Independent artists are often on a difficult journey, and it is especially difficult for Christian artists who swim against the cultural and secular current. It is therefore expedient to offer words of advice and encouragement to the teeming young and talented gospel artists.
- Recognize your Creator
Before you begin creating, you should know your Creator. In that, I mean that you must be in a relationship with Him. You must be communing with Him. You must have His mindset. When we create, we are modeling what He does, and we are creating in His image. So be sure to have a solid foundation before you begin.
- Study your Bible
The Bible is essential for the Christian life. It is especially critical for the life of the Christian artist. In God’s Word, you will find a never-ending well of encouragement, inspiration, and motivation as you create. Spend time in Psalms and Proverbs. Examine Biblical poetry, parables, and prose. Learn from the Author of art.
- Spend time in fellowship with other Christian artists
Join others who share the same faith in God and passion for art. Learn from one another, spur one another on, challenge one another, and grow together. Find an older Christian artist mentor. Join or make a creative group at your church. Use the Internet to connect with Christian artists. And especially, support one another by seeing and sharing your work.
- Find rhythms for creation and rest
A good theology of art highlights the need for rest. God gave us a pattern to follow in working and resting. Give yourself at least one day a week to step away from your work. Take the time to try something new, enjoy other endeavors, and recharge by resting. Pause. Gain perspective. Learn to step away from your work, reevaluate, and recommit. And don’t just settle for physical and creative rest. Make sure you get your spiritual rest by singing, praying, and meditating on Scripture.
- Learn how to discern good art from bad art
Art is not amoral. Be able to say when art is sinful. When we see art with Christian eyes, we must have the mind of Christ. Our heart can easily deceive us into liking art that is not Christ-honoring. Pornography is not art. Self-mutilation is not art. Take a stand for holiness and strive to be wise when examining what people make.
- Speak purposefully about art
Have the vocabulary to communicate what you see, think, and feel. God does not talk about his work in abstract, theoretical concepts and terms. He gives definitions to his deeds and calls out what he creates. And he lets us know how we are to see things from his view. Think in theological terms and point out when art is showcasing Biblical themes such as justice, exile, sacrifice, and redemption.
- Create for the kingdom
Go out of your way to create for the church. Design, style, curate, and create with strategic purposes for Christ. There is more at stake than self-expression. Join or start ministries at your church that can use your creative gifts. Connect with mission-minded people who need a designer. Be an artist who heralds the kingdom of heaven.
- Share your art in as many ways possible
Be smart and shrewd about how you share, but do not be shy when you are sharing art that echoes your beliefs. There is a time and place to be bold about what we believe. Share your work on Facebook. Use hash tags on your Instagram posts. If you are able, be an echo of grace and give away your work for free. Spread your work and grow your audience to ultimately give glory to God.
- Use art to build connections for evangelism
Your unique voice as a Christian is needed in the artistic community. Some artists will never step foot in a church. You can bring light to places of darkness. Exploit the places and positions God has given you. Join the school bands and even bands outside your denominations. Audition for the dance team. Submit your work to be showcased. See the mission field before you and give others the gift of hope.
- Enjoy art for God’s sake
Understand that your art is not your own. God gave you the ability to create. Have fun with the process, and do not get stuck in the details. You are not defined by your art. What you make and your level of success are like rubbish when compared to the sacrifice and joy of Christ. So whether you eat or drink or paint or perform, do it all to the glory of God.