Why the Church Needs Art

The Church needs art. We don’t need more watered down ideas of what art might be or how it manifests itself, but real art. We need creations and masterpieces that reflect the beautiful yet mysterious facets of the God we serve. We especially need artists willing to tackle the aspects of ourselves and the Lord that make us uncomfortable. And all of this must be done without boldly proclaiming this to be a ‘Christian’ work of art. It must be able to stand on its own, a reflection of the artist, the journey, and the Creator who inspired it.

Scripture says that we, as artists, have been gifted with a portion of the Holy Spirit to create for glory and beauty. He has set in us a desire to be creative. Whether it is dancing, writing, craftsmanship, singing, painting, etc. that passion, the need to create is in us through the Almighty One Himself.

However, the process of creation is at times messy, joyous and incredibly painful. For many people, this is less than ideal. Pain and perseverance can be burdensome. Then comes that moment when an idea ignites out of nowhere. Instantly you are aware that it is vastly different than anything you’ve ever known before.

So you begin to develop this design or thought, attempting to bring it to fruition. The beginning is exciting because there is so much unknown about this fledgling spark living inside you. There are times it takes you to strange places, makes you feel sensations you’ve never experienced. At other moments, it sits so heavy on you that sleep is impossible. There are days when it is so still you’re certain it will never see fruition. Sometimes it is when the idea is dormant that secret shaping is taking place. Then one day – perhaps after months, days, hours, seconds of pushing and prodding, sweating and researching, you know the inspiration inside you is ready. That which you have been enduring is ready to be born.

Within this lies the beauty of the mystery.

Often it is in those final moments that the process is hardest, and it is finished. A physical representation of sweat, tears, joy, pain & passion is before you. As an artist, you have been made better, stronger, yet paradoxically weaker by its existence. And through this exercise you, too, have become an image bearer of Someone greater, shaped by the very hand of the Lord.

My prayer is as disciples we would see our art in this way. It is, in part, an act self-expression because of the unique individuals we are. More importantly, though, our art should be done as a law of love, worship, and obedience to Jesus, who has created us.

The other side is that we must be able to see beyond ourselves to the hurting, crippled world around us. Even more than what we can create, our generation is desperate for illustrations of persistence. They want to see a genuine, human picture of commitment and perseverance no matter the circumstance. This world is in dire need of people who push through the pain and do not shrink from loving and sacrificial giving. There is something precious about witnessing tangible surrender and calling in another person because it is rare. These two elements together are the heart of true art and of the Christian walk itself.

As artists, we have the distinct opportunity and challenge of setting a standard in purpose and calling. We are only able to do that when we are obedient to use the abilities placed in us by the hand of our Father. People in our lives need gifted artists, passionately committed to excellence.

The question is; are we willing to answer the call?

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