God in the Graffiti (GIG) is a project created to make a church a missional church. A missional church is a congregation that works with a mission in mind to reach the people outside the building. Pastora Vilma Cruz-Baez from La Plaza UMC, asked for my advice as Hispanic/Latino Ministry director regarding how to reach out to the community in downtown Los Angeles. She had an idea, and under my coaching we started the project GIG. At that time, I was studying for my Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at Fuller Seminary and I chose GIG as my case study. I used my involvement and experience to write my doctoral thesis and helped La Plaza UMC and Pastor Vilma to reach the graffiti artists’ community in Los Angeles.
This project was sponsored by the General Commission of Religion and Race (GCORR), La Plaza UMC, and my office. My role was supervising the project as well as creating the process and logistics. I was interested in the evaluation of the project and offer it as a resource to other churches who want to work with their graffiti artists in their local communities.
Click here for more information on the project, some bios of the artists and photos of the paintings.
Rev. Dr. Joel Hortiales