Title: Everyone loves a rose, but are you grateful the the thorns?"
Besides being a novelist, I have written a whole batch of songs in the past. My favorite classes in high school were Creative Writing and Art. I attended Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus my first year out of high school and took classes including Ceramics (2 semesters), Art Theory and Design, Drawing, Stained Glass, Photography, Creative Writing, and a Poetry Workshop. (I also took English, Economics, and Literature of the Bible.)
Did anybody know I'm an artist?
Thus, it excited me when I attended the Indiana Southern Baptist Convention several years ago and looked at the board promoting church planters. I got excited when I noticed a card for a couple that was working specifically with artists. Becky and I were able to get to know Kerry and Twyla Jackson as a result.
Kerry has a ministry called Drawing On The Rock, which he describes in the below interview. He was at Arlington Avenue Baptist Church and did the below picture (pardon the reflection of the lights and window. I've included a link to a video of that ministry at the bottom of this blog.
JR: Greetings, Kerry. Let me start with asking how you got interested in the arts. Are there any favorite painters who were an inspiration?
KJ: Hi Jeff, thank you for the opportunity to share a little about myself and my ministry. I honestly can’t remember exactly how my interest in art began. I’m old and it’s been a very long time! However, it may have all begun with my childhood interest in comic books. I was fascinated by them and would try to draw and replicate the storyboards. I was always drawing as a child. I find it ironic that when I was sitting in church as a young boy and drawing on the bulletins, my mom would lightly slap my hand and tell me to pay attention. Little did she know that years later I would be drawing and painting in churches and getting paid to do it!
Besides being influenced by comic books, or graphic novels as they are called today, the artists of Mad Magazine influenced me a ton! As I got older, I can say that Michelangelo, Andrew Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell influenced my style and subject matter choices.
JR: Could you tell us about your ministry Drawing To The Rock?
KJ: Drawing to the Rock is a ministry God blessed me with over 30 years ago. It involves the creation of art with a spiritual message or a testimony of my faith journey. It also involves traveling around the world leading in what I call “visual worship.” I bring a creative element to church worship services. I create a large piece of art in front of the congregation while music is played. I also take my ministry to Christian schools and outdoor evangelistic events. I’ve even done a few corporate events.
JR: You have done church planting with the focus on the artist community. Here in Indianapolis, the church met in the Art Bank (a gallery) and Indy Fringe Theater (which sounds like the type of place people typically plant churches). What doors has your artistic ability had on outreach ministry?
KJ: Yes, for eleven years I was involved in church planting among Cultural Creatives in Atlanta, GA and Indianapolis, IN. I can honestly say that church planting is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to accomplish. Yet, God in His power, did some amazing things in the lives of our little congregations. We saw lives changed and artists from all kinds of creative disciplines come to the understanding of how their art and their faith connect and intertwine.
As a professional visual artist, most other artists I meet first see me as a colleague. Then as our relationship begins to grow, they look past my talent and begin to see who I truly am. They begin to see me as a Christ follower and my role sometimes turns to that of a “chaplain.” Eventually, if God so leads, I become their pastor. My spiritually themed art has always been designed to invoke questions. I can’t tell you how many times my work has led to spiritual conversations. When asked to explain my work and the subject matter, the chance to share my faith and what God has done in my life comes so natural and non-threatening.
JR: What are your current endeavors, both on the ministry side and as an artist?
KJ: Well, the Coronavirus pandemic shut my live performances down completely. All of my remaining 2020 bookings were cancelled after everything locked down last spring. So, I’ve been collaborating with a fellow minister to make some short videos based on some of my pieces and posting them on social media. I call them “Art Devotionals.” I’m just trying to keep my ministry in front of folks. I’ve also been blessed with a few commissions to help bring in some income during this period. I also teach art to high schoolers at a local Christian academy.
JR: Thank you for your time, Kerry. May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless your ministry.
Thank you Jeff! I really appreciate your friendship and the way
you’ve supported and encouraged me through the years. God bless
you and Becky.
Again, below is a link to a video for Drawing On The Rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9cK3SBhs9s
What ways have you used art in teaching or defending the faith?