The Gospel in a Thousand Words: Living on Mission with Photography
by Rachel Postler
Give weight to this thought: What if someone came to Christ through your photography?
We have heard the phrase, “a photograph speaks a thousand words.” Isn’t it possible, then, to present the gospel within these one thousand words?
According to the Instagram Press Page, there are 1.6 billion likes and 60 million photos shared every day. If these jarring statistics are those from Instagram alone, what of all other social media sites?
The beauty of living on mission with photography, is that you do not need to be a licensed professional or world traveler. You need only a heart for God and others, creative vision, and of course, a camera. Note that I intentionally didn’t phrase it “missions photographer” but as one “living on mission with photography.” I believe there is a big difference. Namely, going beyond capturing the story to telling it in first person.
One of the key ingredients in my experience has been intentionality with photo captions. Here’s an example:
Holding what was once just a word in His mouth is helping me change my perspective on my housing situation. I am seeing my pride in a new light as I am anxious about everything and praying about nothing. I’m grateful for His grace helping me switch that around.
Here are a few things I have learned regarding becoming intentional with photography:
Be transparent. Photos that capture real struggle, weakness, and transparency are the most powerful. We all know that we look slightly grumpy in between taking smiling selfies. People are not looking for the perfect photo. They are looking for the honest photo, that shows cracks of God’s irresistible light.
Transform intangible into tangible. The love of God is a lofty thought. Sometimes the Gospel is perceived to be poetic and distant, yet it is relevant and tangible to everyone. How can you use photography to bridge the gap of these wonderful thoughts of God (Psalm 139:17) to becoming tangible, visual concepts for the viewer to ponder on?
Find inspiration. I follow several photographers. Some know Christ, and some do not. Their view of the world through their lens stirs within me a deepened passion to inspire others to know Christ through photography.
Keep perspective. Remember it is not about how many likes your photo has, but it’s about Jesus. This is summed up very wisely by C. S. Lewis, “Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling.”
The apostle John writes in Revelation 12:11, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Not only is a photograph a thousand words, but it is also a window into the heart. May our hearts be inspired to use photography to testify the most beautiful picture of all: a God who left heaven to live our lives, die our death, and rose again to new life so that we might be called His own.
Rachel Postler is a photographer, painter, musician, and all-around artist. She is passionate about using art to connect with God and share God’s love with others. Rachel is Indigitous. You can find more of her photography at AdelArtworks.com.