The Gospel and The Arts – Making the Connection

Whenever one goes to the theater, or musical production, reads a book, or looks at a painting, they are, in essence,
taking in someone else’s philosophy on life. The arts create a powerful medium in which to express one’s ideas and
a way for the artist’s themselves to express themselves.
This same premise holds true for arts in the church. The gospel becomes all the more powerful when expressed
through the art of worship, drama, and technical support through audio and lighting. An arts ministry in a church also
allows the body to express the gospel through their God-given talents and gifts in a non-threatening way to those
who believe and those who are seeking.
The staff for the arts re.connect 2002 Conference, to be held at Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, New York, in October, has captured this in their vision statement. It reads “arts re.connect will equip and empower
Christian artists to creatively, dynamically and meaningfully unleash the Arts in worship.” The one day conference will
provide inspiration and training for excellence in the areas of leadership, worship, drama and technical arts. It will be
multi-cultural, creative, and a place where local Christian artists and leaders can network and share resources. It will
also be an opportunity for area churches to share in a day of fellowship and renew their vision for their arts
ministries.
Internationally known speakers Joe Horness and Leonard Sweet will highlight the conference during the three
general sessions of the day Saturday and a special session Friday night.
Maria Hancock is the Director for arts re.connect as well as a worship leader and songwriter. She believes there is
an abundance of gifting in our area in music, drama and technical arts and that many of the people with these gifts
share the same heart for the arts. Arts re.connect is a way to connect with these men and woman.
Maria shared some of her thoughts in response to the following questions about the conference:
How did the conference come to be?
“Back in October 2001 God started talking to me about the idea of this type of conference….my response? I asked
Him to show me if this was really from Him. >From that moment on, any of the Ministry Leaders I have approached
with the idea of arts re.connect Conference has been extremely positive. God put a similar desire in other people’s
hearts before I ever contacted them. I was reading some of the books that Leonard Sweet has written and was
deeply impacted by their relevance and uniqueness in providing leaders with new perspective for the precious cause
of Christ. Also Joe Horness has been a personal mentor for worship leading and I wanted everyone to have the
chance to hear him speak. I actually believe we are “dreaming with God”. He wants this for this area, for your church,
for your teams.”
What are your personal insights about the conference?
“I am an artist with God-given talents who is passionate to be used to tell Jesus’ story. arts re.connect is all about
reaching out through the arts to people who need God while also blessing the Bride, His church, with a new passion
to worship the Lord out of the arts He created! You as an artist have a responsibility to use your gifts. We are
offering you a chance to grow and be further trained because “God has given you each some special abilities; be
sure to use them to help each other…” 1Peter 4:10.”
Why, would you say, is there a need to “reconnect” arts to the church?
“Our job is not to entertain people to get them to come to our church. People from our communities come to church
because of their inner spiritual need to meet their Creator. It takes creative, spirit-transformed men and women to
stand in the gap so that one heart can touch heaven’s. People will see God moving as we express love, joy, motion,
beauty, passion and trials through a drama, a song and visual aids. God created the Arts and like everything else in
our life they should bring glory to Him.”
How important is a good arts ministry in a church?
“An arts ministry is a vital part of the local church. To quote Leonard Sweet, “Postmodern preachers don’t populate
the pews; they connect people to the living Christ!” A good arts ministry keeps the Lord “the gifter” at it’s center.
People who are part of it will be connected to the purposes of God for His church. A good arts ministry will help the
congregation in finding new meaning on how to live a life of worship while also witnessing to those in search of the
truth. A powerful multimedia presentation showing the majesty of God’s creation, the passion expressed as a
worship team and the choir sings to Jesus, and the penetrating impact of a dramatic presentation will only bring
hearts closer to their soul’s deepest needs, the place where men and women can hear the spirit of God speak to
them and then respond to Him.”
The conference will be held at the Cultural Life Center on Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary
Campus, Friday, October 11th from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. for a pre-conference for Pastors, church leaders and staff, and
Saturday, October 12th from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. There are three general sessions and three studio sessions
which will include drama for beginning ministries and those existing ministries that want to hone their skills; worship
for contemporary, traditional or gospel teams; and technical to help improve your churches services, the worship
teams music and the audio and lighting for your drama team. A special Drama Clinic by C.I.T.A. starts Friday evening
and continues on Saturday. You can go online at www.artsreconnect.org to pre-register by August 31st for the early
bird special, find out cost, times, directions, speakers bios, and information on church sponsorship benefits, or call
585-944-2664.

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