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Dramatists underscore honesty, humility among key mandates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For creative artists to effectively communicate the gospel message, they must pursue five mandates, two Christian dramatists told participants in the National Creative Arts Festival, Nov. 8-10 at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn.

Dramatists Dennis Parrish and Jason Tilley said Christian artists must pursue honesty, humility, the need to speak of greater things, the need for revelation and the need for their creative gifts to be trained.

Parrish, associate professor and chairman of the Center for Christian Communication Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, elaborated, saying Christian artists need to know how to be honest with God’s Word.

“You use the art form to make the gospel relevant and understood,” he said. “We must train the gift God has given to us.”

Tilley, a recent master of communication arts graduate from Southwestern, said Christian artists also must possess the qualities of character, servanthood and excellence, while being an active part in the community of artists.

“Artists can teach others integrity,” he observed. “We stay the course when things go wrong. We know God is in control.” Citing Scripture references related to integrity and character, he told Christian artists that 2 Corinthians 13:5 “helps one to take a spiritual inventory.”

Tilley said servanthood, modeled by Christ, teaches artists to give to each other. Urging conference participants to “die to the desire to be the greatest,” he said, “One of the greatest freedoms in doing ministry in the arts is the freedom from worry. This is not about your being the best actor but about bringing the message.”

Developing skills, giving one’s best to God and being creative and original, Tilley said, can develop excellence both in one’s art and in one’s life.

Community that develops among artists can be enhanced “when actors spend time together in prayer and Bible study, he observed. “You learn to work as a team that is the body of Christ,” he said.

Among negative qualities he cited for those who minister through the arts are an attitude of superiority, selfish motives, perfectionism and jealousy.

Parrish cited Psalm 115, saying artists should give glory to God, rather than keeping it for themselves.

The LifeWay Church Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored the National Creative Arts Festival. More than 1,600 persons participated in the festival.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ARTISTS’ MANDATES.

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  • Charles Willis