Intersection of Life and Faith

Inspire People through High Quality Art

  • Whitney Hopler Contributing Writer
  • 2002 17 Jan
Inspire People through High Quality Art
God is the Master Artist, yet Christians sometimes fail to represent Him well as artists themselves. Of all people, Christians - who have direct relationships with God through Christ - should be the ones to impact society most through art that powerfully resonates with beauty, wisdom, and courage. Yet, too often, the music, movies, theater, television, books, painting, sculpture, and other art that Christians create are depressingly banal.

Here are some ways you can inspire people through high quality art:

  • Recognize the importance of art in people's lives, and the significant potential it has to inspire them if it captures and holds their attention. Don't retreat from contributing to the current artistic debate in your society.

  • Remember that art that glorifies God doesn't have to be overtly religious. Don't limit art's purpose just to communicating the gospel. Consider other, more subtle, ways that art can motivate people to think about God, such as by illustrating a biblical principle (for example, forgiveness) in a way that doesn't mention God but makes it apparent that people need Him. Ask God to open your eyes to all the creative possibilities for your art. Be open to the Holy Spirit's leading rather than starting with a preset agenda in mind.

  • Take risks with your art. Don't worry about how you anticipate people might react to it. Instead, strive to be faithful in expressing the vision God gives you for a particular piece of art, then trust Him to use it as He likes in other people's lives. Have courage, and remember that art should move people to think and provoke them to ask questions.

  • Pay just as much attention to the quality of artistic form as you do to the message the content communicates. For example, two different songs may seek to deliver similar messages about love, but the one that will impact audiences more will be the one that has more complex music and more well-crafted lyrics.

  • Use your art to show people how faith applies to every aspect of life. Don't separate life into sacred and secular categories, creating art only about spiritual topics. Instead, show God at work in ordinary routines as well as in dramatic moments, transforming every part of life through His presence. Let people see how relevant faith is for you and can be for them if they explore a relationship with God.

  • Study the current issues at the forefront of people's minds in your society, and express the Christian worldview as it relates to those issues. What questions do people have right now? What longings do they have? Contribute to the mainstream culture rather than just the Christian subculture within it.

  • Enjoy the process of creating your art, and use it as a time to discover more about yourself and your own relationship with God.

  • Be honest about the tough questions and hard feelings in your spiritual experience when you draw upon your life to create your art. Rather than glossing over your own difficulties, expose them, and show how God is using them to draw you closer to Him.

  • Don't be afraid to portray the fallen nature of the world in which we live. Art that doesn't show sin and its consequences isn't realistic. If the world were really as idealized as some Christian art portrays it, we wouldn't need Christ's sacrifice. You can illustrate evil and human weakness without glorifying it if you portray it in a way that shows how we need the transformation that Christ offers.

  • Stay close to God through regular times of prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with others through a Biblical church. Pray regularly for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and use you as a vessel through which God can inspire others.

Adapted from Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts, copyright 2001 by Steve Turner. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.,, 1-800-843-4587.

Steve Turner, a poet and writer living in London, is a contributor to The Mail on Sunday and The Times. He has written many other books and several collections of poetry.

Has a piece of art - such as a song, movie, play, television show, book, painting, or sculpture - inspired you lately? If so, how did it get you thinking about God, and why do you think it was effective at doing so? Visit the Books Forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.