Archive for the ‘church art ministry resources’ Category


Hi everyone,
It’s been a little while since I have posted. Part of the reason for that is I have just been very busy and for the most part, that is a very good thing, but there’s something else. I’ve been doing a little soul searching. You see I’m kinda angry. I see my faith, my friends and my God belittled over and over again as I watch the nation I love falling further and further away from what we are supposed to be and frankly a larger portion of the church going along with the culture rather than being the salt and light we were called and created to be, and I have had enough.

Part of me wants to join in the melee. Part of me wants to jump into the fracas for the purpose of defending my faith, my God. Part of me wants to take to whatever channels I can find, decry the wrongs I see all around me, call out all the perpetrators, especially those in the church who ought to know better, blast the blasphemy, annihilate the apostasy and just go on a reign of holy terror. I feel like at this point in history, it would almost be justified. Almost…

And then I wonder, is all my work in the arts and in the church really doing anything, or am I focused on the right things. Again most of this comes from my desire to fight.

But then I think of my calling. I think of why I am here and I think of the conduct of the One I claim to follow (and for the record, desire and try to follow). What would He have me do? At this point, my heart and mind was drawn to Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Diving into the fracas for me would be nothing more that adding to the noise. Blasting people on social media, the internet and other places, would be nothing more than a battle against flesh and blood, and while I confess that might be cathartic at times, I’m not sure it’s Christlike, at least not for me. Instead I think about this weird acronym I selected for this ministry, A.M.O.K. It stands for Arts Ministry Outreach for the Kingdom. The mission is simple, using my gift to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. If I am going to fight the real enemy, then I must use the weapons I have been given. And so this is my turning point. I’ve had enough of the way things are, and I am going to do what I can to change it in ways that will hopefully actually matter. I’m going to take these gifts that God has given me, and the Sword of the Lord (the Word of God) and I am going to do battle the right way. If you’re in, join me.

I’ve had ENOUGH of the way things are. STAY TUNED!


Why name a ministry AMOK? It is, after all a name that has gotten me some grief over the years. One person said I should change the name because God is not a God of disorder. That’s true, but totally irrelevant. Another said AMOK is defined as a murderous rampage, I’m pretty sure that’s also not where I was going. For the record the name AMOK appears in the Bible twice, both time in genealogies referring to the name of a specific person, but even that’s not why I picked it. And then there’s the fact that so many people don’t know how to pronounce it. There have been times when I wished I had picked something different, and yet the name is fraught with meaning, so From time to time, as much for me as for you, I like to take a little of time and look at this name I’ve taken for this ministry and what it means. This allows me to tell new people a little about the story, encourage my long term readers and remind myself of the vision behind what I do,

So let’s start with the basics, AMOK is an acronym, it stands for Arts Ministry Outreach for the Kingdom. AMOKArts.com is the domain name I chose, largely because AMOK.com was unavailable, The idea for the name came from the phrase running amok. Now while can have connotations of disorder, that’s not how I see it. You see I believe the current world system is not as God intended and I long to see God’s Kingdom “running amok” through this world, changing things for the better. I believe the best way to achieve this goal is by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I see as, among other things, the antidote to the mess we’re in. You see the Bible says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) I believe transformed lives cannot help but transform culture. But there was a problem.

I’m just one little guy, and I’m an artist. What can an artist do to change the culture. Well that’s where my favorite verse comes into play. “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms.” (I Peter 4:10 NIV) I began to see ways to minister using the arts, that would encourage other people to find and use their gifts to the glory of God, and this thing I call AMOKArts was born.

What I envision is helping the church to embrace creativity and creative people to accomplish their ultimate mission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Equally important I want to help creative people to embrace the church. I desire to see the church become the most creative place in any community, because as children of the ultimate Creator, creativity is in our DNA. I want to resource and equip creatives and the church to find new and creative ways to take the unchanging Gospel to an ever changing world. I believe when this happens, people will see Jesus in us, find Him for themselves, be saved and transformed into their best selves, living lives to His glory and continuing the process. In short, I echo Paul’s sentiment from Romans 1:16 (NIV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…

This then is what I desire to see. The Gospel changed my life. I want to help others find what I have found. The arts are the tool God has given me to use. I think there are many gifted people out there, and I want to help them to use those gifts to serve others to the glory of God and from there, watch God work. That’s the meaning of AMOK.

