The church needs creativity now more than ever.

Each day people are bombarded by hundreds of messages…
but one is most important. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We in the church have been entrusted with taking that message to the ends of the earth. How do we stand out among the noise and get their attention? The good news is God has gifted people with gifts and talents designed to do just that. Some of them are in our churches and some are beyond our walls.

My name is Dave Weiss. I’m an artist, a pastor and a speaker, but it wasn’t always that way. Oh I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, but I’m in the ministry today because of two things. Someone cared enough to introduce me to Jesus Christ, and a pastor found my gift of art as showed me how I could use my gift to serve the Lord. That was transformational.

My passion is to help people find and use their gifts to serve the Lord both in the church and in the market place and to help the church to embrace Creativity. I do workshops, Gospel presentations and more to creatively encourage and build up the Body of Christ. I’d love to work with you and your church. Contact me today!

The Blog starts below!

The Combination

Posted: June 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

Author of Limitless: God’s Creative Mandate for His Church, Charity Bowman Webb, (Speaking to the creation of the tabernacle and the subsequent tabernacle) looked at the pattern for some of these Biblical creative projects and isolated what she calls the “Creative Combination.” These steps are, “Blueprints Ideas from Heaven) + Wisdom + Creativity + Spirit + Existing skill/ability + More skill/ability added by God, joined with Character, Obedience and Perseverance.” 

I believe this really is the basis for all Christian creativity. We begin with a God inspired idea. This is crucial and it is why prayer is an essential element in Christian creativity. Bezalel was filled with the Spirit and given all kinds of “creative skills,” but he didn’t just go off and do whatever He wanted. He followed the Lord’s leading. Of course wisdom and creativity figure into every project as well. While God’s plans in these biblical projects are fairly exacting, there is still room for God inspired creativity. Bezalel had to determine how to do what Gos was calling him to do. This is a key component for all Christian creatives. Some artists act as if boundaries are crushing to creativity, but I maintain that boundaries are a huge benefit to creativity, especially within the church. We will go into this in greater detail later, but for now, imagine the chances for “getting it wrong” that come with having no idea of the parameters of the project. Creativity and wisdom will help with this of course, but having a blueprint to follow, especially if that “blueprint” comes from God is huge.

After creativity comes Spirit, but of course some of this is commutative. Like a mathematical addition problem the order of the factors have some flexibility. As part of the God-head, when the Father is involved so is the Spirit, and the Spirit’s involvement in Christian creativity is of the utmost importance. Next comes existing ability. It goes without saying that all good gifts come from God and this includes our gifts, talents and abilities. If you have a talent, it was given to you by God. I once heard a saying attributed to Michael Jackson. I’m not sure he actually said it, and I realize he may not be the world’s greatest source for wise theology, but still the statement is valid. Jackson allegedly said, “My talent is God’s gift to me, how I use it and the development of it are my gift to Him.” No matter who said it, there is tremendous wisdom in that statement. When we come to God, especially in matters of creativity, it is urgent that we bring our whole self and all of our abilities to the table. 

Bowman Webb’s creative combination then adds “more skill/ability added by God.” I have seen this manifested in my own work. When I was trying to be a professional artist, I had a certain level ability. When I offered my gift back to the Lord to be used to His purpose and His glory, my skills improved dramatically. I often say now that I am no longer striving to be a “famous artist” I am doing the best work of my life. Finally Bowman Webb joins all of the above to “Character, Obedience and Perseverance.” The importance of all of these cannot be overstated. Character in ministry is one of the most important things there is. Without obedience we will go astray, and the long road these creative pursuits can be at times demands perseverance.   

Haven Camp

Posted: June 21, 2021 in Uncategorized

This week my wife Dawn and I are in Rome, New York participating in one of my favorite ministries, Haven Camp. It is a camp for adults with developmental disabilities, that is held at Delta Lake Bible Conference. It’s an amazing ministry. Last year, there was no Haven Camp due to COVID and so it’s been almost two years and I am pretty excited to get back. Ministering to the Haven Campers is always special. It is such a joy to watch these wonderful people to learn and work together. The joy the have and love they have for each other is palpable. The staff of this camp are some of the most remarkable people and I have made many lifelong friends there. For me as the speaker, the week is a whirlwind of activity, but I always come away having received a blessing. My plan for the week is to post some of the art I make there and an overview of some of the sessions. I would request your prayers for my ministry there and especially for the campers.

