J Scott McElroy

Archive for the ‘Christian Arts Conference’ Category

Summer 2014 Update

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Uncategorized on June 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

(Note: You’ve come upon an archive site. Scott is now blogging at JScottMcElroy.com. These and fresh posts can be seen there! )

After spending 7 months sitting at the writing-table with the new book, I’m venturing out for a couple of great speaking opportunities in July.

Karitos 2014

If you are in the Midwest, consider attending Karitos 2014 in Chicago, July 10-12. It’s their 20th anniversary and I’m honored to give a featured address and lead three workshops: “How to karitosBetter Hear God’s Voice in Your Creativity”, “The Joy of Personal Prophetic Art”, and “Practical Ideas for Bringing the New Creative Renaissance into Your Church and Your Culture”. More information at http://Karitos.com.

The Creative Church Conference 2014

Then it’s on to the long-awaited Creative creative church logoChurch Conference 2014 in Boise, July 25-27!  If you at all interested in encouraging the arts and creativity in the church, you should join us! This year’s lineup of speakers and activities is stellar. This year’s theme is “The Artist in Community”.  Speakers include:

  • Dr. Colin Harbinson (Stoneworks Global Art Initiative)
  • Jessie Nilo (VineArts Boise)
  • Jason Leith (Artist, Director of Arts, Saddleback Church )
  • Manuel Luz (Imagine That, Worship Director at Oak Hills Church)
  • Dave Blakeslee (Potter and Pastor)
  • Bryn Gillette (Artist)
  • Andrew Nemr (Dance Artist)
  • Cecilia Brie Tschoepe (Actor, Writer, Director)
  • Me
  • and many more.

(Look for profiles on each speaker over the next couple of weeks on the New Renaissance Facebook page. )

Plus, plenty of workshops, creative free time, performances, interaction with other artists and leaders, and more.

And, it’s only $75!

Go to the website to register and for more information: http://TheNewR.com

The event is sponsored by VineArts Boise and The New Renaissance Arts Movement (a department of ACT Intl).

New book on the way!

You may have noticed that we had planned to do a Creative Church Conference in Indy this year, as well.  The New Renaissance Arts Movement, which I direct, is the main intervarsity-press-IMPRINTSsponsor of the Indy event, and one of our biggest priorities is to get a new book out about the arts in the church. IVP (InterVarsity Press) offered to publish the book last year and I began working on it full time last November. That process took considerably longer than expected and the first draft was completed in May. Since I was tied up writing, we decided to consolidate this year’s Creative Church Conferences into the one in Boise. (We plan to do Indy again in 2016.)

Now the new book is in the editing process at IVP and we have an official title: The Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation. We expect it to release in Spring 2015. Thanks to all who have prayed and contributed during this process!

The Creative Church Conference Recordings Are Now Available!

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Uncategorized on November 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Here is the news from our non-profit, The New Renaissance Arts Movement.

New Renaissance

At the New Renaissance Arts Movement, we’re about connecting, equipping, and inspiring artists and churches for a New Renaissance. We believe that God is releasing a renewal of the arts and creativity in the local church and an infusion of spiritually powerful art into the culture. We believe this movement will connect artists with the ultimate Creator and their true selves, invigorate the Body of Christ, and convey God’s love to the world in authentic and creative ways.

To that end, last summer we hosted The Creative Church Conferences in Indianapolis and Boise; ground-breaking forums for ideas and inspiration about the role of the arts and artists in the church. Creative leaders liked Rory Noland (Heart of the Artist), Theresa Dedmon (Bethel Church, CA), J. Scott McElroy (Finding Divine Inspiration), Beth Booram (Awaken Your Senses), Jessie Nilo (VineArts Boise), Joe Boyd (Vineyard Cincinnati) and others shared visionary ideas and practical applications in 15 sessions and workshops!

Now, we are making the complete recordings from the Indianapolis conference available on DVD, CD and MP3 download.

Topics include:Creative_Church_Conference_DVD

Examples of the Power of the Arts in Community Outreach

Leading Your Congregation in Sensory Worship

Starting an Arts Ministry in Your Church

Healing Through the Arts

Creating Sacred Space

Thriving as an Artist in the Church

Painting Live for Church Services

Telling the Kingdom Story Creatively

Designing and Running a Church Gallery

Panel Discussions full of practical applications

and much more!

