Does Your Church Have a Visual Arts Ministry?

artist manequin2What are the unique challenges promoting the visual arts in your church? 

Does your church even have a visual arts ministry?

Although many of you have seen a movement over the years of Christians in the visual arts becoming a significant part of the body of Christ, would it be safe to say that most of you do not have a standing “Visual Arts Ministry” at your church?

Those of you that have a visual arts ministry within your church, tell us about it. Does it flow during worship as well as build backdrops and stage props?

Do you have open galleries or even workshops for artists? Any outreach using visual art as the draw (no pun intended) or the vehicle?
And what do you do if your church has no Visual Art ministry.

Share with us your thoughts:

16 thoughts

  1. we started going to a new church a few years ago in a university town. I went to a class on prophecy and the very first day of the class, the teacher prophecied to me that it was time to get out my talents and start using them again. I thought I was all washed up and it was over for me.

    I was asked to do a 6 week Sunday School class on prophetic art. I was concerned that the name might scare people away, who did not consider themselves prophetic, so I just called it a workshop on exploring the visual arts as a form of worship. I just had my first class last Sunday. 17 people have signed up for the class. Most never heard of prophetic art, me included. We are exploring this together and letting the Holy Spirit show us how to use the visual arts as a form of coming closer to God and showing people Jesus through our art.

    For the first class, I introduced prayer doodles. I wasn’t sure who would be coming, and I wanted to make all people comfortable, even if they didn’t consider themselves as good artists. Doodles are non threatening, because anyone can doodle.

    Prayer doodles are opening up a new way to interceed. You can draw anything that you want prayer for. You can write the name of someone, and then add some images, or write some scripture that may go along with the subject or prayer request. It can be very simple or more elaborate. You can color it in, or do it any way you want.

    One lady drew the name of a 14 year old girl with cancer. She decorated it. I walked over and asked about it. The artist said this young girl was given up by the doctors. I called people around, and we laid hands on the picture and prayed for this girl. It became a point of contact for prayer. In Bible times, they used a piece of cloth. We used a piece of paper.

    The prayer doodles take on a life of their own. As you work on them, the Holy Spirit begins to show you things you had not thought of before and opens up new spiritual answers. Try it. It is fun and it is eye opening!
    Nancy in Ohio

    1. Nancy-

      What you’re doing is AMAZING and I know that it will spread, simply by you sharing what God is doing through you on a platform like this that reaches worldwide!

      If you don’t mind, I think I’d like to interview you for an upcoming post so that you can share more of what you’re doing.
      Please email me here and let me know if you’re open to it:
      tony@artlessonsfromgod.com

  2. hi im so blessed in my church as soon as the pastors saw what God doing in me. They encouraged me. Now i have done the same to others. they are picking up the paint brush again. I also have stepped out of the boat and once a month i paint during worship at a church that pray for the town and local areas. I listen to God heart for them. i get picture and then we worship, pray, interscede for the town. It just so amazing how God works. I feel so blessed.

  3. When I moved to my current church a couple of years ago, the leader was excited about me having an art degree and intimated that not only would there be opportunity to paint during worship but also to begin workshops and art therapy in the future. I am currently (in 2010) told the church is not ready for it. A few of us sketch in small sketch books during services in our pews, but it is very cramped and difficult to produce quality whilst resting a book on your knee. Interestingly, the elderly members of the church and some really on fire Christians have both been blessed by what they have seen me doing. I think it is the leader (leadership) that has the problem. To a lot of people worship equals singing, and nothing else. They will pay lip service to a bit of banner waving, and positively encourage hands held high. I’m seeking a far deeper connection with God and he has put it on my heart to display his art. Please pray for me, all Christian artists and that God’s art will reign banishing the darkness of some other new age & occult art that is in the world.

  4. A great new book that addresses a number of these issues is for the beauty of the church: casting a vision for the arts by david taylor — well worth the read.

