Dale association pastor preaches through pottery

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

While an art student at Troy State University (now Troy University), Greg Aman was first introduced to the potter's wheel. He said it "just became addictive."

Now more than 30 years later, God continues to use him and the potter's wheel to touch lives across Alabama. He recently visited with the Grateful Hearts Club of South Luverne Baptist Church.

Aman, pastor of Ozark Baptist Church in Dale Association, initially planned a career in education.

He received bachelor's degrees in studio art and art education and a master's degree in art education from Troy State.

He taught art to kindergarteners through 12th graders and coached football for five years at Houston Academy in Dothan.

Aman later "felt a call into ministry" and enrolled at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received a master of divinity degree.

During his time at Houston Academy, he was asked to speak to the school's Bible-study club.

He presented the message of the potter and the clay for the first time to those students at Houston and continues to share that message today.

Aman's sermon, based on the passage in Jeremiah 18, is not a typical Sunday-morning sermon. Using his talent and skill with making pottery, Aman illustrates the message.

Seated on a stool behind a potter's wheel on a church platform, Aman asks the congregation, "What is your favorite image of God? You know, God talks about Himself in human terms, but He is beyond our human vocabulary. He identifies Himself as Father, a Rock, the Good Shepherd, but my favorite description is as the Potter."

As Aman spins the wheel and drops a lump of clay in the center, he tells how God as the Potter has a plan for everyone's life.

Putting his thumbs in the clay to form an opening, Aman shares how God wants His children to be centered in His will, open to Him and growing in Him, becoming like Jesus.

"In order for the clay to grow, pressure must be applied on the outside and meet that pressure with pressure on the inside," Aman says as he places one hand inside the opening in the lump of clay and pushes out, meeting his hand positioned on the outside.

"God allows us to grow by allowing pressure in our lives," he says, as the vessel he is making suddenly collapses.

"Sometimes there are substances in the clay that will mar the vessel and cause it to collapse. Now the potter must slice the clay apart to rid the vessel of air pockets and rocks," Aman says.

"Our life is cut into small slices sometimes so we can see what God already knows, but the good news is that He doesn't throw the clay away.

"The potter never does that," Aman says as he begins to make a new vessel on the potter's wheel.

Aman said this

message reaches people of all ages. "We're used to hearing sermons, but sometimes a visual representation of a message drives the point home," he explained.

"Even young children are very attentive when you bring that potter's wheel in. I've seen people of all ages make professions of faith after seeing the sermon," Aman added.

Dan Sheppard, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, Newville, saw the result the message had on his congregation and recently asked Aman to come back to share this unique gospel presentation at a special outreach service his church hosted.

"This is such a powerful illustration, maybe the most powerful I've ever seen. It's not only the gospel message but one of sanctification," Sheppard said.

"We had planned a service for the families of children that come to our church on Wednesday nights. We needed something unique to get the gospel message across to this group. As a result of this message, we've baptized five people -- four teenagers and one adult," Sheppard said.

Aman said that even after 30 years of preaching this message, he is amazed by the simplicity of it.

"To know that God can use something as simple as clay on a wheel to demonstrate His love to people is simply amazing," he said.

"I've always loved this art form, but I love it even more because of the effect it can have in conveying the gospel.

"It shows us how God can make a beautiful vessel out of an old lump of clay."

– reprinted courtesy of The Alabama Baptist.