5 Book Studies for Artist Groups

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Studying a book on creativity is an excellent way to build artist community through a shared experience. These books are tried and true studies for Christ-following artists. Each has a companion study guide or questions included.

IMAGINE: A Vision for Christians in the Arts–This classic 2001 book on the arts was just re-released by InterVarsity Press and now includes study questions. Written by Steve Turner, UK poet and writer.  Turner encourages us to Imagine art that is risky, excellent, challenging, and done by Christians.

Quote:  “The arts can sharpen the vision, quicken the intellect, preserve the memory, activate the conscience, enhance the understanding and refresh the language.”


FINDING DIVINE INSPIRATION and THE FINDING DIVINE INSPIRATION STUDY GUIDE AND JOURNAL: Working with the Holy Spirit in Your Creativity–Written by New Renaissance Arts Movement director, J. Scott McElroy (note: this is the New R blog). The new FDI STUDY GUIDE AND JOURNAL takes readers into an interactive experience of learning to collaborate with God.

Quote: “Collaboration with the Holy Spirit gives our work a depth and authenticity that resonates in the hearts and minds of those who experience it. And it opens avenues in us, the artists, to experience more inspiration and joy in our work. Collaborating with God brings us into the fullness of who we were created to be.”

THE HEART OF THE ARTIST: A Character-building Guide for You and Your Ministry Team–Another classic, written by Rory Noland, former worship director at Willow Creek Church, near Chicago.

Quote: “They are trying to be significant in their universe—trying to mean something more than a random collision of molecules. Though modern philosophy tells them they are nothing, their hearts tell them something else. Because their minds cannot fathom what their hearts know, they feel the weight of the God-placed burden. Art often seems irrational, because the heart is reaching beyond the mind.”


THE CREATIVE CALL: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit–A Christian response to The Artist’s Way, this is written by artist and teacher Janice Elsheimer.  She takes us walks us through a process to renew our artistic passion.

Quote: “It takes courage to create, and we all need encouragement to become more creative. As we being owning the title actor, painter, singer, sculptor, photographer, or writer and not merely thinking of ourselves as people who do that kind of thing as a hobby (even if we do!), we will find that all of life offers us the stimulus to create.”


IMAGINE THAT: Discovering Your Unique Role as a Christian ArtistArtist and arts pastor Manuel Luz, share a practical theology for the arts and the special role that artists play.

Quote: “I believe the power of art lies in its transcendence. In he act of art, there is a mysterious, unquantifiable  convergence between the world and the next. We feel it when we allow the silence of an oil painting to touch us. …It’s the same feeling when we grasp the beauty of a sunset or the power of the ocean or the awe of a shooting star.”


Other studies to consider :

UNLOCKING THE HEART OF THE ARTIST: A Practical Guide to Fulfilling Your Creative Call, By Matt Tommey, leader of the Worship Studio. Building on others who’ve gone before Matt leads us into new sense of identity as artists.

THE ARTIST’S WAY: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, By Julia Cameron.  Not a “Christian book”, but every artist should do  this study once.

WALKING ON WATER: Relections on Art and Faith, By Madeline L’ Engle. One of the most poetic and profound books on the relationship between art and faith. (Study not included.)

BORN TO CREATE: Stepping in to Your Supernatural Destiny, By Theresa Dedmon,  This author is a powerhouse of risk-taking creativity.  (Study not included.)

ART AND THE BIBLE, By Francis Schaeffer. The short classic that every Christ-following artist should be familiar with. (Study not included.)

THE ARTISAN SOUL: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art, By Erwin McManus, A shot of perspective and enthusiasm for an any artist.

CULTURE CARE: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life, By Makoto Fujimura. A important message on the roles of beauty, art, and the artist in culture. (Study not included.)

ART IN THE SERVICE OF THE SACRED, By Catherine Kapikian. A rich, practical book on integrating the arts into churches. (Study not included.)


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