12 Roles For Artists in Life & Living


Artistically gifted people have been endowed with “unusual wisdom at imaginative design and expression” (the definition of the Hebrew term “craftsman”—see e.g. Ex. 31 or Ex 35).

Hopefully these categories will help you recognize the strategic ways the artistically inclined are critical to the way God has designed human relationships and community.

Artists are far more than wacky eccentrics; they are “imaginative expression specialists” (a term I’ve been using for several years). And they have been created by God for the purpose “of leading people into touching the transcendent realities God, and life.

So hopefully these twelve areas will help you see more clearly how and why “Artistics” are so important to the way God has designed us and the way we related to Him, and to ourselves and others.

12 Roles Artists Play in Life and Living

ARTISTICS are clearly strategic to the ways God’s made the World because, through our God-given design we are:

  1. Human Expression Specialists—who have been endowed by God with unusual wisdom and skill in imaginative human expressions.2.
  2. Transcendence-Touchers—leading Humanity into touching the transcendent realities of LIFE, and GOD.3.
  3. Environment-Designers—Culturally Appropriate Gathered Worship, Celebration, and Memorialization (funerals, weddings, rites-of-passage, any EVENTS in which the Community manifests its “heart-and-soul” in tangible terms)4.
  4. Heart-Strikers of Humanity—specialists in sculpting “environments” wherein people’s hearts can enter and touch the Transcendent Realities of life, and of GOD.
  5. Values-Reflectors of the culture or the community—we always reflect, express, manifest the Community’s/Culture’s core attitudes, beliefs, and values … through the creative human expressions that go beyond WORDS and STATEMENTS. In fact, these OTHER Expressions as a WHOLE … are much more IMPACTING than are Words by themselves.

6. Relationship-Makers—positives that artists bring to human interaction—that produce relationships.

    • We are curious about cultural expressions (yes there are exceptions).

    • We are respectful of and interested in cultures’ ways (yes there are exceptions).

    • We forge relationships, in the process of shared-artistic-collaboration, … wherein productive mutual appreciation increases openness, interaction, explanation, understanding; and ultimately loving relationships.

 7. Community (Culture)-Connectors– providing the Christian Community holistic channels that facilitate our ability to …

    • Contribute – contribute to community and culture.

    • Confront – confront the problems of community and culture.

    • Correct – bring corrective input TO the community and culture.

8. Compassion-Context-Creators—artistic activities, drama groups, bands, choirs, art groups, public mural projects, dance classes and groups, video/film classes and projects … motivated by the need and intent to CARE and DEVELOP the person and the community.

9. Story-Tellers of our culture or community—we are the “mouth-pieces” of our cultures and communities—narrating our peoples’ stories through the poems, paintings, dances, films, dramas, designs, architecture, fashions, 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).

AND for you who insist that we highlight the PROCLAMATION that does occur through each of these nine just-mentioned Dynamics of the Artist’s Role in community and culture, I could suggest additional roles of the artistic expression specialist – that of . . .

10. Public-Proclamation-Producers–

  • Designing, directing, and doing public meeting and events

  • Designing and doing

Artists Defined!

We are the specialists who creatively design the programming that captures the Transcendent realities of Life and Community in ways that people Enter, Hold, & Experience.

11. Boundaries Stretcher

12. Culture Creators–we are the “specialists” at creatively arranging human Metaphors, Symbols, and Signal Systems in ways that express culture

We are the specialists who creatively design the PROGRAMMING that captures the Transcendent realities of LIFE and COMMUNITY in ways that people can ENTER, HOLD, EXPERIENCE.

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