In my last post on this topic, I wrote about the need for the Church to utilize the gifts of all people. There are individuals whose primary giftings are in the area of artistic expression and creativity, and their gifts were given by God to be used for the good of the Church.
So how are these gifts to be used in the church, and why are they important?
In our utilitarian culture, it can seem like the arts are unnecessary. However, they are actually essential to the Church’s mission.
The Church needs the Arts because they are invaluable tools of communication.
The Church is meant to communicate. It communicates hope. It communicates joy. It communicates redemption.
And artists are master communicators.
The Church has lost its value for the Arts because it has forgotten what a powerful tool of communication they are.
The Arts engage the emotions and senses in a way other forms of communication cannot.
When we view a painting or read a poem, they affect us in a way that surpasses our intellect. They penetrate to the heart, stirring our emotions.
Art is captivating. It is consuming.
A song, a poem, a painting, or an animated video can take Truth and grip our hearts with it in a way that truly transforms us.
To be changed by these creative expressions is at the core of what it means to be human.
We are humans. And humans create and consume art.
But why did the Lord create us this way? Why were we made to make?
Our creativity allows us to interact with a creative God in an intimate way.
God created our imaginations for our enjoyment of Him.
The sense of wonder you experience when enjoying a song, a movie, a painting, or poem is a glimpse into the glory of God. God meant life to be full of beauty and wonder that thrills our hearts. This ignites worship within us.
Christians hundreds of years ago understood this. In the history of the Church, many believers were illiterate. Because people couldn’t read the scriptures themselves, the stories of the Gospels were painted in frescoes, tiled into mosaics, and stained on glass. Massive cathedrals were erected as an illustration of the overwhelming power and beauty of God.
Church leaders knew the God-glorifying power of the Arts.
These believers of centuries past understood the character and nature of God primarily through the Arts. In our now comparatively literate culture, we have quick access to the revelation of God through the Bible. While this is a wonderful development, it has caused us to neglect the Arts as powerful communication tools.
But a church that pursues creativity is a church where reverent awe at the glory of God fills its members. It is a church where worship is not just an event in the service, but it lives in the very hearts of God’s people.