Faith Pictures
Mike Starkey, Church Army, November 2015

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What does it say on the tin?

What is Faith Pictures?
Faith Pictures is a short course designed to help Christians talk naturally to friends, neighbours and colleagues about what they believe. The heart of the course is about helping people to identify a single picture or image that embodies something of their faith. This is because the kinds of communication which best stick in the mind are concrete and rooted in story.

The course aims to be accessible and light-hearted, without jargon or inflexible methods. It has a number of emphases not always found in faith-sharing courses. These include the avoidance of one-size-fits-all models and the importance of honesty and listening. Each session contains a short video and encourages discussion in pairs and as a whole group.

What do you get?

All material available via the website Black-and-white, printable Leaders’ and Participants’ notes for six sessions, between 90 – 120 minutes each. Session 1 available for viewing via website. Registration required to unlock access to sessions 2 – 6. All downloadable. Videos for each session, available live on the site, downloaded or on a disk (latter is £5 and includes all session material).

Who is it for?

Any adult, growing, new Christians, of any Christian background. May well suit older youth too. Small groups. ‘It is for people of any Christian tradition and none. It has been designed to appeal particularly to people who would normally run a mile from courses on faith-sharing!’


  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Contemporary, innovative and brilliantly easy to use resource for learning how to talk about one's faith in a natural and helpful way. Built on the concept that ‘faith pictures' communicate effectively and easily. Step by step, non-threatening, creative.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Seen as ‘first steps in helping a wide variety of people think about sharing their faith', approached with honesty and humour. Very clear aims for each session at the head of the sheets for both leaders and participants.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    A4 sheet of suggestions for facilitating the course. Covers advance planning of venue and running session, plus role of the leader. Good suggestions for setting up, and creating a welcome. Each session includes: Welcome; Opener; Main Session (including Video, then alternating Discussions and responses to Session Sheet material); Ending (including Creative or Quiet prayer, and supplied Closing prayer); Takeaway (sheet to take home with a question on it). Optional extra ‘Still have time?' section for groups with more time (worth doing!). Timings given on the Leaders' sheets, which are clear and easy to use A4 pages. Basic, clear layout. Subheadings within sections could be clearer, but bullet points lead through anyway. Materials needed for each session are listed.

    Who could lead it?

    Facilitator seen as having a low key role, but would still need to be confident in leading a group through the sessions, helping discussions, disseminating enthusiasm etc.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    2 A4 pages. Downloadable, black-and-white. Clear, and contains aims plus the main points of the session. Some material for in-session use, and takeaway sheet with the question for the following session.

    How good is any digital material?

    Videos are engaging and to the point, with a great range of people, some short, some longer interviews. Focus is on people's stories or reactions. Average length of videos around 9 minutes. Very good, very thought-provoking, and illustrative of each session topic. Should lead in to the theme very well.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Decisions on how to use the course, and publicising it – no publicity provided but permission given to use the faith pictures images on the site. Familiarisation with material. Downloading and printing the sessions' sheets for leaders and participants.

    Is there website support? Links?

    All material on the web. Site is attractive, clear and easy to navigate, which is a joy. Downloads etc work easily.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very good – lots of discussion, encouragement to easy honesty, and novel ways of engaging with the perceived challenges of talking about faith.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Very good mixture of elements to the course, ranging from video, icebreakers, responses to the session sheet notes, discussion, and some creative options too. As long as the leader kept moving the group through the material, it would make for a great pace throughout the session, with lots of different elements to keep people engaged. Interactive.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Very accessible, practical and memorable. Designed to suit a wide range of people with a wide range of Christian understanding and background, and looks like it would succeed. With the proviso that your Christian background includes the conviction that sharing your faith in helpful ways with others is a good and necessary thing to do.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Group time is focused around learning together, and from each other. Between-session ‘homework' encourages interaction. Perhaps Session 7 is missing – this is great preparation for learning how to talk about God naturally, but it would be good to meet again once members had actually had a go at doing it.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Little material, apart from the Lord's Prayer every session. However, backup for the overall concept of expressing faith through visual images is pulled from the way Jesus spoke. Session 5 invites all to pick a favourite biblical character.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Lord's Prayer provided in traditional and modern format options. Video 5 picks up theme of choosing favourite Bible character and why.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Not in a direct way, but certainly in that it follows Jesus way of communicating in relevant images and stories; and uses biblical characters to bring to life one's own perspective.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Website firmly declares no tie to any one denomination. Anglican Church Army production.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Really great people stories on the videos – all should be able to relate – good range of people and experiences. Very ‘normal' (apart from the guy who keeps snakes perhaps!).

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Excellent progression through the course, enabling people to engage with their own stories in a non-threatening way, interspersed with more general material. Very practical in enabling participants to work out their faith stories for themselves.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Real encouragement that we all have a God story that we can learn to articulate. Session 6 underlines that God's purpose is ‘always to bring hope and renewal to the whole of creation' so that mission is ‘finding out what God is doing and joining in' (quoting Archbishop Rowan Williams).

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    This course is about recognising God at work in one's own life, in order to communicate that well to others. Realistic and not super-spiritual in any way.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This is learning how to do personal evangelism in an inspirational and culturally relevant way. Overall concept of telling your story to yourself and others via images is very powerfully presented. Course stops short of reporting back once members have tried talking to people, as God leads. It would be good to add this in.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Potentially very well, depending on whether the members have a go at using what they have learned.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Implicit, as this course is focused on encouraging all mission.

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