, with additional reporting by Adventist Review staff
With shopping centers looking more crowded than churches
nowadays, a group of creative-minded young Adventists in Britain decided to
showcase their faith in a shop window.
The nine Adventists staged a public art exhibition in a shop
window in one of the busiest shopping centers in Birmingham, the biggest
British city after London with more than 1 million people.
The three-day exhibition, titled “The IQ: Innermost
Questions,” featured artwork made by the nine Adventists and themed around
life's unanswered questions, such as the existence of humanity and the origins
"My whole aim with the IQ project was to make use of
the creative skills we have in the church to bring the gospel outside of the
church walls to the people,” said coordinator Daniel Blyden, a member of the
local Aston Newtown Community church.
He said he jumped at the chance to hold the exhibit when a
friend opened a shop called The Loft with a window display in The Square
Shopping Centre in February. The shopping center itself gave the empty retail
space to The Loft, which promotes creative ideas in public spaces, to use for
six month at no cost, according to The Loft's Web site.
“I felt that this could provide the perfect opportunity for
us to create a place where we could help the people to meet Jesus through
art," Blyden said.
He said the unconventional approach to evangelism in late
June stimulated conversations about Jesus with many shoppers and proved highly
effective in reaching people from all walks of life, resulting in follow-up
Bible studies with atheists and Muslims alike.
Valerie, an art enthusiast and self-professed atheist, explored
the exhibition at the invitation of a friend. Initially unsure of what to expect,
she began to question her own disposition toward disregarding rules and laws, Blyden
said. This sparked a lengthy discussion with the IQ team that challenged her
thinking and resulted in her accepting the challenge to read the Bible with a
Safi, a young Muslim, was in the city center participating
in Islamic outreach when he saw the exhibition and decided to take a closer
look. The IQ team gave him a tour that raised his curiosity about Christianity
and led him to ask for Bible studies to learn more, Blyden said.
Valerie and Safi along with a number of other visitors who
showed an interest in the exhibit have been invited to attend a follow-up event
later this month that will explore whether the Bible can be trusted.
British Union Conference Web site: “Creative Adventists Use Art to Reach Others”