Terry Schultz, artistic development missionary for Multi-Language Productions, is a firm believer in the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
That picture can make an eternal difference when it shares messages from God’s story, showing God’s grace.
Using pictures offers opportunities to explain Bible stories and biblical concepts better. “So many cultures we work with are on the low literacy end of the scale,” says Schultz. “A picture reminds you of the details of the Bible story and works well with cultures that are big on storytelling. You can store a lot of information in a picture.”
Schultz first saw this years ago in his work with indigenous tribes in Peru. It came to light again in Zambia, Africa, when he was showing pictures to leaders of the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Zambia to demonstrate how they could teach the catechism. “They got excited and asked if we could supply posters for the Zambian Sunday school teachers to use,” he says.
That request sparked an idea that resulted in a partnership with the art department at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minn. Two professors, eight students, and Schultz began working on a project to create posters that use multiple panels to depict 54 Bible stories from the Zambian Sunday school curriculum.
Schultz compares the artwork to graphic novels, a popular format around the world today. “It reads like a comic book where you go from scene to scene,” he says. He says this not only helps better explain the story to the students but also serves as a visual reminder of the story details for the teachers. Because these art posters can be digitized, they can easily be sent to printers all over the world for inexpensive color copying. They also can be turned into coloring book pages so students can take the story home and share it with their families.
The first set of posters was displayed at a gallery exhibition at Bethany Lutheran College in September 2022, but the project is far from over as Schultz continues to work with Bethany Lutheran College to develop more illustrated Bible stories.
He’s quick to point out that these pictures can be used in various mission fields, such as Vietnam. “These stories are connected to specific biblical cultures and environments and times, so [the graphics] are universal,” he says.
This is just one of Schultz’s many projects. He is also developing the Small Catechism in pictures and is working to partner more with artists in foreign countries to help fill different missions’ future needs.
Says Schultz, “We want to use all the arts in the service of his kingdom.”
Learn more about Multi-Language Productions at wels.net/mlp.
Author: Forward in Christ
Volume: 110, Number 1
Issue: January 2023