Want to run AMOK with me? Let’s go!


Don’t worry this has nothing to do with assisted suicide and dying on one’s own terms. No today I am talking about the things we allow, or should allow, to die in our churches and ministry. There is a great equalizer in our lives. It’s called time. The richest person in the world and the poorest have the 24 hour day in common. No one gets more and no one gets less. To give time to one thing is to take that precious time from something else and this is urgent for churches to understand.

You see, virtually no one can give the church 24 hours a day. It’s an impossibility. Needless to say we want more than one hour a week, and a tithe of time would be ideal, but that’s basically two and a half hours a day and we rarely get that from any but the most dedicated. The reality is people have a limited time to give to the church, so we who lead churches, need to do our best to help them invest their time wisely. For example, I once heard a mega-church pastor say if a person only has an hour a week to give the church, in addition to worship, the last thing he would do is have them use that hour sit in a meeting, and for the most part, unless that person has a true leadership gift, I would agree. T   here’s something of even greater concern however.

It’s when churches have too many things, especially programs, on life-support. Think about it. There’s great lamentation over “x’ program that once had half the congregation involved and now no one supports it. It’s a fight for the leadership team to get someone to lead it, and when they finally do, no one attends, leaving the leader who was arm twisted into taking it on feeling like a failure, like they’re wasting their time or both. There’s a name for that kind of program. It’s called “DEAD.” Oh at one time it was great, and many people were excited about it and passionate about it and we have fond memories of it, but it’s time has passed. Here’s the rule. If no one has the passion to lead something it is better to let it die with dignity so that something else can grow. No sense pushing and prodding people to help it to linger, rather it’s time to help people to find what meets the spiritual needs of people today.

Now I can almost feel the pushback on this one even as I punch the keys. “What if it’s something important like Bible Study, or Sunday School or even Worship?” you might be thinking. No I’m not suggesting we jettison things of spiritual importance, but I am suggesting you look at the way you’re doing those things. The Bible doesn’t change, but methods can change and frankly, they must. This is where prayerful creativity comes into play. “That’s the way we have always done it…” is not a God-given mandate to keep doing things the way you have always done them. Look for the passionate ones and empower them to lead, whether that be to resurrect something or birth something new. Either of those is fine, the only thing that’s not okay is to let dead things keep taking up space and time.

Assignment: Is there anything in your church that is dead? Is it “resurrect-able” or could the energy and resources it takes be used to birth something new?


Let’s face it, creative people are not always the best at fitting in, and sometimes (most of the time) that’s okay. Standing out is often better, with in the creative world and the Christian life. There is a time though when fitting in is really, really, urgent. (Don’t worry you can still stand out, while fitting in.)

Here’s what I mean. I had been speaking to a young man, who had started to use his gift for his church. He was a comic artist, and the church had agreed to run his comic in the church newsletter. At first, he was elated, but before long, his elation turned to pain. The church decided to stop running the comic. His statement to me, was his church had rejected his gift. Now as an artist, I wanted to sympathize, but something else was also coming to bear. You see by that point, I was already in church leadership, and as a church leader, you learn pretty quickly there are two sides to every story. Rather than immediately sympathizing, I asked him to show me the comic. I understood the church’s position immediately.

The comic was biblical, so no issues there. The comic was well drawn and written, no issues there either. Here was the issue. He had chosen to tell the crucifixion story, which again is not an issue. The problem was stylistic. He went for extreme realism, which meant the piece was quite gory. It simply didn’t fit. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the work, but it did not fit the venue. When you get an opportunity to serve the church, you have to make sure that your contribution fits the environment in which it will be presented. Were his piece placed in a comic in a comic book store, it would have been an excellent evangelistic piece. It certainly would have fit in with the rest of the work there.

When we get the opportunity to serve with our work we have to make sure it fits the venue. Remember, when we do work, especially for the church, the people who call upon us to do that work are taking a risk. We need to honor their faith in us, by giving them something they can use. Sometimes it’s important to fit in.

