J Scott McElroy

The Bethel School of Kingdom Creativity, 2010

In Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm

If you follow this blog, you know that recent exciting signs of a New Spiritual Renaissance in the arts have shown up in the Church and the culture.  The Pope invited artists to the Sistine Chapel last November to reconnect the Catholic Church with the arts, Evangelicals have become adept at electronic media arts, film and drama, Charismatics have been prophesying about an arts renewal, and denominational arts initiatives and sponsored galleries have been popping up.

Artists painting during worship.

But I have to say; I’ve never seen more exciting evidence of this New Renaissance than at Bethel Church’s (Redding, CA) School of Kingdom Creativity, May 25th –28th

Bethel could be identified as a Charismatic church, and the artists there have been exploring the area of “Prophetic Art” for some time, with amazing results. At the conference they gave reports of salvation and healing through the arts, stories of people turning to Christ through God’s unique message for them in prophetic drawings, or being physically healed by looking at a painting. Hundreds have felt God speak to them through inspired pictures made in a matter of minutes while they watched. Wild Stuff.

This 4-day conference immersed us in a sweet, spirit-led creative flow that made us feel as if anything was possible. High-energy worship opened each session while four visual artists painted on the stage and dancers twirled off to the side.  Presentations included short films, dance performances and drama. A few times musicians sang spontaneous songs that they sensed God giving them for members of the audience. Theresa Dedmon, Kris Vallotton, and Shawn Bolz spoke passionately during the main sessions about God’s plan for our creativity, and workshops offered multiple opportunities for interactive, creative exercises and listening to God. Between sessions artists made free prophetic portraits based on what they felt God saying, for anyone who would sit down and talk with them.

Workshop, "Collaborating with God for a New Renaissance"

Workshop titles included,  “The Creative Power of Worship”, “Art as Intercession” and a fashion session that nearly brought my wife to tears called, “Adorned in the Fashion of Heaven”. She loves fashion and design and was ecstatic to hear teaching on how God can use it. They even opened up a workshop for me to teach, “Collaborating with God for a New Renaissance”, which was streamed on Ibethel.tv and should be available for download from that site soon.

Danielle and I were thrilled at the way these Bethel folks expected God to regularly move through the arts. Why wouldn’t He?  They used the same principals found in Finding Divine Inspiration: Working with the Holy Spirit in Your  Creativity ; when we learn to listen for God’s voice and collaborate with Him, our lives and work become so much more effective, inspired and enjoyable. Collaboration with God really is the key to the New Renaissance.

As this spiritual Renaissance in the arts gains steam, I believe that we’ll see all levels of art and artists operating in congregations across denominations, from the Master Artist capable of creating works that will stand the test of time and can be prominently displayed, to the novice lacking in technical skill but willing to explore the creativity God has put in them. This New Renaissance differs from the first in that it’s not only about masterpieces and genius artists, gilded churches and timeless artworks, but more about revealing the personality, purposes and love of God through art and creativity. While a work may not be a technical masterpiece, it can still be a spiritual masterpiece in that it delivers God’s messages brilliantly. Theresa Dedmon, who runs the School of Creativity, says, “We want to transfer what God is doing into a form that our community can taste and see and touch”.   Our churches and our culture need great works of art that will last for centuries, AND spontaneous works that express what He is doing in congregations and individuals. God is calling for both…and more. If artists learn to collaborate with Him, He will often use our work in immediate and powerful ways to reaffirm that He is real and moving in the world now.

School of Kingdom Creativity finale.

That’s what excited me about this conference: seeing more evidence that God will naturally use the arts as a conduit of his love and power, and that He’ll really touch people through art and artists as we partner with Him in creativity, whether we are highly skilled or a beginner. 

That is good news for churches and the Body of Christ. It opens up more avenues for the arts to fully integrate into the church, and puts the power of inspired creativity into many more hands.

We plan to return to the Bethel School of Kingdom Creativity next year. I’ll keep you posted on the dates. 

Of course, for more on The New Renaissance Rising, including arts links and dates for more arts events like The School of Kingdom Creativity, go to thenewR.org.

What do you think about “Prophetic Art”?  Would you like to see it in operating in your church?

Blessings!

Scott

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  1. Thanks for this informative article! I’ve enjoyed being apart of the Bethel community for a year now, and really excited about the renaissance that is gaining momentum, not just at Bethel- but across denominations. Thanks for spreading the good news that Christ is alive and well and still using the arts in a big way. I saw God heal a woman of severe knee pain a few weeks ago in the healing rooms after praying for her. A fellow painter had placed the painting on the woman’s knee and when she did I felt intense heat coming from it. It wasn’t until afterward that I saw that she had painted a bon fire on the canvas. The woman walked out pain free for the first time in more than six weeks! So cool what God is doing. May He bless you with much, much, more! – JessicaO
    *to see some paintings from the Hem of His Garment Conference visit: JessicaOart.com

  2. This is so inspiring to read! Thanks for sharing! This is so exiting, and I would love to see more of this in Norway where I come from.. At the moment I´m leading a prophetic art-team in my church in Oslo where I´m studying. I´ve also got a heart for my home church in Kongsberg where I know that there´s a lot of people loving to be creative. I´m thinking about having prophetic art workshops or something and pray that God will lead me and us as a church in the whole process. God is amazing and I can´t wait to see what he has for all of us as God´s people! God bless you and your ministry and your life! This was the first post I read on your blog, looking forward to read more:)
    Silje B.

    • Thanks, Silje! Great to hear from you! You might check my site, The New Renaissance, at http://TheNewR.org for more ideas and connections. We’ll be adding ideas for churches and arts ministry over the coming months. I’d also be happy to give you some ideas for prophetic workshops or lead you in toward more material for that. Blessings!
      Scott

  3. […] spring, during a speaking trip to California, my daughter and I were at the Bethel School of Supernatural Creativity in Redding to lead a workshop. One of the interesting  things they do at the school is […]

  4. […] Spring 2011, during a speaking trip to California, my daughter and I were at the Bethel School of Supernatural Creativity in Redding to lead a workshop. One of the interesting things they do at the school is set up an […]

  5. Im desperately want to enroll and learn more about this. We have small manifestation of this in our little church in the Philippines. I personally experienced flowing in prophetic dancing and drawings. Sometimes i felt like possessed by God doing wierd actions. But we witnessed a strong anointing when the Holy Spirit has freely expressed in a variety of ways. If only i have a chance to enroll i will do.

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