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Artist adds music, drama to draw people to the Rock

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SUGAR HILL, Ga. (BP)–He once drew for a living in a studio. Now he draws for Jesus onstage.

Most people want to see an artist’s finished work, not the work in progress, but add Christian rock music, lights, slides, Scripture narration and drama, and suddenly you have “Drawing to the Rock,” a gospel presentation that appeals to people of all ages.

Kerry Jackson’s desire is that through his unique ministry of arts people will be drawn to the Rock of Ages.

Jackson said God gave him the vision for this ministry while he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He had done “chalk talks” in churches, but the vision was for “something really big.”

When he first came to seminary from Jackson, Miss., Jackson left his freelance art studio and thought he would no longer need his skills and fine arts degree from Mississippi State University.

“I gave up my art career, sold all my supplies, tools and client list to become a counselor,” Jackson said.

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The vision for his ministry came one day while he was in his car waiting to pick up his daughter.

“I almost started crying right there, [but] I didn’t know it would take so long to pull it together,” said Jackson, who graduated with a master of communications degree in 1993.

The hour-and-15-minute presentation consists of five vignettes: the apple in the Garden of Eden; the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem; the triumphal entry of Jesus in Jerusalem; Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; and the crucifixion.

As Jackson moves from vignette to vignette, music from groups like Holy Soldier play. In the crucifixion scene, as the The Violet Burning’s song “The Killing” plays, Jackson draws “a normal happy Jesus,” then violently slashes a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.

In the background, the audience hears a hammer hitting nails. When the song is done, Jackson peels away Rubylith to reveal a precut scene of the empty tomb as the song “Believe” by Grammatrain plays.

Through the creative use of lighting, Jackson makes it appear that Jesus has risen from the tomb and is beckoning people to come to him.

In the second half of the presentation, Jackson emerges portraying Jesus.

“I ask [people in the audience] if they love me, if they believe in me,” Jackson said.

The ministry is about a year and a half old and is a family affair. Jackson built the set, pieced together the lighting, made the slide presentations and bought a sound system. His wife, Twyla, is the light and sound technician, which he says is the hardest job.

Each vignette has a 32-by-40-inch canvas. The set takes four to six hours to set up.

Jackson has no set fee, relying on love gift offerings from churches. Any money he receives goes to improving the ministry.

“I want God to take it wherever he wants to take it,” Jackson said, adding that he would like to upgrade his equipment and make the presentation more high-tech.

Jackson always invites people to raise their hands if they want to receive Christ. He recalled an 8-year-old girl who told him she looked up at the face of Jesus and felt God telling her it was time to accept Christ.

Jackson is a promotion design specialist with the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga. Part of his job is designing NAMB booths that are used at conventions.

Jackson knows that he didn’t have to go to Southwestern to do the job he is doing now, but Southwestern exposed him to missions, to lost people and to the Word of God.

“If I hadn’t come, I would not have felt his call to missions or I would have ignored it,” he said. “It was [at Southwestern] that I knew God had more special plans for my talent than I could ever have imagined.”

To schedule Jackson for a presentation or to obtain a brochure or promotional video, write to Drawing to the Rock, 1140 Sycamore Summit, Sugar Hill, GA, 30518 or [email protected] Jackson can do the entire presentation or just parts of it, depending on the need and time limitations of churches.