I wrote to my Grandma first. Lately I've gotten to witness what an amazing woman of God she is. :) Second, I wrote to my worship teacher. She has been a great support to me. Plus, she just had her first baby! (congrats!) Thirdly, I wrote to my art teacher, Mrs. Butt. (yes that's her real name) She's quite the character and has a lovely sense of humor. (I would too if my name were Patricia Butt!) For the sake of order in the class, all her students called her, Mrs. B.
For Mrs. B's letter, I started off just sharing a general overview of what I've done since graduating high school, focusing more on my art accomplishments and growth. Half way through the letter, I told her how I'm the graphic artist at River's Edge Church but how I don't want that position for long. I don't enjoy graphic art as much as I thought I would. I'd rather use my hands to create art, not a computer.
What I wrote in the letter next is what I really want to share with you. As I was writing this, I found myself SO passionate about what I was saying!! So here's what I wrote to Mrs. B:
"I do, however, want to create art to hang in the church. :) I want to be able to minister to people though my art. But I do not want it to be like the traditional Christian art you see today. Lately, I've been exploring and creating abstract art. What I really want is to create art that is creative, excellent, glorifies God and appeals to the saved and unsaved.
"The church used to be the place where everyone would come to because churches had the most beautiful buildings, artwork, music, plays and education. The church used to be copied by the world because what the church did was so beautiful, creative and excellent. But now, the church is either trying to copy the world, or the church creates and produces things that will only appeal to Christians. Yes, there are exceptions, but overall, this is what I have observed.
"Imagine, if once again, people of all backgrounds flooded to the church just to see what we have produced or created. We are sons and daughters of God and His Spirit lives inside of us! The God who created the universe, who formed the earth, who crafted mankind, lives inside of us! We have no excuses to neglect that God-given creativity inside of us. We as Christians should be making the most beautiful, majestic, excellent and creative works or art, not the world!
"So I'm praying and believing that the church I'm helping pioneer, River's Edge Church, will be just like this and that God will use me and what talent He has given me to help start it. Not only start it, but to inspire other artists to do the same. (okay, warning: about to be brutally honest. Realize I mean no damage or harm, I'm just speaking the truth in love) I've been to many churches where the drawers, the painters, the potters, the actors, the dancers, the song writers and many other artists were neglected. They had no place or purpose in the church when it comes to their gift. (I'm talking about overall, cause there were a few exceptions) As I have been asking God what He wants me to do through my artistic ability, I've come to realize that many, many other artists in the church are wondering and asking the same thing.
"So, that's what's been on my heart lately. Haha. Hope you're doing well.
Matthew 25:14-28 tells the story about the three servants that received talents to manage while their Master was away. Two of them doubled the amount given to them. One buried his in the ground where no one could get to it. When the Master returned, He was greatly pleased with the two servants that doubled the amount given to them. The Master, however, was furious with the servant who returned the talent he was given in the same state and the same amount as was originally given to him.Becca"
I know talents back then was a measurement of money and not talent like we use talent normally. But I KNOW that there are Christian artists whose talents are being neglected. For musicians and singers, they have a place to use their talent in the church. But what about all the other artists? I would hate if all those other artists in the church did nothing with their talent and just hid it away. Or if the only place artists felt they could use their talent was outside the church, in the world.
There's a song called, Same Power. The lyrics say, "The Same Power that conquered the grave lives in me." Well, it's also true that the same power that created every natural thing you see and don't see, lives in you as well. "We have the mind of Christ." Which means we have His creative ability.
If you are an artist or you know an artist, realize that ALL of us have a God-given purpose and God-given creativity that can be used inside and outside the church. We as artists need to seek God and ask how we can use our talent to glorify Him and to minister to both Christians and the lost in a beautifully excellent and creative way.
For me, I'm going to create God-inspired art that can be hung in the church. But I'm also going to go out in the community and show my art there as well. Last week I got accepted to show my art in a popular, local bar for an art show. Unfortunately, after I got accepted I didn't feel peace about it because I don't have enough pieces and it's just not the right time. Yet, I know now that my art is good enough for the community to want to show it off. (Who cares if it's in a bar or strip club or where ever!!?? Those people need Jesus!)
I've also prayed and made drawing and paintings that were meant for individuals to minister to them. I know as I do that more, I'll become better and better about ministering, encouraging, loving, and telling the truth in love to people through a picture instead of words.
If the pastor at your church isn't open to having different forms of art used to minister to people, then pray for God to help him become aware of the artists in the church and be patient. As you wait, you can still minister to people one on one through your talent.
If you know an artist in the church, I encourage you to share with them the heart of this message and let them know that God sees them and their gift and He wants to USE them. They have a place in the body of Christ! Gifts, talents and all!
Love you all! Thanks for letting me share my heart.