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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

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The Challenges and Opportunities of a Christian Artist

Maddie King
Writer for Engage

If you are an artist, you love art. Whether you sketch, paint, take pictures or write, you are an artist who loves what you can do. You are also a Christian. You love God, worship, and fellowship. And when someone asks you to create a Christian mural or something in your artistic field, you are all for it. However, you may find that this can be challenging.

The person asking you to create might have a different vision for the project than you do. It may be a great idea but it is not your style, in a way. Worse, many times the things they want are a little cheesy. Like a four-cheese grilled cheese type of cheesy. You try to suggest some things to make it less so, but sadly, people want what they want.

This is just one example of the many challenges you as a Christian artist will face in your creative work. I would like to give you some ideas or thoughts on how to serve others with your art. I will try to cover most art forms, but there are so many and I only have so much space. So if I skip your artistic ability, I am really sorry. That does not mean you are any less important. Remember, limited space, and I have a bad memory.

For the sketcher or painter

The term “artist” is usually associated with this form. So you guys got it big. Being able to do what you all can do is something so many wish for. From each brush stroke to pencil line, the skills you have are amazing. But showing people what you are capable of can be hard sometimes. So try to get your work out there for people to see. People will begin to look at you as a professional in your field.

I am just going to tell you now if people know you like to sketch, they will give you stuff to draw or paint that you usually would not. If people see what you are into, they will tend to give you projects to do along those lines. Or hopefully, they will let you add to their original idea. This does not happen a lot, but maybe they will be the exception.           

For the photographer

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. What you photographers can capture is astonishing. A photographer who has honed his or her skills over the years can take such good photos it is almost as if you can feel the emotion rolling off of them.

There are so many ways you can use your gift for the gospel. Through photography, we are able to see what is going on around the world without actually being there ourselves. You are able to capture a whole new world just with your camera. A good way to advertise your abilities is by taking a few photos around your local area. This is a good way to show your talent to the public.

Once you have mastered the small stuff, you can move on to the “big picture”: getting the messages you want to portray out there. You guys are able to impact people to the core with the images you capture. Once people see what you are capable of, you will have a lot of opportunities, whether working on Christian projects or otherwise.. Your photos are God’s gift to the world through you, so do not let anything hold you back.           

For the writer

Writers, my people, you have so much to look forward to in your creative life. Whether it is through poetry, stories, or even articles, writers have great potential to reach others with their work. We are the ones who are able to help people visualize something without actually having to see it. The written word is also a way to journey from the known reality to another one of our own making, which can, in turn, offer a new and helpful perspective on real life. If there were no writers, we would not know history, how to solve problems, or even be able to learn from past failures.

There are many ways to use your gift for God's work. You could write devotions for you and your friends, write poems with a scriptural structure, and even write lyrics for a worship song, just to name a few.

You also have to think about how if there were no writers, we would not have any books. That would be disastrous on so many levels. If you are not a big reader, it is fine. Being a writer is a special and important gift that God has bestowed upon you. If you are not good right now, just keep practicing. People are bound to make you write about things you necessarily would not (like English and Literature teachers, etc.), but when you ace that, they will want to see what you can come up with on your own. Plus, writing those things helps you with practice, penmanship, and branching out your capabilities.

For the musician

Music is a beautiful form of art that moves the heart, mind, and soul. In fact, music seems one of the best ways to spread the gospel. Everyone loves music, whether they are Christians or non-Christians. It is a very good way to connect with people. This has been proven through social media, concerts, etc. In fact, because of music, I have been able to reach out to people who have the same taste in music I do and help them through struggles and doubts.

You can always find someone being moved by the messages in music. At Winter Jam, an annual Christian concert, countless lives have been saved just from listening to the Christian artists. Now, if you bring a non-believing friend to one and they do not get saved, do not be discouraged. It has planted a seed and could make them possibly look up more songs from that one particular artist they especially liked while there.

You might even be a writer as well as a musician. You could write a worship or praise song. Add music to it and you could have a new hit song. That is how all the big artists started, is it not?

Whether you play an instrument or sing, God gave you this passion and gift for a reason. I cannot imagine a better way to use it than to glorify Him, If you are not that good right now, give it time and practice. You will get there. Just never give up.

For the dancer

This art form is a bit trickier to describe. There are many different styles of dance, and each is unique in its own way. I will say this, though: your beliefs are shown in how you live and talk. Everyone knows practically everything about a dancer from how they act on the stage and off. This is a good way to share the message God may have put on your heart.

I know some dancers who people have asked, “Why are you so happy all the time? Is it from all of the dances you do?” I will not give their name, but they answered, “I am happy because I have the joy of the Lord, not only because I love to dance.”

It is in moments like this that the light of God is shown. It can be shown through how people view you on and off the stage. There will be moments where you are asked to do some really crazy dances for things, such as a church program. Just know it is for the gospel. When you realize that, what you are doing becomes incredibly fun. You are each so talented, so keep doing what you love.

I am sure there are many others to name, and if I did not mention your artistic gift, I am sorry. You are not left out though. As you can see, there are so many ways to glorify God by being a Christian artist.

Sometimes people will put the thought in your head that you will not make it as an artist. They will also tell you that people will judge you based on your religion. Well, be the exception and prove them wrong. You have these abilities, whether good or bad right now, for a reason. Use them! Even if it is for something you do not necessarily find appealing (or something that is cheesy), just know Who it is you are representing, and everything makes sense after that. You may even end up enjoying the finished product. Because in the end, it is yours!

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