Art and Soul

GUEST BLOGGER: Today’s guest post comes from @JoyBowen.  Joy helps churches have a greater impact on the next generation as an Orange Specialist (www.WhatisOrange.org).  She gives away her art on www.ImpulsiveJoy.com. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BigIsTheNewSmall.com, click here.

Art was my least favorite subject in school.  To this day, I can still only draw a stick figure at best.  Since I have no natural giftedness, I have never attempted to get better at it.

Although I can barely color within the lines, it may surprise you to know that I now consider myself an artist.  I think we all are actually.

Seth Godin has been challenging me to see art in a whole new light.  I now believe that art has very little to do with anything I ever did in art class growing up and everything to do with the passion God gave me for ministry.

“An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo.  And an artist takes it personally.”  (Linchpin, p. 83)

If you have been leading in ministry for any amount of time, chances are you are coming up against the status quo of what has always been.  But the church needs artists, like you and me, who will continue to push at what is cultural so that we never lose sight of what is core.

And your art should bring you joy.

It should bring you so much joy that you can’t help but share it with others.  Your ministry – your artwork – is not meant to adorn the walls of your church.  Art is a gift.

“You cannot create a piece of art merely for money.  Doing it as part of commerce so denudes art of wonder that it ceases to be art.  There’s always a gift intent on the part of the artist.” (Linchpin, p. 85)

Our challenge in ministry is to look beyond ourselves to see how we can live a life of generosity without reciprocity.   If your art brings you joy, share it with anyone who will pause to take it in and be transformed by the experience.

Because the reality is, there are many leaders in ministry today who need artists.  So if you are passionate about what you do, give it away so it can change someone else.  I promise you, your gift will actually come back to you….in the joy you receive when you have impact on those who receive your labor of love.

So, do you consider yourself an artist?

  • Stephanie Richardson

    Love this, Joy! May we continually be challenged to not be ok with status quo and use our gifts for God!!

  • Andrew Rogers

    My Dear Friend Joy & All Those Reading,
    I too find myself barely able to color within the lines of a simple child’s coloring book page. And yet despite what I feel is an artistic inadequacy, your words ring true! I’m reminded daily that I am created in the image of God, a brilliant piece of artwork in and of myself, hand crafted and specially designed to share my art with those God has called me to.
    I’m reminded of the words of Dan Haseltine, lead singer of the band Jars of Clay, as he softly pleads with the world around him to, “See the Art in Me.” What a blessing that we serve a God who is the very artist of our creation, and blesses us with both the ability and opportunity to share our Art with those He has called us to; lest we should have to plead, “See the Art in Me.”
    Thank you Joy for your insightful reminder to pass our art around and share it as we’re called to do! God Bless!
    Christ’s Child,
    Andrew Rogers

  • Daniel

    Thank you for sharing Joy! What a fresh way to take a second look at the heart of an artist. I think so many folks in ministry, both those who would consider themselves artists and those who wouldn’t, need this constant reminder of thinking beyond themselves and more so on the possibilities of how God can move. Artists, especially like myself, too often allow the fear of challenging the status quo, embarrassment, judgement or being seen as having a lack of humility hinder them from sharing the gifts that God has given them. Jesus challenged the status quo all the time – challenging people’s idea of the Messiah. And he continues to challenge us to change our normal. My prayer has been not to focus so much on how my bravery to step into the light affects me, but those who might encounter God as a result of it.

  • An artist, I am. Now that I’ve read this post. Great job Joy. I love this line, “If your art brings you joy, share it with anyone who will pause to take it in and be transformed by the experience.”

    Keep winning Joy!

    • How true! I heard it said one time that early in school/life all kids consider themselves artists- unabashed and confident- but as we get older, we believe it less and less– thinking that’s only “other” people with a certain degree or background. But God’s the author of creativity and we bear His image, so we have a specific way of perceiving, experiencing and sharing that can bless other people– whether we hold a paintbrush, a mic, an iPad or an iPod, a briefcase or a backpack. Definitely recommend this book and pray for more Lynchpins to emerge in churches and non-profits everywhere!

    • Thanks! I appreciate the comment and am encouraged that you now know you are an artist too!

  • Jubilee

    My Twitter Bio says I am a Graphic Designer for Jesus… I make my living doing graphic design in the commercial marketplace, but my joy is doing stuff for the Kingdom in my spare time. 😉

  • Nolan Hing

    Thanks Joy! Great Blog!

  • THis is a wonderful post and perspective. Brings to mind what David says in Psalms which sadly I think many in ministry have lost, joy in what they do.
    Psalm 51:12 ” Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.”
    Two BIG words there that artists live everyday, JOY and WILLING.
    M_

    • Great scripture. I also love what 1 Peter 4:10 reminds us of…. that “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The Bible doesn’t say, “only share your talent when you are paid for it” — It tells us to serve others with how we are gifted. Don’t worry about how you are going to benefit from the wisdom or talent you have to share — just consider it art and put it out there for others willing to take in. That brings great joy 🙂

  • Phillip A

    Awesome job Joy! Love reading your blog. You are an amazing artist and inspire us and our creativity. Keep up the great work.

    Phillip

  • Donna

    When I first read this I didnt think it applied to me since IM not real artistic, but reading further, I realized that singing is and art also. I do lead worship in our childrens church and not until now did I think of it as a gift of art. Thanks Donna

  • Deborah

    “There’s always a gift intent on the part of the artist.” This is even true of God’s artistry in making us! Thanks for sharing this, Joy and helping us remember the bigger life we were made to live as artists.

    I’m loving Godin’s book!

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