Friday, March 26, 2010

Church Planting Among Cultural Creatives – What I’ve Learned So Far

"The love/hate relationship between the Church and the arts has been well documented. Many better educated men and women than myself have written about the subject. For that reason, I will not attempt to pontificate on this matter. However, I have wondered most of my life why the majority of my artsy friends recoiled at the thought of attending church. God began to give me a passion to find out what a church would look like that authentically wanted to love, serve, and minister to a local arts community.

When I was asked by the North American Mission Board to accept my current role as National Missionary to Cultural Creatives, my first question was “What is a Cultural Creative?” A friend told me that I was one! Huh? After further research, I determined that I am one after all. Cultural Creatives is a term used by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson. They define Cultural Creatives as a group of people (26 percent of the adults in the United States, 50 million people) who have made a comprehensive shift in their worldview, values, and way of life – their culture. These creative, optimistic millions are at the leading edge of several kinds of cultural change, deeply affecting not only their own lives, but also our society as well.[1]

Ray and Anderson go on to say that just under half of Cultural Creatives, about 24 million people, are involved in the creative arts.[2] I never thought of myself as one who has set out to change the North American culture. Yet, I am a trained visual artist and an amateur musician. I must admit that the thought of being a missionary developing a model of starting churches among the affinity group of creatives was not on my radar. I was, and still am, humbled by this assignment.

My “laboratory” where I have the opportunity to “experiment” is Atlanta, Georgia. My wife, Twyla (Mission Service Corps Missionary), and I began our new journey as missionaries. We moved from the suburbs to midtown Atlanta to plant Bezalel Church. (See We knew that serving the art community and helping the community be successful was going to be the best entry point for us to build relationships. We signed up to volunteer at many of the arts venues in the city. We have ushered for local theaters, hung art work for exhibitions, assisted the teaching artists and staff at the local museum, painted sets, made props, sewn costumes, fed the cast and crew during tech week, helped clean out prop warehouses, helped with telemarketing, garden work, and many other service projects. All this was done in an effort to show we care for and love our arts community. Just as we thought, God blessed our efforts. We praise Him that we are seen as trustworthy and authentic people. That goes a long way in seeing skeptical people attend our small groups and creative worship gatherings.

I have learned so much in just two years. Here are ten things that I have observed. Maybe they will help you as you plant churches in your local arts community."

To read the full article, click here.

To learn more about the Creative Class, the Cultural Creatives, and the Renaissance Generation, click here.

No comments: