Bible Art Journaling History & Update
Hey friends! It’s been an incredible year so far and I want to share some of what God has been doing. And… I’ve got exciting stuff to share.
So firstly, I often get asked how many people are being reached by what I’m doing. Who is discovering this creative journey I’m on with God and who is choosing to come along for the ride. You know, the numbers.
I want to be transparent with you and share how things have been going on this journey of Bible Art Journaling which I am on. This is not so anyone can focus on what I’m doing. But instead, so we can marvel in what God is doing in our midst. I am so honored to be a piece in this movement God is sweeping nations with. A movement to help people fall in love with His Word more deeply and make it come alive in ways that transform us all.
The bigger picture
I can only speak on behalf of my piece of the wider story.
Shanna Noel who started Illustrated Faith, has been hugely responsible for helping popularize Bible art at this time of history. She was one I interviewed in my Bible Art Journaling Artists Roundup Interview. I noticed the other day, that in her Journaling Bible Community facebook group, she was saying how they’ve just reached 17,000 members, with 2 weeks to go before the 1 year anniversary of its start!
If you’ve wondered how long this thing we call Bible art, has been happening widely… not long. As you can see from Shanna’s post, that was July 20th which means it’s been about 1 year! And yet it is across the world. It is an incredible movement to be part of.
I think it is interesting that so many who are drawn to Bible art at this time, are quite new to creativity. They find themselves spiritually hungry, new to art supplies and doing their best to learn so they can soak up the Word in a new way. Those who do have a bit of experience with art supplies, often find themselves being inundated with questions on social media by those hungry souls. And, they are always so sweet and helpful. There is room for all in this movement.
What has emerged is a worldwide community of generous, loving and truly beautiful people. I am honored to be part of this movement at its true infancy and am so excited to see what God has in store as we grow together!
I feel that much of my own role in what God is doing at this time is two-fold.
Firstly, it’s to help people learn the capabilities of their art supplies in their Bibles. This is primarily so that the art supplies can stop having to be the focus and the creative process with God can be a place to get lost in God’s Word in new ways without creative frustration.
An artist doesn’t paint to experience holding a paint brush. They paint to capture something which words cannot express. Eventually, the paint brush just becomes an extension of their hand, while they focus on the message of the creative pieces they work on.
I secondly feel my role is to help people be renewed and transformed, by the revelation we grasp from the Word of God. Creativity is a tool to encounter God more deeply and creativity IN the Word, all the better!
My Bible art journaling history
People often ask me how long I’ve been doing Bible art journaling and about how I got started. Let me tell you my story as it relates to all this.
In January 2014 God clearly spoke to me that I was about to have a season shift and then in blew in with force. By April, I was in real need of a break and refreshing after a hugely difficult situation in my life. A new season was upon me and I needed time to re-calibrate. I went to California for a 4 week break with those back home and several friends generously poured some funds out, so my dear husband could join me 2 weeks in. Its the longest space of time either of us had been back in the States since I moved to the UK in 2007. It was just what we needed.
At that time, I had been spending a lot of time dreaming with God for my next season. I told Him I’d like to have a YouTube channel where I could give art tutorials which could be meaningful to the Christian community of creatives. I had NO idea what to teach despite having a fairly diverse and deep background in arts and crafts growing up. My mom taught crafts and my grandma, (dad’s mom), was a fine artist and sculptor. I didn’t want to just be another YouTuber. I wanted to impact lives and help people encounter Jesus through creativity.
I felt like God really encouraged me to chase that dream and so we took what was left of my previous employment funds and bought some studio filming equipment. Still with no idea what to do. I took the next several months building my blog from the ground up, with the wonderful support of my digital designer husband. I also spent countless hours trying to learn my equipment and get it figured out so I could put videos together which met my desire for excellence. All the while, I just kept on making art and trusting that if I prepared myself for the dream, He would be faithful to show me the next steps as I needed them. And He sure did!
In October, a close friend of mine in California, (Shelly Moore) approached me. She said she’d found what I was meant to be doing with my life. She’d seen the Journaling Bible Community facebook group by Shanna Noel and shared it with me. The minute I saw the Bible art in it, I had one of those moments that shape us. I realized I’d found what I was born for. I’d found home for me. I had the right mix of creative background to have a good handle on how to get started and bigger dreams got seeded in my heart. This was the perfect way for me to help people encounter God through creativity… and there appeared to be hunger. I wanted to be part of the movement and despite my love of dreaming big with God, I found myself largely underestimating the hunger that exists for this right now.
In early December last year, I announced on my then newly updated blog, that I was going to be launching a free weekly Bible Art Journaling Challenge. By then I had a YouTube channel with 0 subscribers, (yes 0). My blog had started being viewed 200-400 times per month by mainly friends. I had a facebook page with about 200 likes and an Instagram account with just over 250 followers. My Prophetic Arts for Jesus Facebook Group had about 4,500 members after 7 years of steady growth. That was early December.
By Christmas I was dreaming big with God and asking him for the opportunity to impact more lives than I could imagine. Friends know I get how to dream with God in big ways. But, God has outdone my dreaming. Within six months, I’d gone beyond what I asked God to help achieve in a whole year. I’m having to dream bigger and I am excited to partner with God for more.
Numbers and testimonies
I want to share some numbers with you so you can understand my Bible art history and how that reflects in my corner of this wider movement. Please keep in mind these only represent part of the picture. God is doing big things everywhere and I am honored to be some part of this movement.
These numbers don’t equate the sum total of what God is doing, any more than we would go to a church, count the membership and see that as a total of success or failure. We grasp an understanding of hunger and commitment based on numbers, and testimonies are what tell us the true and lasting impact. Both seem valuable information to help us understand a bigger picture of what God can and is doing in my corner of this movement.
In January when I launched my Bible Art Journaling Challenge, it was in hopes I could impact lives and help more people truly encounter the living God I am passionately in love with. I wanted people to find a more meaningful depth with God, and use creativity as the tool. So far, that dream has gone beyond my expectations and I am so glad I took the risk of not having an income so that I could pursue what my heart burns for. It has come at an honestly huge financial sacrifice for my husband and I, but the reward of doing something which impacts lives and gives me enjoyment, makes it worth it.
So I launched the Bible Art Journaling Challenge in the first week of January. That month I had 5,897 visits to my blog. That was pretty huge considering the previous months. It seemed evident I was doing what God’s best was for me and I was amazed by how hungry people were.
It is July 30th, 2015 today. One day shy of a full 7 months. As the word has spread over these past months, so has my ability to impact lives which has been a huge honor. I have felt so overwhelmed and humbled by it all.
This month (July 2015), there has already been over 24,000 visits to my blog.
Since January 1st, there has been 106,000+ visits to the blog. People are visiting from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Russia, South Africa, Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden, plus 137 other countries/territories.
My YouTube channel now has over 3,500 subscribers. Since January 1st, there have been over 129,000 views.
You guys! Your hunger for encountering God through creativity using Bible art is incredible. I am overwhelmed by it! My facebook page now has 2,600+ likes and Instagram account, over 1,500 followers.
My Prophetic Arts for Jesus Facebook Group now has over 8,000 wonderful members. The Bible Art Journaling challenge facebook group has 4,300+ sweet members and the google+ community over 200 great people.
These numbers are growing so quickly that I am honestly struggling to keep up with the speed at which the growth has occurred. I do my best but the job isn’t mine alone thankfully. There are so many amazing people in this movement and each add amazing beauty to this wider movement, as we hunger for more of God together.
My facebook messenger and email inbox have become flooded by sweet messages from hungry people who want to learn, grow, encounter Jesus and make an impact on the world around them. I am truly thankful to play any part in your stories and each are so personal and beautiful. Your creative journey with God really matters to me.
So those are some numbers which I believe really demonstrate how hungry so many are to learn about creating in their Bibles to connect with God more deeply. The hungry for His Word is so evident in these numbers. I feel it really proves that God is doing something across nations to make His Word come alive to people in new ways.
What they say
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some snippets of testimonies from those joining me in this art ministry. I want you to hear how people are being impacted by what is happening in our midst. I imagine you may even be able to relate to some of these. It is great to see hunger, but what is most important is to see lives touched and transformed. I am so grateful to hear these stories and know I am doing something that can be of encouragement others.
So, here are some testimonies…
“I can already see the level of spiritual growth in myself as I combine two of my passions – God and art.”
“I’m enjoying this journey back to my relationship with God.”
“This Bible Art Challenge has unlocked and combined all things I love – God, His word and the freedom of creative expression.”
“Watching what you do made me feel accepted, it was ok to express what I was feeling, even seeing and hearing from God thru my art. I can’t thank you enough for this.”
“It’s given me encouragement to be in Gods word plus validation of my artistic gift that HE gave me to share Him with others.”
“Rebekah’s blog and the Bible Art Journaling Challenge are an answered prayer for me… I have been praying that God would show me how to retain what I read so I can share it with others. I can now remember all of the scriptures that I have created art from in the challenge.”
“I have started making time for myself so that I can truly experience His love for me while doing what I have such a passion for!”
“Along the way I am gaining knowledge about the Bible. I am so thankful to be able to enjoy my creative side again. And finding joy in being me again.”
“One of the ways Rebekah’ ministry has helped me is the way she expounds on the scripture as she is showing her art journaling process. The illumination God has given her of His Word is a blessing and has edified me significantly. Each time I listen to her share the Word of God I am encouraged in the faith and strengthen in my walk with Christ.”
“When I found the Bible Journaling Challenge, I thought it would be a great way to keep my time with the Lord fresh. And sure enough, it has! I love the revelations I get after reading the Tuesday challenge. I am also being challenged in my artwork. Looking forward to exploring more…”
“I had been struggling with bondage of all kinds- low self confidence,… condemnation, guilt and shame, and a fear of God is nothing more than a harsh king. Art journaling in my Bible has allowed me to let go of my past and embrace my future with my loving, personable God!”
“Being able to give glory to the Creator using the gifts He has given me, in the Book He has written for me, is an amazing and uplifting experience. It has helped His word come alive in ways I never dreamed possible.”
“Being introduced to Bible Art Journaling has opened up a whole new way to create and interact with others. I have been blessed by Rebekah’s kindness and creativity. I have been strongly encouraged as an artist. And when I’ve shared my work online, I’ve been invited to use it to help others with their creativity as well. I’m so glad I found this art form, this guide and this community!”
“I found your YouTube channel last Saturday and fell in love! After watching all of your videos, I went to your website and while reading your testimony received healing from the Lord. Hallelujah! …our God is STILL in the healing business.”
My husband and I may be tight financially, but it is worth the sacrifice when hearing testimonies of transformed and impacted lives. What an exciting time to be alive and part of something so special which God is doing in our midst! 🙂
Lets transform lives
So I’ve shared my Bible art history with you. I’ve shared how things have grown and I’ve shared some exciting testimonies of lives being impacted, transformed and even healed. If you wonder why I work hard, it’s because I love helping transform lives for God!
I want to be transparent with you and hope it will help you trust me in this journey we are on together.
I’ve been working full time for free since last Autumn. I’ve started earning a small amount each month from the commissions I get when you click on my art supply links on my blog and purchase things. It has been small but each bit helps and I’m grateful to those who choose to bless me by buying through my links. Much of that money needs invested back in to this art ministry so it is a true blessing to help sustain this ministry.
To sustain working full time in this art ministry, I’d like to ask you to consider how you might partner with me to impact lives in this movement. I will always keep having free videos and blog posts because I believe strongly in investing in those who are spiritually hungry, regardless if they can afford to give back. For those who have $1 per month or more who would like to help me impact lives, I would value your partnership with me to make a difference in the world around us.
I may be wild but I believe we can change the world together. Imagine a world where people stop believing that the Bible is an unapproachable thick book and instead, they enjoy having it impact their daily lives. Imagine a whole world full of people like that. I’m going to need the help of those who can and I am SO excited about some of the things already happening which I am bursting to tell you about.
If you have a little as $1 per month and want to join me on this adventure, in a way which will enable me to make a difference, I’d love to have you become a patron. I’ve set up a Patreon account which is a really safe and wonderful platform to help people like myself, be financially supported by people like you. These funds quite simply will pay bills and be invested back in to the ministry so I can afford to continue to make this my full time job. You can stop, lower or increase your giving anytime, which means you get to be in control of your giving. I like it that way.
The best part is that I get to reward you for partnering with me. I’ve got a Patron Brainstorming Team, a fun Patron-only activity stream where I share sneak peeks and chat with Patrons. I’ll be having monthly Google Hangouts and more. I’d encourage you to check out my Patreon page and see if any particular rewards might be something you’d enjoy having in return for helping me impact lives.
Over on my Patreon page, I’ve gotten in front of the camera to say hello on my video and chat with you about all this. Do come if for nothing else but to see what I look like. 😉 Kidding! ha
If you click on this “Become a Patron” button, it will take you to my Patreon page to check out the fun. Don’t worry, it won’t sign you up yet. It’s just a button to let you go see my page, your rewards and all that fun stuff. I hope you come check it out!
I’m excited to say the first Milestone Goal has been reached already. That means somebody will be picked at the beginning of next month, to receive a creative care package from me with some fun art supplies and a few tags created on by myself. They’ll make great bookmarks or tip-in’s for Bible art! The next Milestone Goal isn’t that far off and will result in my buying a 28 color set of Faber-Castell Gelatos for a patron! After that, the next time I’ll be doing some art in a Bible I give away!
I love giving gifts. This is super fun that I get to give back to those who are joining me as a patron! What a fun adventure we’re going on. I cannot wait to see what God has in store next for us!
To those of you who have become patrons and will do so, THANK YOU for partnering with me so we can change our corner of the world. I believe we’re going to impact lives for eternity and I am excited to watch it unfold!
And to patrons AND those of you who feel you cannot be a patron for $1 or more at this time, I want to THANK YOU for taking the time to join me on this wild adventure. For reading my blogs and watching my videos. For sharing them with friends and family. Thanks for letting me be part of your life in some way. For letting me be part of your story.
The very best gift you could give me? Get in the Word and let it transform your life. And enjoy my free blog and videos if they can support that process for you.
You are loved! x