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His Lions and BLAZE Arts program aims to inspire youth to create with faith in mind

A Kansas City-based arts organization is joining forces with a wellness group to train youth in visual media with a spiritual twist.

“Something was needed in homeschooling and Christian education to help students see the power of visual images in swaying opinion and teaching concepts,”  Sharon Jeffus, founder and director of Visual Manna, told Metro Voice.

The program partners Visual Manna (His Lions) and Blaze/Abba Wellness for an advanced art program that offers optional AP credit. The art program will also help young people organize a digital portfolio of their best work.

Linabelle Finnegan is handling the Bible aspect of the program. She holds multiple graduate degrees ranging from Master of Arts in Economics, Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Ministry focusing on Health and Restoration, Masters in Natural Medicine, candidate for a doctorate in Ministry, and doctorate and Ph.D. in Natural Medicine.

Finnegan will teach from a Bible study called BLAZE which is used by ABBA Wellness.  “Blaze stands for a very large or fiercely burning fire,” Jeffus says. “This is what we will be for God, if we learn His truth, if we believe it, and if we allow the Holy Spirit to empower us to live it! We will be a BLAZE for Christ.”

READ: How can the church use the arts for God?

Finnegan co-founded ABBA Helps with her husband. It’s a non-profit ministry for aborted and trafficked children. She is also the founder and owner of ABBA Wholeness Center whose mission is to be the “Medic in the church.”

youth artsHer program’s name, BLAZE,  is an acronym for: Born for Greatness. Love. Amaze (We are born to amaze others with signs and wonders that will follow our faith in Jesus). Zeal (We are born for zeal, with passion and deep intimacy with God), and Excellence (We  are born for excellence in pursuit of that which is pure and holy befitting the sons and  daughters of God).
As students learn to create beauty through Art, they also will learn how God created beauty in them and through them. “They will learn that God designed them to BLAZE and bring light and beauty around them,” shares Jeffus.

On the art side, students will have an experienced and respected artist leading the classes.

Jeffus has done art workshops at Bass Pro, Audubon Society and a variety of venues across America.

Visual Manna was founded by Sharon’s husband and master artist Richard, who also developed the idea for this army of young artist whom he named “His Lions.”

As for Sharon, she holds a B. S. E. in art education and studied painting at Metropolitan in Denver and then sculpting at Southern Illinois University.  Jeffus taught in public schools and wrote curriculum over 14 years and then began homeschooling and traveling with her husband doing art workshops across the country.

It’s upon this experience she draws from for her students.

As they paint a mural from conception to actualization, they will learn that they also were conceived with precision. Every stroke of a drawing, every color in the palette, every curve in a sculpture, is intentional and essential to the final outcome. And so is their life, she says.

youth artsHer sentiments are also rooted in Christian theologian Francis Shaeffer who said the Christian is the one whose imagination should soar beyond the stars.

“Our goal is to prepare young people to go out and minister the gospel in the arts.   Students will create murals on mission trips all over the world.   We even are planning to take a group to the coming Olympics,” Jeffus says.

The program will train young people in several ways.

First, creating murals with powerful and positive visual images can change hearts.  A Charisma Magazine article titled “Christians Use Art to Calm Violence, Evangelize,” explained how a Christian muralist went into a violent area of Chicago, and by creating a mural on the beauty of creation and the cross of Jesus was able to change the whole neighborhood. Drug houses closed and even gang members protected the area of the mural because they were invited to take part in the experience of creating something good in a place of profound evil.

The program will also teach children Bible art lessons, create paint parties with a gospel message and have them sit in churches and illustrate sermons.

Their work will also be showcased in an art gallery at the end of the program and churches can set up a scholarship fund for young artists to allow them to improve their skills and explore options for career art opportunities.

Classes will be held at ABBA Wholeness in Blue Springs and camps will be held at the ABBA ranch.

You can go here to Rainbow Resources online to get free lessons and purchase her books.

Visual Manna, her company, does murals for ministry and encouragement.  You can contact her at visualmanna@gmail.com.

–Metro Voice Newspaper

 

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