Updated: Jan 22
When I set out to tackle a DIY classroom renovation, I knew the redesigned space would serve as a new home for our group, but didn’t realize how it would transform the life of our meetings or the worshipful experience it would be for me. Let me explain.
Nearly three years ago I was going through a pretty tough personal time, and felt the Lord tugging hard on my sleeve, pulling me into His Word for the establishment of a devotional life. But I didn’t want a ‘boring old workbook’ as the basis of the study. I was hungry to linger longer in the Word. I wanted to savor and ponder and pause with the pages of my Bible open, but often felt that the pages of the workbook became the basis of the study rather than the pages of the Bible.
I browsed the web, and as I browsed, information for Illustrated Faith appeared. I was compelled. I suddenly felt like I had permission and endorsement to be released into the pages of my Bible—to expand beyond the highlighted passages and the margins I had written in for so many years—and explore new ways of journaling, devotion and yes, worship. While I did purchase a study guide, this new way of study was like a red carpet being rolled out for me to enter a beautiful palace of grandeur. And then I start feeling a new conviction to share with others what I had been learning.
Some of my very first Bible journaling entries—from back in 2017–a study of Job, Ezekiel and Lamentations.
A few months later, I shared with a girlfriend this newfound love for Bible journaling and illustrating my own faith journey. We put our heads together and started a little group we call Colorful Faith. A morning workshop was held at church. From there, a group of women and men formed and began to meet monthly. Each time we met, we shared new techniques for embracing the Word and documenting our study. Still, our more important objectives were that we open our Bibles, dig into the Word by reading and reflecting out loud, and learn and practice how to pray with and for one another.
Devotional notes, journaling, and WORSHIP during time spent in God’s Word!
Removal of any barriers preventing someone from joining us is important. We provide Bibles and supplies, and even serve dinner. We are careful about the language we use. In my work I find that people are sometimes intimidated by the term ‘Bible study’. So, Colorful Faith time is about time for learning, expression, spending time in God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship with one another.
Supplies provided for studying the fruit of the Spirit — JOY…… …..and PEACE
From an all-purpose room at our Lutheran day school, we continued to meet - studying the fruit of the Spirit, gratitude, and the book of John.
Each time we met required packing and moving tubs of supplies to accommodate our needs, and then putting them away again so that the space could be used for other purposes. I often thought that it would be wonderful to have a home for our Colorful Faith.
Old Sunday School supply room - forgotten room in the church basement
Then one day I was on a search for extra materials and supplies. I remembered the old Sunday school supply room in the church basement. Why didn’t I think of it sooner?
Like an abandoned town from the Wild West, the church basement shows evidence of earlier, happier, and busier days. Now empty and dusty classrooms reveal attendance records with gold stars, hand crafted keepsakes as a testament of Jesus’ love suspended from the ceiling, Bible story sheets and crayons, crosses and offering boxes from earlier days of children learning. Now, like a ghost town, I found it abandoned and lonely. But what if? Why not? We could transform this space to once again be used for God’s glory!
There it was. Classroom 12.
With some Pinterest inspiration, and a color palette from Sherwin Williams, and the assistance of my parents, I was ready.
There was a lot of wall scraping and prep! Primer was a must. KILZ Primer worked well for spotted, stained walls - paint then went on like a dream.
Painting in progress….
I ‘shopped’ through the other classrooms at the church, found surplus furniture storage at the day school, and selected pieces that matched best and would suit our needs. Old science lab tables were perfect for cords to come up from the floor.
Discount and outlet shopping generated inexpensive task lighting, a rug, storage bins, and a shower curtain for the basement window treatment. Once it was all together, a strand of party lights, a clock, a spray painted coat rack and simple wall art finished off the new space.
I expected the finished room to look warm and inviting. I expected it to look good. What I did not expect was that transforming this old, tired room became an act of worship that rejuvenated an old, tired me. With each swath of the roller, I sang louder to the Amazon Praise & Worship playlist that was filling the echoed walls. With each stroke of the brush, I prayed that the space would bring glory to God and bring people to know Jesus in a new and intimate way. I prayed that new people would discover this group as a safe space to learn. I prayed we would inspire others to utilize the space. I prayed that our fellowship would welcome others openly.
It is good; truly good. God answers prayers.
A new home in use
Welcome to the Colorful Faith Studio at St. John’s Lutheran Church, in La Porte, Indiana.
We would love to have you help us outgrow the space. After all, who knows what—and who—may yet be transformed?
If you have questions for Dionne, you may contact her at Dionne.Lovstad-Jones@lhm.org.
Dionne Lovstad-Jones has creatively woven together a degree in parks, recreation, and tourism with the a heart for research and a passion for connecting others to growing relationships to Jesus. She is a Regional Ministry Facilitator for Lutheran Hour Ministries. She began a group called Colorful Faith in 2018 and is collecting the transformational stories of people experimenting with Visual Faith practices.
We welcome her to the blog as she shares about a transformation that resulted in multiple blessing for her group of visual faith practitioners.