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Monday, July 23, 2012

But We Have No Artists!

Imagination is Godly
Creativity is paramount in everything. It's one of the ways we shadow God.  Therefore, we will often try new things "just because" and, unlike many others, we change for the sake of change - just to keep things fresh and fluid.  We seldom do the same thing twice, and we take art seriously - it's much more than either advertising or propaganda, it's creativity made flesh in honor of the Creator.

I've shared many of our church's plumblines with you before. The above statement is one of them.

When we talk out loud about this plumbline in church circles someone inevitably asks “What if you don’t have creative people at your church?” Or, “What if our church doesn’t have the kind of budget your church has for creative things.”

First, we believe everyone has the capacity to be creative to some degree. Some would disagree click here if you're interested in a different opinion.

As image bearers of God, we believe we carry part of the Creator inside of us. Man’s first act after he was created by God was to name the animals—a creative act. Art, song, business deals, playtime, conversation, dreams, imagination, and work ethic to name a few can all be creative acts that mirror God. Simply being faithful to share your personal story of redemption is a creative act as you bear the Imago Dei.

The real question behind the question of creativity is “What if my church doesn’t have artists?”

This is an entirely different question. I have always been part of a church body that is ripe with artists. In all honesty it’s not because I’m lucky. It takes hard work to foster an environment of art.

We do value art and are blessed with quite a few artists presently. Please don’t hear me saying if your church is not artistic you are something less than you are.

But many of the churches I know of with an artist deficit are not really doing a lot to welcome artists. They believe God will drop artists into their laps. While he may do that for some, let me suggest the following things for you to consider:

Pray for artists.
Seek out artists.
Spend time in the art centers of your city.
Invite artists to participate in what you do.
Hold art contests to design your logos/posters/space.
Become part of art clubs and organizations in your city.
Place ads in your paper and online searching for artists.
Host concerts at your church.
Buy local art.
Have your meetings in coffee shops. Artists live there.
Send kids in your church to art school.
Look for interns in the colleges of your area.
Contact the high school art department.
Don’t think of art simply in terms of advertisement or propaganda.
Hire an artist on staff. Even part-time. Or spare-time.
Ask local churches to borrow their art.
Open your church as a gallery.
Raise money for a local art school.
Wear a t-shirt around town that says, “Are you an artist?”
Read books that broaden your understanding of art and artists.
Quit calling it “decoration.” The artists might start believing you care.
Develop an art budget. Put your money where your mouth is.

As to the question of financial resources, you’d be surprised how little you can spend to make something beautiful. A can of paint doesn’t cost a whole lot. Yet, many of the churches I hear complain about lack of artists in their church or not having enough money to be creative are screaming out from the insides of white coffins. Get a dang roller dirty with paint.

We all dream of having unlimited resources but honestly I’ve had Industrial Light and Magic dreams on a Radio Shack budget for as long as I can remember.

Ask people to fund art projects.
Ask folks for free crap around their homes.
Go to yard sales.
Watch HGTV and DIY and . . .
Recycle materials.
Subscribe to magazines with cheap ideas.
Walk around Lowe’s and ask “what can we make with this?”
Don’t make excuses.

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