Seven Evangelism Environments Artists Create

Given the objective Truth of the Gospel never changes, the PROCESS of evangelism is much more about helping people encounter Christ than it is explaining Christ—and ARTISTS are some of the most powerful God-designed servants God uses to create the environments wherein people experience the God-desired fruit of evangelism—people reconciled to God through the work of Christ.

In fact when we emphasize explaining over encountering God’s Gospel, we raise at least two barriers to witnessing (1). The first barrier is the fear that I’ll make a mistake, that I’ll miss something.  The second barrier is the fear that I’ll be rejected.  Plus, these barriers are both about me, not about the one or ones I’m praying will access God’s help, healing, love, forgiveness and life.

All this to say, and the point of this blog post: if church and mission leadership strategically turn to the artistic Kingdom servants in their networks, they will embrace untold creative resource for designing at least seven environments wherein they and their vast army of normal Jesus-loved-people-loving volunteer Christians can meet with, pray for, care for and share (2) with people in their neighborhoods and communities the Bible mandates us to evangelize.  

So let me suggest at least these seven evangelism environments artists (3) are God-designed to create:

  1. Environment-Designers—artists are the ones God capacitied to imagine, then design, the culturally appropriate gathered events of the community—worship liturgies, celebration rituals & memorializations:  all the various community gatherings, funerals, weddings, rites-of-passage; any GATHERINGS in which the community manifests its ‘heart & soul’ (its transcendent reality—the expressions of the sum of its participants) in tangible terms.  Community cannot do design these gatherings well without the artistically gifted.
  1. Heart-Strikers of Humanity—artists are the specialists God has given humanity to sculpt “environments” wherein people’s hearts can enter and touch the Transcendent Realities of life, and of GOD.
  1. Relationship-Makers—the environments artists design always promote human interaction that produces relationships.  Remember that artists are hardwired to be . . .
    • curious about culture expressions (yes there are exceptions)
    • intrigued by & interested in cultures’ ways (yes there are exceptions)

So, through their curiosity—and a wonderful product of it: looking at familiar realities in fresh ways (4)—they always create situations and places where relationships are formed (5).

  1. Community (Culture) Connectors—artistic Kingdom servants can provide the Community (inside and outside the local parish) holistic expressions and profile of that facilitate the need-meeting biblical virtues—like justice, honesty, courage, compassion, moderation, and moral character—all of which will . . .
    • Contribute – to the community by creatively bringing beauty, joy, goodness and truth—from God’s perspective, without preaching or frowning.
    • Create  – new culture that is virtuous, beautiful, good and true.
    • Profile – to the community the good, the bad and the ugly.   Artists possess powerful means of helping the community see, feel and engage both the good and the bad of the community.  Without preaching or pounding, artists-in-community-with-church-leadership can innovatively and productively point out what needs to be faced, fixed and changed; including the fact we each need God’s help and healing in order to live life fully.

Artistic Kingdom servants—when released and affirmed—can connect with the mainstream community culture delightfully, beautifully, creatively, and powerfully.

  1. Compassion Context Creators—artistic activities—like drama groups, bands, choirs, art groups, public mural projects, dance classes and groups, video/film classes & projects … motivated by the need and intent to CARE for and DEVELOP the person and the community—are crucial to the work of evangelism.

A beautiful example of this sort of thing in my Nashville region is Rejoice Dance Ministry, and it’s Director, Patricia Cross (6); where, in North Nashville they work with at-risk inner-city kids through their after-school dance classes, building character & virtues that help these children know better how to live life well—especially by coming to know the Life-giver Himself, Jesus.

  1. Story-Tellers—artists are the “voices” of our cultures & communities, narrating our peoples’ stories through the poems, paintings, dances, films, dramas, designs, architecture, fashions, food, sculptures, songs and lore of the people; and interpreting how our story makes sense and has meaning within the framework of The Story of the World (The BIG Story of GOD, Himself, revealing Himself to the world—God’s BIG Story of history—is the world’s greatest meta-narrative.  But more on that another time.)

Therefore, the Gospel cannot be told well enough without artistic expression, and the involvement of the artistic expression specialists.

  1. Public-Proclamation-Producers—artists are the specialists to whom God has given the sensitivities and awareness (honed by training and practice of their various crafts) by which public meetings can be designed and directed to the end that the gatherings actually accomplish the purposes for which they were desired.  

How many times have you gone to a community meeting or a worship gathering—in any culture or religious setting—where the intent was to lift up, but you’ve left let down? Fault both the non-artistic official who commissioned the gathering (mayor, president, executive, pastor or priest) and the (alleged) artistic practitioners commissioned to pull off the gathering.

Summary

These seven environments mentioned above are simply a start in stating how artistic-expression-specialists (artists) bring powerful and beautiful resource to the LORD’s assignment of evangelism.  In fact, when it comes to EVANGELISM, the Church cannot do without them in the mix.  

Hopefully, in these early days of the 21st Century—where mainstream cultures have for the most part entered the Age of the Artists and left the Age of the Orator—artistic specialists are some of the most powerful resources the Church has for helping the Body of Christ engage with God and His purposes for us.

