Embracing the inner artist
I am not an artist, or at least I have never considered myself to be one. I have always admired the creative energy that artists possess, and their ability to turn a blank canvas, stage or page into a work of art. Entrepreneur and writer Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/) often challenges his readers to be more artful in their work. Although I presume most that follow him are from business and marketing backgrounds, I believe the same principle applies to all of us who seek to be effective in any kind of relationship-based initiative.
Because I lack what I consider a “creative edge”, this idea was disconcerting to me at first. The longer I am engaged in creating and leading a missional community, though, the more I believe that we all have and need to foster our artistic energies. Here are a few ways this can be applied to missional endeavors:
- We need more failures. Most of the time artists do not create masterpieces in one attempt. In fact, there are typically dozens of failed attempts for one good piece to be completed. It will take lots of good ideas to land on the one that makes a difference in our churches and communities.
- We need to believe that what we are doing matters. Good artists have a message, something important that needs to be expressed. If they do not believe this, it shows. If we believe that our work, our mission, our ministries matter, we too will find creative and passionate ways to express their importance.
- We need more venues for our work. Artists cannot confine their work to one gallery and wait for visitors to stop by for a visit. They are at community events, at shows, online, in stores, and at exhibits. There are constantly seeking ways to share their work, not just to be discovered, but to share their unique perspective (again, because they believe it matters).
How willing we are to get in touch with our inner artist says a lot about what we believe about the Gospel. Do we believe it is a living, breathing story that needs to be expressed in our time and place? Or has it already been written and simply needs a place to be preserved? I believe the former to be true, and that what this world desperately needs are people who are willing to artfully live and tell the Story.