As an intern with City Church this summer, one of my focuses was how to bring more of an arts focus into children’s ministry–and also to develop the arts in the church in general. We have so many different types of artists at City Church, and I would like to continue to find ways to use those talents within our community to encourage our children and one another.
Something that has been on my heart lately, that I hear a lot from people is the phrase, “I’m just not creative.” I can understand this way of thinking, but I am often discouraged by it and feel that it is a way people subtly devalue themselves. I believe that because we are created in the image of God, we are innately creative. What is important for us to recognize is that creativity can come in many different forms. God uses all different types of people with many different gifts to advance his kingdom in the world, and the world’s definition of what makes someone an artist is not the same as God’s. By teaching our children (and our congregation as a whole) that God's spirit of creation is in all of us, we can all be part of bringing more beauty into the world.
All children start out creating and expressing themselves freely without comparing themselves to others or society’s standards of what makes something worthwhile or beautiful. I want to help teach the children of City Church that there are endless ways that someone can be creative; just because you can’t draw something in a certain way doesn’t mean that you aren’t creative. I have definitely struggled with this even within the art world, considering myself less worthwhile than other people who can draw accurately from life. It took me a long time to realize that just because my drawing or painting style might be different, this does not make it less valuable or beautiful. I want to teach the kids of City Church that creation is all around us, and that we can work to bring more beauty into the world in many different ways.
In Jerram Barrs’s Echoes of Eden, he suggests that we have been, “Tempted to devalue the richness of creation—and therefore the arts—as if it would be somehow more ‘spiritual' to live a life devoid of beauty, of good things, of music, of literature, of painting, of color, and so forth. It is as if bare simplicity, barrenness, and even ugliness were somehow more pleasing to God. Behind this idea is the conviction that the 'spiritual' is all that matters, and that the physical, therefore, is at best only of secondary value.”
By working to foster the arts and creativity at City Church, we can help each other to see and appreciate God’s creation in new ways. Each person has a unique perspective and is able to see the world in a way that we do not. By stepping into each other’s visions, we can grasp a little bit more of the endless, complex beauty that God created, giving us glimpses of heaven here on earth.