One Graduate’s Journey To Incorporate Art Into Ministry

by Kelsey Madas

June 26, 2018

Posted in: Other

Jeremy Miller (‘03) is a graduate of LBC, a liturgical teaching artist and former missionary. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible from Lancaster Bible College, a master’s of biblical studies from Virginia Beach Seminary and a master’s in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary. To learn more about his art or request a speaking engagement, visit facebook.com/artbyjeremymiller

Jeremy Miller’s journey to becoming an artist took an unusual route. While he was studying missions at Lancaster Bible College (now called intercultural studies), he began searching for ways to integrate his budding passion for art with his faith convictions. One day, he was given a chance to do just that.

Dr. Bruce McCraken, a former academic dean at LBC, challenged him. “In response to my petitioning for someone to teach me how to live a fulfilling life in both [the] arenas [of art and Christianity],” Jeremy explained, “I was forced to work out where I stood.” He was offered the chance to design and teach a new class called, “Arts in Ministry,” for his senior project, which he says was a formative experience for him. “Teaching at LBC as my senior practicum was a life changing experience for me,” he explained. “I had struggled for several years with what it meant to be both a Christian and an artist.” Jeremy took the project seriously, and asked for a year to do research. “While my thoughts at the time barely scratched the surface [on what it means to be a Christian and an artist],” he said, “It formed the foundation for where the Lord has led me today.”

A few years after graduation, Jeremy and his wife, Anda (Adams ‘00) Miller, answered the call from God to serve as missionaries in Vienna, Austria from 2007 t0 2009. Jeremy was hired to teach theatre and Bible at Vienna Christian School, an international school populated with the children of expatriates, missionaries and international diplomats. “Aside from my ministry at the school,” Miller explained, “One of the most impactful things about being in Austria was going into cathedrals and seeing the beautiful, stained glass windows and experiencing the sense of sacred space in the cathedrals as a whole. I was in awe of the beautiful symbols, but I didn’t know the significance they held.” Little did he know that those strange and lovely symbols would later become the crux of his art.

art-piece-watercolor-by-jeremy-miller-lancaster-bible-college

Above: a watercolor piece by Jeremy Miller.

Today, following advanced theological study, those symbols can be found embedded in many pieces of his artwork. “My work is comprised largely of watercolor and ink creations that are rooted in the historic symbolism of the church,” explained Jeremy. “Text from Scripture and quotations from the creeds and church fathers are often infused to focus times of devotional viewing.” When we asked him about what inspires him, he immediately said colors. “Personally, vivid colors are very important to me,” he explained. “In the midst of a dark world, they remind us that the Gospel is a message of hope!”

Teaching at that class LBC, his observations and experience in Vienna and his theological studies spurred him to become a liturgical teaching artist – which means he shares the heart of the Gospel in a visually creative way. “The term “liturgical’ has a very specific meaning,” he explained. “But I like to explain it this way: There are many Christian artists. However, beyond knowing them, you may not know who’s they are or what they stand for by what they create. A beautiful landscape can be painted by either a Christian or a non-Christian. Common grace allows both to appreciate the beauty and reflect the Creator in capturing images of general revelation. However, as a liturgical artist, my work ties into the historic images that belong to the church. They visually tell the story of God’s grand narrative through images.”

Jeremy graciously gifted the college with six prints, which you can find displayed at the Lancaster campus and Greenbelt locations of LBC | Capital, in addition to one piece he gave to the college as the 2003 class gift. “I am so excited to see the strides LBC has taken in embracing artistic ministry,” said Jeremy. “I am praying for even more opportunities for me to come alongside those students who share a creative nature and remind them that God has given them gifts for specific, diversified purposes.”

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