Creative Christianity

By Chris McLaughlin, Creative Director

Chris McLaughlin, Creative Director

Does creativity have a place in the church? Is it important to God? How does creativity play into the act of worship? These are all questions I had to answer when I decided to take the position of Creative Director here at Faith Bible Church.

Sarah and I have been attending Faith Bible for about six years and have never felt more at home. It was such an amazing blessing to me and my family when I was offered a staff position a year ago, and I was excited to get started working. In the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working on dozens of creative projects like our new logo, website, bulletins, and videos, but did any of these projects really matter? Does God care if a church is creative or not?

Growing up always being known as “the kid who could draw” was one of my claims to fame in small town Oklahoma. Creating things, whether it was through drawing, painting, sculpting, or video production, was something I always felt drawn too, but at the same time I felt God’s call on my life to ministry. How could these two things coexist? I often felt a sense of being torn in different directions in my college years between what I thought were two conflicting careers. I should have known that if the desires for creativity and ministry were both truly placed in me by God that He would have the perfect way for me to fulfill those callings.

So how does creativity and art play into Christianity and the worship of our creator? Well, if we look at the creation story found in Genesis we can see, arguably, the greatest acts of creativity ever worked out. God, the author of creativity and beauty, spoke everything into existence. Every color, every leaf, every rock, every fish, bird, animal, and even man was carefully and artistically designed and created as a perfect work of art. Even today we can walk outside and see the beautiful work of God’s hands in nature. The awe inspiring vision of a colorful sunset has inspired many painters and photographers alike. The rocks of chiseled mountains and clay from the ground have been used by artists for centuries. The pigments in flowers and minerals have allowed artists to paint beautiful scenes and portraits. God’s creation is the inspiration for EVERYTHING that man has created afterward. God is the origin of creativity. We are just merely drawing inspiration from the Master Artist and the highest rank we can ever hope to achieve is that of apprentice to the Master. It is by the creation story we can see that God himself is the origin and author of creativity. When you experience creativity, you are experiencing the very nature of God inside you.

When you experience creativity, you are experiencing the very nature of God inside you.

Now that we see God is the author of creativity and it is part of His very nature, how does He want us to use creativity for His glory? In Exodus 26 – 28 God reveals to Moses His vision for the fine details going into the work of the Tabernacle, its furniture, and even the clothing of the priests. Several times we see God use terms like “skillful” to describe how he wants things done. In verse 26:31 it states “And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. It shall be made with cherubim skillfully worked into it.” In this passage we see that God doesn’t want Moses to have things just slapped together by people who don’t have the “skill” to create such works. He wants His house to be filled with beautiful things that aid in the worship of the Creator created by those who he has given such artistic skill to. These chapters are filled with details on all the colors, materials, and measurements God wants used in these creations. So why go to all this trouble? We have to remember that the Tabernacle was to be a visual representation of the presence of God to the Israelites. God knew that they had a need to worship a God that was visually tangible, as demonstrated by their disobedience in the fashioning of the golden calf idol while Moses was on Mt. Sinai. This allowed the people to not only sense God’s presence, but also to see their leader go in to meet with God in a concrete place and not disappear up a mountain. The visuals of the Tabernacle helped aid the Israelites in the worship of God. In Exodus 31:21 we even see that God has already chosen an artist named Bezalel and given him the gifts to handle the creation of all these works of art. “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft”.

So, does God value creativity? Absolutely, and it has a rightful place in the house of God to help aid in the worship of the Creator. My prayer as the Creative Director is that I can be the conduit through which God helps aid the members of Faith Bible Church in the worship of Himself.