These recordings are full of ideas and inspiration for artists, church leaders, arts supporters, arts groups, and more. Order the complete set at a discount or choose individual sessions and workshops on DVD, CD or Mp3 download at http://www.TheNewR.org/.

Forward to a friend

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Now Non-Profit!

The New Renaissance Arts Movement became a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2012, through ACT International!

We are supported by people who want to see creativity, the arts, and artists thrive in local churches, for the purpose of making God’s incredible love know in the world.

To make a tax-deductible donation click here or you may also contribute by check by making it out to: “New Renaissance/ACT” and emailing us for the address at : thenewr@thenewr.org

Please consider us in your year-end giving.

Over the Rainbow Transcendence in Church

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity on September 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm

“Imagine if the local church became the place in culture to experience creativity, transcendence, and beauty.”

That’s one of the thoughts behind The New Renaissance Arts Movement  that I’m part of.  Honestly, these are things that are not often experienced in many churches. At least not yet.  So, over the summer we presented The Creative Church Conferences in Indy and Boise to create forums for ideas that could inspire artists and church leaders to be facilitators of God’s creativity in local churches.  To our joy, inspiration did happen on many levels.

One moment that particularly thrilled me came during one of our worship sets in Indianapolis. Before the Saturday evening session with Theresa Dedmon, Jason Barrows and The Heritage led us in a beautiful worship set made up of many of their original songs.  A sweet, restful spirit washed through the place.  We’d absorbed nearly two full days of teaching and discussion up to that point and the chance to settle in God’s presence during worship was serene. Then Jason took it to another level. He and the band surprised us with a nearly a capella rendition of “Over the Rainbow”.

I’ve been to a number of “seeker-sensitive” churches that will use “secular” songs during worship for various reasons. Sometimes it works better than others. I’ve heard some songs that felt completely out of place and forced, and a few that did add something special to the worship. At our church we’ve worked songs like “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel (1) into the mix with good results, and we often integrate a chorus from “Babylon” by David Gray (2) into the worship song  “I Love Your Presence”(3), which is wonderful and often brings me to tears.

But this version of “Over the Rainbow” knocked my socks off. In the situation it seemed like the perfect song; just sublime and peaceful, at the same time nostalgic and heavenly minded. You could feel the Holy Spirit’s hand on it, comforting us, giving us a pure and simple gift. Really, a beautiful, creative, and transcendent experience–just what we were there to talk about creating.   A number of attendees just “lost it” with joyful tears.

At that moment I realized that there might not be another song that captures the basic human longing for heaven so well, “Christian” songs included. It’s made up of rainbows, dreams, happy Bluebirds, simple lyrics, clear voices and lovely harmonies. No deep theology, just truth that our heart can connect with. No evangelism, just the desire to be with our Father in a better place.

I wonder if we wouldn’t do well to introduce that kind of childlike joy and longing into our churches and services a little more often.

Here is that rendition of “Over the Rainbow” by The Heritage. I haven’t been able to stop watching and listening to it. Enjoy!


(1)See “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, HERE

(2)See “Babylon” by David Gray, HERE

(3)See “I Love Your Presence” w/”Babylon” chorus from Bethel Worship, HERE

Creative Conferences on the Arts in the Church are Full of Inspiration

In Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Uncategorized on June 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

“I think it will take me a lifetime to fully understand and express what God did during the Creative Church Conference. …(it is) allowing so many of us to finally find our creative tribe!!!! The effects this will have in the kingdom will ripple through eternity.” Tammy, Duluth, MN

“The sheer number of gifts that I received at the conference are STILL being revealed! God’s blow’n my hair back!” deAnn, York, PA

When The Creative Church Conference Indianapolis: Embracing the Arts in Your Church wrapped up, it was evident that God had pulled off something special. From the eclectic mix of speakers and their unique perspectives, to the practical, inspiration-packed workshops, to the extras like the Creative Room, live painting, poetry, dance, live music, the Prayer Ministry Rooms, the wonderful art gallery, the Spontaneous Prophetic Art, it was a conference full of surprises, inspiration, connections, and healing. As we had hoped, the conversation reached across denominational boundaries, bringing together leading practitioners from different traditions and backgrounds and we all learned from each other. But more than that, being together to talk

AnnaRose McCabe dancing during worship at the Creative Church Conference Indianapolis. Cathy Feeman paints behind her.

about and experience what God is doing with the arts provided priceless creative fuel and refreshing for the journey ahead.

The theme of the conference, “Embracing the Arts (and Artists) in Your Church”, was based on the concept that God IS creativity, that He designed the arts and creativity as a way for us to encounter and know Him, and the embrace of these things in the local church will mature the Body of Christ and change the world.  The wide ranging discussions all touched on this theme in some way. Jessie Nilo, in her blog post about the event took a shot at describing what went on:

” (Friday) Scott challenged us to do art for the sake of maturity in the Church. Beth Booram (Awaken Your Senses) opened our eyes, ears, and senses, and our imaginations were primed to soar through being present. Rory Noland (Heart of the Artist) melted our hearts with humble encouragement, speaking on some of the challenges of being artistic. (Saturday) Joe Boyd (Artist/Pastor)… well, this improv actor had us laughing hysterically, then  slammed us with clarity and truth on behalf of artists in our churches. Theresa Dedmon (Bethel Church) joyfully led many in the room into healing; spiritually, artistically, and even physically.

“The Arts in Community Outreach” Panel Discussion. Left to right, J. Scott McElroy, Joe Boyd, Kyle Ragsdale, Theresa Dedmon, Jessie Nilo, Christopher Greco

The workshops were riveting, filled with practical advice and spiritual experience on integrating the arts into the local church.  The discussions were electric, and nobody wanted them to end! The panel discussions and creative brainstorming were vital to all the churches represented in the room as we all pondered the future of the arts in the church.

This is a true movement of God.” (Excerpts edited.)

If you missed the Creative Church Indianapolis, a full DVD and cd collection of the sessions and workshops is now available!  Click HERE.

 

Continued Momentum at The Creative Church Boise, July 13-15

Manuel Luz

Less than a month later we did it all again with the Creative Church Conference Boise. This conference had a different personality than Indy, but was undeniably infused with God’s presence, as well.  Rory Noland, Jessie Nilo, and I spoke at both conferences, but Boise also featured Manuel Luz (Imagine That) a wonderful  “Renaissance Man”( he probably wouldn’t like that description, but it’s true) who delivered excellent messages and also led us in an amazing arts and worship time on Friday night. It was so enjoyable to watch him freely contribute his talents to the weekend.   Brie Tschoepe came in from Austin to instruct and enlightened us on the powerful gifts of drama and physical movement, and her presence alone added a unique sense of soul to the weekend. Rory Noland, a mentor to so many Christian artists, spoke from his vast experience of working with artists in the church. His talk on “Leading Artists” was remarkably practical and helpful.  And Dave Blakeslee, a former pastor and gifted potter who illustrates with clay as he speaks, completely floored us with unique insight on the relationship between pastors and artists. It was like he opened up a treasure chest of wisdom on the subject and started doling out rare gems. (I’ll post the text from that talk soon.)

A drama exercise. These people froze in position to illustrate the disciples in the stormy sea.

We knew from the beginning that the two conferences would have different vibes.  With Boise’s large and established VineArts Ministry to artists we thought that conference would lean more toward artists, and Indy’s proximity to a much larger population and more churches would skew it more toward arts and church leaders. These assumptions were generally true, but the way everything wove together at the individual conferences was truly astounding. There was a wonderful balance of ideas and insight for artists, arts leaders, and local churches at both conferences. It was clear that the Holy Spirit had inspired and guided these events, and there was clear affirmation that the movement to integrate the arts into the church–this New Renaissance–is God’s idea.

Now the question we hear continually, “When are you going to do it again?” We’re committing that question to prayer, and we’ll let you know as soon as we do!

As the words on the conference poster said:

A historic movement is underway.

A movement that will connect artists

with the ultimate Creator,

awaken creativity in the average person,

Invigorate the local church, and convey

God’s love to the world in authentic and creative ways.

It’s a New Renaissance,

And you have a part in it.

The Creative Church Conferences were sponsored in part by The New Renaissance Arts Movement. For more information on The New Renaissance Arts Movement go to http://TheNewR.org.

Creative Church Conference Updated Schedule!

In Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity on June 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm

We just posted an updated version of the Creative Church Conference schedule, June 15-17 in Indianapolis. It’s gonna be fantastic!

 

Check in and last minute registration starts at 8:30am Friday morning. The first session gets underway at 9:30am.

