Art as a Ministry

Shortly after I moved to Illinois, I was invited to an art circle, a meeting where artists get together and show their work and talk about art. While there, I met a young lady who created art out of light (literally light). It was amazing! When it came my turn to share, I talked about my writing and the books I had published. This young lady contacted me a couple weeks later and shared how my books had intrigued her, so she went home and started reading Daughter of Light.

That connection led to us having coffee and her sharing how she came to know Christ—from an antagonistic atheist to a follower of Jesus—and how her passion is to not only create art, but to reach fellow college art students with the gospel. As a fellow artist, I resonated with her words and was moved by her heart for college students. I’ve been in ministry for a long time, but I’ve never heard of anyone with that kind of passion for art and for students of art.

Not only that, Sara gets college students and speaks into their unique world. She shared with me a story about how she was talking to a young lady who was viewing her artwork and the topic of Star Wars came up. By using Star Wars, Sara shared who God is and how He works in the world. No big words, no eloquent gospel presentation. Just using an image the young lady already knew, and using it to help her to understand God more. To Sara, the gospel flows naturally through her, whether that is directly through her artwork, or through whatever topic comes up when she is speaking to people.

As one artist to another, I am inspired by Sara’s passion and love for art, for God, and for people. Because of that, I wanted to introduce all of you to Sara and the ministry she is embarking on to reach art students. Here she is to tell you her story in her own words.

Being-installation-Sara-paige

During my time in grad school, I realized just how hostile the arts can be towards Christians. I was baptized four months before coming to the University of Illinois, so faith as part of my art was a new concept for me. I felt like I had to hide or be covert about faith topics within my art. I reached a point where I could no longer be ashamed of who God called me to be and the power within His truth. I got a lot of push back from classmates and some professors when I started being open about the influence my faith had on my art. Once I allowed God into my art practice though, I witnessed amazing growth, spiritually, artistically, and relationally.

God is the ultimate creator. He created everything, especially us, in His image. I honestly believe that as artists, when we create we enact on that image of God within us. God wants to be a part of our artistic practices, whether it be visual arts, design, music, theater, dance, or writing. He longs to see His kingdom come and what better way to bring that than through the arts? We as artists make physical the unseen. We take the unimaginable and put it into words/movement/imagery. Our sole purpose is to reflect the glory of God!

My calling is to help shepherd art students at the University of Illinois. There are 2,300+ students in the college of Fine and Applied Arts. My goal is to start a revival and help bring redemption through the arts. These students face many struggles and are in desperate need of the Truth. As a staff member of Illini Life, I will be able to establish an arts outreach and help build a community of artists who will boldly proclaim the gospel.  

However, I’m not currently on campus and working because I first need to build a team of people who believe in what I’m doing to support me. I’m looking for partners to join me in this mission through prayer, resources, and financial support. This is an opportunity to be a part of the bigger story God is writing in the lives of students at the University of Illinois. My goal is to be fully funded by August, so I’m ready to meet the thousands of new students coming to campus. If you are interested in joining me in this mission, please send me an email! I would love to meet you and get to know you 🙂

***

That afternoon when Sara shared her vision and ministry with me, I knew I wanted to support her, not just financially, but with prayer and as a friend and fellow artist. She will be reaching other artists, young people who I will probably never meet or have a relationship with. But she will. And I get to be a part of that, and that’s exciting!

If you’re interested in learning more about Sara’s artwork or ministry, or want to talk drop her an email, here are her links:

Ministry: reliant.org/sara.hoag

Artwork: sarapaigeart.com

Email: sara.hoag@reliant.org

Thanks, Sara, for sharing!

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4 thoughts on “Art as a Ministry”

  1. As a Christian writer I’m encouraged to find that others see their “Art” as a call to be an Evangelistic Christian witness. I’ve been trying to encourage the other members of the Writers Lifegroup at my church to develop our group into an evangelistic outreach to the local writers and wanna-be writers. Initially we’re going to focus around NaNoWriMo to gain visibility and reach new people.

    Writing and Painting, done well, itself can be a powerful Asymmetric Evangelistic witness. Leveraging this by reaching other artists is a perfect evangelistic storm. (IMHO)

    Totally committed, Spirit filled and Spirit led Christians are never idle in what God has called and sent them to do. Our God is a consuming fire and His Fire, just like natural fire, is passionately opportunistic. Our Calling (ministry) is an area where we are uniquely gifted and empowered to help others.

    As a Gospel minster of 45 years experience I know from the inside out that all “ministry” is merely us reaching out in the Spirit, driven by Christlike love, to help everyone that we can Spiritually, Emotionally and Physically. That happens whenever and wherever we interact with other people. It’s as natural to us a breathing. Our calling focuses us on our most effective area of labor.

    My experience leads me to believe that all true Artists are actually Seers in the old sense of the term. We are gifted to see through the surface ‘Schema’ of this world into aspects of the Spiritual Reality that underlies this physical world. That is what gives the spark of living truth to all true artistic works. This is a powerful gift.

    Never let circumstances or resources hinder you in pouring out your Love for others. Use whatever you have at hand to reach out to others. The Spirit of Christ makes our feeblest efforts effective and fruitful, even when we feel powerless and useless. He fills all our love inspired efforts with Power, and especially those in our specific calling.

    Evangelistic Redemption works through personal contact, one soul at a time. However, the Artistic/Literary/Musical soul of a culture does more to form the Spiritual and Moral heart and context of that culture/society than any other single influence in the culture.

    Our culture is Sin-sick in the extreme, If we can penetrate into the society of working artists with the true Gospel reality, we plant a Holy Ghost Explosive into the very heart of our society. Some will be saved outright by our works; but more importantly we’ll be turning the soil of hearts from hard and choked with sinful ideology to better, more receptive soil for the Gospel seed.

    Take heart and rise to the work Sisters and Brothers. We labor in the best of works.

    SGD
    dave (#Newburydave)

      1. Sarah;
        You are an encouragement to me. I don’t know how many more years I have to labor here. I’m about to hit 3 score and ten next spring.

        I’m glad to see that God is raising up others, younger, stronger and no doubt smarter, to pursue similar Heavenly Visions to the one that has dominated my life for the last 47 years.

        Be faithful and never let your zeal waver, regardless of discouraging circumstances. The Sovereign God of the Universe abides in our hearts, thus we always have the devil outnumbered.

        A wise brother once said the our Disappointments are God’s Appointments. He rewards our faithfulness to Him, even when we don’t feel like we’ve succeeded. I know this from much experience.

        After a 69.5 year pilgrimage in this world I can say it is worth it all, even in this life… and so much more when we rotate out of time into His presence.

        Take heart.

        SGD
        dave

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