Are Christian Creatives Outsiders in Their Own Churches?

Meanwhile the Stagnant Artist

Caught Between Two Strange Worlds

Many Christian creatives are living between two strange worlds.
The visual artists, painters, dancers, writers, are often set apart from their colleagues in their creative circles because of their Christianity.

Yet often, these same “outsiders” can be seen as outsiders again when it comes to finding their place within their home churches.

Now, this may not be the case for the singer and musically inclined. For generations these creatives have somewhat easily found a place within their local churches. Their talents are employed, explored, trained and recruited multiple times a week in the local church.

But what about the painter, the concept artist, the writer, the poet, the designer? Maybe their creative gift may not be expected to be seen in action during the Sunday service each week…but where are the workshops, the conferences, the teaching sessions that speaks to their unique place in the Kingdom?

Does your church have a form of creative or “arts” ministry?

What’s it like?

Share your feedback with us!

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12 thoughts

  1. What’s even more frustrating is when you are one of those all around creatives. Who is musically gifted and creatively gifted at the same time! Add that prophetic nature & the potential to be misunderstood is at an all time high! i think its due to people not having the capability to put you in a particular box. I’ve always felt creatively “apostolic” in my life & have felt more misunderstanding then anything else from the body at large.
    I guess the good side is that it has over time forced me to utilize love, honor, & forgiveness in extreme ways to where I’m not as offended as I once was.
    I’m learning everyday that God doesn’t make mistakes & He knows how to care for my needs even when those closest to me can’t seem to wrap their minds around it.
    I end with this…. The best quote I have heard on fellowship was by Danny Silk. He said, “Honor is NOT I celebrate the me in you”

    1. Thank you, Tonya for chiming in! I see us creatives as scouts or trailblazers and as we remain prayerfully patient, our ministries will meet us in due time!
      Tony-

  2. I find many churches don’t know quite what to do with us “creatives”. It can make you feel very alone in a place where you long to be able to say “I’m home”. We often get pigeon-holed into positions that don’t fit us and used to do backdrops and artsy decorations when the “calling” of our heart is different. I am a prophetic Christian artist. I am very grateful to be in a church now that accepts me for that and lets me express that in our services. In turn because they do, I want to use my gifts to help in those other areas. It has helped my creativity to flow instead of stifling it. A good leader recognizes the gifts in others and encourages them to express them. When that happens the urge to “position yourself as the artist” isn’t there. I believe that urge comes from the stifling of our creativity and will drive a “creative” crazy!!!

    1. WOW! Charlotte, you must have been reading my mind! I used to feel guilty for not being excited when the only opportunity for a visual artist in church was painting backdrops.Well put, Sis! (Good hearing from yah, too! It’s been a while!)
      Tony-

    2. hello charlotte – i wonder if you could explain what this means: “I am a prophetic Christian artist. I am very grateful to be in a church now that accepts me for that and lets me express that in our services.” what exactly are they letting you do?

      i’m curious as i have seen numerous churches with artists painting at the front (though, oddly, only during the singing part of the gathering – and i believe the entire gathering is ‘worship’) and i’ve always wondered how this becomes something that edifies the body. what is the role of that activity during the gathering?

      i understand how it might encourage the artist (and, to be honest, even mollify them) but – keeping in mind that many people, regardless of whether they are christians or not, are not really that conversant with ‘reading’ art – how does it function within the context of the gathering?

      further, how are such artists kept accountable and discipled – as artists (skills), as ministers (measuring the [visual] word), and as disciples (relationally)?

      1. While I can’t speak for Charlotte, here’s a couple answers to your questions…
        We have had artists paint at our services—often painting images that augment the theme / message for the day. Sometimes they paint just during the singing amp; other times during the whole service. I find it deeply edifying, even if I have no idea how to “read” art. I am a visual learner so seeing something that illustrates what the pastor is talking about or what we’re singing about helps me tremendously. I am NOT an auditory learner so listening to a 30-40 min sermon and actually learning and retaining something is very difficult for me. My note-taking journal is filled with doodles. They help me learn while I listen.
        At our church, those artists work under the leadership and authority of our Worship Pastor, so mentoring, discipleship, etc functions the same as for the other worship team people (musicians, singers).
        I hope that answers some of your questions at least. 🙂

  3. a quick question: is the proportion of “the workshops, the conferences, the teaching sessions that speaks to their unique place in the Kingdom” inside the church any different than the proportion of workshops, conferences, etc. for artists outside of the church compared to the artist population(s) in each? not that i want to promulgate a scared/ secular or church/the world division – just for argument’s sake…

    1. Ed, if I understand your question… it depends.
      If the outside groups you mention are schools, for example, then Yes, there’s something for everyone.

      (Ooo! Your question made my head hurt!)

      😉

      1. I was responding to your question of “where are the workshops, the conferences, the teaching sessions that speaks to [the painter, the concept artist, the writer, the poet, the designer and their] unique place in the Kingdom?”

        I think there are workshops etc. for Christian creatives, and both within church culture and outside of it. which is, I think, a different question than how those gifts are utilized or even celebrated within the local church.

        that said, I think that there are probably multiple opportunities to share those gifts in service to the community – it’s a matter of asking how you might serve, honing those skills, and waiting patiently for the opportunity. I am part of a small community but I have had the opportunity to contribute to branding our new community, as well as design, write and lead a stations of the cross nature walk on good Friday. I have also had the opportunity to do some spoken word poetry, and anticipate more.

        I think it might be more about bringing my creativity to the table than any specific talent or gift, though those specific abilities may be brought into play at some point. I think all these things have been facilitated through building relationships and exercising humility, rather than positioning myself as ‘the artist’ or a sense of entitlement (as if the church owes me an opportunity).

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