Posts tagged ‘Evangelism’

July 5, 2012

Evangelism, Artists and Art

In order to make disciples, we must first see individuals come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and cultivate personal relationships with Him. Jesus told His followers to go and teach all nations what He had commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). As we know, the Great Commission is Jesus’ will for His church.  Although edification and discipleship are specific to equipping believers, teaching Jesus’ commands also involves reaching unbelievers with the good news about Him!  Evangelism particularly requires going – getting out of our comfort zone and meeting people where they are at.

***

 What is the good news of Jesus Christ?

God created humans as whole beings, designed to be in fellowship with Him. That fellowship was lost for all human beings when Adam and Eve disobeyed God (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12). Since then, all human beings are born into this separation from God – unwhole, with a void in our souls. God desires to restore His relationship with human beings, but because He is Holy (completely perfect, nothing deficient or lacking), He cannot tolerate sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Since He is also Just, He requires a payment for sin. In the Old Testament, this payment was made through the sacrifices of animals, but these sacrifices had to be made again and again (Hebrews 10:1). The good news is that God then prepared a way for us to know Him through His Holy Son Jesus Christ who meets the requirements of the law for sin payment. Jesus bore the sin and separation from God on our behalf through His death, burial and resurrection so we can have personal relationships with God. Jesus is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin, you will be saved from a lost eternity (that’s forever, folks) separated from God (Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, John 3:16). When you believe, God begins His work of transforming you into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29) and making you a whole person, while enjoying restored fellowship with Him.

***

 

This is an artist’s depiction of Jesus dying on a cross.  I think it is a beautiful image, capturing the moment when Jesus took my sin and separation from God so that I could have a personal relationship with Him. This image relays a part of the good news to me.

Let’s say I’ve never heard the gospel message before. I have no idea who Jesus is or what He has done. Is this image going to bear the same significance for me? Absolutely not.

You see, God has chosen to use believers with their spiritual gifts and God-given talents to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. That’s not to say art and conversations about art can’t be used by believers or that it won’t touch somebody, it’s just that we must take tremendous care not to put art in the position of ministry.  Believers minister and evangelize, the arts do not.

***

The question I come upon in my mind is this: If the arts in and of themselves do not minister, in what context and to what extent should the arts be used in a local church’s evangelism?

And I’m sorry if it seems like I’m belaboring a point here, but we have to review some of the principles mentioned in earlier articles to answer this question.

1. Christ is Supreme. The universal church and local gatherings of believers are His. When art is used in any church, it’s primary purpose must be to glorify and draw attention to Him.

2. Discipleship is necessary. When the arts are used in the church, they must foster communities of artists who edify each other and the local body.

3. Art should be pursued in excellence and integrity. In the local church, this means the arts must be morally good, artistically good, and reject secular forms.

4. Evangelism includes going. Evangelistic art by local church artists must not be restricted to the local church building. 

In an evangelistic context, the arts in the local church should clearly display the good news of Jesus Christ.  In creating evangelistic art, it is helpful to work together to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ – having a common purpose fosters strong relationships.  Evangelistc art that is excellent and created in integrity should be Holy Spirit-prompted and will be used by the Him to touch people’s hearts. Local churches should have teams of artists going out and being involved in community arts districts and events.

***

Well, here we are.  At the end of “The Arts and the Local Church” series. As with the topic of excellence, we will revisit this series in the future as more topics arise.

To recap: Local churches should be community leaders in honoring Christ, discipling believers, and reaching unbelievers with the good news of Jesus Christ and in many instances they are.  The arts are areas where many local churches are not leading the way.

Dear believing artists, I leave you with a challenge to glorify Christ in your art and make Him known. I challenge you to instruct and disciple other believers in the arts – show them how to make Christ known through art and how to use art and conversations about art as evangelistic tools. I challenge you to be reaching unbelievers (artists and non-artists alike) using your God-given artistic talents.

Dear local church leaders, I challenge you to raise up artists surrendered to the Lordship of Christ – who seek Him first above all else.  I challenge you to raise up leading artists who are committed to teaching others about the arts, and more specifically, teaching others how to praise God and make Him known in the arts they produce. I challenge you to have a presence in your local art community (everybody has one, you generally just have to find it): send artists out to participate in community art events and classes.

Let’s make a difference in the arts for Jesus Christ as communities of Jesus’ followers! Starting now…

***

Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, Film. She is passionate about reaching and equipping artists for Jesus Christ.

Advertisements