As Jesus following artists, we often talk about our Audience of One. God is our only audience, His opinion is the only one that matters, we don’t need to dance to impress people or gain their approval. 

True. Completely valid. I totally agree. But what about the physical audience? We are pursuing a performing art in which “success” is based primarily on visual aesthetics and personal opinion.  

Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile these two ideas. On one hand, if God is our only audience, why don’t we just put on a show for an empty auditorium? Or are we supposed to go into our closets to dance like we’re supposed to pray? But on the the other, wouldn’t that be like putting our light under a bowl if we’re called to use our gifts for His glory?

I confess sometimes I’ve thought shouldn’t care about the audience. Yet that’s pretty much impossible. They’re sitting right there–artistic staff judging your readiness for the next role, teacher scrutinizing technique and coaching you towards perfection, peers either cheering you on or waiting for you to get injured, your family proud to know someone on stage, or some random person who paid upwards of $50 to sit in a seat for two hours. It seems kind of wrong to just not care about them. 

We’re coming at it from the wrong angle

The curtain goes up but the wall is still there. Pride makes us think we have something to offer them; a service they might benefit from. An “us” and “them” mentality cultivates a sense of superiority and comparison. We feel good about all those years of training and flex our muscles in satisfaction. In reality, our art is just another channel of communication. It’s a language. A conversation. 

From isolation to community.

Beyond the footlights, is a collection of human beings just like us. Precious souls behind every pair of eyes glistening in the blackness. Souls that have an eternity ahead of them. Souls that need hope. Hearts that need mending. Walls that need to be torn down. Wounds that need to be healed. Confidence that needs to be restored. If we’ve really experienced His love and grace, how could we not care about them?  

Art is a medium of exchange–our language. The choreography is the structure of the conversation and the performance is an invitation. An invitation into a BIGGER story, the greatest story ever told, the JESUS story! 

Because He has redeemed us we do have something to offer–hope! Not through pride, training, or knowledge gained by study but through humility. In offering our lives to the King as an empty vessel, He fills us that we might be used to offer His abundant life to others and make His name famous. 

Yes, God is our Audience of One but we have a physical audience as well. May you dance [create] not to impress but to engage. May you offer yourself that they might experience His love, beauty, and goodness. Extend the invitation into the JESUS story, that they might join this Divine Dance with our Maker.

Something to think about

"To 'make it new.' The 'it' is the truth of the world. A work of art doesn't invent truth, but it does make it accessible to us in ways that are not normally available because words and images have been tarnished by overuse or neglect" ~Ezra Pound

How can we use our art to present age old truths in new ways? Is it possible for art to present the truth more clearly than words are capable? Does this inspire you to push for more creativity and innovation?

the arc [/art] of storytelling

In our culture, he who tells the best story wins. Creating great narratives that produce epiphanies involves a particular talent that applies far beyond film and changes the way you write books, marketing copy, funding proposals, research reports, sermons, and so much more. Bobette Buster has built and sustained a long, respected career in the film industry by being the best at finding and developing epiphanies in some of the greatest movies we've all enjoyed.

Watch the Q video here

{I think this should be one of, if not the, main goals of the art we make -RKD}


a letter to Jesus following artists

…fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience…~1 Timothy 1:18,19


Dear Jesus following artist,

I know you’re at a crucial place in your career. It’s time to make a decision; is this what you really want to pursue? You think it is, you think this is where God is calling you. But it’s so dark, it’s messy, that environment is not entirely healthy. You’re wondering if you’re even ready to handle that. I mean, what if you fall away from the Jesus path? In other words, how do you keep your faith in the arts world?

Good question. Every Jesus following artist wants to know how to be in the world but not of it. It would be easy if we could condense it to a formula or three-step plan but learning to answer this question is part of the journey. Here’s a few things I’ve learned so far. 

First of all, Don’t let the fear of “losing your faith” keep you from pursuing what God has called you to do. If God is calling you into the arts, go for it!! Yes, it might feel safer and more comfortable to stay in our little, Christian bubble but would that be walking by faith? To put it bluntly, would it be obedient? We were put on this Earth to be lights in the world (Matthew 5:16). Know and live confidently in the promise that if He leads you somewhere He will equip, guide, and protect you on the journey while glorifying and drawing people to Himself (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Most importantly, keep your eyes on Jesus. Immerse yourself in scripture so that you will be ready for anything at any time (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Timothy 4:1-3). Renew your mind with His Truth so that you will be able to distinguish what is wise and right (Romans 12:2). Also, constantly check your motives and goals. Ask Him to mold your dreams and desires to His (and be ready for this to be a painful process). Let Him be your ultimate goal and you will be fulfilled. 

I know sometimes it feels like we’re all alone. And as much as it sometimes seems appealing to be an island, we’re not meant to be. Surround yourself with like-minded community both in and outside of your environment (Hebrews 10:24-25). There’s something about being around other people that inspires, connects, and encourages us in our work. As the body of Christ, we’re instructed to work together to further the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Also, find a mentor; allow yourself to be vulnerable with and honestly accountable to someone. It really helps. 

Sometimes the lines can get a little fuzzy when we venture into the territory of standards. We often overcompensate with a bunch of rules when we should be listening to the Holy Spirit. Yes, our lives will look different from those around us but be careful not to major on minors. Let your life be different because of the work of the Holy Spirit within you, rather than the rules you follow. Ultimately, living out our faith is an individual process that looks different for everyone but whatever you do, do not compromise the standards God has set. Your career is not worth a conscious decision to live in sin (Titus 2:7-8). Remember that everything from our attitude to our actions represents Jesus (Phillipians 2:13-15)

I’m going to be honest. It’s a hard road. And it’s not always clearly marked. It’s a walk of faith being led by the Holy Spirit day by day. I know sometimes it feels like all the pressure is on us to rep Jesus well. But we have to remember it’s not, he can rep Himself just fine without our help.  Yes, we will make mistakes along the way but you know what’s beautiful? We serve a God of grace. A God who will equip and prepare us to handle whatever situation we’re brought through. He’s the One who will speak through us in our weaknesses and use our tiny, broken stories to invite people into His great big, beautiful story.

Be encouraged. Make your art. Be inspired by the Master Artist. Boldly proclaim His freedom. Confidently embrace the creativity He’s given you. Fearlessly pursue the dream He’s planted in you. Remember that you’re not alone and keep shining! 

…stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain ~1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV


Standing with you,