Julianna, one of our former worship leaders at Rancho Community Church who is currently planting a church in LA with her husband and company, sent me this link:

Why Creatives Leave the Church

And this email:

My favorite line:
the church needs to embrace creativity beyond sermon series graphics and the occasional live painting (to the newest Casting Crowns song?)

Ok, my real favorite line:
Art can’t redeem the world, and that is why we must be modest about it. But it can show us what redemption would look like, and this is why it matters.

Thoughts? Alex, I know you’ve tried the collective thing in the past, why do you think that didn’t work out as well?

After reading through the article, I wrote this response:

Completely agree with a lot of it.

My thoughts:

  • We’ve lost the sacred spaces – churches are now multi-use, multi-functional, mostly secular spaces… there’s no forum for art to be displayed, developed, appreciated
  • We don’t have time – the church is doing so many things that it doesn’t have time to make space for art
  • Art/Artists tend to be weird, quirky, not main-stream, so they get left out of the “vision” of the church (other than series graphics & live painting circus show)
  • The Modern/Western Church has distanced itself from “art” because it’s not safe (where we used to lead)
  • Art can be expensive, the Church is notoriously cheap (unless the lead pastor gets fired up about something/program)
  • How can we redeem art in our life-time? without being overly-weird, where we scare away main-stream society? Well, that’s a book, but I have seen some churches that have permanent and temporary spaces/cultures do it. It just has to be a core value of the church… and the core value doesn’t need to be “art” but more of a celebration and real living into Romans 12.
I realize now that I didn’t really answer Julianna’s question.
We tried a Collective at Rancho once – I think we had two meetings and then it faded away. But as I look at what I wrote, I think that’s exactly why it didn’t work. For those reasons. And the fact that I just didn’t have the capacity to push it through.
Anyway, any more thoughts?

 

Designer. Communicator. Solutions Architect. Husband. Father of 4. Friend of God. I've dabbled in building, graphic design, worship, music, media, communications, connections, leadership, and now I'm an executive pastor at Rancho Community Church in Southern California.

2 Comments

  1. Artists have to learn how to take care of each other free from the constraints of an institution. Institutions have meetings, deadlines and ulterior motives that aren’t interesting to creatives.

    We have a vibrant artist community that I help mentor that started a year and a half ago and it has become such a beautiful point in my week that I look forward to. But it started with two of us saying: “There’s got to be other creatives in church space that struggle with the same things…let’s connect.”

    …because i think a lot of artists have just decided they can do it alone and they have a calling so they just ‘get up on their cross’ and take one for the team year in and year out

    • Alex McLean Author

      Good stuff Vince. What’s a typical time together like for this artist community that meets once a week?

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