Cooperation in ministry is essential if we care to position ourselves before the Lord in such a way where He might choose to use us to impact our communities, our region, or our nation for Christ.
The Christian Arts community is often clearly confused about what ministry IS. I’m clearly convinced of it! Not that other parts of the Christian community aren’t confused—they are. But Christians out of music and arts backgrounds oftentimes certainly face confusion when it comes to ministry. Let me see if I can help clear up some of that confusion by simply asking a few questions, then answering them biblically.
Do not see artistic expression as "secular." Don’t consider artistic expression as "worldly." As God created them they are reflections of His image in us; and in fact, it is our duty to dedicate them—all our imaginative expressions and efforts—to His glory and for His purposes . . . of reflecting His truth, and beauty, and reconciliation in Jesus!! (1 Cor. 10:31)
Most Christians have some sense that artistic methods, and artists themselves, could be and should be powerful sources of evangelistic efforts. But most artists and musicians will confirm that they feel most conventionally trained and serving church leadership doesn’t have the foggiest idea or vision of how to envision artists to be used; nor even possess the simple conviction to give artists and musicians permission to come up with ideas on how to engage the community around them for the sake of the Gospel. In fact, often musicians and artists will tell you that they feel that church leadership doesn’t really trust that they will get the “content” of the Gospel right, or communicate it well.
Worship and evangelism are central to the Christian faith, but worshiping God is much more than attending church on Sunday, just as evangelism is much more than saying religious words to an unbeliever. As artists, our missionary strategy needs to employ every available means of communication—speaking, listening, playing music, storytelling, using parables and proverbs, dancing, drama, visual arts—as we seek to make men, women, and children worshipers of God.
This article assumes the LORD is doing something new in the hearts of Church leaders: giving some a new desire to gather artistic Kingdom servants into their congregations, and disciple them for His service; especially for the service of facilitating innovative gathered worship. So, this paper looks to offer church leaders six principles that, if followed, will GATHER artistic worship leaders into their congregations, and accelerate releasing them into His service of worship.
It is important for those who are discipling worship leaders to realize that those being discipled should evidence the character of Christ in their daily walk. It is seen in how the artist interacts with others, develops relationships, and partners with other musicians in genuine ministry. In fact, demonstrating the character of Christ is the ultimate goal of discipleship; and the ultimate indicator of whether or not discipleship has truly happened.
Discipling is the process of intentionally investing your life in the lives of others on God’s behalf. This definition specifically comes out of two key NT passages related to the term disciple, one spoken by Jesus and the other written by the apostle Paul. In Matthew 28:18–20, . . . Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Artistic expression, as observed in the biblical record, is essential to life and Christian ministry—especially the worship ministries of the Church. This is because Artistic expression is the essential context wherein humans touch the transcendent realities of life in general, and most importantly, with God. Artistic and “imaginative” expressions—the metaphors, symbols, expressions, rituals, memorials, ceremonies, liturgies—form the amniotic fluid in which life and community grow and mature.
A striking feature of how the arts occur in our society is that there is among us a cultural elite, and that from the totality of works of art to be found in our society a vast number are used (in the way intended by artist or distributor) almost exclusively by the members of that elite. I shall call those works our society’s works of high art. The works of Beethoven, or Matisse, or Piero della Francesca, are examples. Correspondingly , our society’s institution of high art consists of the characteristic arrangements and patterns of action pertaining to the production, distribution , and use in our society of those works of art.