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The Brilliance of Radiance... the Arts Ministry
By Suzanne Mapp - April 22, 2005

Perhaps you haven't heard, but there's a little ministry growing in our midst called Radiance. Also known as the Arts Ministry, Radiance is one of the Rock's best-kept secrets, but it won't stay that way for long.

Whether you are a Matisse-in-the-making or a closet doodler, whether you have a passion for poetry, a knack for knitting, or an ache for animation, or whether you just want to grab the "mic" and rap, Radiance has something for you.

Radiance has a two-fold purpose. First, Radiance hopes to minister to artists of all types, styles and levels of experience, and to equip them to minister to other artists. Second, Radiance desires to serve the community with their God-given artistic talents.

Radiance's primary founder, Michael Heikkinen, shared what he most wants people to understand about the ministry.

"It's not about ability; it's about passion," he said. "Art is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Faith conveyed through art in a non-invasive way helps to reach San Diego's lost."

Inspiration through Conversation

Radiance meets Monday night at the Epicentre in Mira Mesa
Radiance meets Monday night at the Epicentre in Mira Mesa

Radiance achieves its dual goal of "serving the community of artists-artists serving the community" by getting together at the Epicentre (8450 Mira Mesa Blvd.) on Monday nights from 7 PM to 10 PM.

I recently had the chance to stop by and check things out for myself.

I decided to take my 13-year-old son along since he is somewhat of a budding cartoonist. We were warmly greeted by Gema Terrones and given a brief overview of what Radiance is all about. (Please see Radiance's very cool website,, for a recent story on mural project at Tijuana Orphanage.)

Radiance has no age (or level of expertise) requirement. In fact, at the first ever "open mic" night, the performers ranged widely in talent choice and age. The youngest act, a three-year-old girl and her two siblings, recited 2 Corinthians, while a man who was, shall we say, approaching his twilight years, entertained his audience by playing the guitar.

Radiance is not only made up of individuals from the Rock, but also of people from other churches, local residents, and even artists and poets finding their way in from North Park.

Although I felt I had no real talent to bring to this table, I was immediately made to feel at home.

A warm and relaxed atmosphere and smiling faces eager to express their salvation through art exemplified the artistic definition of "soul winner" at the gathering.

Perhaps none at the table that night realized that by simply being there, they were serving each other.

One individual in particular caught my attention.

Jesse Jordan is a modest but very talented animator. I was blessed to watch this man's face light up as he passionately shared his trade with my son. Relatively new to Radiance, Jesse hopes to witness to friends who are involved in the secular side of the animation industry. He is as passionate about leading his friends to the Lord as he is about his craft.

Putting Your Word Where Your Ministry Is

The ministry has many opportunities to teach kids about art and Jesus
The ministry has many opportunities to teach kids about art and Jesus

Recently, at the Rock's Ministry Fair, 35 to 40 people signed up to be a part of Radiance, but many have yet to follow through with their commitment. I would like to talk to those people in particular for just a minute.

Perhaps you are thinking: "I have bitten off more than I can chew," or "I watched the auditions of American Idol and I am having second thoughts about making a fool of myself," or "I can't really draw, paint, knit, write poetry, play guitar, recite scripture, play drums, or sing as well as my mother, wife, husband, son, or girlfriend told me I could the other Sunday."

Understandably, there is something about getting out of our comfort zones we dread.

But, there is no such thing as an easy commitment. Radiance is in search of people who will step up to the plate and stay committed. Whether you choose to become a part of this ministry or not, stop by the Epicentre on a Monday night and let your artistic self venture.

A No Doubt Radiant Future Ahead

Radiance is a ministry on the move, headed by people who truly define passion. Whether you are an artist born with pencils for fingertips or a halfway decent knitter such as myself, I can confidently tell you that Radiance has what it takes to help you find your niche in the Rock family.

If you would like more information about Radiance, the Arts Ministry, and/or how to get involved, contact Michael Heikkinen at [email protected].

For more information about the Art Ministry, click here »