This Week’s Message

Posted: June 20, 2021 in Uncategorized

I’m continuing traveling through the words of Jesus in my sermon series The Red Letters. This week I am bringing a message called Woes, Weary and Welcomed. It’s based on a passage that includes these words of immense comfort, when Jesus says, “Come to me you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

The 14th Row…

Posted: June 19, 2021 in Uncategorized

When I was a kid, one of my favorite bands was Styx. They had this song Superstar, that has these lyrics:

But don’t think I can’t hear you calling
From the shadow of the 14th row
Cause I’ve had the same dreams you’ve had
A few short years ago and that’s why I know

Now before I go any further, I want to say, I don’t think of myself as a superstar in any way shape or form, but I do think about the 14th row. Here’s what I mean:

When I was a kid, if I had seen someone do what I do in my traveling ministry, it would have been life changing. I was a young artistic kid who felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere, and I was miles away from a relationship with God, but if I had seen someone creating art and using that art to communicate the Gospel. I really think I would have grabbed hold of it. Now please don’t get me wrong. God has been faithful. His timing was perfect and my life has turned out infinitely better than anything I could have planned, but I’m still always looking for that person. They are the one who might know the Lord or they might just be searching. They have a gift that doesn’t seem to fit and they are looking for a place to belong. They need someone to come along side them and show them that they do have a gift, it comes from God and that it has value. My prayer is that God will use me to raise up the gifted, especially the “alternatively gifted” as in the ones who have an unusual gift, that God wants to use to do great and unusual things.

If you know someone like that, please connect them with me. And if your church could benefit from my type of ministry, please contact me. Let’s work with God to bring people from the 14th row into living out God’s dream, His vision and His call on their lives.

Answering Your Questions

Posted: June 18, 2021 in Uncategorized

One of the things I live in a little bit of fear of with this blog is much like the fear I have in my pastoral/speaking ministry. Am I answering questions no one is asking? I don’t think it’s an issue, but I don’t know what I don’t know, so I’ve decided to ask. What are your questions pertaining to creative ministry? Post them in the comments. Let’s have a discussion and see where we end up.

Intelligent Design

Posted: June 17, 2021 in Uncategorized

On Saturday, my wife, my son and I went to a nearby city to do a little shopping. On our way home, we swung by the town where we used to go to church before I accepted my current call. There had been a lengthy road construction project there for quite some time where they were creating an interchange between a major highway and one of the main thoroughfares through the town. They finally completed it and we happened to experience it. It was so unbelievably complex that my inner curmudgeon came out. This thing makes a traffic circle look idiot proof and if you think traffic circles are idiot proof, you have clearly never approached one that was occupied by an idiot, but I digress. My inner curmudgeon got home and took to social media asking “Who designed that debacle?”

Everyone has one of those friends, the one who would contradict you if you said the sky was blue and the earth was round. He attributed the above debacle to “intelligent design.” My response was “As an artist, I know design. As a minister, I know intelligent design. This was neither.” Now in fairness I hear the unkindness in my words now, but I will drive miles out of my way just to avoid this thing. It is genuinely frightening. My friend wanted to push more buttons, so he commented, “Evolution?” You see, on principle, I don’t believe in evolution. When pressed for more detail I would tell you I believe in micro-evolution, where small developments occur over long periods of time that allow creatures to adapt to their surroundings. Macro-evolution is much more troublesome to me. The idea that new species derive from older species does not seen workable. Somewhere along the way the theory became “undisputed fact” in the minds of many, with no further evidence and I remain unconvinced. The basis for our modern explanations of evolution seem to be to discount the existence of a Creator, and I find that untenable. For me it’s far easier to believe in a Creator and intelligent design. Here’s why.

