Originally published 11/20/2015
Cultural Creatives drive social change. And here at The Borough, we love that.
Their values are so far removed from modernism, believing that authenticity and community are more important than large salaries and a white-picket fence. They have changed the way we view women, business, and altruism. Their art has come to the forefront of American culture.
They have shaken our society to its foundations. For more info, check out this older article.
However, being wrapped up in centuries of tradition, it seems that the church is having a hard time adapting. We have tended to like when our people fit the picture of wholesome good ol’ boys. We make programs that fit nice and neat compartments.
And we view different people, and different thinkers, not as innovators, but as inherently out of order.
But the fact is, not finding a place in the contemporary church, cultural creatives have found other venues to express their values – art communities, feminism movements, philanthropic non-profits. Depending on the political severity, these organizations can be really good.
But they’re not being reached in the church.
If our churches want to keep up with the times, and more importantly, love the people in our communities, then we must understand the values of our community and bring the gospel in a relate-able way.
Here are 6 ways that our churches can invest in cultural creatives:
An Arts Team
As it is now, contemporary churches tend only to give artistic opportunities to musicians. And then only musicians who can play popular styles of music. They put them on a worship team, and they play music on Sunday mornings.
I’m saying that this model is not enough.We must understand the #values of our #community. #church Click To Tweet
I’ve written in a previous article about this idea of an arts team. In that article, I called it a worship guild – a team of artists who teach about how art relates to our faith, who collaborate and perform (or display) their specific medium of art, and who also train others in their medium.
It’s beautiful, really.
I know of a church in Lancaster, PA, whose arts team became so involved in their community, that they fell into an opportunity to teach art classes at juvenile detention facilities.
Like I said, beautiful.
And I don’t mean investing for a profit, because most churches are 501(c)(3) non-profits anyway, and it could get sticky to invest for profit.
But I mean support cultural creatives so that they can make a living using the talents that God has given them. Buy their art at market value. Put on a gallery of their visual art. Donate to their non-profits. Give gifts as seed money for their startups. Pay a resident artist to do theology in culture for a period of time.
Show them that you value their Holy Spirit-given gifts by putting your money where your mouth is.
Establishing in the Faith
So often, we dismiss cultural creatives because they are so different, so free-spirited. Sometimes, it can mistakenly come across as immaturity (and admittedly, sometimes it’s not mistakenly).
But these people need a firm foundation in the faith as much as the next person. Genuinely listen to their comments which are so different from the Sunday school answers of “I covet your prayers”, “washed in the blood” or “hedge of protection”.
Host a Community Course on Women’s Studies
Rent out a conference room at your library and put on a course like this.
Some of you may be thinking, “But feminism is of the devil, Nate!”
Well, okay, there are aspects of feminism which have gone outside of the realm of reason and hurt people. And in lots of ways, the feminist movement in America has broken down the family structure prescribed in the Bible.
But I’m not saying that you have to teach feminism proper in order to teach a course on women’s study.
Women are a VITAL part of the church and to society and we should communicate that to the public, especially to our cultural creatives.#Women are a VITAL part of the #church and to #society. Click To Tweet
So teach about the history of women’s rights in America. Teach about suffrage. Move it up through to the impact of feminism on the family. And teach about biblical womanhood.
For info on that last one, check out this older article.
Participate in Hands-On Community Involvement
This one might be more simple than it seems. Don’t just sign checks to solid organizations in your community (although, it is very good to be generous in this way). If you want to engage the hearts and minds of the cultural creatives in your churches, let them be hands-on in projects. If you only give money, then the experience of each person loving their neighbor is lost.
A Creation Sustainability Team
No matter what your views are on climate change, environmental sustainability is a core value to many cultural creatives. What’s more, God told man to rule well over creation, not to waste it.
So I’m gonna call this idea a “Creation Sustainability Team” to make it sound more church-y. Deal with it.
Essentially, it is exactly what it sounds like – putting together a team that can find ways to take care of Creation. Here are some ideas of what they could do:
- Awareness campaigns for a local environmental cause.
- Engaging the church in teaching green principles, such as recycling, reusing and reducing.
- Implementing more in-depth methods, such as aquaponics systems, urban homesteading, and greenhouses.
- Engaging the local government on environmental issues.
And if you really want to engage the cultural creatives, let one of them lead the team.
Zealous for Good Works
This article was not written to be patronizing toward cultural creatives, as if I were saying that we should manipulate these people by holding a carrot in front of their nose so they’ll run on the treadmill forever.
I’m saying that engaging them to help them be all God created them to be will take new methods and new ways of thinking. And what’s most important is that we do NOT have to sacrifice the gospel to do it.
Cultural creatives are a people who are naturally zealous for good works. There are a lot of ways the church can learn from them. But if the church can truly engage them, then all of us will be better off as we serve Christ.
Also published on Medium.