with Images” by Dr. Nancy Going, Ralph C Ennis, Dr. Roland Martinson, and John Roberto presents the theory and research describing connections between spiritual transformation and evocative imagery. Download the article and watch the videos to learn more about the research basis of the Visual Faith Project.
|Visual Faith Project: Engaging Scripture and Life with Images .pdf|
A Visual Faith Experience
The Visual Faith Image Database
|We’ve created a digital database of categorized, copyright-free images to use for any faith formation setting. Using this database, faith communities can print, post, and project these images, then pair them with scripture and questions to create faith-forming conversations. With more than 5000 images ready to download and an ever-growing selection, this is the perfect way to digitally include imagery into your ministry.|
A one-time purchase of the Visual Faith Image Database offers:
Access to the Visual Faith Images, a collection of more than 5000 downloadable, print-ready images for use in a variety of settings and on a variety of devices available for unlimited use by you and your teamPurchase the Visual Faith Image Database
|The C3 Project and the Thriving Congregations Project are services of Vibrant Faith funded through two grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc.|
Vibrant Faith: https://vibrantfaith.org
For questions about the Vibrant Faith Projects website contact John Roberto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Visual Faith Team created 32 examples of Visual Faith Experiences for you to download and use with your own ministry groups. Use these exercises as a full series of programs or for specific and thematic lessons throughout the year! Download the PDFs below to use and explore a new way to have a faith forming conversation with our Visual Faith Images. In light of the recent shifts in churches moving to online learning and communities, we wanted to make Visual Faith more accessible and find a way for churches to use this idea in their online gatherings. We created a How to Use Visual Faith on Online Platforms with links and instructions for leaders to use images, like the ones found on our database, as a way to engage group discussion online. Download the free “How-to” guide below
|How to Use Visual Faith on Online Platforms.pdf|
|Are Excuses Accepted Here? (#24)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 14:15-24 and designed to help participants explore the idea of grace.
|Asking Too Much of Me! (#11)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 6:27-36 and designed to help participants discuss what it is like when it feels like God is asking too much of us.
|Being Different and Not Fitting (#7)|
InThis Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 3:1-18 and is designed to help participants discuss how differences can be used to serve and help others who struggle with identity and purpose and how to find God in the midst of differences.
|Broken Relationships (#26)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 15:11-32 and designed to help participants discuss their own wounded relationships and explore healing and restoration.
|Choose One Thing! (#18)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 10:38-42 and designed to help participants understand that God wants to be center in our lives.
|The Cost of Following Jesus (#25)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 14:25-33 and designed to help participants explore stories of persecution and the challenges of a life dedicated to following Christ.
|The Crippling Power of Fear (#14)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 8:22-25 and designed to help participants discover they are not alone in fear and how this feeling can shape their relationship with God.
|Do Not Lose Heart (#28)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 9:21-27 and designed to help participants discuss and explore hope and discouragement.
|Extended Families Keep On Expanding (#13)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 8:19-21 and designed to help participants share in understanding better how each generation is part of the Body of Christ.
|Extra Grandparents (#5)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 2:22-38 and is designed to exemplify the importance of older mentors in our lives and to explore how these individuals have and continue to shape us.
|Eye Exam or I Opener (#20)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 11:33-36 and designed to help participants discuss our spiritual and physical abilities to see.
|Family Rules & Boundaries (#6)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 2:41-51 and is designed to promote discussion about healthy relationships, rules, and how to navigate broken boundaries and rules in a family.
|Formula for Being Blessed (#19)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 11:27-28 and designed to help participants explore how they have been blessed to be a blessing.
|God Moments (#2)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 1:46-55; 67-79 and is designed to invite groups to share powerful “God Moments” and moments when participants were deeply aware of God’s presence, were spiritually lifted up, and when their faith and values were shaped.
|How Might I Be of Help? (#9)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 4:31-37 and designed to help participants learn how to grow toward loving, as Christ did, those who are often neglected by society or cared for due to mental illness.
|It’s Not Easy to Be Faithful (#15)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 9:21-27 and designed to help participants explore the difficulties of being faithful to God when values and customs change rapidly.
|The Key to Living In Peace (#12)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 7:36-50 and designed to help participants learn the importance of love and forgiveness over judgment.
|Left Speechless (#27)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 20:20-26 and designed to help participants explore a time Jesus left others speechless.
|Mocked and Insulted (#30) |
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 22:63-65 and designed to help participants explore bullies and abuses of power through the lens of the story of Jesus.
|Naming a Child|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 2:21, 1:31, and Matthew 1:21 and is designed to evoke discussion about the value, origin and purpose of names.
|On Watch for God’s Next Steps|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 12:35-40 and designed to help participants discuss procrastination and learn what it means to be ready for God’s next steps.
|People Who Surprise Us|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 2:8-18 and is designed to remind us that God often chooses the least likely people to express the Good News of God’s mercy and love.
|Pulled in Different Directions (#8)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 4:1-13 and designed to help participants learn the importance of staying connected to God in the midst of tough decisions.
|Road Trip, Meal, and Discovery|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 24:13-34 and designed to help participants celebrate memories of trips and how God surprises us.
|Safe House/Relationships (#1)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 1:39-45 and is designed to help express the need for safe relationships and evoke discussions on how to build those relationships.
|Stress and Worry About Doing Everything Right (#21)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 12:22-34 and designed to help participants explore stress and trusting God.
|Wanna-Be’s – No Commitment (#16)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 9:57-62 and designed to help participants explore the value of commitment in relationships and faith.
|Weakness in All (#29)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 22:31-34 and designed to help participants explore how our pride in our abilities can be a weakness and yet, even in weakness, God can strengthen us.
|What? A Change in Diet? (#10)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 5:33-39 and designed to help participants explore their “spiritual diets.”
|Who is this Jesus?|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 23:32-38 and designed to help participants discuss how when Jesus was crucified, many asked who he was, and how would we answer that question today?
|Who’s On Your Guest List? (#23)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 14:12-14 and designed to help participants discern those that they would include and invite.
|Wow! The neighborhood has changed! (#17)|
This Visual Faith Exercise is based on Luke 10:25-37 and designed to help participants explore the idea of “Loving your neighbors as yourself.”