Of all the aimless wandering that takes place in my mind in a day’s time, design holds a healthy percentage. I can’t help but look at the objects and places that I interact with and ask myself questions like, “How was this made?” or “What material is this?” I will just blame this characteristic of mine on the artist which created me. After all, don’t we turn out just like our father?
With design stubbornly residing within my brain, it’s nearly impossible for me to escape the question, “Are we creating an outlet for creatives in the Church?” These creative tendencies of mine used to leave me conflicted, feeling as if there was no use for them in the church. I had a preconceived idea of what ministry should look like. Sure we have the art of music down, and we swing dowel rods and put on skits, but where does a painter, app developer, or videographer fit in the mix? We may embrace creativity, but to what extent? I’m not suggesting we embrace all forms of art or push an everything goes mentality by any means, but perhaps there is a chance for new creative opportunities in the church.
To The Church
The ideas we are communicating haven’t really changed since the beginning of time. Just open up a Bible and you will find the same battle between morality and immorality that we face today; it’s nothing new. However, the way in which the world communicates is changing rapidly. I can remember hearing the racket of that electronic beep and static sounds coming from the home computer when I was about sixteen. This was the first time I had experienced communication on the world wide web. It was so foreign yet so exciting. The world seemed so vast yet so accessible. The possibilities were endless.
Love or hate the new dynamics of communication, it seems to be here to stay. It is the way in which people communicate in the twenty-first century. According to a report, ICT Facts and Figures – The world in 2015, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) predicted that 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population, will be online by the end of 2015. (http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/facts/default.aspx) This creates unprecedented opportunities and challenges for the church. We have an opportunity to reach the masses with the gospel message, and the challenge of combating the immoral message of those with the same communicative opportunities. After the resurrection in Mark 16:15 Jesus has an important message for his disciples; “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In an ever-shrinking world due to greater connectivity, we have a greater opportunity to go into the world, and preach to every creature.
How are we communicating the gospel in the information age? I remember a message Darrell Johns taught entitled “This and That”. He stressed the importance of our methods changing while maintaining the integrity of our message. It’s true that methods must change. Just as human behavior changes, the way we communicate with the people God has called us to minister to must adapt. Below is a list of some underutilized areas of opportunity in the church.
Film has the potential to be a powerful tool for the church. Videography is a unique form of storytelling that can transform a person’s thinking. Quality camera shots, a real-life testimony of Grace, and a compelling musical score can have a major impact on the life of a sinner. More than ever we are feeling the impact of video. Viral videos have taken over social media sites. In an article published by INC magazine, they point out this interesting statistic, “Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts.” (http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/visual-content-marketing-16-eye-popping-statistics-you-need-to-know.html) Think about that the next time you analyze the effectiveness of the scripture reference you posted to your church’s Facebook page. The above article also states that “People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.” Now, we aren’t selling people products per se but we are selling them on a message; the most powerful message we can offer.
Photography has always been a powerful tool in our history. Monumental moments and stories have been told with a single picture. A range of photography jobs is needed in the church including studio photography, photojournalism, event photography, and fine art photography to name a few. Images of foreign fields can inspire a need for giving. Event photos of worship or healing can build faith. Fine art photography can bring a story in scripture to life. Also highlighted in the above article is, “Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.” Images bring to life and create engagement in the message we preach.
When I first started working at Pentecostal Publishing House I quickly realized the need for good illustrators. Nearly every curriculum job that goes through PPH would benefit from the work of a good Apostolic illustrator. There are certain needs within the Apostolic movement for illustrations that mirror our interpretation of scripture. Sites like istock.com can be a good resource for illustrations, but why not create an opportunity for an apostolic illustrator to use their gifts.
Apps are here to stay. Apps bring a level of connectivity and interactivity that developers are still trying to wrap their minds around. For the first time in history, we are able to instantly send funds to support a missionary, or communicate a message across continents from a smartphone. This is something that would have made Paul’s missionary journeys much easier. Imagine Paul pulling his smartphone out of his robe pocket and facetiming the Corinthians. This ministry opportunity is somewhat new, but the potential for interactivity is exciting.
Companies want you on their team. They want to use your God-given gifts to sell their product, or push their brand. The church on the other hand needs your God-given gifts. The examples above are just a few of many opportunities that the church can utilize. But it cannot be done without you. You are a vital part of the revival in the end time. A responsibility weighs on your shoulders. You have been given a gift. How will you use it? Will you slowly slip out of the church because the only creative opportunities are “out there”? Be encouraged! There is hope for your gift. Connect with other creatives in the apostolic movement. Express your passion for the kingdom of God through your creativity. God deserves the use of the talent he has given you.
Article written by Timothy Burk, GRAPHIC DESIGNER / WEB DESIGNER at Faithworks Image Consulting