I am so grateful for this course and the time you put into offering it to us. I learned some amazing things and I was regularly affirmed in what I’m doing. The “Scripture and the Imagination” lesson inspired me so much, I just loved, loved, loved it. I can’t thank you enough, and I know the timing of this course for me was totally orchestrated by God. I could not have been more blessed.

Melody Kirby, Wooster, OH

This course was absolutely challenging, interesting, fun and wonderful for growing in art! The way I’ve always viewed art changed with each assignment, and though I may not be an expert artist, my understanding of the meaning behind the art has grown. The ideas presented about teaching art, creating a place for artists in the church, and personal prayer art gave me an amazing flow of ideas for my own church and community! I am so excited to begin working with our teens and using art as a healing experience! The lesson on using art for the homeless, and the final lesson on “Loving the Nations” were a great inspiration. I’m flowing with ideas now! Thank you so much for a wonderful course, and for putting in the time and effort to help us grow spiritually and artistically.

Atalie Snyder, Meridian, ID

I loved trying various types of art: writing, poetry, sculpture, drawing with charcoal, painting with ink, etc. Things I thought I could never do! I loved the “Color in Visual Art” lesson. I never knew there were colors that we’ve never seen. Christian art history was brand new to me and very interesting. I love the God-thread throughout the course. It inspired me to think God could use me in my generation. I’ve learned to honor and value others’ creative expression and to be inclusive vs. exclusive. This course has been a rich deposit in my life, not only as an artist but as a person too. Thank you, Jessie and the entire team, for all your hard work. Thank you for following your heart and your dreams in being willing to be led by the Lord in ministering to artists and people both young and old. I’m amazed and so grateful to God.

Melisa Pearson, Boise, ID

Foundations in Art Ministry has been great encouragement to me. I really enjoyed the diverse subjects. Jessie, your lessons on the “Elements of Design” and the “Principles of Design” were fantastic! I also enjoyed the photography project, still life drawing, and Andrew Nemr’s tap dancing! I liked seeing my classmates’ ideas, and appreciated their encouragement. I see great importance in being surrounded by other God-fearing Christian artists. I am praying God would prepare my heart for an artsy/God-loving kind of community, whether that’s something I start or become a part of. To see how God moves in people when they’re in the act of creating and making art is so thrilling to me. I loved the “Art and Healing” lesson. When one is engaged in the act of art making it can help heal depression. Thank you so much for designing this course.

Elissa Chabassol, Pittsburgh, PA

This course is flooding my soul and mind, inspiring me to think outside the ministry box. My big breakthrough came from the “Color in Visual Art” lesson which successfully pushed past a creative block and touched something in my spirit. I hadn’t touched watercolors since my early days in college. Now I found a freshness and spontaneity in them that I hadn’t known in years. Within an hour I was able to fully complete a piece that ministered to my spirit and said what I wanted it to say. That was an amazing breakthrough for me. And the art instructor who talked about his artwork in Haiti impacted me greatly—art can say so much more than what meets the eye and have real impact in the community. The lessons build on each other in a great way. Toward the end we got into the deepness and richness of Scripture, reaching out into the community and nations. That made it all the more exciting. The course covered so much more than I expected. I could do it all again and glean even more!

Renee Flory, Ukraine

I am very glad that I took this course! I learned a lot about myself and about my art abilities and am more open to welcoming artists of different disciplines. I also feel better about the fact that I like to explore and learn new art forms which sometimes makes me feel bad because I think I’m being unfocused. I am learning that it’s God way of equipping me to minister to many different type of artists. This course was a very good, comprehensive course. It was difficult for me at times because it was asking me to complete assignments that were out of my comfort zone, but I think that I have grown because of it and I feel freer about creating art in the future. I also feel a freedom in knowing that I do not need to be the one to come up with all the answers for the direction of the art ministry or even my own art. God has to be the mastermind through His Holy Spirit to give me direction as I continue to practice and improve my skill. I have been blessed by the encouragement and the ideas from my fellow students and learned a lot of good ideas from hearing what the other students are doing in their ministry. My relationship with God has gotten deeper as a result of seeking his will though my work in my art ministry at my church and my seeking Him about my overall direction. I know that God has big plans for Illumination Arts Ministry and for all of us involved in His ministry. It’s exciting to watch God work and humbling to be a part of it. Thank you for this course and for your obedience to God’s call to create this course to help others learn the lessons that He has taught you.

