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  • Writer's pictureBrandon 'b.Side' Alvillar

Ministry and Photography: A New Chapter In Spreading The Word

So, this is my goodbye. After 15 years of serving as a pastor and Bible teacher, teaching the Word verse-by-verse, precept-upon-precept, I'm saying farewell to that manner of calling. I didn't even do a newsletter last month, all in preparation for the message I want to share with you right now…


Watch instead of read

I am not walking away from ministry altogether. I'm not quitting being a pastor or a teacher. Once called, always called. Don't stop till you die! I am NO hireling!


However, the LORD is calling me to make some DRASTIC and DRAMATIC changes to how I share the Gospel and move forward as a ministry organization. A little over a year ago, the LORD moved my family and me from California to Kentucky to change the scope of our ministry and expand our reach with growth. Since then, many things in our world have changed, to say the least. The LORD has been molding our ministry to adapt to the spiritual needs of the people around us based on the changes we see.


What are we seeing?


We're seeing the dividing work that Jesus promised we would see in the Last Days, right before His prophetic work's next phase: First the church's rapture and then the 7-year Tribulation. The dividing line between believers and non-believers grows thicker, aggressive, and violent in every walk of life. We're also seeing an increasingly clear dividing line in the church, where God is using things such as antisemitism to uncover hotbeds for false teaching and fake Christianity. Communication and media organizations are using social media to put A LOT of this information in front of our eyes like we've never seen before.

Political graffiti spray painted on grey wall


All of these things were already written in the scriptures. We were warned and told that things would get worse. That doesn't mean that Jesus's command to share the Gospel, teach pupils, and make disciples as sheep sent out into the midst of wolves doesn't apply anymore. The difficulty of the environment has NEVER been a prerequisite for serving God's eternal and spiritual purposes. And so, here I am, following the convictions of the LORD to give it everything I've got before our time in this world runs out. And I need your help.


For nearly ten years, the LORD has been leading me to develop a skill set I never imagined would be helpful in ministry. I've been learning and refining my skills in photography. Now, it's a craft I use as a professional to help support my family. As I've grown and improved to become a professional photographer, the LORD is now calling me to use that ability in connection to the spiritual gift He's given me as a Bible teacher, to bring His Word to life and tell His story.


Teaching the Bible for the last 15 years has taught me how to see the world through scripture. I can see the patterns of God's work in our world today. I can see the evidence of His Word being fulfilled inside and outside the church. I understand the attributes of God and know what they look like in real life. Now, it's time to capture those things with my camera, make them visible to the rest of the world, and warn and equip people for the next phase of Jesus' work. Here's where this is going…


I’m taking on the role of a missionary, but serving the missions field and church as a photojournalist. My goal is to travel to places within the United States and throughout the world to capture faithful Biblical ministry and evidence of God's work, and then make those images/stories available in books, magazines, and social media to distribute to churches worldwide.

Young girls praying for older woman

I aim to travel as the LORD leads, to capture the Holy Spirit's actual work in ministry segments that are often hidden and unknown. In doing so, I hope to encourage the true church of Jesus Christ with images and stories that show how He is STILL working, saving souls in ways that are true to scripture. We as the church need to see that the LORD is still working amid all this darkness, to be reminded and encouraged into the victory we've been promised. This sort of work can also help expose these small ministries that are hidden and, as a result, stifled because they're cut off from access to resources and help that is much needed. These books, magazines, and social channels can be helpful ways to connect those in need to those who are called to help support those needs, even through simple (yet mighty) acts of prayer!


I hope to continue teaching the church through these photographic presentations, showing that serving the LORD goes WAY beyond the walls of a building in dynamic and unique ways. Many Christians are confused about how God has gifted them to serve Him. Often, it's hard to recognize how His spiritual gifts function in daily life. I hope to capture examples of people using their gifts in practical ways in their homes, workplaces, and communities to show people the various ways that God's gifts function through people who aren't employed by churches or evangelizing on street corners.


