I am blessed to attend a church that has a creative team, which I am a part of. My church, Bethel, allows people to perform spoken words, dance, rap, acting, etc. I love all the creative elements that my church uses! I am aware though that some churches aren’t like that, which is heartbreaking. The Church used to fund and create beautiful art. A few summers ago, I got to go to the Vatican. I remember staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, completely in awe of the masterpieces that were painted above my head. Breath-taking. The Church was once the leader, the workshop, the funder and the encourager for the greatest art. WAS. Past Tense. In my opinion, there is a lack of great art being executed in the Christian community. This should not be so! Our God is a creative God! He created the entire Earth, everything we see! Christianity and great art should be synonymous because we have the Creative Creator, the artist of everything we see, residing in us! However, we keep settling. Relevant Magazine wrote an article called 5 Ways the Church Can Make Great Art Again. It’s cited at the end of this, and I encourage you to check it out. The article state:
“Where are we today? Worship music that sounds like a bad U2 cover band—or if we’re really hip, a bad Mumford & Sons cover band. Many churches are no longer seeking to create unique encounters with God. Instead, we’re often settling for following a successful model from a book or personality.”
If we are not “of this world” then why does it seem as if we are always trying to copy this world? We use the world’s culture as our model and put our own Christian spin on it! It becomes a cliché and a genre of its own. I have had my own Christian friends refuse to watch Christian movies. Their views sounded a lot like this one:
“Christian art was too simplistic, too willfully ignorant of the world’s suffering. It was too eager for happy endings and warm sentiment, too ready to resolve any conflict with a Bible verse and a Sinner’s Prayer. Christian art was clichéd and airbrushed, afraid to show sin in all its distressing aesthetic glory. It was black and white. It was intolerant. It was ethnocentric. It was one-dimensional. It was cheesy. It was prone to misguided attempts at being vaguely “edgy.” It was childish. It was boring. And, above all, a lot of it was just plain stupid”.
Now obviously this is not ALL Christian art. However, this description, though rather harsh, seems to describe a vast majority. We seem to forget that historical Christian art was far from pretty and glossy. Historical Christian art displayed bloody scenes, crosses and naked people. It was real. It was bold. We can’t sugarcoat everything. Christian films show Christians working through hardships, but everything is sugary and nice by the end. We don’t display the harsh realities of shame, of guilt, of temptation and sin. Christian art sometimes avoids the harsh realities of the world. We need real art. We need raw art, and Christians should be leading that movement.
“If the Church is going to reach the current generation and those to come, it must engage culture with more than cover bands and cults of personality.”
Art is a connection to the Creator. It enables us to worship and bring glory to Him with the talents he gave us. By not making great art, Christianity is not a leader but a follower.
So what can you do?
Try new things. Paint, dance, sing, act, rap…..there are endless ways to be creative. Find out what being creative means for you and carve out time to do it. We serve a creative God!
Integrate Art into your Church
Be the change! Your church could start a drama team, sponsor a poetry jam, writing contests, or start an artist’s group. It is important to have a church environment where the arts are appreciated and encouraged.
Do Your Own Thing
So what if your song doesn’t sound like the generic Christian songs! Dare to be different! Christians will never lead the new generation if we just follow the mainstream world and Christianize it. Do not be scared to do something different, to push the norm of art. Use your talents He gave you to glorify Him. Essentially, that is all that really matters.
New art. Bold art. If we are to be a leader we must lead. Simple. By leading the change we are honoring the God-given gift of creativity that dwells inside of us.
Gutierrez, David. “5 Ways the Church Can Make Great Art Again.”RELEVANT Magazine. 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.
Huckabee, Tyler. “Hate the Christian Art … Love the Artist?” RELEVANT Magazine. 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.