How to support creatives in your church
As part of our vision for every Londoner, the diocese of London is committed to supporting people in the everyday places where we each live out our faith. This includes the workplace. We want to see workers in every industry grow not just in their skills but more importantly in their character, to become more like Jesus.
Having worked as professional performer for over a decade, I have asked many creatives about the challenges they face living and working as a Christian in these industries. Below is a rough summary of conversations that I have had with colleagues from across London.
Christians working in the performing arts face many distinct practical challenges such as antisocial hours, unsteady pay and competition but also godliness issues such as slander, addiction and sexual temptation. Statistically, the majority of those working in the performing arts will also suffer from poor mental health at some point, which is an additional difficulty. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these problems and many creatives can feel isolated, unsure of where to turn for support.
Sometimes Christian creatives can feel that their worth in the church is reduced to their talents and usefulness, whilst their professional life is misunderstood. Historically the church has had an awkward relationship with those who work in the theatre and the stereotype of an ‘ungodly’ industry. This may not be the case in 2021, but there are still some misunderstandings which can create unhelpful barriers in a parish church setting.
So how can we help support creatives?
· Get curious about their lives and ask them what sort of support they need
· Try to view them as more than their creative talents. They may want to serve church in other ways than their day job
· Connect them with other Christians working in the same industry
· Point them to our resources page and parachurch networks
· Include examples from the creative industries in your preaching
· Consider their timetables – for instance a small group that meets mid-afternoon may work well
· Encourage the creatives in your church to set up a WhatsApp prayer support group
· Find out from them what their workplace environment is like and what resources they need to live out their faith