My hope is also to allow those candid images to convict people who find contentment and comfort in stagnant or fake forms of Christianity. Seeing the real hardships and joy that come with the labor of Biblical faith shows that the modern standard of Christian faith is the same as the standard we see in scripture. For those who won't read their Bibles, these images may help them see the flaws in their approach. They may help convict people to repentance, bringing more Christian troops to the battlefront. As I've sought the LORD and prayed about this, I've learned that the possibilities are endless.


There is an ongoing need for support for this new adventure. I've questioned whether or not this would be something the church values to the point that the necessary support comes. I've wondered if the church values photojournalism and storytelling like the world does.


What do I mean by that?


Did you know that the standard editorial rate in the United States for professional photographers is between $400-$500 per day – not including travel and per diem? National Geographic has no problem paying this rate for the thousands of photos they release yearly. The London-based tabloid, Daily Mail, spends an average of $150 per photo that they use, regardless of its quality or where it came from. Think about how many images these tabloid sites and magazines are publishing. If you want to promote on the trends section of Twitter, it will cost $200,000 per trend for less than 30 days' worth of promo. That's how they value that digital real estate designated for photos.


Now, think about the stories they're telling with their photos. Think about the messages they're sending with the imagery they're HEAVILY investing into. Think about the millions of people that are influenced by those impressions. That's how the world values photography, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into that effort.

In the last couple of weeks, I've asked myself a question: Does the church value imagery the same way? Are we using pictures to complement our testimonies about Jesus? I spent much time looking at images, photos, and stories from churches throughout the United States. I learned that we also use pictures the same way that the world does, but I wonder if we're telling the same story that the Bible does.


Is it possible that the photos we see commonly associated with church and ministry distract from our true purpose and unknowingly confuse us? Here are some examples of what stock photography sites provide. Stock photography sites are often the chief manufacturers of the content we see on social media, email, or website posts inside and outside the church. Here's what they say church and ministry are. Do these pictures look like the pictures that scripture describes? Does this show the blood, sweat, tears, joy, and praise that ministry looks like in the Bible?

When Time Life Magazine wanted to move the hearts of Americans to support the efforts in World War II, they showed the truth of the war front in candid and shocking ways, but the American people were compelled and rallied to the cause for good. We won. I plan to document the work of our LORD similarly to achieve a similar purpose in Jesus' name. 


I ask that you prayerfully consider supporting my missionary efforts to produce more tools that we can all use to share the true testimony of scripture and God's continuing work in the church. Though the cost of this type of ministry is ongoing, I'm hoping to raise $25,000 to launch. This cost would include some additional equipment purchases suitable for travel. This cost would consist of some of our travel costs to visit some of the ministries we've been connected to over the years, which have invited us to document their work but need the budget to get us there. Locations include parts of Africa and several locations in the United States. The more we raise, the more places we can go. The more we go, the more we can produce and distribute.


These start-up costs also help us navigate the design, printing, and distribution process for print media and the costs associated with formatting this content for social media. Like any other missionary organization, starting and continuing this work requires constant support. So, our need to raise funds from generous and Spirit-led individuals, churches, and organizations willing to sponsor our efforts is critical. Please prayerfully consider your involvement in that effort.


You can pray for our wisdom, success, and safety. You can give as the LORD leads, either as a one-time donation or as a partner that contributes on a regular basis. You can also share this with friends, family, churches, and organizations that you think might be able to support and sponsor. We need the word about this ministry to spread so my team and I can hit the road to spread The Word! This ministry work is taking place as a legal 501c3 non-profit organization under our umbrella ministry called Proper Knowledge Ministries.


If you'd like to support this effort, you can click the link in the description, check this QR code, or contribute in any other way you'd like. All of those details are in the description of this video.

Donate to Pastor bSide QR Code

So please, pray for us, support us, spread the word for us, and partner with us to see our last-ditch effort make a difference in Jesus' name before it's too late for some people.



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