I could randomly throw paint at a canvas for a thousand lifetimes and never create the Mona Lisa. There is nothing haphazard about the Mona Lisa. Neither is it random. It is the work of an artist who put considerable skill, thought and creativity into its creation and every thinking person in the UNIVERSE would agree. All this to explain the creation of a PICTURE of a woman, yet people ask me to believe that the woman herself and everything else in creation somehow happened by accident, that it is all random with no design or designer, because if there is a design there has to be a designer. I simply can’t get past that.

I’ll share a few examples. I once did an online cartoon to show why I believe there is a creator. The character is actually denying he has a creator while the creator’s hand (mine) is still in view and finishing the work. The point of this piece is, if something as simple as a cartoon has a creator, perhaps it is at least worth considering that something as complex as you and me might also have one. I created this to share on social media (one of the areas where I feel called) as a way of at least getting people to consider their creator.

From time to time, I think I am going to post these as a sort of creative ministry prompt. So let’s start at the beginning. How would you express the biblical account of creation, creatively? Think about your ministry context or the ministry context you would like to have. How would you use your creative gifts to make it clear? What points would you feel led to touch on?

When it comes to a worship context, one of the things I love to do is to share about the vastness of creation. I did some research and created some unusual examples. One such example is to speak about how the earth is 93 million miles away from the sun. To illustrate how far that is, I have the people imagine someone built a bridge from the earth to the sun. Were you to get on that bridge and drive 100 miles per hour all day, every day, all the time, it would take you 107 years to get to the sun. I then speak to the idea that the earth is not stationary, but rather it is revolving around the sun at 64,000 miles an hour and it takes a whole year to make one trip. In that one year even if you sat motionless, you would have traveled about 546 million miles. I then remind the people that the sun is not stationary either and that it is traveling around the galaxy at 515,000 miles and hour and that it is estimated that one lap around that galaxy, at that speed, would take around 230 million years. Add to that the fact that some scientists estimate that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies, and you get an idea how huge this creation is, but in the midst of all that, God knows your name.

In a teaching environment, I take the students outside, and have then select something small from nature, a flower, a leaf, a rock, etc. and have them create an extreme close up painting of the piece, looking at the tiny details. I then speak to the idea of the amazing amount of thought that goes into even a tiny part of just one of God’s creation as a way of reminding the students that if there is a design, there is a designer.

One of my favorite things to do is to create an image of one of God’s amazing and interesting creatures. I then break down the six days of creation and tell about some of the amazing features of each day’s creation, finishing with the culmination of creation, God’s masterpiece, humanity and use that to speak of God’s amazing love.

Those are some of the ways I express creation. How would you do it?

What Do You Want to Know?

Posted: June 15, 2021 in Uncategorized

I am in the early stages of developing an online course in creative ministry. I already have the format laid out and the basic principles have been thought through, but there is something nagging at me. Am I missing something? Is there something that people want to know that I have left uncovered? Is there something further that needs to be done? So why not ask?

If you were taking a course in creative ministry, what would you want it to include?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Are You Ready?

Posted: June 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

One thing that is pretty clear from even a cursory reading of the Bible is that Jesus is going to return. What does that mean to us as creative Christians? Well let’s go to the Word. In Luke 12, Jesus reminds us:

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 

What the Lord expects from believers, beyond virtually anything else, is faithfulness. When He returns, will He find us being faithful? Will we be doing what He has called us to do? We need to live our lives on mission and working toward His goals. This requires seeking Him daily and it requires action. Think of it as being at work. If you knew the boss was coming around the corner, would you be being productive or goofing off? Well Jesus is just around the corner, one day closer than He was yesterday and unlike your boss, He can see around the corner. Are you doing what He has called you to do?

Are you ready?

In this week’s edition of my Red Letters series, we look at a man struggling with his faith and what Jesus had to say about him. The man is John the Baptist, one of the greatest men of faith ever to walk the earth, but locked up in a Roman prison for doing the right thing, a doubt creeped in, as it would for any of us in a similar situation. Listen to what Jesus had to say to him. This much I know for sure. If you have ever struggled with doubt related to your faith, you are in good company but you’re in even better hands and Jesus loves you too much to let you stay there. Listen to this message and be encouraged.