Career, Faith, World Changers

Scholarship Essay by Aric Zillinger

May 12, 2016 | Posted by LCEF

As I have matured as a Christian, I’ve spread God’s love often through my artwork. Some projects are smaller in size and detail, while others are larger, requiring more time, planning and commitment. Some projects are gifts and others are created for personal growth. Whether it is a simple sketch or a finalized product, each piece that I create is an expression of my faith to glorify God.

The most recent Christian-focused art that I created is a T-shirt design for the Kansas District LCMS participants attending the 2016 National Youth Gathering. It is a Fleur-De-Lis created in Adobe Illustrator that incorporates typography into the symbol highlighting locations, the event, and the year. This t-shirt is available for any member of the Kansas District LCMS.

For our Deaf Ministry program in the Kansas District, I designed a logo to be used for their ministry. It was created with the theme “Two Hands – One Voice”. This is a digital creation, combining a heart and two hands, merged together with a cross. This logo provides an opportunity to witness to the many Deaf individuals who are unchurched.

I have had several opportunities to use my gifts in the decorations for the Vacation Bible School at my church. This includes stage back-drops in the theme of that year’s VBS. I also created the newsletter each day, capturing the events of the day for the parents to hear what the children learned about Christ.

Three of my more major pieces have been focused on experiences at the Lutheran Valley Retreat camp in Colorado. The first was a ‘going-away’ gift to my Director of Christian Education, Audrey, as she accepted a Call to another church. This pencil drawing depicts the top of Mount Cedar that we hike every year at LVR. It was Audrey’s last trip with our youth before she moved, so that area holds special meaning to her and me. The hike is a grueling hike for many of the participants; it is long and the climb is steep. It challenges us physically, just as we are challenged spiritually. We focus our eyes on the cross at the top of the mountain. Once we’ve arrived at the top, we worship as we look across God’s creation. The cross and the view from top of the mountain inspires me to create these pieces.

The second artwork that is focused around LVR, was gifted to one of our adult leaders, Larry. This was given as a thank you for his many years of supporting the church youth of Kansas City and Topeka. This scene also depicts the peak of Mount Cedar. It was initially created digitally, then printed out and layered, becoming a 3-dimensional artwork.

The third artwork is a personal project that was drawn during one of the LVR Bible studies. As I am inspired by listening to God’s Word for us, I draw my interpretation in my sketchbook. In this case, I sketched out a cross with roots at the base extending out through the landscape to signify God’s reach.

These are just some examples of how I glorify God in my artwork. My prayer is that all of my creations will have deep meaning to those who see them.

Aric’s essay above earned him a $1,000 Take Heart Scholarship from Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). The staff wishes him God’s many blessings!