Integrating Faith with Art

stoles by Carrot Top Studio
Are you using visuals to enhance ministry, make connections to the Word of the Lord and encourage those around you to grow in their faith? Visuals can be woven into (no pun intended!) ministry in many different ways. If you are a traditionalist you might first think of the visuals of fiber art in worship such as in stoles, paraments and worship banners. Color and symbols --simple or complex--are great connectors to a message. Or maybe you lean towards worship that uses visuals on large screen projections or bold displays of color from creatively placed worship banners. That's just the beginning of the possibilities! Here's a little list of some additional ideas:
  • include historical or contemporary works of art on worship bulletins or in your church newsletter that support what the message of the day or church year season is. If you do this it is customary to then give the artist and piece of work (name and title). If you seek contemporary images (i.e. from living artists) and don't have any within your congregation then approach a local art guild or look to the children or teens within your faith community.
The Sower, Vincent van Gogh
  • likewise you can include this type of art in multimedia or large screen projections. Remember variety keeps people's attention and draws them into the message and if we only use one format of visual, such as only slick photography, we will be less likely to keep everyone focused.
  • share art in Sunday School classes of all ages. All ages from the younger to the older/wiser set can examine a piece of art to start a conversation that relates to the Bible passage being studied. The art could be depicting the particular scripture or it could just be related to it. For example if you were examining the Parable of the Sower you might gather several different images of sowers to help you discuss the parable and associated metaphors. Textweek is a great online resource of such images. Additionally some libraries have art reproductions that can be lent and you might also have the gift of local artists that have work that could be borrowed (oh my wouldn't that be wonderful!)
  • additionally there are wonderful children's books that use master works of art and lend you questions to discuss with the viewer. You might enjoy using any of the books from the Come Look With Me series by Gladys S. Blizzard. They are not based on Christian art but I have no doubt you can find a lot of artworks that relate to Biblical stories. Blizzard gives great background information on each piece and models interesting questions to ask the children to help guide a discussion one-on-one or in a small group.
The opportunities are endless! Don't neglect the connection.