Allow me to introduce you to a modern-day Paul. This man is a missional artisan who surrenders his artistic giftedness to God. He models my five fingered approach to sharing the gospel. (See my previous blogpost on the “Five-Fingered-Approach-to-Handing-Someone-the-Gospel.”)
Kerry Jackson was born and raised in Jackson, Miss. He accepted Jesus as Savior at age 9. Early in life he discovered his passion and giftedness for art. His pursuit for more knowledge and skill led him to obtain a bachelor of arts degree in painting from Mississippi State University. After several years working in the commercial art industry, he opened his own art studio. After six successful years, Jackson felt called by God to enter Christian ministry. Jackson sold his business and moved his family to Texas to attend seminary. Shortly after enrolling in seminary, Jackson discovered that God wanted to use the artist in him for his glory.
“While sitting in my car listening to music, waiting to pick up my daughter from piano lessons, God gave me a vision,” Jackson recounted. “I literally saw a stage covered with painted scenes of the life of Christ utilizing special effects such as lighting, drama, etc. God even gave me the name, ‘Drawing to the Rock,’ at that time. The vision was so strong and clear that I wept and began praising and thanking God right there in my car.” 1
After earning a master’s degree in communication arts in 1993, Jackson accepted the position of exhibit designer with the North American Mission Board in Atlanta, Ga. From 2008 to 2010, he served as National Missionary to Cultural Creatives, coordinating efforts to reach this artistic people group in America. Meanwhile, Jackson continued captivating audiences across the country through “Drawing to the Rock” ministries. (For Info on this ministry: http://s396382119.initial-website.com)
Throughout his presentation he paints vignettes depicting mankind’s sinful fall in the Garden of Eden culminating with Christ’s victorious resurrection. While Jackson is creating his works of art onstage he is accompanied by recordings of biblical narratives and music by Christian artists.
In 2006, he and his wife, Twyla, began a home discipleship group for local artists. The Jacksons connected with the Atlanta arts community by volunteering at the High Museum of Art and hosting shows by guest artists at Jackson’s studio near the museum. Their home group soon became a church known as Bezalel Church meeting in a downtown theater. In Exodus 31:1–6 we find the account of Bezalel. Bezalel was appointed by God to oversee a team of artisans charged with building and decorating the tabernacle. Jackson relishes the thought that the first person named in the Bible as being filled with the Spirit of God was an artist. (For info on his ministry in Atlanta check this out: http://www.namb.net/kerry-jackson_for-the-love-of-art-and-jesus)
Two years ago, Kerry and Twyla accepted a new challenge, moving to Indianapolis to partner with NAMB in that unreached city to start a new church plant.
Jackson says, “If you have compassion, a gift, a talent, you can be on mission for God!” I certainly agree. So… do you have compassion and an artistic gift? Are you using it as a missionary in your community? WHY NOT??? — Mark Powers
1. Weeks, “Artist’s handiwork draws others to Christ,” Baptist Press, Feb. 17, 2003, wwwbaptistpress.com/bpnews.asp?id=15251.