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The Innovate Series is meant to offer new ideas that are intended to spark the imagination.  The ideas themselves are based on principles from Scripture, but are manifested in fresh ways.

Use them in your church.  Change them to fit your context.  Meet the people where they are at.  Be creative!

Worship Guild

I originally got this idea from a church network in the Des Moines area in which I have a lot of good friends.  It’s called City Church of Ames-Des Moines.

Every person has gifts from #God, and they must use them. Click To Tweet

They have what is called a Worship Guild.  The idea is based on their philosophy of every-member ministry.  Every person has gifts from God, and they must use them – not just the worship leader and pastor, but everyone.

SONY DSC

Photo credit: Mosman Council / Foter / CC BY

So what does this look like in a church in the 21st century, then?

Well, they take their artists of every discipline – visual art, music, poetry, dramatic, dance, etc.  They meet regularly outside of the normal church meetings.  They do a regular rotation of the following:

  • Teaching on the role of art in the church and how it glorifies God
  • Sharing of the works of art that they have created
  • Training/mentoring in the different disciplines
  • Discussion on community efforts to encourage the arts

They develop their gifts through training, encouragement, and gaining a stronger sense of the importance of their talents.  As they continue to create, and feed off of each others creativity, they only become more productive.  That’s collaboration, baby!

The goal, of course, is to use their talents as effectively possible to honor God as any of the psalmists did.

Benefits for the Church

Simply put, the church makes great gains when a project like this is in place.

The #church can #worship in ways they never thought they could. Click To Tweet

Artists drive creativity and give the church a chance to be a part of it.  As they bring certain works to the actual meetings, people hear new songs, poems.  They see new dramas and dances.  Their capability to worship is expanded with all the fresh stimuli.  The church can worship in ways they never thought they could.

street drawing

Photo credit: eyecmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

In addition, the artists themselves are given a creative outlet that is not usually provided through the church – and this makes all the difference.

In a normal, traditional church, what is available to these starving artists?  Worship team, maybe drama, the occasional artistic dance/special, and…

…I can’t think of anything else.

Usually (unless your church is especially innovative), the only opportunity that has any consistency is the worship team.

But what if you are not a musician?

Most of the time, their talents have to be cultivated and expressed through different avenues.  Frankly, the church is letting our artists down.  Where do they go to find belonging and self-expression?  The streets.  The world.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the world provided a worldview that was consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

Colossians 2:8 instructs us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world.  Yes, we must be in the world, but we must also not be taken captive by its empty philosophies.  When our artists can only find solace in communities that promote empty philosophies, then we have already lost.

The church can be so much more to these people.  They are creative, because God is creative, and God created the church to minister to His people.  If we foster their creative drives, then the whole church will be much richer, indeed.

Benefits to the Community

When you have a group of serious artists who go out into the world with a firm foundation in their faith, they can move mountains.

Two main things come to mind –

  1. Artists can relate to other artists.
    mural

    Photo credit: Paulisson Miura / Foter / CC BY

    Are you a non-artist?  When’s the last time you felt comfortable analyzing literature or improvising a song with a tattoo-ed hipster with horn-rimmed glasses and an undercut haircut (such as myself)?
    Are you an artist?  When the deep hues of your recent painting evoke a melancholy emotional response, and it is juxtaposed by a bright, hopeful, morning sun, how much does a fellow painter understand your passion?
    Creative people are part of a culture that almost speaks a different language.  When we’re talking about explaining the gospel in terms that people will understand, we gotta let the artists explain it to the artists with art.  They’ll do it much better.

  2. Cultural Creatives drive city renewal.
    Think about an urban area.  A broken down factory with smashed windows.  Now picture a 50 foot mural on one of the walls of the factory depicting a mother caring for her children over a red, passionate backdrop.
    Picture a neighborhood full of crime.  Bars on all the windows.  Now imagine a new coffee shop on the corner that employs the homeless and has regular poetry slams every Monday and Wednesday night.
    Artists, if given the right avenue, can change cities for the better.  If they have the gospel as their foundation, then they can change cities for Christ.

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