Posts Tagged ‘creative church’

I was at The Foundry Church in Wallingford, where I serve as artist in residence yesterday. They are using the walls of their worship space as a gallery right now, having just held their first themed show featuring artists from the congregation. The theme was Stained Glass Masquerade. There was a lot of really nicely done art on display. I found this piece mesmerizing.
The piece is constructed of fiber, nails and plywood. The artist created the various tones by varying the amount of wrapping around the nails. I was truly amazed by the piece, and the photo doesn’t really do it justice. The shadows cast by the fiber onto the plywood ground adds even more dimensionality. This is a remarkable piece of art. Then I found out the artist who created it, Samantha Burns, is 15. My jaw just dropped. What a phenomenal talent!

The fact that an artist so young can create such a great piece of work could almost serve to be discouraging. I have serious doubts I could do a piece this good at over three times her age, but that is the wrong response. It’s not about whether or not we can create what someone else can create. Its about creating the things we are called and led to create. What are you doing with your gift? Seeing a young artist with such a great gift should not discourage us but rather encourage us in this.

The time to create is now!


the-walters-art-museum-logoOur trip to Baltimore took us to another wonderful art museum, The Walters Art Museum. Where the Baltimore Museum of Art yielded more contemporary art, the work at the Walters felt more historical. This was a journey back in time. As we viewed the various galleries, I was amazed at how much I saw the Bible brought to life. Many of the artifacts on the lower floors were from peoples and places mentioned in the Old Testament. It was fascinating.

When we arrived on the third floor though, the focus changed. The doors of the elevator opened to reveal a life-sized sculpture of Christ on the cross, surrounded by a magnificently painted altar piece portraying Christ’s passion. Most of the work on this floor was from the church, depicting saints and biblical scenes. This should be no surprise, there was a period in history where the primary patron of the arts was the Church.

the-walters-art-museum This piece was among my favorites. It’s another altar piece. At one point this mammoth sculpture/carving adorned the front of a church in France. It’s intricately carved and depicts the various scenes of Christ’s last days on earth, His arrest, trial, death, burial and resurrection. In a time where most of the population was illiterate, pieces of art like this helped people to see and understand the story. This art, these pictures tell the illustrated story of Jesus and pointed people to their creator.

And that’s when it hit me. This is still our calling as believing creatives. Oh our society is very literate and highly educated, but we’ve drifted from the Gospel, our minds clouded by a plethora of other information. Maybe we need to go back to go forward-back to a time where artists illustrated the greatest truths for the world to see. I believe we’re called to use these gifts we’ve been given to point people to the Truth that will set them free.

I’m not saying we need to make pictures of Jesus or write books (or plays, or music) about Jesus. I’m saying, as believing creatives we need to submit our gifts to the will of the Father, seek Him in prayer, follow His Spirit and do the work He created us to do. Maybe we were born and gifted for such a time as this, to use these “whatever gifts” to spread the Gospel to the end of the earth.

I believe it is time for the church to get creative and to support it’s creatives. To become a patron and supporter of the arts again. To minister to creatives and to empower creatives to do the work the Lord is calling them to do, not just on Sunday morning, but all week long, not just in the Church but in the world beyond, utilizing the arts in the life of the church and in the marketplace to the glory of God.

What would happen if the Church got creative? The answer lies in the heart of God, but I believe it will be spectacular.

Who’s with me?

MISSPOSSI know this is a drum I beat a lot, and I pray you’re not sick of hearing it, but I feel like I have to express it. I’m doing a series of revival meetings this week and as usual they center around using our gift to spread the Gospel, practicing what I preach by using mine. The church is wonderful, the people are wonderful and I feel the Spirit of God moving as I share from my heart. This is my passion, my calling and I love what I get to do.

The one thing I really want to be sure to express though is I am not trying to make the people I speak to into artists. If they’re already artists and I can inspire them to dedicate that gift to the Lord, great, but I’m not trying to make them artists. Instead I am trying to get them to look at why they have been gifted to do and find a way to use it to serve God. So in a sense, while I am not trying to make them artists, I am asking them to be creative. I believe we a children of the ultimate Creator, we all have creativity and it is imperative that we put that creativity into the hands of God and put it to use. We are on a mission and that mission is urgent.

Here’s why: When I first started as an artist, I would create a work of art, copy it and send it out to 10-100 companies, depending on the creation. I would then run to my mailbox every day to see what would come of my efforts. Usually this would amount to a string of rejection letters. The more letters, the harder it was to start the next project. There was nothing else I could do. Working as an artist, getting my work to the masses depended on my ability to get past the gatekeepers and get a deal and a contract. Most of the time it was really disheartening. I don’t do that anymore.

Now I have the internet. I can have all the distribution I can handle and share my work with the masses. I can have my own publishing company with the largest retailer in the world (and I do). I can create a piece of art and have prints for sale in minutes (I have that). I can design and sell T-shirts with my art on it all over the world (I have that too). I can even have my own broadcast channel (ditto). I even have a communication channel where I can share my thoughts with people all over the world (you’re reading that right now). I can do all of that stuff and I do without ever once facing a gatekeeper to tell me I’m not good enough. Most of it costs me NOTHING but time. It’s amazing but there is a catch. Everyone else can do it to. Where before my message had to compete with hundreds or thousands, now I compete literally with billions for the attentions of an already media saturated world. To make a message stand out in that playing field demands creativity.

Friends, the Gospel is just one of those messages. We know it is the most important message, the greatest story ever told. We know it is anointed by the power of God, it also faces more opposition than most of the messages out there from a power whose sole purpose is to resist the Gospel and the salvation is brings. Church, we are up against tremendous odds, admittedly backed by a greater power, but I believe this is God’s mission for our time. I believe this is why He is raising up creatives in the church to find new and powerful ways to take the unchanging message of the Gospel to an ever changing world. If you are a creative in the church. I believe this is your time, our time.

Creatively taking the message of the Gospel to an ever changing world is our mission.

Do you choose to accept it?

Stay tuned!