[dc]I[/dc] recently received a thought-provoking email from a visual artist named Jen White about the mission of the Church, church leadership, spiritual maturity, and the role of artists in the Church. She asked questions all artists who are followers of Christ need to be asking. I simply can’t think of an more important task of thinking critically about how we, as Christians and artists, integrate our art, life and faith.
Last year, Jen sensed God leading her to do a series of paintings on the Church. Her curiousity and reflections reminded me of many of the conversations I’ve had with artists the past eight years in our ministry, The Grove Center for the Arts and Media. Jen asked me to respond directly to her questions and I suggested we post them here to get a dialogue going on these important issues. To quote, Jen said, “The series started with 2 questions I asked myself: What is the mission of the church? How effective are we at achieving that mission? My simple answer is this: To glorify God and make disciples. We are to love God, love people and serve both. We are to advance His Kingdom. Would you agree or is there something else?”
- How do we measure the success or effectiveness of the church?
- What does an effective, healthy church look like?
- Are we too attractional/consumer minded? Is that bad?
- Are some churches a “mile wide, but an inch deep” spiritually speaking?
- Who is responsible for the spiritual maturity of a church family? The leaders? The individuals?
- What does it look like to be the Church?
Lots of great questions. For further reading, I’d like to recommend For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Church by David Taylor. It is a collection of essays by a number of wonderful artists and thinkers: Barbara Nicolosi, Jeremy Begbie, Eugene Peterson, Andy Crouch, Lauren Winner and others.
What are your thoughts about the mission of the Church and our role/response as artists? I’d love your comments, questions, and feedback.
(Note: I reserve the right to delete any defamatory or inflammatory comments. My purpose here is to provide a forum for learning, sharpening, encouraging and building one another up as the Body of Christ.)