Friday and Saturday will focus on teaching and workshops, with panels and round-table discussions.

Workshops include:

  • “Releasing the Healing Power of the Arts”—Theresa Dedmon
  • “Creating Sacred Space Roundtable”
  • “Awakening Your Senses: Cultivating Sensory Worship in a Congregational Setting”–Beth Booram
  • “Painting Live During Services”–Cathy Feeman
  • “Starting an Arts Ministry and Building Arts Community in Your Church”–Jessie Nilo
  • “Opening and Maintaining an Art Gallery in Your Church”–Jessie Nilo, Kyle Ragsdale
  • “Having Standards, while Being Inclusive: Helping all Levels of Creativity Flourish in Your Church”—Jessie Nilo, deAnn Roe
  • “How to Create a Drama Ministry in Your Church”–Amy Christie
  • More!

Rory Noland will be the main speaker Friday night and Saturday morning.

Theresa Dedmon will be the main speaker on Saturday night.

Then on Sunday morning we’ll “take over” both services (9:30 and 11:30) at the Indy Vineyard Community Church! It will be a time to dream what it might look like for the arts to be fully integrated into Sunday services, with a healthy dose of experimentation, as well! The conference will end after our Sunday services.

All three days will feature loads of inspiration, prayer, and encouragement for artists and art ministers, with practical, creative ideas on ministry, and open discussions where you can share what it looks like to love God and people through the arts in your church.

We’ll explore questions like: How can our churches manage the tension between inclusiveness and excellence in the arts? How can the arts be used in outreach? How can we be intentional about giving artists a place in our churches? How can we disciple and encourage them, and avoid burning them out? How can we facilitate true community among artists?, and more.

There will be opportunities to share and hear different ways churches can embrace the visual arts, film, street art, dances, writing, poetry, theater, and much more.

We’ve designed this conference to be not only a unique time of gathering ideas and inspiration from creative leaders, discovering resources, and sharing with peers, but also a time of spiritual and mental refreshing. In addition to the many valuable workshops, each day you’ll  have the opportunity to take a creative break in the Creative Room, connect with other attendees, or get specific prayer. And from the time you register for the Indianapolis conference, someone will be praying specifically for you what God has called you to.  We hope you leave spiritually energized and full of new ideas and inspiration.

Here is a schedule of the conference timing and main sessions topics.

Creative Church Indianapolis

Conference Schedule

Friday, June 15

9:30am- 10:45am            Session One—J. Scott McElroy–“A Vision for the Flourishing of Art and Creativity in the Local Church”

10:45am-11:00am            Break

11:00am-12:00pm           Session Two—Beth Booram–“Awakening Your Senses: Cultivating Sensory Worship in a Congregational Setting”

12:00pm-1:30pm             Lunch Break

1:30pm-2:30pm               Choice of:

  • Workshops
  • Peer Round Table Discussion
  • Creative Room
  • Prayer Rooms

2:30pm-2:45pm                Break

2:45pm-3:45pm                Choice of:

  • Workshops
  • Creative Room
  • Prayer Rooms

3:45pm-4:00pm                 Break

4:00pm-5:30pm                 Session 3–Panel Discussion–“The Power of the Arts in Community Outreach”–Theresa Dedmon, Jessie Nilo, Joe Boyd, Kyle Ragsdale, Christopher Greco

5:30pm-7:30pm                  Dinner Break

7:30pm–8:00pm               Worship—Steven Potaczek and 1000 Generations (Plus the Grace Community Church drama team)

8:00–9:30pm                     Session Four—Rory Noland–“Thriving as an Artist in the Church”

Saturday, June, 16

8:30am-9:30am                (Registration for single day attendees only)

9:30am- 10:45am              Session Five—Rory Noland–“Cultivating the Heart of the Artist and Dealing with Perfectionism”

10:45am-11:00am              Break

11:00am-12:00pm             Session Six–Joe Boyd–“Telling the Kingdom Story Creatively: Thoughts from an Artist/Pastor”

12:00pm-1:30pm               Lunch Break

1:30pm-2:30pm                 Choice of:

  • Workshops
  • Creative Room
  • Prayer Rooms

2:30pm-2:45pm                 Break

2:45pm-3:45pm                 Choice of:

