We’ve all heard that two heads are better than one, right? But art is a lonely profession. Any kind of art. Any medium. You (the artist) alone can think it, visualize it, plan it, create it. Often, having others around impedes the process. It’s all up to you, and only you. Once the work is completed, then what? Sometimes, it seems like an uphill battle.
If you want to use your work as a ministry, it’s even worse. There’s no place for you! Unless you are involved in music ministry, most churches have no programs for mentoring or developing other types of artists who have been given a gift other than music. It’s not that music isn’t extremely important — it is! And it’s a powerful worship tool. But, so are many other kinds of art: painting and sculpture, writing and poetry, fiber art, metal work, and so many others. Of course, I am involved personally with the painting, writing and poetry aspects. I know there must be others like me who sit in church Sunday after Sunday, listening to the soaring music, and leave feeling frustrated because they have been given a precious gift, and want to use it for the Lord as a ministry, but don’t know how.
If we look back over the centuries, It is evident that many of the arts played important functions in advancing not only religion, but civilization as a whole. Before there was even written language, there was art. Cave art, wall art, carving. After the written word came about, but before most of the population could read, paintings told stories on walls, ceilings, and large panels. Sculptures of familiar or symbolic figures adorned courtyards and buildings. Tapestries which told stories in woven art of historic and religious incidents, were hung as wall coverings or from ceiling rafters. All captured the moments of important events and told those stories without the viewer having to read anything. As populations became more educated and more people learned how to read and write, the Bible was translated, printed, and became the most used educational tool of all time. These skilled artists used their precious gifts as powerful teaching ministries. Where would we be without art and writing, in addition to music?
I thought at first it was just me, but after I joined an online Christian mentoring group made up of artists from all over the country, I heard comments to the contrary. Seems this is not an isolated problem unique only to me! I began to feel normal! But I also began to think about how to break the loneliness of the creating artists, how to help them turn their gifts into ministries, and how to make it all happen! The answer? Group think!
I’m thinking about putting together a group of people who have skills and gifts other than music, (but music people won’t be left out) to help those of us develop our gifts into a ministry. I’d want to work with all the area churches, not just my church. Most churches don’t have enough artists and artisans to form a group! Maybe twice a year we could find an appropriate venue to host an area-wide art show for our members, complete with sponsors, hosting a patrons-only preview gala the evening before the “official” show opens to the general public. Every artist would have a venue to showcase his or her work, and a voice to get the message out there of what they are each tying to do. We could brainstorm during periodic meetings in the interim for better ideas and to support one another. It would be live. Not online. Not alone. Not cold typing on a keyboard and looking at someone’s photo. Flesh and blood exchanging ideas and forming friendships through the mutual bond of creativity. Many heads together are even better than two! Group think!