Evangelism is so much more than simply spewing a few accurate propositions of biblical truth.  In fact without creating environment where people can feel the true Truth of the Triune God, and imagine into the realities of the objectively true love-filled life with Him,  there will be little hope that any non-believer will want to seek a relationship with Him.  

That said, if church and mission leadership don’t strategically turn to the artistic Kingdom servants in their networks, they will lack the untold creative resources they need to design at least the seven (7) environments for evangelism mentioned here.   

But there is hope.   In new ways these days a new breed of ministry-servant-leaders are coming forward—artistic Kingdom servants—ready to re-engage the Church, to create environments in which Her vast army of normal Jesus-loved-people-loving volunteer Christians into environments were every believer can easily meet with, pray for, care for and share (7) with people in their neighborhoods and communities the Bible mandates us to evangelize.

Remember, the PROCESS of evangelism is much more about helping people encounter Christ than it is explaining Christ—and ARTISTS are some of the most powerful God-designed servants God uses to create the environments wherein people experience the God-desired fruit of evangelism.

So if you are an artistic Kingdom servant make yourself available to the church and mission leaders you know.  If you are a church or mission leader, I urge you to invite the artists you know to help you take a fresh look at the way you think about, plan for and implement evangelism.  


  1. When we think, ‘I have to explain analytically every dynamic of God’s saving work through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15),’ if I am to help people take hold of God’s forgiveness and salvation.  (Do I really need to explain every detail about repenting of my sin of self-rule, believing (placing our faith) in Christ’s work, and surrendering control of my life to His Lordship?  (Even this last sentence is so long, things get confusing.)
  2. “Pray, Care, Share” is the wonderful focus of the LOVE2020 effort of the Mission American Coalition (Lausanne USA) of Christian leaders led by Dr. Paul Cedar.  For more information, or to join your network of believers with this nationwide movement contact Dr. Cedar’s team at www.missionamerica.org or call at (760) 200-2707.
  3. Actually I much prefer over the term ‘artist’ the phrase Human Expression Specialists—those who have been endowed by God with unusual wisdom and skill in imaginative human expressions (the Hebrew definition of the biblical label “craftsman.”  See e.g. Exodus 35:30 – 36:3 for a great snapshot of a strategic place where these human expression specialists were commissioned by God to create the Tabernacle-environment where the world [not just Israel] could come to actually interact with the transcendent reality of God Himself).
  4. “Creativity = Taking a fresh look at the familiar,” came to me through one of my mentors, Dr. Howard Stevenson, former Professor at Westmont College and for years Minister of Music and Worship at Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton, CA.
  5. In fact, productive relationships form both in the context of the artists working together (shared artistic collaboration), and in the lives of the non-artists who enter into the gatherings; actually engaging the transcendent realities of “community,” “belonging,” and such,  and where then the community itself experiences the fruit of the gathering–productive mutual appreciation, openness, interaction, understanding, bonding, and ultimately an increased caring for the community and its members.   Christian Leaders and artists alike, would do well to realize that they can have massive positive and redemptive community connection if they would think more often and strategically how they could love their community and “minister” to it by affirming and promoting the involvement in it by getting their artistic Kingdom servants outside the four walls of their worship auditoriums.
  6. Contact Rejoice Ministries and Ms. Patricia Cross here:  http://www.rejoiceschoolofballet.org.
  7. “Pray, Care, Share” is the wonderful focus of the LOVE2020 effort of the Mission American Coalition (Lausanne USA) of Christian leaders led by Dr. Paul Cedar.  For more information, or to join your network of believers with this nationwide movement contact Dr. Cedar’s team at www.missionamerica.org or call at (760) 200-2707.

Author: Byron Spradlin

GOD has used Byron, since he surrendered his life to Christ’s service at age 19, as a musician, recording artist, published songwriter (ASCAP & NARAS), youth pastor, worship pastor, evangelist, church planter, senior pastor, Bible teacher, professor, and artists-in-missions strategist.byron tweet pic Dr. Spradlin is a graduate of Western Seminary, Portland, OR; with a Master of Divinity degree (heavy in Missions, and biblical languages); and there he was the co-founder of the Master of Church Music degree—which he also received there, and for which he served on adjunct faculty for two years in the late 1970’s. He also has done ThM studies (abd) at Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, CA; and in 2012, was awarded the Doctor of Ministry degree (in Worship Studies) from Liberty University’s Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, VA – where he has also teaches courses from time to time in the Worship Studies department. Also, he serves as the international Senior Associate for the ARTS for the global Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He is professor of Worship, Imagination & the Arts at Williamson College in Franklin TN (USA). He also serves as Vice-Board-Chair of the international Jews for Jesus mission, having previously served 35 years as Board Chair and the performance coach for their first music-evangelism team, The Liberated Wailing Wall; and, since 2014, he is serving on the Board of World Venture mission agency based in Denver, CO His ministry experience ranges through almost 50 nations, and from arts in evangelism, missions and ministry, to Jewish & Muslim Evangelism, to church planting, to worship ministry and coaching, and the theology of worship, imagination and the arts. His wife, Pam, and he have been married for since 1974; their two grown children are married, and they have four amazing grand children. Connect with Byron! Byron’s Blog: ByronSpradlin.ComByron at Podium Twitter: @byronspradlin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/byronlspradlin/ YouTube: Byron’s YouTube Channel

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