Creative Ministry in Troubling Times

I have a number of writing projects in the cue, but this new one just kind of appeared and bullied its way to the front of the line, demanding attention. Not unlike it’s subject: Disaster and crisis.  I’m compelled to write about how churches can minister through the arts, creativity, and beauty when disaster and crisis hits.

These things are becoming more frequent, and local churches must have a plan for responding with compassion and healing.

Creative Response

Photo by Chandler Cruttenden via Unsplash.

The arts and creativity should be part of that plan for a number of reasons, including:

  • they can communicate God’s heart when words fail
  • they can facilitate a felt experience of God’s love when it is needed most
  • they can encourage healing from trauma by sidestepping the intellect and intuitively touching hearts and spirits
  • our God revealed himself as undeniably creative–in creation, in how he works in the world–and he designed us to follow his lead

And so, at His prompting, I’ve embarked on researching and writing a new resource: CreativeChurch Disaster & Crisis Ministry Handbook: Responding to Disaster & Current Events with the Arts, Creativity & Beauty

Its a daunting project (most books are), and this time around I’m asking for help (much to my wife’s relief). I’ll be working on this through the New Renaissance non-profit, and raising funding through GoFundMe to underwrite the project. Honestly, without a base of funding, this just won’t happen. Would you consider checking out the page? Oh, and here are a couple of bonuses: a. contributions are tax deductible, and b. you’ll get a product in return for any donation over $15.

More About the Book

There are 2 areas of arts ministry in and through the local church this Handbook will focus on:

1)   Engaging the arts within our local churches to help congregations process and intercede for disasters and crises both near and far.

Jesus told us to not be anxious, but to have compassion on those who are hurting.  We can’t remain disengaged from the suffering that is going on in the world. Through the arts, creativity, and beauty,  we can mourn with those who mourn, empathize with suffering, and intercede right where we are.

Artists are specially positioned to assist in that. The arts can help us process emotions, facilitate healing, help us pray or intercede, unite us, or lead us into worship. Musicians, dancers, painters, craftsman, poets in our congregations can be empowered to respond to current events with their art form and help the congregation express God’s heart for people and situations in turmoil. The new Creative Church Disaster and Crisis Ministry Handbook will offer guidelines, and case studies for how this works right in our local congregations. (See our Facebook page  posts for some  examples.)

2)  Engaging the arts in outreach ministry efforts during the recovery and rebuilding phase after a disaster or crisis.

Local churches can offer creative outreach ministry remotely or on the ground that brings beauty in devastation, hope in tragedy, caring in in times of despair. The arts and creativity are proven to be effective vehicles for healing of trauma, and the sharing of God’s love, peace, and grace in ways that can be felt and experienced, slipping past the intellect and penetrating the heart. This new book will provide practical frameworks, ideas, principals of art in healing ministry,  and case studies for the uses of the arts in church outreach ministry in the recovery and rebuilding phase after a tragedy.

The majority of disaster relief in most crises comes from faith-based organizations, and yes, the local church should step in with supplies, manpower, materials, and finances when we can in disaster and crisis situations, to minister the dire and immediate physical needs. But God’s plan is even bigger than meeting immediate physical needs. He is the God who IS creativity, beauty, healing, and restoration; the God who brings beauty from ashes. He designed the arts and creativity to convey these aspects of his character; bringing hope and healing, beauty and compassion to spirits, souls, and emotions in times of crisis. The CreativeChurch Disaster and Crisis Ministry Handbook will help churches everywhere respond and minister more effectively through the use of the creativity and the arts when disaster and crisis hits.

So, there you have it. Any prayers and/or contributions you might offer are humbly appreciated.

Here is a video, for those who enjoy the visual explanation:

God designed the arts and creativity to minister hope, beauty, and healing in times of crisis.

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