Wednesday, June 21

Introducing Art Worship

Assignment: Assume that you intend to introduce a change in an arena where you have influence. Using Krathwohl's Taxonomy, outline things you could do to implement each of the five stages of his Taxonomy in that situation, and then briefly describe what evidence you could cite for having achieved that step.

A change that I hope to introduce among Bay Area Christians is an embracing acceptance for art worship. Art worship is simply the act of worshipping God through your artistic abilities. This may be in the form of painting, poetry, pottery, dance, drawing, music, collages, or whatever. I seek to break the mold that leads to music and money being the primary ways to worship God. I will use Krathwohl's Taxonomy of the Affective Domain to outline an action plan to how I hope to bring this change about. I will give examples of how my plan will initiate and accomplish each of the five phases of receiving, responding, valuing, organizing and characterizing.

I believe that the receiving stage of the process is the most important stage. Much is determined by a person's first interactions with a concept. First introductions will most likely come in the form of exposure. I will be display Spirit-inspired art worship pieces in my home, churches, and out in the community. This gives people an opportunity to interact with the story of Christ in another way. It is ideal as a low confrontation witnessing tool. The art tells a story of the creator's experience with their faith. It gives the viewer a glance at their spiritual journey. Because the art is divinely inspired, Christ will often use the art to bring up feelings regarding their own spiritual journey. Exposure leads people to comment or ask questions, which let's me know they have received the concept and opens the door for me to lead them deeper in.

Explaining the Creative Process
I plan to explain the creative process of art worship whenever possible. Sharing what inspired a piece of work often brings another meaning to their interpretation of the creation. Inspiration frequently will come from hearing a sermon or receiving a vision from the Lord. Sometimes the Lord will teach me a life lesson that so impacts my heart, that I am compelled to honor it by sharing it with the world using artistic means. Other times I will enter into a planned art worship session. I begin these by praying to God that He would provide me with inspiration and prepare my heart to receive whatever message He would have me convey through my art. During this prayer time I dedicate the session and all art that may come out of it to be to His glory. Then I might read some scripture or play some worship music or review some sermon notes while I create. To me, art acts like a visual parable of God's love.

Biblical Explanation
People often are hesitant to be open-minded to new things within the church, unless you can provide them with some Biblical backing. I will usually pass this information along by doing a sermon series or posting some blogs regarding art as an acceptable act of worship to God. Eventually this information will probably also be in pamphlet form as well. The Bible says in Exodus 35:31-33 "And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship". God created us each uniquely with different skills and talents. There is no reason God should need to create us so uniquely, unless He planned to interact with us each uniquely in our own gifts and abilities.

Art Worship Workshops
Perhaps, some will take the introduction to art worship and jump into experimenting with this worship style at home. After all, it is not unusual that worship bring us to a deep intimate and private space with God. Others seeking a guided introductory experience may attend art worship workshops. The layout is similar to my personal planned art worship sessions having an opening prayer, scripture reading, and praise music. To further assist in inspiration, often a spiritual theme or topic will be presented for pondering or discussion.

Fear as a Hindrance
A common hindrance to the responding stage will be an individuals fear that they are not creative beings or that their artistic skills are not good enough to participate in worshipping in this style. To help them overcome these fears, I have two options. The first is to be open and encouraging of whatever talents they do have. Perhaps, there is another artistic medium they would prefer to worship through, such as film or photography or graphics. All mediums are welcomed.

Art Classes
Secondly, I plan to offer art classes at no cost when possible. Some may be very interested in developing this worship style, but feel a need to improve their techniques to better portray their God-inspired art. Also, people may be drawn in simply because everybody loves something for nothing.

Field Trips
Others will never participate in a creating capacity. For them, I offer art awareness. I will plan field trips to art exhibits, galleries, and museums. An individual may be gifted in operating as an interpreter of art. The Lord may use the art we see on field trips to reveal knowledge to a person or impress on their heart a divine message that they are meant to share with others. It is my experience that God uses the process of creating, the art piece itself, and the interpretations of the piece all equally.

To initiate the stage of valuing, I believe recognition is key. Through sharing their art worship with others, the participants grow into accepting their role as an artist. They are rewarded by witnessing the reactions and interpretations of the viewers have of their worship. They are given the opportunity to see God work through their creation. They also feel like a contributing member of something bigger. In their recognition is also the the opportunity to become part of the educational process of exposing others to the whole concept of art worship.

Art Shows
I create the recognition scenario through art shows. This is a time for participants to use their art to share with others their own spiritual journeys. Their accomplishments are recognized and fill their purpose in spiritually inspiring their viewers.

Large Scale Art Projects
I also find that the valuing effect can be initiated by large scale art projects. I recently worked with my home group to create a large interactive mural taking up a whole wall of our church sanctuary. This bonded the group as we worked towards a united purpose to inspire our congregation in an artistic way. Participants were excited to share their inspired contributions. Even those who were not creatively active participants on the project came to assist with base painting the background, shopping for supplies, and providing props on loan from their homes. It truly became a group effort. And week after week it inspires the congregation to expand their styles of worship. In large scale art projects, participants value being part of a team. They feel supported in their creativity. There is also a commitment to the team and to the project. This leads to valuing. Valuing can be perceived in an individual's willingness to further participate in other large scale art worship projects.

Project Leaders
To convert art worship into one of an individual's primary worship styles, I turn them into experts in their field. This means assigning roles of responsibility to those who are actively participating in art worship. I will seek people to lead art worship teams, to direct large scale art worship projects, to teach art classes, guide art worship workshops, or run introductory art worship exercises for children in Sunday School classes, VBS, and summer camps. There will be leaders to set up art worship tables with supplies for use during the church service worship time. These volunteer roles give them a way to grow the cause by contributing to educating others. They also have the opportunity to share with others how art worship has personally impacted the way they learn from and communicate with God.

Another form of commitment will come from membership in the Core Convergence art group that offers supplies, exposure, resources, and support in exchange for volunteer time and membership dues. Art worship takes on a dual purpose as Core Convergence auctions off art worship pieces at fundraiser to promote social awareness and fund global outreach efforts.

Participants at this stage now identify with the title of artist, and perhaps even art worshipper. They have fully embraced art worship as one of their primary habits of worship. They are leaders of influence within art worship circles. Further characterizing will occur by recognition as they frequently produce more art worship pieces and receive more and more exposure. Also aiding in the process will be calling some artists into title positions such as Creativity Director, Resident Artist, and Youth Art Coordinator. This stage will be apparent as people begin to find their purpose in artistry and creative expression.

Group Definement
To clinch the transition, we may change the community's self description to correlate the purpose of art for Christ or change the community name to relay the new direction or focus. For example, Core Convergence is a spiritual community that uses artistic means to seek growth in Christ and promote social awareness.


Blogger smkyqtzxtl said...

I have been searching other people'sideas about art as prayer, or as you so aptly put it, Worship. You have given me much food for thought. I am seeking ways to honor God in this way here in Northwestern Pennslyvania. Blessings, Pam

5:30 PM  

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