Hebrews 4:12 describes the Bible as sharper than any two-edged sword, in that it pierces the heart with its raw truthfulness, exposing our insides. If we were to transpose this verse into a modern idiom, “dagger” might be the more appropriate metaphor.
The Dagger Project is a San Diego-based ministry that was founded by Jim Houliston in 2007 to reach those people who are the most unlikely to ever read the Bible or step foot inside a church. Houliston and his team of volunteers spray-paint pocket-sized New Testaments with stenciled designs and distribute them in bars, tattoo parlors, skate shops, beaches, alleyways, and public schools. All of the designs are inspired by New Testament verses and have a distinctly contemporary appeal.
Sometimes the group dresses up as zombies, Groucho Marx, or ’80s rockers (with fog machine, strobe light, and boom box in tow) as a gimmicky way to tie themselves in to biblical themes, like “the living dead.”
They also run free spray paint workshops, inviting locals to design their own Bibles, and create large-scale display pieces to be installed in various shops. And their nighttime romps through the city often involve a series of “Up Chucks,” in which they throw a Dagger over a street fixture, attached to a fishing wire, with a sign that reads “Cut me down!”, or something of the like.
It’s so refreshing to read about outreach organizations like Jim’s—ones that come from a place of such passion and imagination. Jim is ministering to the very culture that he himself grew up in and out of. He still frequents the same old haunts that he did before he met Jesus, but this time, he brings a message of deliverance and renewal. The church needs more of this sort of creativity so that we can share the transformative work of Christ in a way that resonates with people and reaches them where they’re at.