As church leaders, if we want to identify and empower artists in our local churches, we have to start valuing the artists more than we value the art that they create.
Here at The Austin Stone we highly value storytelling. However, we value even more the hearts and souls of our artists. We want to pastor and lead them well. We want them to fully embrace the truth that their identity is in Christ alone and not in being an artist or in the art they create. We want artists to recognize that we are only able to create by the grace of God. The skills that we have, the creativity that we possess, all come from God and nothing else.
We have to value our artists over the stories that they tell. We have to be intentional in caring for the hearts and souls of our storytellers. It takes a leadership team of shepherds in order to have a healthy and flourishing artist community. It takes a healthy and flourishing artist community to create compelling stories.
When you value the artists in your church, and show them that you care about their souls more than you care about what they can create for you, that’s when you will see more artists rising up to want to serve the church with the gifts that they’ve been given. That’s when you begin to see a tribe of storytellers assemble and follow you where you want to take them.
For years, the church really hasn’t had a place where artists can serve using their gifts. Unless you play music or lead worship, there really isn’t a place in the church for them. Many artists in churches around the country find themselves serving in areas of the church that don’t really engage them to their fullest creative potential.
And we wonder why the church isn’t known for great art. It’s because there isn’t a place for artists to create it. Since there isn’t a place in the church for creative artists to serve, they’ve gone elsewhere and they’ve taken their art with them.
It all comes down to a stewardship issue.
We have to steward the creative talent that’s been given to us as a church with the utmost care. We have to create an environment of creativity in the church that allows for artists to step up, get involved, and use their God-given gifts to make a kingdom impact. We have to have a culture of shepherding that cares for the souls of the artists.
Artists are people with vision. They have dreams, ideas, projects and stories that they want to work on and create. They want to see change happen. They dream of ways that their art can make a difference. It’s a beautiful thing, and we champion the projects of our artists!
At The Austin Stone we take that one step further. We want to give artists in our church a vision that is bigger than their own portfolios. We want to give them a kingdom vision. We want to show them that they can serve the church with their art, with their storytelling, and make a difference. We want to show them that the art that they create is respected. We want to show them that they themselves are valued.
When we begin to value our artists more than the art that they create, we will begin to see more and more artists step up to serve the church. We will begin to see more artists fully engaged. Artists are more engaged when they can serve their King with the artistic gifts he’s given them. Artists are more fulfilled when they can fully step into their role as created beings who have the ability and desire to create beautiful art that reflects their ultimate Creator.
Let’s be leaders who empower the artists in our churches, and value them for who they are, and not what they can do for us.
Feature image by Christian Rudman