arts and mission

April 23, 2010

Yesterday, we had one of the most engaging PlantR meetings I have been a part of. A panel of three artists led us through a dialogue of the merging of mission and the arts.

Churches don’t do artistic expression well, at least not in my lifetime, or for most of the last century. There are exceptions, sure. But often, pastors see artists as opportunities to illustrate and enhance their sermon, which is still seen as the center of their worship services. There has been little thought given to how artists can explore their art outside of the church service, for the sake of the art itself, as a direct or indirect expression of Gospel.

I sat in a unique position yesterday, as a pastor who comes from a more creative/artistic mindset than the Type A pragmatist that many pastors and church planters are characterized as. There was often language of us and them utilized, as people see pastors and artists as very different. This. is. a. problem.

Pastors have much to learn from artists. Very much. The church no longer sits at the center of culture, but on the fringe. A place where artists have found themselves for sometime. It is domain of the prophet, and dare I say, the fool. (Not that daring really, I’ve said something like this before.) The more we recognize our new domain, and that is happening, the more I pray we see and understand that the arts aren’t simply a way to make a worship service more interesting. The role of the pastor, the role of the church, is now that of the artist, the prophet, the fool, standing outside of the norm, and showing how insane it is.

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