Jason Leith – Part 2

We have a hope

We have a hope

Relational Jesus & The Arts

While working with Edge Project in Spain, we were able to learn more about what it is we are doing as artists on a mission. Digging into the gospel of Mark we looked at how Jesus did ministry and reached the city. One of the most important things we noticed as artists is that Jesus ministry was personal. It was relational. He used story, and imagery as he ministered to the people. He drew people in with parables and miracles. He spoke with acts of beauty more than he did sermons. Lastly, he did not normally call the people to come to him— when he wanted to minister to the people of the town he went to the people.

As artists, this was an encouraging word for us, as the arts naturally function in this way. While we lived in Spain we practiced this type of ministry through our various art forms. It just made sense. We made art in the streets as a way to invite people into conversation. We cooked and hosted community meals in our homes. We hosted Flower Gatherings for women to come and rediscover beauty through flowers, food, and friendship. We played music and rapped in the streets for passers-by to stop and listen.

What we did through our art was create a natural way for relationships to deepen. We simply did this by inviting people into an attractive form of community that was driven by the arts. Instead of inviting people into a theological debate, we were inviting them into a story.

During the community meals for instance, we’d simply invite people we met in the city that week to come to our meals. And through them, several people were introduced to Jesus and some made the decision to follow him for the rest of their life.

At Altea Art nights we displayed our most recent works of visual art, played new music, and read our poetry in a courtyard that was at a cross roads in the town. People walking by would stop and investigate. Much of the time they’d ask, “So what’s this all about?” or “Where are you guys from?” From the beginning, they are initiating the conversation, they are asking the questions, and they are openly engaging with us.  We do not have to try to capture their ear and fight for their time. The creative display has already captured their heart and they are ready to engage in conversation.

From there we can take the conversation in any direction we feel led. It could be about the deeper meaning of the art piece, it could be about our background that influenced the art, it could be about them and what they see in it. But it seems in all these conversations, all roads quickly lead to God. If we make a connection, we might invite them to a community meal or another gathering where the conversation and relationship can continue. It is an incredibly natural way to spark real, genuine conversation and relationship— the way Jesus did it.

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