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Healing Through Art

Our summer arts-focused PEACE trip not only broke new ground as it joined two ministries in powerful ways and brought two international campus’ together, it was also the first time SVA hosted Healing Thru Art workshops. These workshops are based on the idea that creative expression is a vital part of being human and that this type of expression leads to growth and progress. Healing Thru Art provides an environment for people to tap into their innate creativity by providing an opportunity for them to process thoughts and feelings through color. Its methodology is designed to help people re-engage their creativity and connect with God. It has proved especially powerful to people experiencing painful challenges in life, whether mental, physical, or spiritual.


One artist from our team, Melissa, came with us on the trip as a certified Art4Healing® instructor. She felt the call to begin offering workshops to those we met. Knowing that creativity is linked to stress reduction, personal satisfaction, and improved well-being, she wanted to use this type of group art therapy to give back to the communities where were serving. One of the groups she led a session for was a small group in Berlin, made up of Saddleback members, many of whom were refugees. Melissa stepped out in faith to put on this workshop and saw an enthusiastic response. The workshop quickly filled, even developing a wait list.


As the members of the small group processed their thoughts and feeling, they connected with one another in new ways. It was helpful and healing for them to talk about their lives starting from the point of color and shape. It was especially useful in this diverse small group, where language barriers coming from different ethnicities and nationalities had kept some members from connecting on a deeper level through regular conversation. There was new life in the room that night. Participants walked away feeling transformed by their creativity visible on each canvas and re-energized in their personal lives. This trip was our ministries introduction of Healing Thru Art and we know it was the beginning of so much more.

As our team continued to witness the power of art on mission, we saw the possibility for our Saddleback Berlin church family to continue with their own arts ministry.

Next week, read the poignant final story of our team’s lasting connection.

Written by Jason Leith 

Edited by Steven Homestead

This post is part of a series that shares how God transformed community through a group of SVA artists on mission in Europe with Saddleback Church’s PEACE Plan. 



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