Art has the ability to move us toward truth (or away from truth). It has the ability to bring comfort in chaos and hope when all seems hopeless. It brings encouragement to the downcast and expands vision when we are nearsighted.

Artists bring ideas and emotions to life. We are affected by art and artists every day, whether this is related to our Spotify playlist, the construction and interior design of our dorms, the photograph on the wall at the doctor’s office, the monologue and dance steps we still remember when we watched our first musical, or the liturgy we experienced this past Sunday with our churches. Art abounds. It is part of the created order, for the ability to create comes from the Divine Creator.

Unfortunately, the Church’s relationship with the arts has a bittersweet history, one in which She has only leveraged a small percentage of the people of God for His mission in the world. This must change.

Last week, I had the honor to give the distinguished faculty address to the School of the Arts at Samford University where I serve. During this time, I briefly addressed how the Church has often thought of art and challenged listeners to consider three things they could do to best position themselves to leverage their art for God’s mission in the world.

You may obtain the PDF of my lecture HERE.

Here are some helpful resources as well:

Artists in Christian Testimony International

Strike the Match interview with Byron Spradlin of ACTI

Lausanne Arts Network

Global Ethnodoxology Network

Heart Sounds International

Global Consultation on Arts and Music in Missions

Center for Excellence in World Arts

SIL Arts and Ethnomusicology

Roberta R. King has an excellent list of web resources too in her book Global Arts and Christian Witness.

This post written by J.D. Payne and originally posted at, and used by permission of J.D. Payne.

Photo by Paul Blenkhorn @SensoryArtHouse on Unsplash.