Thursday, April 03, 2008

Arts in the Church

What makes a successful artist? Watch this short video...


rhon said...

"So, as a pastor for twelve years of artists I've asked myself this question: what makes for a successful artist?"

His answer: Me, the pastor.

In his given scenario, I guess he’s right. Sad but right.

In the brick-wall church in the USA today, the pastor is the gatekeeper to every member being successful. He or she is the one that determines what level of success there will be in his or her congregation. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this?

The CHURCH is the BODY OF CHRIST, not the members of a building that meets on 123 Main Street. The perpetuation of the idea that the pastor allows or disallows for a given membership is wrong and has created a passive CHURCH. We are all priests.

Was he trying to explain how a CHRISTIAN artist becomes successful? How is that different than how a non-Christian artist is successful?

Successful artist = Be fruitful and influential

No difference there.

What does the artist need to be fruitful and influential:
1. spirit (we are all created in the image of God)
2. community
3. artists guild
4. money & management

None of this differentiates a Christian artist from a non-Christian, which I think is very interesting and very true.

Ah, but wait. With “Christian” comes a whole set of man made structures that the non-Christian doesn’t have to deal with. The difference is that the local church, which is controlled by a pastor, deacons, elders, and the rich family who paid for the piano, confines and subjugates the Christian artist.

And we wonder what happened to the arts in the Christiandom.

Erin said...

Unfortunately, when church leadership views themselves as gatekeepers, the tendency is to move toward exclusivity in which only the like-minded members are allowed a chunk of budget, the church calendar and a room-request form. The directive to "keep out the bad, let in the good" is, in large part, subjective to the opinion of the gatekeeper. While protecting the flock is one of the roles of a shepherd, in American churches it can look more like a management technique than pastoring. Micromanaging.

Is this man speaking to a roomful of pastors who are already operating in the traditional church system? He seems to take it at face value that pastors wear the pants in the church.
The way we have, in America, traditionally structured our churches, the congregation usually waits for a signal from the leadership that this-or-that is an acceptable practice to interface with God and the world. But not until he/she/they give the green light.

I certainly welcome the support and encouragement for the arts from pastors and church leadership. But if they don't support my creative nature, does that make me an unsuccessful artist? No, just an unsupported successful artist.

Because I don't define my success by whether or not my work is being bought or sold, or even viewed by anyone but me and God, I'd rewrite his four requirements for fruitfulness and influence.

Any Christian needs:
- spiritual formation (constant source of godly input in my life)
- differently gifted believers (to balance my perspective and challenge me)
- similarly gifted believers (to spur me on and fellowship)
- support and shepherding (offering encouragement and admonishment/correction when I err)

Every Christian needs that, artistic or otherwise.

Rhonda, I agree with your four points for all artists too. Funny how those four points can change names depending on where we stand on this landscape and look at it. :)

I agree that there is an overwhelming media influence in our society.
I have more thoughts... for another day.