Julie Saaks Ranna, Taylor Lake Village, TX

I didn’t want Art Fruition to be over but I’ve saved the handouts, all my answers, and notes. Art can heal both artists and viewers. It can be a shorthand to truth. Jessie models what we’re learning (don’t know how you do all that you do, Jessie!). Creating art can be done in partnership with God. I loved Bryn’s statement: I paint my prayers. I want to do more prophetic art, and art as prayer. I also feel a responsibility to continue improving my art skills. Thank you, Jessie, for developing a rich program that includes a variety of presenters, a mix of technical lessons, and heart stuff. The thought, planning and sensitivity that went into this course is much appreciated.

Beth Fowler, York, PA

Foundations of Art Ministry shaped my grasp of different ways I could minister. It showed me the scope of what can be done. I’ve tried many times to start creative arts groups but they fell through or failed to launch. The things I learned in this course renewed my passion for ministering to a group of artists in the local church and “mining’ creativity out of people who have been convinced they’re not creative. Another thing I’ll mention is that I love being prolific and working really hard at my craft, but sometimes, something came up missing. This course had such an emphasis on our connection to God in the midst of creating that I was often challenged to slow down a bit. Bryn Gillette really touched on this in “Loving the Nations.” Artists working with Christ really can change the world, and Christ working in our art can really change us. The Lesson on “A Place to Create and Display” was the most helpful to me. Thank you, Jessie, for giving this insightful overview of what you’re doing in your own church. What blew me away was your “everybody gets to play” philosophy that allows people from within and without the church to participate. And I loved the practical way you showed us how you do things. This helps those of us who want to try something like this in our own churches. Thanks for your inspiration.

Dave Weiss, Mohrsville, PA

I loved this course! I don’t think I would have been able to learn what I did on my own. I’m so grateful for Jessie and for all the art ministers, pastors and lay people who participated in the videos and wrote the books. I realize that I’ve just started on this journey and there is so much more to learn. This course is a wonderful foundation and opened my eyes to so many experiences that I had never heard of or seen before. It has also affected my walk with Christ. What I loved most about the “Figure Drawing” lesson were the blind contour drawing exercises. There was no stress in this exercise, especially since we were working on newsprint and with markers. I had forgotten how beneficial the contour drawing exercise is and how helpful it would be to incorporate into a daily practice. One of the Foundations lessons included a truly well written and presented speech by Andy Crouch. He unpacked through scripture why art is not about “usefulness,” it’s a gift we’re invited to play in, enjoy, and process our pain through. I can speak from personal experience that a few years back when a very traumatic event happened with my daughter, the only way I could process the pain was to paint. The feeling of such loss and brokenness wasn’t masked by the pretty colorful paintings, but embedded into each little oil painting were my tears and a way for me to draw even closer to God in a deep way. Thank you to my small group and Jessie for enriching my world and helping me learn more about art ministry, myself, and how amazing our God is through his people and his creation! Creating art has meaning and enriches our lives. It’s an intricate part of the wholeness of God.

Linda Marino, North Haven, CT

Wow, where to begin. I loved the class! I never realized how much God was in art and in me. I’m learning techniques to journal, use music in art, seeing how art can heal, and seeing some of the things that kept me away from art. I loved the lesson called “Conversations in Jazz,” watching the two artists create together. Each fed off the others’ creative gifts to form an awesome performance. It was a lesson in cooperation and the combining of talents. I’m gaining the ability to see my art from a totally different perspective, and looking more for what God has to say to me in my art than what “I” have to say. He cherishes what we do when we create art with him and for him. This course was so fun I can’t wait to go on.

Dusty Darnell, Boise, ID