The Dagger Project

Ephesians 6:17 says the Word of God is a sword. Then, it stands to reason that a small Bible might be called a “dagger.” Jim Houliston in nearby San Diego has come up with a unique way to mix art with God’s Word, called “The Dagger Project.”

Jim and his team of trained volunteers go to skate parks, beaches, and youth groups to give out the small Bibles. But instead of handing people a Bible that they might either use or chuck into the nearest bin, he sets up a table and lets people choose artwork to go on the Bibles. The Bibles he uses come in at least 20 colors, and people can also choose from eight original design stencils. “A trained volunteer then paints the Bible for the workshop attendee, briefly gets to know them in the process, and gives them this Bible that they're now creatively connected to and stoked to have. Some very unlikely people are now taking Bibles that wouldn't have in the past,” Houliston says.

Each of the stencil designs has a unique and artistic message taken right from the Bible. For instance, a stencil design of a person with big hair and a number sign is titled “Numbered Hairs,” in reference to Mark 10:30. Another stencil displaying a skull with a rose growing out of the eye is titled “Rose from the Dead,” from Matthew 28:7. A stencil featuring a heart and spigot is titled “Living Water” from John 4:10, and another with a recycling symbol is titled “Reincarnation?” in reference to Hebrews 9:27.

Houliston started the Dagger Project almost two years ago, in March 2007, when he heard God calling him to spray-paint Bibles – an unusual call, to say the least. But upon reading the antics of the prophets in the Old Testament, one can get the sense that God digs unusual, creative ideas that get people’s attention back on God.

In addition to the workshop tables where people get to choose their Bibles and stencils, the Dagger Project is responsible for putting Bible display pieces in San Diego area tattoo parlors, skateboard shops, music stores, and coffee houses. Houliston says, “These Bible display pieces act as an outreach tool for business owners who want to extend an invitation to their patrons to read the Bible and take one for themselves.” The Bible display pieces have also been entered and displayed in many area art shows as creative, yet functional, art pieces.

This Bible display above is called “Filling the Love Gap” and is designed for display in a skateboard shop.

Several of the Dagger Project’s Bible displays in an art show at Ocean Beach in 2008.

To date, a couple of hundred of these Dagger Bibles have been put into the hands of youth in San Diego County, and more plans keep cropping up for this creative and unique ministry. For instance, last month (January 2009), Houliston and a few friends dressed up like an 80’s hair band in an effort to get Bibles into the hands of bar-hoppers in Pacific Beach. “The plan is to have a cart being pushed behind us, operating a fog machine, disco lights, and a boom box blasting 80's rock to give us the actual look of being straight out of a 1980's hair band music video,” Houliston described. A spectacle such as this definitely gets people’s attention, hopefully long enough to get them to consider taking and reading a Dagger Bible.

Jim Houliston and his team of trained volunteers have done a great job with this ministry and there is always demand for more volunteers. “With The Dagger Project developing, I'm looking for more talented artists from the Body of Christ for assistance in accomplishing its goals. If you're an artist and have an edgy eye for delivering God's message in a different way to today's pop-culture young people, I want to hear from you,” he says.

If you are interested in getting involved in this project, or learning more about it, please contact Jim Houliston by e-mail at

To read about another group of Christian artists who are using art to reach their community for Jesus, click here.


Anonymous said...

different. definetly different.

Anonymous said...

it's inspiring to hear about people who are using their art for outreach.

Glennda said...

Let's just say that teens should have something to do rather than skating and even doing drugs. Why not do some projects and even earn from it? It would be a great diversion for them.

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