  • Workshops
  • Creative Room
  • Prayer Rooms

3:45pm-4:00pm                 Break

4:00pm-5:30pm                 Session Seven–Panel Discussion–“Group Brainstorm: Ideas and Inspiration for the Arts in the Church”–Rory Noland, Theresa Dedmon, Joe Boyd, J. Scott McElroy, Jessie Nilo, Christopher Greco, Cathy Howie, deAnn Roe, The Audience

5:30pm-7:30pm                  Dinner Break

7:30pm-8:00pm                 Worship—Jason Barrows and The Heritage

8:00-9:30pm                       Session Eight—Theresa Dedmon–“The Creativity of God Released in His People to Change the World”

Sunday, June, 17

9:30am-11:00am                 Special Arts Service

11:30am-1:00pm                 Special Arts Service

1:00pm                                  Conference officially ends

More about the The Creative Church Conference, Indianapolis!

In Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Uncategorized on May 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm

There are about 40 days to go before the Creative Church Conference June 15-17 in Indianapolis! I’m amazed at what God has put together.  Seriously.

The vision for this unique conference and its sister event in Boise in July is to amplify the conversation about what God is doing with the arts and creativity in the church. We hope to create a sumptuous smorgasbord of inspiring and practical ideas about how to integrate creativity and the arts into the community, services, and outreach of the local church. And to offer inspiration and refreshment for artists and creative leaders.

This conversation reaches across denominational boundaries, so the dream for this conference was to have a mix of perspectives and approaches, to bring together leading practitioners from different traditions and backgrounds, from Presbyterian to Vineyard to Lutheran to Catholic to Charismatic and everything in between. We can all learn from each other.

Rory Noland, author of the classic Heart of the Artist, probably the most widely read book on artists and faith to come out in the last 15 years, as well as the excellent follow-up Thriving as an Artist in the Church, will share about the important place of the artist and the arts in future of the church. Rory was one of the original worship leaders at the uber-influencial evangelical leader, Willow Creek Church (Chicag0) and he brings wisdom and perspective to the conversation.  Theresa Dedmon, arts leader at the charismatic powerhouse Bethel Church, Redding, CA will  share her infectious enthusiasm and thrilling stories about the power of the arts in outreach. She speaks internationally and has seen God move creativity through innovative and bold techniques. She’s also an art therapist and thrives on ability of the arts to touch individuals.   Joe Boyd, amazing storyteller, visionary filmmaker, improv actor and teaching pastor at the legendary Cincinnati Vineyard, will share his exciting takes on reaching out to community and telling kingdom stories creatively. Jessie Nilo, founder and director of VineArts Boise, one of the most vibrant church arts ministries I ever encountered, will bring her volumes of experience on leading artists, practical wisdom for running and sustaining arts ministry, and passionate heart to love people through the arts.  Beth Booram, author of the revolutionary new IVP book, Awaken the Senses, will show us how to engage our senses and right brain with our faith to magnificently enrich our encounters with God, and how to lead entire congregations in the experience.

We’ll talk about engaging the arts in outreach, building community among artists, creating atmosphere and sacred space in our churches, drawing out the creativity inherent in the “average” person, how to start and maintain arts ministry, how to run a church art gallery, and more. Panelists like deAnn Roe, Creative Arts Director at Living Word Community Church in York, PA,  and Kyle Ragsdale, Curator of the Harrison Art Center in Indianapolis, will share insight and answer questions.  I’ll contribute to the weekend with some perspective on what God is doing to awaken the arts and creativity around the world and help cast the vision for a creative church that more fully reflects His love and personality in the world.

We’ll have some creative surprises and opportunities for attendees to get refreshed and inspired with prayer and creative play. We’ve been given the unprecedented opportunity to completely design both Sunday services at the Indy Vineyard on the 17th, to dream about what church could look like with the arts fully  integrated and utilized in services. Attendees will be able to brainstorm and contribute, or just sit back and enjoy.

I’ve been to A LOT of conferences on the arts, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It has the potential to push this conversation to another level. I can not wait to connect and exchange ideas others who have felt God’s leading to reclaim the arts for His glory.

Because the truth is this: creativity, imagination, and the arts were conceived by our God.  They are inextricably intertwined with His personality and He is constantly practicing them–in every sunset, every cloud formation, every atom that dances in a cell. As beloved children created in God’s image, we can’t help but enjoy and practice creativity, too. It’s time to see it flow through the Christ’s church. We may not figure out every detail of how that all works over one weekend in June, but we’ll certainly have lots of fun collaborating with God and each other as we explore the path. And you’ll definitely leave with a better sense of how God may be awakening creativity in you and your church.

