I’ve never been good at drawing things. I learned how to master the 3D cube and Christmas trees, but that’s about it. As an inveterate grade-monger, I was thankful that my high-school art class gave good marks for working hard and showing improvement. I barely know how to color.
So it’s without exaggeration that I can say I’m amazed at what Chris Ranson has done in this new book we’ve worked on together, Acts: A Visual Guide.
You probably don’t know of Chris. I just met him a couple of years go. But what he does is impressive. While working as an engineer and a designer, this native of Scotland was introduced to the world of visual note taking. One Sunday, after years of regular sermon notes, Chris decided to try drawing (instead of writing) what the preacher was saying. At first, the sketches were pretty plain, but over time Chris found out he was quite good at this new form of note taking, and he made the mental switch to thinking in pictures.
At the beginning of 2016 I traveled to Scotland to preach a series of messages in Edinburgh. Unknown to me, Chris was there listening. He discovered that my sermons—I suppose, with their orderly Presbyterian structure and clear points and sub-points—worked especially well with his kind of note taking. A few weeks later, I was contacted by Christian Focus with some crazy idea about a Scottish guy who wanted to listen to two years’ worth of my sermons and draw pictures. I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought, Hey, why not?
The project has exceeded my expectations. Chris is not only a gifted artist, he’s also a student of the Bible and a careful listener of preaching. I’m eager to see what the Lord might do with this book—to inspire a fresh way of taking notes, to put sermons in front of people who might otherwise be disinterested, or simply to get people into the book of Acts.
The book is now available on Amazon.