Opportunity – Art & Media Advance the Gospel

Your communication and artistic skills could be invaluable to a long-term church-planting team

Feel most at home with your hands on a camera, paintbrush, violin bow, or soundboard? Geek out over art films or documentaries? Have a way with web design or social media? If God is tugging on you to pursue His purposes among the unreached, don’t think you have to leave those things behind. You do need to lay them on the altar. But they could play a huge part in your future ministry.

  • Devon, a photographer, has access to elite athletes and dancers. Marie, a painter, teaches lessons and organizes community art shows. Katie played alongside local musicians in a symphony orchestra.
  • Joshua uses his video skills to promote the work of Pioneers and mobilize new missionaries, while Tom, based in the U.S., trains national partners to use video for sharing their faith and making disciples.
  • Several Pioneers teams have worked hand in hand with local believers to create indigenous worship music that speaks to the hearts of their people.
  • Pioneers teams around the world develop communication strategies, websites, social media, and chat apps to engage with those who are seeking spiritual truth and offer them biblical content.

Others are building relationships by studying local art forms, engaging in storytelling of many kinds and assisting both their teams on the field and God’s global church in the use of arts and media to extend the kingdom.

What about dance? We have just a handful of dancers in Pioneers, even though dance is at the core of many of the cultures we serve. We’re praying that God would raise up more—in fact, we’d like to develop a supportive network for cross-cultural workers using all kinds of art forms to connect with the people they serve and carry out their calling to the nations.

At the Center of Culture

Artists can be deeply embedded in cultures and communities when teammates are just getting started. “In every culture the arts are important,” explains a Pioneers leader, “whether the emphasis is music, dance, poetry, or visual art… The arts connect you  with the people who are the culture keepers. Study the arts and you will connect to the core of the culture, not just the people on the edge looking out.”

You will connect to the core of the culture, not just the people on the edge looking out.

After helping local musicians start a recording studio in Central Asia, a Pioneer moved to a European country with a very different musical tradition and set about learning their instruments and styles. The local musicians invited him to join in what they were doing, and he was able to share his life with them as well.

Such an approach is not free from risk or ambiguity, to be sure. Some consider the arts dangerous. “I’d say the arts are very dangerous!” he says with a smile. “The arts attract free-spirited people. Lots of them are very pagan,” he notes. “But that’s what makes it an awesome place for believers to be.”

Pioneers is looking for artists. But not just artists who want a place to perform and display their own talents. The most important characteristic is that they go in as learners and approach the arts as a way to build relationships. These artists should also be committed to excellence and dedicated to growing in and improving their craft. That may mean opening up and expanding their creative palette to include local styles.

“We’re looking for awesome artists who will go the extra mile with the glory of God as their primary focus… who will put self-promotion in the back seat, so God-promotion is in the front.”

See yourself serving in the arts? We’d love to hear more about your vision. Let’s get to know you.

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