I realize that I don’t know many of you personally, and thought I’d just reach out and share a brief update about Illustrated Ministry. My name is Adam Walker Cleaveland and I’m an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor who lives in the Chicago area. My wife is an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor as well and serves a church in Chicago’s North Shore. We have an amazing 4 year old (Caleb) and a sweet lab-pit (Sadie) that doesn’t get walked enough by me.
After doing youth ministry for over 15 years, I decided it was time that I try something new. I launched the website and mailing list for Illustrated Children’s Moments on September 9, 2015.
Six months later, we’ve changed our name to Illustrated Ministry, picked up a few people to join our team and currently have a very active website and online store, and over 3300 people have signed up for our weekly newsletter. This has truly been a joy for me to see how this business has reached so many people and provided fun and creative illustrated resources for children, youth and adults throughout the world.
Last month I spoke to a class at Columbia Theological Seminary over Skype about being an entrepreneur and someone asked me, “So, do you see Illustrated Ministry as a business or a ministry?” Good question. At times, it certainly feels like a business when I’m meeting with accountants and bankers, trying to figure out the best way to ship 37″ long poster tubes, dealing with UPS and the USPS and doing all of those “business-y” types of tasks.
But then I hear stories about how the giant coloring sheets have brought people together in churches over fellowship hours, intergenerational events and Lenten suppers. I see the photos of children doing devotions with their parents in their homes. I start doing the numbers and thinking about the 400 churches that bought the Lenten coloring posters, and imagine how many people are engaging in the spiritual practice of coloring in designs I drew on a piece of paper here at my desk in Skokie, Illinois.
It’s at times like this that it becomes clear to me that yes, Illustrated Ministry is a business – but it is so much more. It’s the way I’m living out my calling now. And it’s been such a joy to receive confirmation from so many people that these resources are helpful, engaging, fun and something that is meeting a felt need in faith communities and homes.
As I’ve been telling people recently – I’m overwhelmed (in a good way) and amazed that Illustrated Ministry has taken off like it has. I’m having a lot of fun sharing these resources with you all and I look forward to being able to continue to do so. Thank you!