Posts Tagged ‘empowerment’

I wrote this note for my church’s website for 2018, but it applies beyond just my church. A big part of the reason this blog has always existed is to empower creatives in the church to use their gifts to serve the Lord. I share this for your consideration. This is what I am doing with my congregation, perhaps it can inspire the leaders of other churches to empower their folks. Empowerment will change the lives of the people in the church and it will open the doors to new people who have yet walk through your doors.

This year, I have selected a word to represent what I think the Lord is leading us to this year. That word is “empowerment.” In truth, this has long been my philosophy of ministry because, in essence, this is what happened to me. You see when I first walked into the church, at least in my adult life, I was pretty far from God.  As I began seeing my need for God, I started looking for my place to fit. The thing is, I didn’t have any of the gifts that we usually associate with the church. I was terrified to speak in public, I didn’t have enough knowledge to teach and my lack of musical ability is nearly legendary. I figured I was destined to be a consumer, and that is not a good place to stay in the church. What I did have was some artistic talent. 

Long story short, my pastor found that gift and tapped into it. It was a small assignment. A backdrop for the VBS skits, but it opened the door and changed my life. The Lord through my pastor had empowered me to serve. The end result, today I am a church pastor with a speaking ministry that takes me all over the U.S. Empowerment is a wonderful, powerful, miraculous force that can change the entire direction of a person’s life. 

Today the church I pastor is a blessing. Great people who love the Lord and His Word. When I hear my unbelieving friends speaking negatively about the church, I wish they’d come and check out mine and when I hear my ministry friends speak of the troubles they have in their churches, I become increasingly aware of how blessed I truly am. We’re not perfect, but Springfield Church of he Brethren is a pretty good place to be. There is only one major thing we lack and that is simply that a lot of the people who really need what we have, don’t know we’re there. 

How can we fix this? I think it has something to do with empowerment. It’s not that my people don’t serve. They do. I just wonder what else lays on their hearts. We in the church tend to only see certain gifts and talents as usable for the church, but what if we saw that differently? What if we realized that ever good gift comes from God and that all of them are useful to the Kingdom?

What if we gave people the ability to ry new things? This is the sole of empowerment, and so we extend an invitation for people to try the new things God lays on their hearts. Sometimes this will be a one time thing. Sometimes it will be continual. 

What do you need to have to do this? You need a dream. You need to be faithful. You need to finish what you start and you have to be trying to honor God. You need to accept humble beginnings, starting with available resources and working toward growth.

One last thing, your calling is your calling. In other words, if you have an idea you want me to do, the answer is probably going to be no, unless it’s a really phenomenal idea that’s right in the middle of my wheelhouse and clearly God’s call. Empowerment is about helping you to do what God is calling you to do and helping you to be what God has created you to be. Empowerment can change your life. 

What can we help you to do and be?

There’s a great song from the seventies by Jackson Brown called Running on Empty. It’s an ode to life on the road that leaves him Running on Empty. Have you been there? I know I have. This creative life is a joy. That is indisputable. We get to do what we enjoy and people even pay us to do it. Some days I have to pinch myself to realize I’m not dreaming. It makes me want to go, go, go, and I can for a long time, praise God. Ah, but that’s what we’ve got to remember. As Christian creatives, we are part of something bigger and we’re creating for someone bigger. We’re supposed to be doing what we do for God.

If we do this right, we’ll never find ourselves running on empty. It’s when we get out of balance that we get into trouble. You see God is our source and our strength and He is an unending supply. So if we find ourselves running on adrenaline and caffeine, we should probably ask ourselves who is driving this train we’re on. Remember this is not just art, it’s ministry. One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 4:10. It says each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. It’s huge and important and it’s pretty much what launched me into this ministry. It says we should use whatever gifts we have to serve others and when we do this, it allows us to become instruments of grace, allowing us to point people to Jesus so they can receive His grace for themselves. It’s vitally important that we do this.

The context around the verse makes this even clearer. Verse 7 gives us a sense of urgency. “The end of all things is near.” This is a limited time offer. The time for us to love and serve is now, but it is crucial that we also see the verses after, especially this one. “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” In this Christian creative life, God is supposed to get the glory. People are supposed to be drawn to Jesus rather than to us, but most importantly, where does the strength come from? We serve with the strength God provides. So if you’re running on empty, it probably means you’re in your own strength and outside the will of God. The good news it’s easy to get back on track. All you need to do is slow down and trust God.

