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Turning Talent Into Ministry

Jared discovered his gift for art in 7th grade, and years later, his talent has become his ministry. Read Transcript


Tucked alongside the Reedy River in downtown Greenville,

South Carolina are the popular art-crossing galleries.

There you'll find Jared Emerson, an artist who not only paints

works of art, he performs them.

A number of his performances have

been portraits of celebrities who

are sometimes in the audience.

I've been able to do stuff with Tim Tebow to Jerry Rice,

to Jack Nicklaus, Carrie Underwood.

It can be a little nerve-racking.

But the pieces he loves creating most

are those that point people to Jesus Christ.

You start out creating things for your own enjoyment,

your own pleasure.

And then as you grow a little bit,

you realize, well, maybe I'm creating something

because other people need to see it.

When you're painting, you don't realize the impact

that it's having on other people a lot.

Until they come and tell you about it.

But to have someone come to you and say, man, you know,

I just haven't been coming to church in a while.

Or I just been falling from God and that painting really

spoke to me.

For some reason in seeing that painting of Jesus,

it was like him telling me, hey, I'm here.

Jared was brought up in a Christ-centered home

in Michigan.

He remembers when his own faith in God

became real when he was five.

I knew for me, my heart changed.

And so instead of me thinking I was a filthy rag,

I realized that I was actually his child.

And he loved me regardless.

Whether I obeyed or disobeyed.

I just know that I wanted to, as I grew older,

to please him more.

And learn and try to please myself less.

He discovered his gift for art around seventh grade.

But he had other things on his mind.

At a young age, I wanted to play basketball.

That was my dream, my hopes, my ambitions.

Sport was my life.

Being an artist wasn't really something that I

thought I could be one day.

Even so, Jared continued honing his artistic skills.

It wasn't until after spending a year in Bible college

and working in sales a couple of years

that he decided to pursue a career as an artist.

I think it started with me understanding

the path that I was going down was

trying to figure out how to be successful,

how to make a living.

How to have a family, take care of them--

with art.

Within a few years, he discovered how

God wanted him to use his gift.

It started when Jared's church made

some videos of him painting and showed them

during their services.

And then they said, Jared, you should paint on stage.

And I was like, are you crazy?

Like me painting on stage in front of people?

That's not something that I do.

I was scared to death to be able to get in front

of people and paint something.

He'll never forget his first performance--

with an injured knee.

I realized I am on a slick surface, I have a bum knee.

The paint starts seeping into the canvas.

And so my first thought is selfishly,

hey, what am I doing up here?

I'm going to come up here, throw some paint, fall down.

And what's the purpose of that?

And then my next thought was, God, I need your help.

Despite his fears, it was a big hit.

The Holy Spirit just hit me and said Jared, listen--

if I can allow you to do something

when you're broken, literally, and not 100%,

look at the possibilities when you are 100%.

And the opportunities that I'll be

able to give you to not only just get out there and throw

paint, but bring on in glory to my name.

And it wasn't until I think I realized

to let go and not have total control

and let God take control that I changed my path.

And that kind of brought me down to doing

like the speed painting, the live performance art.

Where it became a ministry.

Requests for Jared's performances

started coming in from all directions,

allowing him to open his Greenville studio in 2006.

Now he works at conferences, cruises,

and gatherings of all kinds.

Doing what he loves and sharing his faith.

And I never could really imagine

or dreamed that I'd be doing the things that I'm doing today

if it wasn't for that decision of God,

I need you to take over and take control of my life versus me

trying to do it.

So for me, it always comes back full circle.

Jared, where is your heart today?

How focused are you on my son?

And not just creating art, but hopefully touching

lives in the process.

I know I can't touch a life.

But I know God can touch a life.

And if it's through art, then how cool is that?


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