Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation


Readers choice
2015 IVP Reader’s Choice Finalist  2015 Amazon #1 Best Seller

By J. Scott McElroy on InterVarsity Press (IVP)

The Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation is a comprehensive guide to arts ministry in the church as well as a handbook for releasing creativity in your congregation. Packed with ideas, advice, and inspiration, it’s the perfect desk reference for any church or individual who desires to step into collaboration with our creative God!


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                     “This book is a must-have resource, highly recommended.”

                                                                                                         Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Books


Here’s a look at the Creative Church Handbook’s contents:

1. A Renewal of the Arts and Creativity in the Church
2. Ten Ways the Arts and Creativity Support the Church’s Mission
3. Envisioning the Arts and Creativity in Your Church
4. How to Launch an Arts Ministry in Your Church
5. Inspiring, Empowering, and Leading Artists in the Church
6. Crafting a Creative Arts Community
7. Structure for Arts Ministry
8. Building a Creative Congregation
9. Applications for the Arts and Creativity in Sermons
10. Five Interactive Art Projects for Churches
11. Live Art in the Church
12. Dance in the Church
13. Media, Film and Video
14. Creating an Art Studio and Workshops to Foster Creativity
15. An Art Gallery in Your Church
16. Creating Sacred Space Experiences
17. Beyond the Church Walls
18. Artists-in-Residence in the Church
19. Your Church as an Arts Patron, and Working with Outside Artists
20. Working Around Barriers to the Arts and Creativity in Your Church


Here is what leaders are saying about Creative Church Handbook:


“Essential. Comprehensive. Inspiring. If you are an artist of faith, or lead artists of faith, you absolutely need to get this book.”

“McElroy has gone to work for us, recording inspiring advice, experience and ideas from his national survey of churches active in the arts. Creative Church Handbook shows how the new renaissance of creativity in our churches is turning the eyes of our culture back to God. Whether you are a seasoned arts pastor or just investigating how the arts might benefit your church, this book’s gathered wisdom and curated advice will serve you greatly.”


“How I wish I had access to a book like this one when I was leading an arts ministry! J. Scott McElroy has provided a comprehensive, highly practical and inspiring tool for anyone hoping to unleash the arts more powerfully in their church and community. We need another renaissance of the arts in the church—for all kinds of reasons—and my hope is that this book will help stir the revolution.”

—Nancy Beach, leadership coach, The SlingShot Group, founder of Willow Creek Church arts ministries, author, An Hour on Sunday and Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church


“Places and people who profess to know the Creator best be out to be the most creative places and people around. J. Scott McElroy shows the church how to reclaim its creative calling, and outlines powerful and road-ready strategies in the church’s struggle to comprehend and create beauty.”

—Leonard Sweet, bestselling author, professor, Drew University and George Fox University, and chief contributor to


“In his book The Creative Church Handbook, my friend Scott McElroy gives churches some of the practical tools and direction they can use right now to start embracing kingdom creativity in their community. I wholeheartedly recommend this resource for church leaders who want to begin to experience the fullness of the kingdom in their local congregation in the context of creativity.”

—Matt Tommey, founder and executive director, The Worship Studio


Creative Church Handbook is a treasury of resources for those wanting to instigate more creativity in their local church. It radiates passion for the arts as it provides thoughtful perspectives, practical instructions and prolific illustrations. This book will convince you that the arts are critical to faith formation and will show you how to introduce them to your faith community. I’m proud of Scott McElroy’s hard work in curating this substantial volume and hopeful for the fire it will ignite in churches across America.”

—Beth A. Booram, founder and director of Fall Creek Abbey.


“Scott shapes his thesis of why creativity needs to be brought back into the church, like a master craftsman, chipping away the old paint to let the true grain of the wood’s beauty be revealed. God wants the church to be creative because he is creative. Scott offers practical insights for every church and believer to begin to incorporate the arts into their church and vision for their community. I highly recommend this as a practical guide with lots of wisdom for those who are hungry to be relevant to where we are headed in the life of the church—a must read.”

—Theresa Dedmon, artist, author of Born To Create, creative arts director at Bethel Church


“Arts in the church? Need ideas on the power of the arts for your church? Here’s a great guide! Twenty short chapters describing a palette of possibilities that you and your church can put to work—right now! Scott McElroy gives churches good and practical help that is much needed in connecting to the world around us.”

—Byron Spradlin, president, Artists in Christian Testimony International

 “Scott McElroy brings a thoroughly biblical worldview to his treatment of the arts as one of the ways we can enhance worship and ministry in the church. Theological education has often become so intellectual in its approach to the mission of the church that the intimacy of personal relationship is missed in the process. McElroy sees the proper use of the arts as another way of expressing an intimate personal relationship in the definition of mature discipleship. All of this with a wealth of practical suggestions and resources.”

—Timothy M. Warner, former Director of the Professional Doctoral Programs, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“With the increasing interest in creativity and artistic expression among Christians today, there is a commensurate need for insight and wisdom on how a renewed imagination can be embodied within the life and mission of the church. Biblically rooted and immensely practical, Creative Church Handbook is an encouraging resource that will inform the journey of God’s people as they continue to recover and create vibrant expressions of truth and beauty in worship, life and mission.”

—Dr. Colin Harbinson, international director, StoneWorks Global Arts Initiative


“I was blown away by how comprehensive and helpful this book is. It will get your creative juices flowing and open your eyes to how amazing God is in his diversity of communication styles. Any church that is serious about using the arts to draw people toward Christ needs this book in their library. I wish a resource like this had been available when I was planning worship services every week.”

—Marcus Warner, president, Deeper Walk International