The Illustrated Gospel Project


It all started when I saw an Armenian painting depicting the woman at the well in John 4. One of the figures had a strange looking hat on. This ‘strange hat’ turned out to be the helmet of a Mongolian warrior – the army that at this stage in history was terrorising the Armenian people. It was the artist’s way of bringing home to his people the radical message of Jesus; this is not merely for insiders or ‘people like us’.

This idea of ‘bringing home’ the Gospel stayed with me. Here in Aotearoa we often end up importing our worship songs and ideas about the Bible from bigger places, as if we have swallowed the assumption that bigger is always better. But isn’t God here? Isn’t God with us too?! Over the last two years a scattered community of wordsmiths, artists and musicians has formed as we began this work based on the simple conviction that these ancient stories are playing out on our streets as the Risen Christ walks and works in our midst.

Want to Play?

This conversation awaits your contribution.

To this end we have set up where you can find all the resources from this book and more that we didn’t have room for. But there is still room! Room for what you and your community of faith might create in response to God’s creative Word at work, and at play in your midst. So if you create a drama, a song, a prayer or a responsive reading, we’d like you to share it. Head to the website and follow the ‘Your Voice’ links.

Contribute Your VoiceContribute Your Voice

Understanding this Resource

Here are some suggestions on what you can do with these resources in your community.
If you are using them as part of a Sunday service try this:

  • Read the paraphrase.
  • Pause for a minute or two. Project the artwork during the pause.
  • Read the reflection, or prayer, or the original Scripture reading.
  • Pause for a minute or two. Have your musicians play the song during this pause.

If you are using it in a small group or on your own:

  • Read the paraphrase.
  • Pause for a minute or two.
  • Invite people to write their own version or response.
  • Learn the song together or listen to the reflective piece.

Malcolm Gordon
Worship, Music and Arts Enabler
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand