Artists In Ministry & Missions

Tag: Byron Spradlin’s Blog (Page 1 of 2)

Imagination, Artistic Expression & Worship? 1 of 2

How Imagination And Artistic Expression Relate To Worship

Evangelical author and philosophy professor Dallas Willard writes, “Sometimes important things can be presented in literature and art that cannot be effectively presented in any other way.” Given the way God has designed the human being and human community, people need all the capacities He created—reason, emotion, imagination, memory and language, all working together. As mysterious as that transaction is, they need all these capacities so that they may “know” God and not simply know about Him.

In fact, the Bible reveals that people are to know Him so intimately that they ultimately live every minute of each day in a companioning-worship-walk with Him. Jesus pressed this very issue when explaining to the woman at Jacob’s well that, “. . . God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, NIV). The Apostle Paul presses the same mandate when he urges Christians to, “. . . present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your logical, reasonable worship-way-of-living (latreian)” (Rm12:1, author’s rendering).

The Bible reveals that the essence of worship is to find one’s satisfaction in God above all and everyone else. The Apostle Paul boldly declares, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21, NIV).

But based on these submissions, there exists one important question: If humans and human community are to engage in an intimate and interactive involvement with God, how does this interactive transaction actually happen?

Most would say that the goal and essence of worship are both wrapped up in a relationship with God. But still, how do finite people have relational interaction with a Divine God? Is not God unique from humans? Of course. He alone is Divine, Holy, Supreme. But how; or in what way, or in what realm, has God created humans to ‘experience’ in transactional reality, relations with Himself?

At this point it is important to note Bible Role for Imaginative Expression. God designed finite humans in such a way . . . that the mystery of transactional engagement with God happens through environments of imaginative human expressions.

When people go to worship, whether in groups or alone, God designed them to need to exercise their imaginal intellect as much as any other dynamic of their being—including their rational intellect.

When people worship God alone, they “practice” focusing their faith toward God through the gate of their imagination. As they couple their imagination with their intellect, they will imagine the unseen realities they ‘know’ are true in Scripture.

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The 2 Basic Dimensions of Ministry

Ministry has two basic dimensions—

  1. you dealing with God about people (centered in your daily worship communion with God), and

  2. God dealing with people through you (the assignments you receive from God out of your growing communion with Him) . . . then, your artistic abilities will be a means by which and a context in which God will expect you to function in order to develop contact and relationship with people with whom you are intentionally looking, by faith, to effect and serve for His purposes. That effect, and that sort of service—if it is truly ministry on God’s behalf—will entail a supernatural transaction (energized by God’s Spirit, not by you), and will result both in …

                1. spiritual impact in people’s lives through the ‘service’ you render; and in

                2. people coming to find salvation in Jesus through seeing the Lord more clearly—and hearing Him—through your ministry service, whatever that particular ministry service might be.

Therefore, your artistic ministry will only be fully and biblically developed as you go beyond “the doing of your art”. Your arts ministry will develop a fuller biblical design as you increasingly develop ways wherein and around which you will be …

            1. identifying and developing people you can mentor towards their own growth in Jesus; and …

            2. resourcing the local and regional church (equipping the saints—Eph. 4:11-12) out of the specialized fruit-bearing capacities you have progressively demonstrated in your past ministry track record.

Besides simply your abilities to perform an artistic expression or endeavor—if you are really focused on ministry, and growing in more developed ministry—you will be developing specialized areas of biblically based resourcing around at least four (4) areas :

  1. spiritual formation issues,

  2. biblical ministry issues (related to theology and strategies of the arts in ministry),

  3. artistic skill areas, and

  4. technical aspects specialized and related to arts ministry strategy.

When your focus is set on ministry, when your ministry is articulated in Kingdom terms (and not in musical or artistic media terms), your artistic orientations become the environment in which you premeditatedly intend to connect with people about the realities of God—and when you are faithing that He, the Lord, will graciously and supernaturally move through you—then it will be clear . . . to you and to others . . . that you have truly entered into the realm of ministry through the arts.

Anything else, and you may end up simply being yet another clanging cymbal


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6 Foundation Stones of Ministry

Six habits, that if you do them, you WILL BE a minister. They are six basic elements of bottom-line ministry.

No matter what religious title or position you hold, or don’t hold, there are only six things that make you a MINISTER. If you are regularly doing these five things you ARE a minister (cf. 1 Pet 2:4-5, 9-10). If you ARE NOT regularly doing these six things—no matter what religious title or position you hold—you ARE NOT being a minister.

      1. You passionately pursue intimate companionship with Jesus throughout every day
        John 15:15

        Ex 33:11

      2. You regularly expect God to move supernaturally.
        Romans 1:16,19; 1 Corinthians 4:19

      3. You pray for and with people (expecting #2).
        1 Thessalonians 5:16; Philippians 4:6,71 John 5:14
        Romans 8:26; Ephesians 1:17-19; Ephesians 6:18;
        1 Timothy 2:1-4; Philemon 1:6; James 5:13-16

      4. You regularly care for people under assignment from Jesus.
        James 1:27; Galatians 5:13-14; Ephesians 4:7,11-12
        1 Corinthians 12:5-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13

      5. You regularly guide people for help into truths of God’s Word, the Bible.
        2 Timothy 3:16,17; Hebrews 4:12

      6. You can . . . and regularly do share your faith with people… whether or not you have the spiritual gift of evangelism
        1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 1:8; Acts 5:5-8, 34-38;
        1 Timothy 2:1-4; Revelation 14:6

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Business, Occupation, & Ministry. Do you know the difference? Part 1

Business: What is It?

1. Business Defined: selling products, performances and services for value in return
2. Business Goal: financial profit
3. Business Funding: profits & investors (who intend to make a profit on their investment)
4. Business Success Criteria: financial profit

5. Business ‘Goodness’ Criteria [Spradlin suggests]
that you serve God not Money— Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (NIV)
that you love God not Money— 1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (NIV)
that you make friends with ‘unrighteous money”— that is, you control it and use it for Godly agenda, rather than it controlling you and using you for world-system agenda.

Note—from this passage [an others] we see that:
Jesus says … Money has an “unrighteous” dynamic.
Jesus says … Believers must ‘make Friends” with it.

6. Business Power verses Kingdom Power
Where is Focal Point of Power in Business? MONEY
Where is Focal Point of Power in God’s Kingdom? FAITH-ing
Money—at it’s heart can be ‘evil’ (Jesus says), in that it is the focal point of power in the natural realm
Holy Spirit—at His heart is the heart of God. We must come under the control of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Ephesians 5: 18)—the focal point of power in the spiritual realm.
Only by allowing the Holy Spirit to become our power base, can we learn to take control [ “make friends with”] ‘unrighteous money.’

7. Ministry in Business? YES !!!
You can do Ministry in and through your business. But categorically speaking, Business is different than Ministry.
You can fail at Business (not make a profit) and still be successful at Ministry
It is very important to keep the technical distinction in focus about Business—selling things’ and it always involves ‘making money’ or it is NOT business. It is also absolutely important to hold in focus the technical definition of Ministry—serving God and His Kingdom purposes. These purposes are always—at the core of their essence—FREE. If you fail to make and hold clear and focused . . . the technical distinctions between business and ministry, you WILL continue to be confused. And confusion will bring you great frustration and the certainty of damaged business and damaged ministry as well.

Join me next time for: Occupation: What is it?

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