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 in the performing arts for over a decade, I have talked to many creatives about the challenges they face living and working as a Christian in these industries. Some of the conversations I have had with colleagues from across London are reflected below.
Christians working in the arts face many practical challenges such as antisocial hours, fluctuating income and unemployment but also godliness issues in the workplace such as gossip, addictions and sexual temptation, which taken together can be hugely challenging. Statistically, the majority of those working in the performing arts will also suffer from poor mental health at some point, which adds an additional level of pressure. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these problems and many creatives can feel isolated, unsure of where to turn for spiritual and practical support.
Often in a parish church setting, Christian creatives can feel that their worth is reduced to their creative gifts, whilst their professional life is misunderstood and as a result, another spiritual gifting may remain unnurtured. Historically the church has had an awkward relationship with those who work in the theatre which stem from the unhelpful 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 and these are worth discussing between church leaders and creatives.
So how can church leaders help equip creatives practically?
· 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.
· Connect them with other Christians working in the same industry
· Include practical examples from the creative industries in your preaching and teaching.
· Consider their timetables – for instance, a small group which meets mid-afternoon may work better than evenings
· Encourage the creatives in your church to set up a prayer group/WhatsApp support group
· Find out from them what their workplace environment is like and what resources they need to live out their faith
Visit our Resources for Artists and Performers page for curated discipleship resources designed to help equip Christians in the creative industries across London.