An artist stands at an easel; his broad strokes on
canvas eventually become the face of Christ. A man dressed in biblical costume
sits at a potter's wheel and shapes an earthen vessel with his hands. A young
dancer interprets the words of a popular praise song. Actors fill the stage in
a modern version of the parable of the great banquet. Images of Christ painted
by the masters in oils are projected onto a screen.
In preparation for this issue, I decided to do some research on how churches
in my community are incorporating the arts into worship. I was amazed by the
creativity I found at several churches in the Southeast. Each used a different
form of art, but the purpose was the same. They all pointed to the Creator.
Today's churches are becoming centers of cultural change by rightfully
reclaiming the arts as a means to worship God, to point non-believers to Christ
and to encourage artists to use their gifts for God's glory. Like the modern
art of pastiche (creating something new out of pieces on hand), many churches
are blending the arts, drama, dance, sermons, songs and multi-media into an
interactive worship service that invites people to experience God.
In "Reaching for Heaven" on page 22, you'll read about five churches
creatively using the arts to draw believers and nonbelievers to Christ and
impact their communities. These churches have discovered that observing the
creative process has a way of opening our hearts to the Creator.
Before the 20th century the arts were an important part of the church. The
church was considered the cultural center of most communities. The church
wasn't trying to be culturally relevant; it was driving the culture.
Perhaps the dawning of a new century has turned the tide in the way artistic
expression and faith mingle. Many 21st century churches are driving the culture
by embracing the arts and the artists who create with the hope that these
artists will go out and impact the culture with the message of Christ while
producing excellent art.
Churches that embrace the arts are doing three things: they are using the
arts to point people to the Creator, they are giving artists an opportunity to
worship God with their gifts, and they are sending these artists out into the
world as missionaries in a dark culture. These cultural missionaries are
infiltrating the art world and entertainment industry in a way that most
As you read the cover story, I hope you'll think about our Creator as the
master artist. Every day is a new creation; every sunset a masterpiece. His
creation is indescribable.
Carol Pipes, editor, email@example.com
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