I think it's safe to say that Christian educators LOVE visual faith practices. They understand -
the varied learning styles of their students and the importance of visuals and hands-on processes
the struggle to keep a child's attention and to help them actually remember what they learn
the blessed challenge of teaching faith in a way that head knowledge becomes heart knowledge for encouragement and blessing their whole lives
This group of smiling educators attended one of two Visual Faith® Ministry sessions offered at the Great Lakes Bay Region Lutheran Educators Conference held at Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw, MI. The event began with group worship, followed by sessions scheduled through the afternoon.
What a joy to meet up with Visual Faith® Coach and Educational Development Consultant Valerie Matyas! She shared her sermon sketchnotes with me from the worship service - a great visual way to record, remember, and share truths from God's Word. She captured the message, so relevant for busy teachers: even though it seems there is never enough time, patience, funding, etc., with Jesus there is always enough of what is important - grace, goodness, kindness, and peace! Good words to remember for all of us.
The session topic was The Significance of a Visual Faith Approach to Teaching the Faith. The term "visual faith" was defined. We discussed recognizing learning styles and how hectic schedules and technology are effecting a child's ability to focus. This led to the presentation of some of Visual Faith® Ministry's "best practices" for teaching the faith. Visual faith practices benefit children and adults alike - reflection time and then responding in a visual way assist with focus and help with distractions - as well as providing opportunity for faith sharing conversations!
Set up had to be done quickly and was minimal. I had recently moved and quite a few books and supplies were not accessible, so......
Examples of prayer cards, lunch hugs, memory cards, Versicles, Spanish resources - organized on "O rings" - were placed on the tables along with samples of Visual Church Year resources and a few projects. Other projects were passed around. Bibles were laid out, but pictures of recommended books were printed and mounted on a sign to provide opportunity to snap a quick photo for reference.
Educators were invited to visit the Visual Faith® Ministry website to explore the many free resources offered for download and printing - and to be creative in finding the best use for them to bless the children in their classrooms. We discussed the practices of visual prayer and prayer calendars, teaching the process of devotional journaling, and using margins and other graphics, as well as projects that could be adapted for classroom purposes.
New practices take "practice" and all were invited to report back and tell their story of what worked or to share new ways to use our resources. In fact, an educator familiar with visual prayer showed me how she adjusted the process to work for her: simple, clean lines drawn with a king size marker on heavy paper, making it easy to record prayer points and pray without worrying about small spaces and staying within thin lines. Sharing an idea just might make a difference for someone else, and we love that.
It's always a blessing to collaborate and encourage one another!
Lord, inspire and bless those who teach our children and young people
and send your Holy Spirit to touch their hearts with Your gift of faith.
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All resources pictured or mention in this blog can be found in the Shoppe
on the Visual Faith® Ministry website: