Sketchboard – Evangelism through painting

God has already prepared the illustration on the first pages of the Bible

“Illustration is very important,” said Ulrich Hofius in the introduction to the Sketchboard Course, held on Saturday, the 17th of September in the Bible School. According to this evangelizer, if we really want to explain what we preach, we need to be illustrated. Even God made illustrations, Ulrich said, such as when He explained to Noah that he had to build a ship. If we look to the Bible scripture, we see that as soon as the command comes to build a ship, Noah asks the question, “What’s a ship?” God then explains to him what a ship looks like, how can be it used, and when Noah and his family will need it most of all. The amazing thing is that God, at the end of His illustrations, also says some loving words: “When you build a ship, make sure there are windows.”

It’s no wonder that we may be surprised by this instruction. Putting windows on a ship is still a matter of course, nothing special. Ulrich then explained that for Noah it was really new information! Finally, the information was new for us, too. We begin to realize that, in a dark space where there are many animals over the course of weeks, an ordinary window has its two essential meanings. Firstly, the window allows air into the enclosed space; it’s a basic tool for ventilation. The window also brings light, which—in a dark place full of various animal sounds—is more than welcome. At the end of the instructive tale we learn that the word illustration is derived from “lux”, the Latin word for light, and brings light to some things. Therefore we agree with Ulrich that “illustration is an excellent tool in the preaching of the Gospel.”

Open-air evangelism

The Sketchboard Course took place in the Bible school in Martin for the first time in March of this year. The organizer was the Lutheran deanery in Turiec. Ľubka Polášková, coordinator for work with children in this deanery thinks that the sketchboard is one of the forms of evangelization perfectly suited to the individual congregations in churches. “There arises a place for children and young people who are not yet actively involved in church life,” said Ľubka. Evidence of this is the objective of service: “work where people are.” Evangelists like Ulrich therefore go into the streets, the town square, beaches and camps and preach to “places where there are people for whom the church apparently never arrived.” During Saturday’s second meeting, we learned that sketchboard is a way of evangelism—the methods used in obtaining people who never heard about God or heard little about him.

The Bible – a view from the other side

The technique of sketchboard is based on the idea of “talking about things from the other side” — a Bible story always told from one perspective may, in fact, have more “narrators”. Consider this illustration: The story of the crucifixion of Jesus we know in the classical, Biblical form (Jesus comes to Golgotha and is crucified between two thieves who ridicule or share words with him…) But how could this story be told the sketchboard way? Perhaps from the perspective of one of the thieves on the cross! In this example is “the view from the other side” a view of man who says “I’m convicted fairly, I receive punishment for what I have committed … but this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23,41). Let´s present what that man considered at that moment when he was asking Jesus to remember on him in his kingdom?

Continuation of course in Martin

The strength and depth of biblical stories in terms of their character multiplies in painting—the illustration then complimented and enhanced by creative human speech. No wonder that the course was liked so much that the Biblical story with the “view from the other side” rang on Sunday school next day morning. Iťa Bodnárová, governess from the Lutheran Elementary School in Martin talks about the great motivation to continue of this kind of storytelling. “We would like to offer the Sketchboard Course to students of the Bible School and Lutheran Elementary School, with school pastor Mgr. Katarína Valčová, PhD. cooperating on the project,” added Iťa.

“God gave us the hands and feet, voice and facial expression – Let’s start using them,” said the leader of the sketchboard course Ulrich in its final section. The course in “evangelism through painting” was further refined with a delicious lunch, giving artists of all ages enough strength and imagination. Participants appreciated the great atmosphere but also the new ideas and creative possibilities.


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