I learned how to draw in church. Not exclusively, but every week I looked at the member/visitor cards in the back of pews as my own blank canvases and the little golf pencils were my brushes. Every sermon was a chance to draw. From tanks and planes, to caricatures of old people and abstract patterns, I loved to draw in church.
I still do.
Over the past two Sundays I was asked to paint during the sermon at New Vintage Church. Our creative team felt like it would be a good addition to the sermon series, and after discussing a few themes we landed on a solid idea. I could barely contain my excitement. Painting live in front of a congregation on Easter Sunday is a huge rush of both adrenaline and humility. More than anything, it was a blessing to be able to worship God through art.
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.’
We get an understanding of the creative aspect of God from the very beginning of the bible. God is THE creator, and if we profess to be made in His image as the scriptures proclaim, then we have a call to unleash our inner creativity as well. This obviously applies to more than instances of simply putting brush to canvas, but a spirit of creativity that underlies all of our worship. We were designed to utilize the gifts that God gave us as an offering back to Him.
If the church is the means by which we are called to gather our talents in worship, then the question for me becomes; What are we doing to foster art in the Church?
There is part of me that gets so excited about doing a live painting. I love when the church embraces beauty and creativity. I pray that it opens the door for others to see the church as a place that embraces their creativity as worship as well. I pray that it motivates others to put pen to paper, or brush to canvas in the name of God. There are much more talented artists out there who have phenomenal gifts when it comes to art.
But there is another part of my heart that is filled with sorrow with how little art I see in churches as a whole. I’ve been a part of churches where the call was to ‘use your talents for God’ and have always walked away asking the question, “How?” How many open spots do we have for art in the Church?
So my prayer is this:
That we embrace the creative spirit of our God.
We develop, nurture, grow and utilize our creativity in worship.
Children will grow up with a desire to worship God through art.
Sleeping souls will be alive with creativity.
The Church will be a beacon of light to the world through beauty and creative expression.
That through the experience of creating we may draw closer to God.
One love, One heart.
The painting above is by Joshua Dildine, one of my favorite current painters, and a friend who has a great understanding of art as worship. Please check out his website for more of his great work. Below are a couple of pics my piece, painted over two services: