Artists In Ministry & Missions

Month: April 2017

7 Evangelism Environments Artists Create (Part 2 of 2)

So, through their curiosity—and a wonderful product of it: looking at familiar realities in fresh ways (4)—they always create situations and places where relationships are formed (5).

  1. Community (Culture) Connectors—artistic Kingdom servants can provide the Community (inside and outside the local parish) holistic expressions and profile of that facilitate the need-meeting biblical virtues—like justice, honesty, courage, compassion, moderation, and moral character—all of which will . . .
    • Contribute – to the community by creatively bringing beauty, joy, goodness and truth—from God’s perspective, without preaching or frowning.
    • Create  – new culture that is virtuous, beautiful, good and true.
    • Profile – to the community the good, the bad and the ugly.   Artists possess powerful means of helping the community see, feel and engage both the good and the bad of the community.  Without preaching or pounding, artists-in-community-with-church-leadership can innovatively and productively point out what needs to be faced, fixed and changed; including the fact we each need God’s help and healing in order to live life fully.

Artistic Kingdom servants—when released and affirmed—can connect with the mainstream community culture delightfully, beautifully, creatively, and powerfully.

  1. Compassion Context Creators—artistic activities—like drama groups, bands, choirs, art groups, public mural projects, dance classes and groups, video/film classes & projects … motivated by the need and intent to CARE for and DEVELOP the person and the community—are crucial to the work of evangelism.

A beautiful example of this sort of thing in my Nashville region is Rejoice Dance Ministry, and it’s Director, Patricia Cross (6); where, in North Nashville they work with at-risk inner-city kids through their after-school dance classes, building character & virtues that help these children know better how to live life well—especially by coming to know the Life-giver Himself, Jesus.

  1. Story-Tellers—artists are the “voices” of our cultures & communities, narrating our peoples’ stories through the poems, paintings, dances, films, dramas, designs, architecture, fashions, food, sculptures, songs and lore of the people; and interpreting how our story makes sense and has meaning within the framework of The Story of the World (The BIG Story of GOD, Himself, revealing Himself to the world—God’s BIG Story of history—is the world’s greatest meta-narrative.  But more on that another time.)

Therefore, the Gospel cannot be told well enough without artistic expression, and the involvement of the artistic expression specialists.

  1. Public-Proclamation-Producers—artists are the specialists to whom God has given the sensitivities and awareness (honed by training and practice of their various crafts) by which public meetings can be designed and directed to the end that the gatherings actually accomplish the purposes for which they were desired.

How many times have you gone to a community meeting or a worship gathering—in any culture or religious setting—where the intent was to lift up, but you’ve left let down? Fault both the non-artistic official who commissioned the gathering (mayor, president, executive, pastor or priest) and the (alleged) artistic practitioners commissioned to pull off the gathering.

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7 Evangelism Environments Artists Create (Part 1 of 2)

Given the objective Truth of the Gospel never changes, the PROCESS of evangelism is much more about helping people encounter Christ than it is explaining Christ—and ARTISTS are some of the most powerful God-designed servants God uses to create the environments wherein people experience the God-desired fruit of evangelism—people reconciled to God through the work of Christ.

In fact when we emphasize explaining over encountering God’s Gospel, we raise at least two barriers to witnessing (1). The first barrier is the fear that I’ll make a mistake, that I’ll miss something.  The second barrier is the fear that I’ll be rejected.  Plus, these barriers are both about me, not about the one or ones I’m praying will access God’s help, healing, love, forgiveness and life.

All this to say, and the point of this blog post: if church and mission leadership strategically turn to the artistic Kingdom servants in their networks, they will embrace untold creative resource for designing at least seven environments wherein they and their vast army of normal Jesus-loved-people-loving volunteer Christians can meet with, pray for, care for and share (2) with people in their neighborhoods and communities the Bible mandates us to evangelize.

So let me suggest at least these seven evangelism environments artists (3) are God-designed to create:

  1. Environment-Designers—artists are the ones God capacitied to imagine, then design, the culturally appropriate gathered events of the community—worship liturgies, celebration rituals & memorializations:  all the various community gatherings, funerals, weddings, rites-of-passage; any GATHERINGS in which the community manifests its ‘heart & soul’ (its transcendent reality—the expressions of the sum of its participants) in tangible terms.  Community cannot do design these gatherings well without the artistically gifted.
  1. Heart-Strikers of Humanity—artists are the specialists God has given humanity to sculpt “environments” wherein people’s hearts can enter and touch the Transcendent Realities of life, and of GOD.
  1. Relationship-Makers—the environments artists design always promote human interaction that produces relationships.  Remember that artists are hardwired to be . . .
    • curious about culture expressions (yes there are exceptions)
    • intrigued by & interested in cultures’ ways (yes there are exceptions)

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