I sincerely hope you can be a part of the Creative Church in Indianapolis in June 15-17! Get more information and  register at http://TheNewR.com.

The Finding Divine Inspiration 1-Day Creativity Workshop, April 14th!

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Creativity, Uncategorized on February 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm

We recently announced the Finding Divine Inspiration 1-Day Creativity Workshop, April 14th in Indianapolis. It’s a full day of inspiration, creative activation, and collaboration with God. These are always a blast, and its especially fun to present this at my home church, Indy Vineyard.  Some of the details: 10am-4pm, Saturday, April 14th, Indy Vineyard Church, 8383 Craig Street, Indianapolis.  Click on the link below to register and for more info.(By the way, there is inexpensive lodging within walking distance for out-of-towners.)

And, we should have another announcement soon about a creative worship blowout after the workshop that evening! Stay tuned.

If you’d like to host a Finding Divine Inspiration Creativity Workshop in your area, contact us at: Seminars@FindingDivineInspiration.com

The Epic 2011 Recap

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Family, Uncategorized on February 1, 2012 at 12:06 am

Speaking at the Bethel School of Supernatural Creativity '11.

Although not exactly “The best of times and the worst of times”, 2011 was a bit of a personal rollercoaster ride. I touched on some of the year’s difficulties in the last post, but before January slips away I want to recap the positive highlights. And there were many.

There were exciting opportunities to carry the Finding Divine Inspiration and New Renaissance message to more people in more places in 2011 than ever before. I had the privilege of speaking across denominations and age groups, from Catholics to Pentecostals, and 5th graders to grandmas.  It’s thrilling and humbling to watch God release creativity and open the doors of hearts and churches across the country. I thought sharing some of these successes might be an encouragement to you.

The Releasing

The year began with a January conference called “The Releasing” at Bread of Life Church just outside of Indianapolis. I was invited to lead a workshop and train people in the concept of collaboration with God in our creativity. Gaining the skills of hearing and responding to God’s voice is one of the most important things any believer can do, so helping folks to experience that and then practice it is one of the greatest honors of my life. The most profound spiritual growth in us individually and the most effective work for the Kingdom is built on the foundation of personal experience with and guidance from God.

Suzy Yaraei led a some really wonderful worship during the main sessions of this conference, and I did a little spontaneous live painting.

The Foundry

Live painting during during a service at The Foundry.

In February, it was off to Nashville, TN to speak at The Foundry and attend the inaugural C3 Conference.  I’d heard about the great work with the arts that Scott McLeod and his team at The Foundry and Harvest Sound have humbly and consistently cultivated over the years; weekly worship coffeehouses, church services, worship training schools, music and recording ministry, and mentoring.  And my heart felt at home when I experienced the enthusiasm with which they worship and the love and inclusiveness that pervade the place.  I spoke on Tuesday night to a small but VERY enthusiastic crowd, and snuck back in on Friday night to absorb some of their weekend worship. One of the highlights for me that night was when one of the singers cut loose on the word “blood”, screaming it out like “screamo” bands do. “Nothing but the BLOOOOD!!”  It was thrillingly appropriate.  I look forward to visiting The Foundry again, soon!

C3 Conference

After The Foundry, and still in Nashville, The first annual C3 Conference got underway. The lineup of speakers was remarkable: Andy Crouch, Mako Fujimura, Donald Miller, and more presented some of the richest insight on the arts/faith connection that I’ve experienced at a gathering like this. Organizer Tim Jones offered us booth space to share the New Renaissance mission and materials.  If you are looking for an excellent arts conference and you are anywhere near Nashville, I highly recommend C3, March 1-3. Andy and Mako will both return this year.

Vineyard National Conference

Cactus flower at South Mountain Park, Phoenix.

In May I headed to Phoenix and the Vineyard National Leaders Conference. One of the hats I wear is Director of Arts at the Indy Vineyard Church, and I love the Vineyard’s international legacy in the arts.  The movement has always welcomed artists, having been started by a musician (John Wimber), and Vineyard worship music played a central role in the revolution of contemporary church music in the 80’s. Jessie Nilo, my cowriter and Director of VineArts at the Boise Vineyard, and I believe Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Encounter ’11

In Arts Conferences, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Uncategorized on October 4, 2011 at 1:04 am

Join me for a very cool creative retreat in northern Indiana, Creative Encounter ’11, October 28th-30th!

