Have you ever wondered where artists are mentioned in the Bible?

Artists are first mentioned in Exodus (Ex. 31:1-11), which describes how they played a huge rolein building the tabernacle

The Lord said to Moses,  “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. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests,  and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.”

These artists were called by name and chosen by God. Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God, with ability, intelligence, knowledge, and all craftsmanship in order to do ARTISTIC design. How amazing is it to read that one of the reasons God created them was for the purpose of making the Tabernacle a beautiful place that reflected God’s glory and presence by using their artistic abilities! What an honor it must have been for each artist. I can’t think of a better way of worshiping God then building the tabernacle, the place where His presence would be on this earth. While God obviously gave those artists their skills for a purpose that clearly honored Him, I do not believe that He stopped giving artists skills after the completion of the Tabernacle. I believe with my whole heart that God has given artistic abilities/skills today. We, artists, are everywhere. And we are often misunderstood. In my opinion, artists have been put on this earth to show us the world through a different set of eyes.

In his book, “The Heart of the Artist,” Rory Noland writes, “Artists look at things differently than non-artists do. We notice detail; we appreciate nuance and beauty. Some people might look at the evening sky and all they see is a bunch of stars. But an artist looks at it and sees beauty and meaning. Artists want to sit under the stars and soak it all in. They want to gaze at the moon and be dazzled. They want to paint a picture of it or write a song or a poem. Debussy was so moved by the evening sky that he wrote Clair de Lune. Van Gogh was inspired and painted Starry Night. King David was an artist who looked at the evening sky and wrote this: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:3–4).”

So, how is the church using artists today? Are we using artists today (appropriately)? Artists want to show you the world through their eyes. It can be difficult for the church to appreciate their perspective because artists portray the reality of this world including the pain, suffering, and sin that exists. Artists who are filled with the Holy Spirit see the darkness and display it for what it is, but they also reflect the Light and hope of their Savior in what they create. As an artist, I desperately long for the church to embrace the artist once more. I want the church to experience God through the eyes (skills) He has given me. But more then that I want use my art as a platform to share about my Savior, Jesus Christ! All of us have been given different skills and we need to use them to share the precious gift we have been given through Christ. I’m not sure what that means for you, but for artists it means they create to the glory of God.

Why should art be important to the church? How can art be used to worship God? Can art be effective in ministry? Next week we are facilitating an event titled “Art in the church” in Chicago that is all about exploring those questions and enabling people to experience how art can be used as an instrument of worship and ministry. Our church in Chicago, New Life Community Church (Lakeview Campus), is hosting it on Saturday, September 17th from 7-8:30 PM.

We’re excited to be a part of a movement in our church to promote the arts in the church for the glory of God. We hope you’ll join us for the event or pray for us if you can’t!