In 2003, Faith Lutheran Church of Topeka, KS, hosted the unique, exciting Servant Event, Flowering Your Faith. At this Event, youth servants worked to construct large murals throughout the city of Topeka. These murals held a deliberate focus on the Trinity. Painting these murals gave youth a great opportunity for outreach, in addition to being pieces for outreach inherently. Read on to learn more about hosting a similar Event for your congregation!
Faith Lutheran Church, Topeka, Kansas, offered a unique LCMS Servant Event for high school students during the summer of 2003. Lutheran youth and adults from Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas, spent the week of July 20-27 at Faith painting three large murals. Faith member, Karl Fay, a senior pre-seminary student at Concordia, Seward, was commissioned during the year prior to the event to offer a rendering of his interpretation of our Triune God which served as a prototype for the large murals painted during the LCMS Servant Event.
The idea for this event emerged from creative thinking focused on discovering new and exciting ways to reach out into the community. Here’s what Karl had to say about this message:
“Many people in the world today profess a belief in a god, a heavenly creator that resides over our earthly life… He has made Himself accessible to us through His living Word, the Holy Bible… God’s presence and His love for us are continuous… Our God is beyond all of our understanding, yet He walks beside us, as a best friend, listening lovingly to every sound uttered from our lips.”
At the close of the event, servants were invited to share their responses to several questions including, why did you choose this event? Following are a few of the thoughts:
“I like art and I don’t have many chances to publicly express it.”
“I thought it was a good thing for this community.”
“I thought it would be a fun new way to spread God’s Word.”
“I wanted to be involved in a visual arts project.”
“It was a unique event which helped to expand my horizons.”
“I was honored when asked to come and it was a great opportunity to use the talents that God has blessed me with, to serve the Lord.”
Faith Pastor Peter Tremain placed a serious challenge to the entire Faith community in a July sermon, the Sunday when the youth and adult servants were commissioned for their work. Pastor Tremain said, “It is now time to put words behind these murals. Stop by and visit the murals and tell the world about this loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!”
The three completed murals were unveiled at various locations throughout
Topeka. Faith member, Mark Anschutz, a Concordia, Seward graduate, is a Christian artist who was interviewed about the project for The Topeka Capital-Journal. He said, “There’s a lot of kids that aren’t verbally oriented, and they get excited about using their other senses.” He said creating the murals offered the participants a holistic way to think about their spirituality while learning some artistic skills.
Drew Bradshaw, a freshman at Concordia,
St. Paul, conceived the project in 2002 and asked Anschutz and Fay to plan the project. Bradshaw said he hoped motorists would drive to each mural and contemplate how they fit together and reflect their understanding of God.
We sampled a few spectators on the day of the unveilings and here were some reactions to the murals:
“It’s great to spread the Word and grow in God’s love.”
“This art is a tremendous way to show Christ to others.”
“What a powerful tool to learn more about myself and God.”
“This project isn’t just about my faith; it’s flowering the faith of everyone around me.”
“The seeds of the Gospel are visually being spread.”
Faith Lutheran Church).
Jim Bradshaw is the Director of Christian Education at Faith Lutheran Church in Topeka, KS. Jim served as the project coordinator for the 2003 Flowering Your Faith Servant Event, which was sponsored by the LCMS District & Congregational Services-Youth Ministry Office.
For more information on hosting an LCMS Servant Event, please visit www.lcms.com/youth and click on Servant Events or call 1.800.248.1930 x1155!
Published May 2004