It seems easy, right? Now all we have to do is do it. Running on empty? Let God fill you up.

You may have noticed a few differences on the main page of this site. In working with my coach, he has been challenging me to work on the way I present this ministry. I wrote something in one of my notes to him that really stood out to him. “It’s not just about art.” He called it out, tweaked it and now it’s the new AMOKArts tagline.

It’s sort of a crucial thing. I think a lot of churches see this ministry as just about art or  just for artists and as such may be hesitant to bring me in to speak. Maybe some people look at this site and think it’s just for artists. That really limits the scope of this ministry and it’s a limitation I don’t want and I don’t think God intends. I want to do more than just come to a church and make art and I want to help you dear reader to do more than just make art.

So what is it about?

It's Not JUST about the art...It’s not JUST about the art… 

AMOKArts is about PASSION
It’s about a passion to know Jesus and make Him known.

AMOKArts is about VISION
It’s about helping people to find God’s plan and purpose for their lives, to find and use their gifts to glorify God, serve others and make the world a better place.

AMOKArts is about MISSION
It’s about helping churches to empower their people to be all God intended them to be so the church can fulfill the mission God has given them.

I want to help people and churches to have a passion for Jesus, live their vision and accomplish their mission. Art is the tool, but it’s all about Jesus.

That’s what’s on the main page of this site and it’s what’s on my heart. I want to see people come to Jesus and I want to see them find and use their gifts to serve Him. I want to see churches full of empowered believers reaching out with the tools God gave them to fulfill the mission God has for them in the world. I want to help the church to fulfill its mission. I want to help church leaders to move  their visions forward and reach a generation for Christ.

I am so passionate about this because my whole life was radically changed when a pastor identified my gift and gave me a way to use it in the church. One small art project was used by God to set this ministry in motion, a ministry that has taken me all over the U.S. preaching and teaching and yes, painting with a passion for introducing people to Jesus, helping them to become all God made them to be. I believe that there are thousands and maybe millions of people like me in the church of Jesus Christ who are just a nudge and an idea away from doing great things for the Kingdom. I want to be that nudge and bring those ideas.

Church leaders, what dreams and visions and missions could you accomplish if even just a few more people stepped forward and said, “I want to be used by God. I want to serve. Here’s my gift. What can I do?”   Let me help you see that happen.

I love doing art ministry workshops but there is one thing that always drives me a little crazy. I have to spend so much time telling people they can do art. Maybe they got a bad grade or someone told them they had no talent and they gave up. They tell me they can’t draw a straight line or a stick figure. They say they don’t have a creative bone in their bodies. The first one light be possible but the second is certainly a lie. I’m not saying you will be a professional artist or that you’ll ever sell a painting or hang one in a gallery or a museum, but I will tell you this, you can do what God is calling you to do. So if you have an image in your head that you think might be from God, stop worrying about what the nay sayers or the critics or even your loved ones will say. Pick a medium and create that image. Do what you feel God is leading you to so.

He may have given it to you to show you something very personal or it ,may have been give to share with the world. It may bless millions or speak to one heart. Don’t worry about all that stuff now just be obedient and express it. The obedience is up to you, everything else is up to God.
This doesn’t just apply to art. We all face areas of life where we feel insufficient. These are the times when the little voice comes into your head and tells you you’re not good or smart enough or just not enough in general. Do yourself a favor. Don’t listen to that voice. The truth is you are not enough and neither am I but that’s okay because you are not alone, God is with you and God is enough. You can do whatever God wants you to do, because He will do it through you.
You can do it!

I’ve needed to be reminded of this myself recently. It appears the job that I have had for the last 11 years will soon be going to part time and this gives me a good deal of fear. On one hand the job is what I have used to support a good part of my ministyr not to mention my family. On the other hand, I have this vision from God to use my creative gifts to share the love of Jesus Christ with people and to go into the church and encourage and empower people to use their gifts to serve the Lord. It’s my dream, my vision and my calling, so what do I do. Well I can listen to the voice that tells me I can’t, that it doesn’t make sense or I can trust the One who called me in the first place. I choose to do that and say, through His power, “I CAN.”

If you have a church or ministry who you believe might be able to benefit from what I do, please contact me at

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
Job 38-40; Matthew 1
You can also download your own chart here.