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Open letter to Christian artists
Digital media and Christian visual or performance arts
“The colour of the world is changing day by day”
– Les Miserables
The Web and the digital media are changing everything! It is not only that we have one more medium to use. This new medium is also transforming the way people think and communicate. For about 500 years after the invention of the printing press, we were living in a ‘print communication culture’. Then, from around 1950, radio and TV placed us in a ‘broadcast communication culture’. Now from the Millennium onwards, we are moving into a ‘digital communication culture’. (See the books Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps and The Millennium Matrix by Rex Miller.) In many ways, this digital communication culture is nearer to the oral communication cultures that exist around the world. In other words, it is increasingly visual and story-based. This is good news for Christian artists! (See Visual Story Network for more on communicating with ‘story𓆉)
Whatever your role and calling as a Christian artist, digital media are vital to you. Whether or not you perceive your ministry as specifically evangelistic, your involvement in the arts is a public reflection of your Christian worldview. And the Web offers you many ways to interact with the world we live in. Some art forms communicate easily through the web – recorded music, stories, photography and video. Others are best experienced in person – painting, sculpture, drama, etc.
The Web also enables you to interact and dialogue with people about the arts in many ways – blogging, discussion groups, or writing. Since most non-Christians spend a considerable part of their leisure time relating to the arts, particularly the world of story (TV, movies and books) and listening to music, we have a ready-made bridge – an area of common ground (1 Cor. 9:19-23) – to their hearts. Douglas Yeo is a valuable example of this approach.
One area that is not used much by Christians: the uncovering of echoes of eternity in the storylines of books, films and musicals. Look at the musical Les Miserables (Watch excerpts). The most popular musical ever. Translated into many languages. An ideal starting point for Christians to gently point to themes of grace, law, salvation. Search on Google. Almost no-one is doing this!
Much online (and offline) evangelism fails to meet people where they are. It is very often a presentation to try to ‘seal the deal’, whereas most people are not aware that there is even a credible deal on offer. There is a big need to start much further back, and use creative approaches. To ask questions rather than give answers. To start people thinking. The arts have a vital role in this.
Can we help?Internet Evangelism Day is an annual worldwide focus day for churches and other groups, and a year-round resource guide to help Christians use the Web to share their faith. We have an email newsletter and blog too. See also our 2-page printable PDF overview of IE Day and digital evangelism.
We are hear to help you in any way we can. Please write.
More useful artists resources
- Christian Artists Seminar annual conference covers communication through the arts. See also our listings of other communication conferences.
- Christian Artists Network
- Ransom Fellowship
- Visual Story Network
- Saying More Than We Can Say
- Open Letter to Christian Creatives
- The Kindlngs
- Creative Arts Alliance linked to Luis Palau ministry
related pages within the Bridge the gap & Using culture menu links
recommended books on reaching outsiders, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry