As a Christian visual artist, one of my favourite activities to be called upon to do is to create an inspirational painting before a live audience. Whether it’s a church worship service setting or a formal fundraising banquet where the painting will be auctioned off when complete, I have to find a balance between getting lost in the creative worship process, and being aware of the eyes on my back. If you use any creative arts in worship, you can so easily get absorbed in your art that you forget those around you. Here are some of my down-to-earth ideas to help you art be as effective for the Kingdom of God as it can be.
The. Most. Important. Thing. is to bring others into the kingdom of God. To do this, we must create an environment where newcomers and seekers will feel comfortable and welcome.
Eliminate distractions, so that the people you are leading in worship can stay focused on God. This may mean dressing your dance team in longer skirts. Remember common sense.
Create excellent work. not to impress and bring attention to ourselves, but because we represent Jesus Christ, and we are made in God’s image, so to honour Him we should strive towards excellence in all we do.
Interpreting/explaining your artwork to your audience won’t spoil the art or diminish its impact, it will only enhance it. Most people appreciate all the hard work and stunning beauty of a ballet performance, but most will not be able to interpret your movements as the Parable of the Lost Sheep without some help. If the viewer also found Psalm 139 in there but you didn’t intend that, be glad: the Holy Spirit is using your art to speak to someone, even without your help.
People are impressed by technique, there’s no doubt. But people will be interested more in the WHY you did what you did, rather than HOW.
Use the best technology, and tools that we can access. We are so blessed to live in the age that we do, and can use all sorts of creative multimedia to package the salvation message in ways that viewers/participants will remember and be impacted by.
The other most important thing is to have and nurture your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You can’t output and produce all the time without putting gas in your tank. Prayer is crucial. Eat up the word, whether you read it or listen to it. If you are sharing your creative worship with others, they need to see that you are for real, that you have the Authority behind you, and they will sense that there is really some substance to what you are saying/dancing/painting/singing. Your congregation/audience will know if you have an honest love for them, and a caring for their needs and where they are at. They will sense if you are just putting on a show, or if you are crying out for attention. Check and double check your motives.