Archive for the ‘church art ministry resources’ Category


After such a busy time, you might wonder “What’s next?” Well Thursday is November 1, and my hope is to begin the next challenge NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. My dream for a long time has been to write a novel or a screenplay that can be made into a movie. At this point I am going to try to do the challenge and see if it can help me to “eat this elephant” of a project one bite at a time. However, I’m also realistic enough to know that my life is very busy. I will be preaching a brand new series at a church in West Virginia the first week of the month, and I also have a lot of work at church this time of year. My relationship with God is priority one, family is a close second and just behind that is my ministry. My goals and dreams come somewhere behind that. So if I can be faithful to all three of my top priorities, I will finish my novel in the time frame allotted. If I can’t, the side projects have to be the first thing to go.

Goals and dreams are a wonderful thing, but we need to keep them fluid enough to make sure the priorities remain the priorities. As Christian creatives, God has got to be “running the show.” If He makes the opportunities for me to finish my goals, I will finish them. If He decides to fill my life with other, more important things, I have to trust that He will allow me to get everything done in it’s time. His primary demand on my life is faithfulness. That’s what He looks for in all of us. This means I need to make efficient use of the time allotted to me. I need to eliminate the “time vampires” that suck up the time I could be using to accomplish what God has given. I also need to be certain to take care of myself by doing things like exercise, resting and devotions.

James reminds us that: “13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Set your goals, but let God move them as He sees fit. Faithfulness is priority one.

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As you might have guessed, as a creative, I’m not always a big fan of tradition, especially in worship. For the most part, I truly believe that sacred cows make the best hamburgers. That being said, there are some times when tradition is very important. I’m coming up against one of those now. You see my church has a traditional service that means the world to me. We call it Love Feast. It’s basically a twice a year communion service that could be, to some degree, a reenactment of John 13. I love this service as a matter of fact, it was one of the major things that made me choose my denomination and it’s something I would fight to keep in the church, but there’s a problem.

The service has three elements. Foot washing, a simple meal and communion. These three elements are not the problem. The foot washing, which sounds a bit uncomfortable, is actually amazing in its ability to keep us mindful of the importance of humble service. The simple meal is a nice time to reflect on the Lord and of course communion connects us to our parts in both the death and resurrection of Christ. This is a very meaningful service. In involves all five senses and is extremely touching. I love this service, and by now you’re thinking, “Okay so what’s the problem.”

The problem is we do it twice a year. Some of my folks have participated in this service over 100 times. It’s surrounded and infused with tradition, and I have no real desire to mess with the tradition part of it at all. It means so much to so many that I’m hesitant to tamper with it in any way, and yet, I also don’t want people to take the service for granted, or just go through the motions. So how do you keep something with so much tradition fresh at the same time? Very carefully.

My first thought is to alter the preaching. The issue is, there is only one passage on washing feet in Scripture, really none on the simple meal and only two or three on communion itself. Again there’s really not much flexibility there. At the end of the day, I have to ask myself another question. Does it have to be original or is the tradition okay even to this regard? Are there creative elements that I can add without taking something away from what is already a beautiful service? I’m still exploring the answers to these questions. The service is now two weeks away, and I am still wrestling.

How do you keep things fresh when tradition is important? I’d love to see your answers in the comments.


Last night I revisited the church that brought me to this part of Ohio four years ago, Bristolville Church of the Brethren, in Bristolville, OH. It was really nice to reconnect with old friends. It was the last evening of their spiritual renewal services, and I had a great time.

This was my second time presenting the Love Like Jesus presentation I started doing in August. I have to say I am really starting to love this presentation. The impetus for it was really simple. A camp I was invited to speak at had the theme Love Like Jesus and they asked me to do a presentation on that topic. Well needless to say I was excited about the theme but I quickly ran into a problem. How does Jesus love? Oh it’s not that I was having a hard time coming up with ideas. No the problem was I had too many for any kind of a clear and concise message. How do you describe the greatest love there has ever been in an hour or less? I decided I needed to go back to the tried and true three point sermon format, because sometimes you need to put boundaries on your message. Part of what helped was listening to the radio in the preparation process and hearing Cory Asbury’s song Reckless Love. I’ll put a video of it at the end of the post. It really does a great job of describing God’s love, overwhelming, never ending and in a way reckless.

Then I read a post where someone took issue with the idea of God’s love being reckless. After all, God is all knowing and all powerful, is anything reckless for him. Of course, for Him, though it may appear to us that it is, it isn’t, but if we look at loving like Jesus, I think it’s safe to assume that for us, it will definitely appear reckless if we choose to try to love as He loves.

I also looked at His love being unconditional and sacrificial. While we may not be able to pull off unconditional in perfection, we can certainly strive to love and choose to love in spite of circumstances that might lead us to do otherwise. As far as sacrificial love goes, of course we cannot reach the level that Jesus did, but because of what He did, we don’t have to. He is the once and for, all supreme sacrifice. What we can do is sacrifice our plans, our time, even our rights for the sake of loving on other people. Wouldn’t our world be a lot better if we loved in these three ways?

