by Creative Arts Pastor Manuel Luz
One month a year, Oak Hills takes the time to emphasize the arts during our services and in the many other activities of the church. We have visual artists participating in the worship time, musicians performing between services, and other artistic elements like dance and art gallery. And the reasons for this are straightforward—we believe that we are made in the image of the All-Creative God, and part of our journey as disciples of Jesus includes understanding and expressing who He made us to be.
While it seems obvious to us, it is not something often found in many churches. The arts in the evangelical church are somewhat misunderstood and often commodified. And that goes for the artists in many churches as well.
Thankfully, we understand the arts to be more than a medium for a message. It is who God made us to be, and how we can express our lives in Christ to one another and to the world. So during the month of July, if you see a painter or a dancer on stage, understand that they are painting or dancing as an expression of worship, and in a sense, they are worship leaders, just like the people singing and playing instruments. When you see musicians performing between services, understand that they are expressing a unique and God-given gift which needs to be celebrated in the church. When you pass by the art gallery (which features art from our Arts Camp children), understand that the artwork is an expression of young minds who are learning about God and his love for them.
Our scheduled artists for the month include: Jacquelyn Venter (harpist), Mary M. Fong (visual artist), Ashley Hansen (dancer), Artistic License (Vocal Quartet featuring Jason Dyer), Allison Carlos (painter), Anna Agundez (sculptor), Pneuma (Dance Troupe under the direction of Kelly Archer), Michaela Nasello (songwriter), Melinda Word (painter), and Bill Walsh (guitarist/vocalist). Most all of these people are from Oak Hills too! We’re excited, and we hope you will be too!
[Note: Many of you don’t know that Pastor Manuel has written a book on faith and the arts, entitled Imagine That. We recommend it if you’d like to know more about living in faith and expressing the arts.]