Over the years, I’ve seen and heard Christian artistes say “Pastors and church leaders are not supportive of their ministries/art” and it is not just speculation; the artistes really believe that the church leaders aren’t doing anything to support and appreciate their art.
Are the artistes right? Are the leaders of the church really unsupportive of Christian artistes? Are the expectations from the artistes justifiable? What is the position of scriptures on how church leaders should be involved with artistes and ministers alike? These and more I will attempt to answer in this article.
I once asked an artiste:”what do you expect from your church leader(s) as regards being supportive of your art?” His reply: “They create opportunities or platforms for me to showcase my art by inviting me to minister on stage; they sponsor certain projects and stuffs like that.”
This really is the mindset and expectations of most Christian artistes. They believe that church leaders should invest more into artist development via sponsorship, patronage and the likes. While some may agree that these expectations are just, let’s find out from scripture what exactly the job is description of the leaders and how it relates to artist appreciation and development.
Ephesians 4:11-12 NKJV
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
From the above text, we can identify the five angles to church leadership and more so what their assignment is.
The primary role of church leadership is to ‘equip’ ‘the saints’ for the ‘work’ of the ministry. First thing I’d like to point out is that the leaders aren’t called to do the work but to equip those (the members) who are to do them. Second implication of the above text is that every church member is called into ministerial work.
This challenges the scope of reasoning we are used to because we think ministerial work is confined to the forewalls of church and to the leaders! On the contrary, the ministerial work is for us (the saints).
Now, the leaders: they are to equip! Which means that the artiste’s expectations of support from the leaders are justified? Having established that, the next question is ‘How are the leaders expected to go about this equipping business?’
Quite straight forward I must say. The gift of the Spirit bestowed upon each leader gives a clear indication of how she go about equipping. If an apostle, he is to equip through apostleship: If a prophet, by prophesying. If an evangelist, by evangelism. If a teacher, by teaching and lastly by pastoring if a pastor.
From this perspective, we can now see that although the artistes are right to expect support from the leaders, they wrong on how the support should come. As an artiste, you fall into the ‘saints’ category and as such, you have the right to be grieved if the prophet isn’t guiding you in the prophetic, if the teacher isn’t teaching you the word that you clearly need to do the work and so on. But if they are working within the scope of their appointment, then you shouldn’t fault them for not equipping you the way you expect for their expectation to fulfil is God’s not yours.
But you need exposure and promotion, you need airplay and screen time, you need sponsorship for your tours and concerts, you need to be able to market your art and so on. How are all these to come about? The Saints. As it is your ministerial duty to be an artist, it is the ministerial duty of some other saint sitting in the congregation to be a marketer, another, a TV/radio station owner, another on-air personality, another concert promoter, another a financial investor etc. Your work ought to be your ministry. Because most people are not aware or are negligent of this duty, you discover that the expectations from the leaders are enormous and out of place.
Dear Artiste, who do you need to play your songs? Who do you need to get sales for your CD’s? That would be a marketer, not your church leader. Who do you need to get you performance opportunities? Again, that would be a manager, not your church leader. Who do you need to finance a project of yours? A financial investor, not your church leader. Whatever it is you think you need to excel in your ministry, it has be deposited into several individual accounts that each may supply one to the other for overall growth of the body- Eph. 4:16
The duty of the leader is to equip the financial investor, the promoter, the marketer, the artiste and everyone else in the same manner; through their spiritual gifts while it is expected of the saints to consolidate with one another to experience growth and effectiveness in the carrying out of their ministerial duties that none may be left struggling.
Again if the leaders are not fulfiling their parts to equip the saints, then you have a right to be agrieved. But if they are, shove your grievances asides and network with your fellow saint to execute whatever you have plans to do.
This is no rocket science. Do we not have Christians who are radio and TV station owners? Do we not have Christians who are OAP’s? Do we not have Christians who are promoters and managers?! Quite clearly we do! As a matter of fact, we have more professing Christians in entertainment/art than those of other religions so why then are Christian artistes suffering/complaining of neglect?! it just shows how unhealthy the state of the flock is. In line with this, church leaders will have to take that equipping business more seriously to make the saints aware that your work is your ministry and a fellow saint needs you to be able to do theirs more effectively.
Dear artiste, clearly you can see that your expectations from the leaders were misguided. What you seek is not standing on the pulpit before you; it is sitted in the pew right beside you.
Let the word guide our hearts aright.
is a Writer, Educationist and Spoken Word Artiste.
Twitter: @| @GreatDaniel_ - August 5, 2022