While filling out our Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship renewal forms, the Lord gave me a glimpse of our larger vision and subsequent mission. He showed me that we are called to Celebrate Christ Creatively, using our combined gifts and talents to fulfill HIs will in our lives, and to affect our community throught the fivefold ministry. In many respects, it speaks to why we are here and how He intends to use us in the overall scope of things.
Our VISION, then, is to serve Christ as we bring arts (both visual, performance, and 'crafts') to the Christian community. Our MISSION is to provide a nurturing environment and safe haven for Christian artists to celebrate Christ creatively while engaging the fivefold ministry.
So what does this mean? As well meaning as the organized church is, there is often little room for the creative among the congregation. How do we encourage the visual artists who paint, sculpt, and engage their creativity through photography? Do we see home-grown work hanging in our church offices? Our lobbies?
Dramatists have an equally difficult time in dedicating their gifts to the Giver of Creativity -- God. I was privileged to present an hour-long storytelling piece titled "Experiencing Eve" at a church in Maryland. Afterwards, an elderly woman assured me that I would go crazy just like Amy Semple McPhearson for presenting that type of program in the church.
Fortunately, that was one of the few negative responses I've seen during my touring season, but in the days ahead, we will need more creativity, not less, among us.
Storytelling is another rarely tapped gift in the body of Christ these days. When David and I attended the Methodist Church (in the 1980s), we were especially drawn to Asbury UMC in Camden. A gifted storyteller by the name of Jim Cook would gather all the children to the front of the church and share a story with them every Sunday morning. Afterwards, they would follow their teachers to the various Sunday School classes were they would have children's church. What a gift!
We've implemented a similar practice in our home church, only our chlldren remain for the service. But our resident storyteller, Tina Riley, does a wonderful job conveying the Word through story. The children love it and are always clamoring for more.
As I prepare to post this note, snow is steadily falling outside as we brace ourselves for our second snowstorm in January and one that promises to be even bigger than our end of December adventure. Some news reports claim that we've not had snowfall such as this since 1922. Though we will not be meeting in our home sanctuary because because we anticipate being snowbound at the end of our 350-foot lane, we will still have "church". We will meet via teleconference so I can share more on this topic as we come to a deeper understanding of our creative call and how we can use it to glorify the Lord.
I have some ideas, some plans, and lots of prayers over the task the Lord is putting in front of me. I will present these plans in the near future. I anticipate victory at every level and will share them with you as soon as they solidify.
I'm excited. How about you?