Practical Steps for Working with Artists in the Church

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We want to bring clarity, charity, and a theological driven-ness to the everyday ministry of the local church. This is why we provide “How-To” guides (like the one below) from experienced (and current) practitioners. 

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“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant
for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.”
- Isaiah 42:6-8

Dear Church Leader,

Jesus gave sight to the blind. My favorite sight-to-the-blind story is in John 9 where Jesus declares himself to be the light of the world, then spits on the ground to make mud, and rubs that mud on the eyes of a blind man. When the blind man washes his eyes, he can see! I love that so much. Don’t you? Can you imagine being blind from birth and then — all of a sudden after meeting a man and a mud pie — being able to see?

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Jesus is still opening the eyes of the blind. That’s good news, because all of us are still partially blind. Our eyes remain grimy. We still need some of the mud washed out. As Jesus opens our eyes to reality, we follow in his work: offering sight to the blind. Only God can give sight, but he uses the church — including artists — in the process.

My prayer is this — that church leaders and artists would work together as one body, helping us to see God’s world more fully: in both seen and unseen realities. Artists play a critical role in this, engaging our imaginations and opening our eyes to new ways of seeing. Sadly, many artists — and many members of our churches — neglect their gifts and don’t recognize the importance of their work. Neither the church nor the world has told artists that their art could be an agent of giving sight to the blind or freeing the captives. Church leaders can invite artists to participate in this mission by giving them a vision for creative work that honors God and benefits people.

I’m writing this in hopes that you — as a church leader — will be better equipped to work with artists. Though I’ve read a lot of books about arts and the church, most of what I’ve learned has come through experience. I’m sure the same will be true for you. In sharing from my experience, I hope this book will encourage you to take your next step ... Begin working with a particular artist to fill a particular blank space and restore a little corner of the world to reflect God’s original creation. Open some blind eyes to the beauty and wonder of God and his world.

Peace be with you,
Michael Winters

michael winters