Growing a Paradise for Creativity and the Arts in Boise

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Church Art, Creativity, Family, Uncategorized on May 31, 2011 at 7:09 pm

The first thing I noticed when I walked out of the airport in Boise, Idaho was an unusual sweet scent in the air, kind of like marshmallows and flowers.  My hosts didn’t smell it so I wondered if it was my imagination or maybe the hand soap I used in Salt Lake City. Either way, I like being greeted by a nice scent in a new town. Aroma travel. Sounds like an idea.

That weekend with the community of VineArts artists from Vineyard Boise Church was truly wonderful. We started with an exquisitely fun Friday night workshop, brimming with enthusiastic artists, at Irene Deely’s amazing Woman of Steel Gallery–which is just as robust and creative as the name suggests. We covered a lot of the material I share in these situations: the New Renaissance in the arts, collaboration with God and hearing his voice, and did several hands-on exercises, but the expectation in the room took the event to a most enjoyable level. I think everyone came away with a new understanding of God’s plan for creativity. I know I did. When the meeting was over Jessie Nilo (VineArts Director) and I prayed specifically for anyone who wanted prayer. The affirming words and pictures from the Spirit  flowed like a mountain spring.

Jessie and I met in 2009 at the CIVA Conference in Minneapolis and our mutual interest in bringing the arts into the local church sparked a friendship.  Later, her group had fun studying  my book, Finding Divine Inspiration, and when it was time to plan their Biannual arts gala, they asked me to speak. This workshop was just supposed to be an add-on, but for me it was the first of many highlights.  Dinner and late-night conversation with my hosts Judy and Dean Estes, whose gifts of creativity and hospitality overflow into every room of their house, followed.  Then, on Saturday, there was a tour of the wonderful VineArts studio and gallery and the Arts Gala in the evening. Artists created throughout Heritage Hall, Vineyard Boise’s large public space, during that event.  There were painters, sculptors, culinary artists (incredible treats with spiritual meanings!), musicians and more. Jessie founded VineArts in 2004 and they use the Gala to showcase their many programs and try to raise some money.  Their ministry has grown to include a large art studio that is open multiple times a week for workshops, open studio time and meetings, regular arts outreach to nursing homes and schools, and more. (See more about what they do here.)

With all they’ve accomplished, the thing I love the most about VineArts is the sense of community these artists have. I felt it in their enthusiasm and expectation at that first workshop and I benefit from it every time I sign on to Facebook or get an encouraging email. I think it comes not only from the culture of their church and its leader Tri Robinson, but also from the fact that they’ve really collaborated with God in every step of building this ministry.

Some time over the weekend, I took a little drive into the mountains that border the city and hiked a bit. I hadn’t realized until I got there that Boise is in the high desert, so I was anxious to get out and touch the rocks and vegetation. I like to do that everywhere I go because its something that helps me connect to a place, to make the experience more “real”. The desert is one of my favorite places to do that, probably because its extremely different from my green Indiana landscape.   That day the sky, the light,  the hills and the rocks with their colorful lichen–everything–was beautiful. And as I broke off a piece of a desert bush, I smelled that fragrance again. It was sage. Sagebrush. Boise smells like sage.   That sweet fragrance summed up the whole trip.

Since that first trip, I’ve spent time with some of the VineArts leaders and I feels like we are family. Jessie Nilo recently joined me on staff at The New Renaissance Rising, and we led two workshops on the arts in the Church at the National Vineyard Leaders Conference in Phoenix in May. ( You know I got in a good hike in the Arizona desert mountains!)  We’ll do prayer ministry in June at the CIVA Conference in LA, and are working on a book called The Creative Church that will help churches release creativity in their congregations through establishing and maintaining arts ministry. Just a few days ago I was with a VineArts team at the Bethel School Of Supernatural Creativity in Redding, CA. They befriended my daughter, Hailee and cheered me on when I led a workshop. If I could have been in two places at the same time, I would have joined a second Boise team in Texas at an arts pastor’s retreat at Laity Lodge. (Watch the http://revelatorart.com site for an update on that.)

May the grace and joy with which VineArts and Vineyard Boise embrace the creativity and the arts in their church become the standard for the New Renaissance in churches around the world!