Assignment: Look at the project or projects to which you are feeling led. Then consider what venues might be a fit for them. Look into how you might serve that venue with your work.


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Let’s carry this collaboration thing further.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Paul speaks of the church as the body of Christ. In this scenario, each person is a member of the body and every member has a part to play. How would you express this to someone else?

If you’re interested, I’ve created a resource in three different group sizes, that illustrates this point for churches, youth groups, etc.

Check it out.


One of the things that concerns me most in the church today, especially with regard to using our gifts in creative pursuits is the concept of God’s blessing. It is crucial that we get this point. I have heard many people over the years say something to the effect of “I tried that and God wasn’t in it.” or “God’s blessing wasn’t on it.” At times, I’ve felt the need to press in and find out why they thought this was the case and almost every time the response is some variation of, it wasn’t easy.

Oh that God would make everything that He wants us to do easy, but that is often not the case. More often the things He calls us to are anything but easy, and to see ease as a sign of God’s blessing, is to disregard the example of virtually every important person in Scripture, including Paul and especially Jesus.

Consider these words from Hebrews 12:1 and 2 (NIV) “…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Here we see Jesus, realizing there would be joy in the accomplishment of His goals, for Himself, for the Father and for us as well, and because He could see the joy that would come, He would endure the cross—perhaps the greatest difficulty faced by anyone, ever. Was crucifixion easy? Absolutely not! Was God’s blessing all over that situation? Beyond a doubt and so it is with us.

The writer of Hebrews relates this Christian life to a race. Races are likewise the antithesis of easy and so we are urged to perseverance. In other words, God is saying, He knows it’s hard, but we need to keep going, because the goal is worth pursuing.

I want to close this passage with a reminder from one of the most persevering people in all of Scripture. Paul wrote in Romans 5:2-5 (NIV) “…And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Struggle is part of this life in Christ, probably by design, because of what the struggle produces in the life of the believer. Perseverance and character are so urgently needed in our world today, and notice they bring a wonderful side effect, hope.

What God has called you to will most likely not be easy. Do it anyway. Persevere. Let God use the struggle to build you. As Churchill once said, “Never give up and never surrender.” Well maybe it’s better stated this way, “Surrender to God and never give up.”

Assignment: Look back over your life. Was there anything you gave up on because it was hard? What were the effects of your giving up? Any regrets? Now look at you current goal. What will be gained if you succeed. What will be lost if you quit.


I had a great night last night. I had a great time of ministry. A few months back, I preached a series of revival meetings. One of the things that I love about using art in ministry is that the art connects with the kids. Well this time, the kids said they should have me back to do something for them. The pastor, liked the idea so they had me back. Last night I did the first of a series of four services based on the animals of the Bible. It was wonderful. Rather than doing the event in the sanctuary, we did it in their fellowship hall. The kids were seated at tables. I started with doing a painting, then told the story, and then we allowed the kids to do their own painting based on the story and the painting I did. Basically they created their own reminder of the teaching that night. I have to say it was so rewarding, just a night of pure joy.

I had a couple of observations from the evening. The first was, at the end of the night, when the kids were busy painting, I went back to the adults in the back of the room and joked that on the last night the kids were going to sit in the back and the adults were going to paint. These are great folks who I have ministered to several times, and we have a really good rapport, but quite a few folks seemed kind of nervous that I might be serious. I wasn’t, but it struck me. Children are quick to create at just about every opportunity, but the older we get, the people willing to create, especially publicly, shrinks. It bears out what Picasso said, “All children are artists, the problem is to remain one as one grows up.” I honestly would love to know why that is. I can’t imagine life without creating. It’s such an outlet. I’m not saying everyone has to be a professional or that everyone should seek to get a gallery show, or whatever, I just wish everyone would allow themselves the opportunity to get what’s going on inside them, out, not to mention the fun of creating.

My big observation though was this. This was a church event that started in the heart and mind of a child, that the church leadership took seriously and ran with it. I think that is huge and important. The church is consistently losing the next generation. Churches like this one, that give their young people a voice, and take them seriously, have a much better chance of keeping that same generation and all the ones to follow. Next time a kid comes to you with an idea for the church, rather than looking for the problems, look to what can be gained and give it a try. You might be surprised.