Does art matter in the church?

June 24, 2021

I’m not sure about the local church in your community, but in mine, the topic of the arts is not necessarily a popular one. It doesn’t really feel needed in the church, does it? I mean, we’re all getting by just fine without it, aren’t we? 

I sat with God a few years ago wrestling this one out. I remember asking, over and over again, why on earth would He give me such a passion for creativity within the church? Surely, there are more important things to discuss. I lay on my couch and asked God outright, “Why? Why does this even matter?” And like an anvil dropping in my heart, I heard the answer as clear as day: 

“Because My children are believing a lie.”

There it is. What is the very first thing we get to know about God’s character? About who He is? You don’t have to look too far to find out, in fact, it’s right at the beginning.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created…”

Since God created, then He is creative. You don’t have to read much further to see that He then thought it was a brilliant plan to make us in His image. We are image-bearers, we are to reflect the nature and character of God, which means that the issue of embracing creativity isn’t just a matter of what hobbies you enjoy, but it’s a fundamental identity issue. When we deny a part of who we are in Christ and embrace a lie, it means there’s an area of our life that is not under the governance of the Holy Spirit.

Creativity is not just a matter of pencils and paints; it is so much bigger than that. We have created it to be this one thing, and even in that one thing, we have narrowed it so much, because somewhere in the world someone decided what is “art” and what is not.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we are all called to be professional artists and that that is the divine will of God. Nor am I saying that everyone should even enjoy drawing or painting, purely because it’s so much more than that. What I do want to say here is that it is a door. It’s a door that we all have access to. Not all of us are called to be prophetic artists in the church, painting on stage or to even be artists in the marketplace, selling work for thousands of dollars, but we all are able to take this into the inner room and connect with God in a unique way.

We need to get out from under the lie that says, “this isn’t for you”!

Art is a powerful means of communion with God. It is as simple as putting on your favourite song and just doodling away. Artmaking itself bypasses the speech/language barrier in the brain, becoming a means of communicating without ever needing to use words. I have seen scribbles, literal scribbles, become a means for God to speak to people. Through the act of creating, we unlock our hearts and as a result, unlock ourselves to hearing His voice.

Works of art are also tangible memorials of what God is saying and doing within a community or for a specific person. When we look at it, it brings His truth to the forefront of our minds, again and again, shifting the atmosphere of where they are placed. These memorials are so important to guide the body of Christ and keep us on track. 

So, is art needed in the church? Most definitely! A physical platform in church is great, and blesses a whole congregation at a time, but if it only lives there, you’re still missing out. Creativity is equally, if not more important for the inner room. The quiet sanctuary where it’s just you and God. 

Next time you feel a little stuck and really just want to connect with God, grab a notebook and something to scribble or paint with (watercolours are a great user-friendly medium) and just start putting paint on paper. Make splashes, draw shapes, create patterns, whatever you want! There is not an elite club that gets to flow in prophetic art-making. Also remember that creativity looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s not painting or drawing for you, but it’s writing or cooking, baking or crocheting… whatever your expression, God can use it. 

It’s time for the body of Christ to own their complete identity. To confidently embrace every aspect of who God made them to be and not feel disqualified because of how narrow the world has made artistry to be. 

God only ever needed a pair of hands and a willing heart. If you have those, you are more than able and absolutely qualified.

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