  5. Tony,

    There are very few. You are right. I am feeling a little disheartened tonight. I went to my church tonight to try to get something started in our church. Some of them were receptive but there is one guy that you could just tell that he doesn’t get it. They want to regulate it to death I am afraid. I long to be with those that get it. Why is this so intimidating? Is it because words are powerful and one picture is worth a 1000 words? It is definitely powerful and Satan hates it.

    Charlotte

  6. Charlotte-

    I agree with you. Singers and musicians know where to get plugged in in the church. Even dancers and actors in some churches of today have a place. What of those with the visual art gift? I mean, other than “backdrops for the Christmas play”, there are not too many ministries reaching out to the many in the congregation that have this ability.

    Tony-

  7. We do not have a visual arts ministry at our church. I actually had been given an opportunity to display some of my paintings and they were accepted by the congregation but rejected by one lady that was “threatened” by them and so they do not hang in the church any more. I am wondering now if I need to stop letting my feelings be hurt by the “one” and ask to have them put back up. The main reason I am considering this is because I had an opportunity to worship with my art in a service recently. I painted during the service. Afterward I realized how freeing it was for my 11-year-old to see me do that. How many more kids and adults for that matter would be free to worship with what God has given them if I did. I definitely feel it is time for us to stop hiding out and help the church move forward. Or maybe we need to help them look back at the building of the tabernacle when He put His spirit in the artist that built it.

  8. Our church had a very talented young lady present a chalk talk… it was quite beautiful. At at previous church the wife of an elder created banners for the walls that would also help with the acoustics. At another church, a group of women used their interior design talents to beautify the church (careful with the flowers and lace, ladies, the guys can get the idea that a church is a woman’s domain…); also a very talented artist painted stunning murals on the nursery and Sunday school walls – the youth tried their hand at “graffiti”… I’m sure many churches can tell of similiar contributions; while these things are good, I’m with you – the church needs to move forward!

  9. Planet Altered just opened this week downtown Chattanooga. We are a worship arts church and the shopfront is in a street full of art galleries, cafes with an interesting grouping of neighborhoods. We will be having worship services on the weekends that involve community art projects to teach spiritual parables.

    The church will have a co-op and sell art. It will have a gallery of worship art. It will have interactive prayer journeys. It will have afterschool care and have artists come in and teach. It will also host functions. There are a lot more possibilities and it is in the planning stages right now with our first event this weekend.

    For more information go to the group Planet Altered on fb and watch the development….For more information on some incredible texturised alternative worships go to the church site on http://www.instantred.com and look at the archives for inspiration.

    Bless you all as you create for your creator.

  10. Dave, I would thoroughly appreciate that.
    We have a group of teenagers that are bubbling over with artistic talent, but there is no outlet.
    Whatever you can give, would be appreciated.

  11. Yes- Dave has a wealth of resources and information to support any group or church that wants to integrate Visual Arts (or The Arts in general) into what their already doing.

    Tony-

  12. I could only imagine a place where saints could get together to invest in the talents that the Lord has led them to possess.
    To actually bring your gift of expression to the Body and be free to cultivate that skill of creation with like-minded saints.

    Artist speak of the rich reward of getting amongst their “fellow artist” to simply better their skill and feed off of each others experiences.

    Man, you can’t top art and fellowship with the saints!
    I guess the answer would be, “No”…My church ministry doesn’t have that outlet, but I’m going to ask my Father if He will provide one.

  13. My church does have a visual arts ministry and for the most part, I am it. Basically I paint during the worship singing at nearly every service and create something that will enhance the message I am preaching. Sometimes if the painting is more involved than I can accomplish in about 20 minutes I will create a video as in the ones I have been posting for quite some time on youtube and they are also very well received. In addition to what happens in the service I am working on a ministry where we invite people in from the community to come in and create as part of an open studio time. My hope is to eventually expand this to all the arts creating exhibitions, performances and presentations that will both introduce the participants and audiences to our glorious creator.
    God bless,
    Dave

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