I think it would.

Here is the painting I did. I call it You Can’t Kill Love.

And here is that wonderful song by Cory Asbury.


Last night I preached and painted at a wonderful ministry here in Northeast Ohio at the Liberty Barn, an intimate worship experience hosted by my friends, Bill and Brenda Weiss. I spoke on the topic of choosing love over offense and, of course, I painted. As I thought about the topic, I sort of hit a brick wall. “How do you paint that?” Well, I decided to approach the painting differently. I decided to ask five people to come up and make a brush stroke on my board before I painted. I then incorporate their brush strokes into a final piece. Here’s what came out.

One person made a squiggle, one made a heart, one made a straight line, one made a wave and one made a large arc across the board. Then I prayed and began to see this image coming to life and that’s appropriate to me this is a painting of life. It’s not so much about the subject, but rather about the process. You see, usually when I do creative arts ministry, I have carefully planned, practiced some and I pretty much have the image down before I paint it live. With this image, that is not the case. I simply have to figure out a way to deal with what has been thrust at me. That’s how life is.

Friend, your life is a story, and in your life, there is only one thing you control—your actions and by extension your reactions to the things that happen. Your life story is kind of like those books some of us had in middle school. You remember them. You read a number of pages and then the story comes to a crossroad and you have a choice to make. Choosing one option takes you to continue the story on one page. Choosing the other takes you to a different page. The direction of the story is made based on your choices and so it is with life. The direction of our lives is determined, at least in part, based on the choices we make. In our world, there seems to be an epidemic of offense. Everyone is offended by something, but what we need to know, is offense is a choice. If we choose offense enough times, it becomes a root of bitterness that is exceedingly difficult to overcome. What if instead we chose to love? That’s what Jesus did and His action changed the course of history for all eternity. The world lives in a pattern of offense. We have been instructed not to be conformed to the world’s pattern, but rather to be be transformed. Jesus is our pattern and He chose to love and even sacrifice Himself for His offenders.

The choice is is yours and that choice will effect the direction of the rest of your life, so choose wisely.

Choose love over offense.



So let’s start with the basics. Yes I’m still alive. I know it’s been longer between posts than it’s been probably since I started this blog, but I have a good excuse…

I’ve been trying to create non-flammable art.

That’s right I’ve been trying to create art that won’t burn. It’s not easy, but you should try it because the end result is out of this world. It’s so liberating working this way. Usually, we artists focus on being meticulous, creating things of beauty, composition, form, and a whole bunch of other things and while that still has a place in the process, it pales in comparison to the biggest challenge—making something that won’t burn.

You might be thinking, “What kinds of materials would you use? Metals?” Well one might try that, but I didn’t. You might wonder, “Well who would try to burn your art anyway? And how would you know if it was non-flammable unless you burned it? No gallery or museum would allow it and no one in their right mind is going to pay money for art for the purpose of burning it. Dave this is a pointless exercise.” No, the truth is there is a greater point to this experiment than for any other and if you’re a Christian in the arts, this is something you need to embrace, because one thing I can tell you for sure…

It’s all gonna burn…

By now you probably realize, I’m talking about something bigger than making great art. The apostle Paul spoke about building our lives and our efforts on the foundation of Christ. Here’s what he wrote in1 Corinthians 3:11-15:

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

You see this week I’ve been finishing up a week of presentations for some of God’s favorite children. (I don’t know that He actually has favorites, but if he did, these people would be among them.) I’ve been writing and drawing and painting and animating and prepping and tweaking and adjusting. I’m going to speed paint eight times and preach ten times in eight days. I’ve been working like a crazy person to get ready for this. When I am done, none of it will be museum quality. I’m not sure I even have museum quality in me, but I don’t care about being in a museum. Museums and masterpieces are going to burn. No, what I am praying for is that God allows me to “paint on hearts.” That He will allow the work that I do to touch hearts and open people to His love and grace, not to mention His plan and purpose, and most importantly His salvation. You see, everything I make with my hands will one day cease to exist, but if He works through me and my work to touch hearts…

That’s non-flammable art.

I pray He helps you make some too. There’s nothing better.


The reason is simple. I get to create stuff that will help and bless others. Case in point. This Friday, my church will be doing our one day arts day VBS. We don’t quite have everything we need to do a full week of Bible school (YET!) so instead we have this one day, creative bonanza where the kids come in and make art, have fun and learn about Jesus all day. It is a lot of fun. Our theme this year is the New Creature workshop. In the morning we’ll look at what it means to be a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) while we paint interesting creatures as a reminder. Then in the afternoon we’ll look at one of the great benefits of being a new creature in Christ, the fruit of the Spirit. Nine evidences that the spirit of the Living God is living and active in the life of every believer. I wanted to create a way to help the students learn this powerful verse. So with the help of an unknown rapper named AMOS AMOK (He might sound familiar) I made this video. It was a lot of fun and I really think it might be helpful to a lot of churches. If you’re in another church and you think this might be useful, feel free to download it and use it. I’m sure AMOS won’t mind.