Bible Art Ministries
Bible Art Ministries is God’s idea. The mission is to combine the message from the Bible with the inspiration of fine art paintings, in school presentations.
When God spoke to me in an audible voice, he told me that what I was doing was not what he wanted me to do. Rather, he wanted me to go to the schools and speak with the students. As I prayed and sought just what that would involve, the Lord indicated he wanted me to prepare a presentation consisting of several large Biblical illustrations (paintings) including
“Cain and Abel,” “The Way of the Cross,” “The Crucifixion,” “The Resurrection,” “Christ at Heart’s Door,” etc. These paintings would appeal to students through dealing with two subjects – art, and the Bible. My ten years teaching art at Pine Ridge Correctional School had been excellent training. Both subjects would be woven together, becoming an enjoyable way of learning for students and teachers.
Principal Palmateer, from Belleville, described an early presentation: “I have never before in all my life seen so much good information given in 45 minutes.” A principal in Burke’s Falls observed: “What my students saw and heard today will be indelibly etched upon their hearts and lives for a lifetime.” To God be the Glory!
The mission was to help fill a void left when teaching the Bible was taken out of public schools curriculum in Canada.
God’s call to go the schools was not an easy task. Praying and seeking God’s support was the only way it could be done.
There was recognition that art was important. When I was teaching art at Pine Ridge School, The Director of Education at the time for Hamilton Wentworth spoke at a teachers’ conference on the theme “Art is the most important subject in every school.” He concluded that the art teacher’s role was most important. I was seated near my school’s principal, who gave me a look of new-found appreciation.
This was supported by research at Bob Jones University that found that wherever a school board had a good art program, the students’ marks were better in the other subjects than in similar schools without an art program.
Bible Art Ministries also has a small outreach into prisons and to the public through Bible verse signs and public presentations.
The History of Bible Art Ministries
Bible Art Ministries received its charitable organization charter from the Government of Canada in 1976. I felt called by God to do this work, but had no funding – I was a retired school art teacher and former minister and Bible salesman. So my wife, Gwen, and I contacted all the people we knew who we thought might be interested in supporting the mission through prayer and donations. We developed a small support group – we called them Gideon’s 300 – who provided prayer support, advice, and, where possible, a $5 a month donation.
To get started, we wrote draft constitution, following Revenue Canada guidelines. Our lawyer said “I wouldn’t change a thing,” and we got approval three months later.
We began approaching schools, for permission to make presentations. We prayed, then approached the Director of Education for each school board. Only one refused to give permission. We then approached individual school principals, and 80% of them said “Yes.” Some had a pretty loud “NO,” but several of those, after seeing the experience in other schools, switched to “yes” and became some of our strongest supporters.
I delivered the message in the schools, Gwen (a former department store credit manager) looked after the finances.
We decided to help spread awareness through having a booth at the Jesus Festival and Full Gospel Businessmen’s Conventions. This gathered some supporters who brought in their local school boards, often setting up a complete itinerary for us. With others helping line up presentations, I was able to focus on presentations, and typically presented at ten schools a week, one each morning and afternoon. We did about 200 presentations a year. I often stayed with the person who organized the presentations, cutting down on costs while creating a great opportunity for fellowship. We felt an urgency to get the Bible’s message out to students.
Regrettably, the mission in Canada, and then in the United States, was made illegal by legal changes that prohibited even this form of presentation of “religion.” In the 1990s, we were living in Florida. We met two illegal immigrants from Colombia, South America, who had been coming to our church and were recent converts. We helped nourish their spiritual growth. They both felt called to return to Bogota, Colombia, their home town, to take the Bible Art Ministries mission there.
That mission began in the mid 1990s. They added the Mailbox Club – signing up students to take Bible correspondence lessons after hearing the presentation and (often) making a commitment to the Lord. The two missionaries now oversee about 4,000 students a year in the Bible Correspondence courses.
Omer Rincon, one of our missionaries, was recruited in 1999 by the Mailbox Club, and is now their Latin American rep based in Georgia, USA. German Rozo (pronounced Herman) continued as a missionary, and we recruited Julio Velez as the second missionary