Lately, the Church is rediscovering the use of art in worship more and more. This new movement of artists is awakening from centuries of silence, especially since the reformation. Art is arising and it’s claiming back its place and purpose in the body of Christ. But what is worship art and how do we distinguish it from other forms of art? As artists or creatives, how do we approach this beautiful expression that can be so powerful and full of meaning?
Let’s look at what it is and discover some tips for a better understanding of this kind of artistic expression.
Before we can talk about worship art, we need to gain an understanding of worship in itself.
Since the purpose of this article is not just to talk about worship, I will give you my definition of it.
- Worship: responding in an appropriate way to the love and character of God, submitting ourselves to his deity.
Looking at the nature of worship, we see it’s a response to God. Therefore, worship art needs to have the same characteristics. We can’t expect to create worship art if we are not able to engage with God, or better, we can’t understand it if we are not able to engage with Him.
Worship comes from a realization that God is God and from that revelation, we respond. Our response could be that we are amazed by His goodness, or that God has delivered us from a bad situation that we were facing, and so on. There are infinite ways of how we could respond to God. So, having said this, we can now affirm that also our art can be a response to this encounter and we can call it worship art.
Engaging with God
I believe the church and religion have transformed the most natural thing into a ritual or something mystic that needs to be unveiled. Though it’s true that it’s something we must discover, worship should be a part of the life of every believer who is in a relationship with God, lived out daily in a natural way. Relationship! This is what we are talking about!
Fortunately, as I mentioned, there are many movements in the church and the use of arts in worship is growing a lot.
Engaging with God is allowing Him to be with us in our ordinary life. If we are able to allow Him to be a part of our ordinary activities, we will have the capacity to allow Him to be a part of our creative process. This is worship art — interacting with our Beloved and allowing Him to be a part of the process.
Here are some tips to help us focus on God and allow Him to speak to us.
- Listen to the voice inside of you. It doesn’t come from your head. It’s a soft voice that speaks to your heart.
- God’s voice is never condemning. Sometimes if needed He will correct us, but always in a loving way giving us the support we need to overcome the issue.
- When God speaks to us, He brings life in our being.
- There is a sense of identity when hearing God’s voice. He always affirms our identity.
- Be open. God can use anything to speak to us.
Find your identity and be yourself
One of the most powerful things in life, and as artists, is finding our identity.
In our relationship with God, we discover our real identity and this should reflect in our art too. Many times I have seen artists finding their artistic identity once their relationship with God is established.
Finding our identity also helps us to understand what works for us and what doesn’t. This leads to freedom since we won’t get stuck in something that doesn’t belong to us.
Finding our style is a process as well as finding our spiritual identity, both need time and dedication.
There is no formula for this growth since it’s a different journey for each of us.
- First of all, experiment. Don’t categorize yourself within one style. By experiencing different things you might get surprised.
- Study and gain knowledge. The Holy Spirit usually uses what we know. The Bible says that He will remind us of the things we know. This works for our spiritual growth and also for our artistic growth.
- Once we have found our style don’t lock yourself into it. Often, when we look at other styles we get inspired for our own.
- Cultivate your art and ask God for inspiration. You could get specific by choosing a topic and asking God for revelation about it. In this way you gain sensibility to His guidance and ideas will start to flow.
- Don’t imitate and create stereotypes. Many times worship art can get boring since the topics of the artists can be very repetitive. Get inspired by others but don’t copy them.
- Don’t overthink. Allow the message and the feelings you want to share to come from your heart. Don’t become too technical about it. This usually leads to a cold execution without meaning. Let the life spring from inside you.
- Most of all, don’t give up.
Defining Worship Art
If we are living a real relationship with God, all that we do should involve God. If God is not separated from our everyday life we shouldn’t separate Him from our artistic life either.
I want to make a distinction between worship art used during a church service, and art that has a different purpose — the audience is different.
I believe both of these types of expression should have God involved, but the first one’s audience consists of believers gathering together to praise and worship God. The second one’s audience may be people who don’t know God and in many cases, God is not important in their life. So I would define worship art as a form of art that is used in gatherings of the body of Christ which somehow inspire and facilitate the responses of people to God.
Honestly, I don’t like to make this kind of distinction since I believe that if God is in us His life should be present in our art and inspire worship in others. However, it’s also true that the church is a specific context and this is why I make a distinction between worship art and art used in a secular context.
Worship art is allowing the life in us to spring out from our inner being. It’s an act of love for our Beloved and an expression of the passion that we have for God’s Kingdom.
The only way to become confident in our art for God is to practice it. Only by having a real relationship with Him will we be able to express our love through an artform — whatever art we practice the principles are the same.
Worship art is the artistic response we produce when we encounter our Beloved, moved by our passion and dedication to the One who is the artist for excellence.
I hope you have enjoyed the article. Please leave any questions or comments below.
God bless you so much,
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