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Real beauty, artist says, flows from serving God

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For Richard Hight, art isn’t just a talent. Color, composition, shape and design are all important, but the real beauty comes in serving God.

“I’m an artist because that’s what I do, but that’s not who I am,” Hight said. “Who I am is a man who’s experienced the love, grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Art is the way of expressing that love.”

Hight, a chalk artist from Tulsa, Okla., presents the gospel through his chalk art demonstrations at churches, schools, conferences and other events across the nation. Hight discussed using creative talents as evangelism tools at the National Creative Arts Festival, Nov. 8-10 at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn.

Hight urged painters, designers, photographers and writers to aggressively seek opportunities to serve Christ. Through serving and meeting needs, opportunities to use any gift, artistic or otherwise, will come, he said.

“As you go out in the name of Christ and you’re serving others, your gifts are going to rise to the surface, but only when you’re doing something,” he said.

Hight also offered several concrete suggestions for those actively trying to find a way to use their art in ministry. He encouraged the artists to find a mentor and warned against simply generating ministry ideas. Instead, he stressed being a creative person but also someone who can implement and organize a ministry.

“Start slow and implement,” Hight said. “Develop a particular idea and do it until it’s run its course.”

It also helps to consider how new ministries will complement other opportunities within the church, such as drama or puppetry, Hight said, suggesting a creative team be formed of people with different gifts to work together to develop various ideas.

But for Hight, the most important step in using talent in ministry is to remember that it is a ministry. He urged his listeners to learn not to take criticism or glory too much to heart.

“I want to be a minister, not just organize color and shape,” he said. “Don’t compare yourself to others, you are individually and wonderfully made with the personality God has given you. I want to be faithful to what God has called me to be.”

Ministry is the overflow of that faithfulness, Hight said. Talent in whatever form it may take is simply the tool God uses to minister, just like the brushes an artist uses to paint a masterpiece.

In the end, the emphasis should be on serving God and painting the message of his gospel for the whole world to see, Hight said.

“You are a portrait painter. You’re an artist because you’re going to be painting the portrait of Christ to this world,” he said. “Go out there and use your gifts and abilities to introduce them to Christ by whatever creative means you can.”

The LifeWay Church Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored the National Creative Arts Festival, which drew more than 1,600 participants.

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  • Mandy Crow