The Holy Spirit is preparing His Bride in a heavenly pattern of worship that will move us into the worship of Revelation. When we have been given access to the throne and the king's chambers, are we going to want to stay in the outer court? No, we want to enter, but we also want to learn how to appear and behave appropriately in the presence of the King. We learn from Zechariah 3, that when Joshua the High Priest appeared before the angel of the Lord that his garments were a matter of discussion. In Revelation, we see elders bowing and casting crowns, and the armies of heaven following behind the Rider of the white horse in glorious procession. Songs, choreographies, costuming, staging and dramas are detailed in many accounts of worship in the scriptures, and many times, several or all of these elements are present.
What you see in our ministry is a unique blending of the arts. We use banners, garments, dance, mime, drama, exhortation, narration, fabrics stationary and in movement. In the pieces above, (environment) banners, dance, garments are used to paint a picture of worship.
What happens when an artist paints a picture?
- he prepares a canvas to receive the painting
- he might use several kinds of brushes
- many colors and textures: the more variety, the greater possibility for full expression
- he decides what colors to use. Is red more important than yellow? Green more meaningful than blue? Not inherently, but each has different applicatons
- the blending of colors creates excitement and depth and gives options beyond primaries.
Think of the Holy Spirit as the artist. He is the designer and brush-wielder--we are the medium, the colors he places on the canvas as he paints the living, eternal portrait of His Bride. He sees the finished picture--He knows where each color should go and how they should blend with those around them. He knows the best way and clearest way to communicate the whole message. It is something the paint itself cannot know. As we leave the brush of the Master and connect with the canvas, our color is added to the painting in just the right place.
Would it not make sense that the Artist/Designer would want to blend the palette? To interweave the different colors available to Him, to use them together in a way more intense and powerful than they could be used alone? This is the opportunity we have when we bring our various giftings and expressions together. If we will allow it, we can be woven into an exquisite, intricate tapestry of color and design that speaks truth to the world and brings glory to the Lord.
Hindrances to cooperation in the arts
It seems that in most bodies and even worship ministries, there are struggles and tensions between the different ministry expressions. In most circumstances, the phrase worship team is used as an interchangeable term for the music team. Musicians in many cases, seem to reign supreme, with dancers and drama artists competing for service time and platform space. The ministries are viewed as several separate teams that have to figure out how to get each other to let them do "their thing". Rarely is there an understanding of the worship team as a whole unit, with leadership by mutual submission in the service. When the all the arms of the worship team view themselves as one team, the relationship and trust that builds is the foundation for leadership through mutual submission.
How does leadership by mutual submission work? It is not just a free-for-all where everyone does their own thing and then passes the ball off to the next person vying for attention. There is a hierarchy of government involving both headship and leadership. There is someone who is in charge of the flow of the meeting, such as a pastor or director. The music leader does, in fact, control the flow of the music, but remains open to support others should prophetic movement or song come forth. Pastors or prophets might break in during the flow with a move of the Spirit. In the atmosphere of trust found in a unified team, an opening will be made in the musical flow and all will continue in peace. All of these leaders are listening to the Holy Spirit and testing the wind for the next direction. They respect the giftings and wisdom in the other leaders and are eager to allow whoever has the fresh Word of the Lord to bring it forth.
Unity of the body is an important doctrine of the Church, but we don't often see it walked out in the context of arts ministries. Why is this? What prevents the Master from blending the palette?
Because artists have highly developed gifts of expression,--passions, emotions and motivations are also magnified. Jealousy and competition are frequent problems. Our overall spiritual vision is often nearsighted. We have the tendency to see the interpretation of a piece in the perspective of our own art form. We don't see the whole picture. We may think what we are doing is more important, more valid, but competing for space and prominence does not honor God.
Phillipians 2:34 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look, not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
We must see beyond the scope of our own giftings and expand our vision. When we have an opportunity for interpretation, we must ask the question: What is the most effective form to communicate this message? Or combination of forms? How can I cooperate with other artists to bring a complete message?
Lack of trusting relationships leaves an opening for the enemy to do damage. A friend of mine was given a vision of a wall separating two parts of a troubled worship team. Spears were descending on each group, and each group was blaming the other for the attack. In reality what was happening was the enemy was hurling the spears at both groups. Because of the wall, each thought they were being attacked by the other. The enemy will use us to attack each other if he can. (Message of spears on Kingdom of Darkness banner)
Leaders need to get together. Form healthy relationships. Find and agree upon a common vision. This is pleasing to God.
Psalm 133: 1,2 Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Mt. Hermon were falling on Mt. Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.
Let's look at Aaron. He was the high priest over Israel. The old testament representative of the fulfillment of the promise--Jesus our High Priest and the kingdom of royal priests to which we now belong. For the anointing oil to reach the feet--the part that walks out the vision--the oil must pass over the whole of Aaron--the beard, the robes, and then drip over the hem of his garment to the feet. The oil (life) comes from the head (inspiration of the Holy Spirit) and then to the beard (the representation of eldership) and then the hem, or fringes of his robe (emblems of those consecrated to the Lord) and then is "walked out" in a physical way through expression. Then , it says, the Lord commands the blessing--the giving of life. For each work that we interpret, we must let the oil flow over the whole of the priesthood. As the oil flows, it will bring some forward, set some aside for the moment, or join several to produce the most effective picture so that life is imparted.
Each arts ministry has a call to express the Word of God and impart life through the gifting. This call is just as valid as the call to preach, evangelize, or pastor. We give a message of truth and hope to the world through our expression of worship. I Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare (show forth) the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
We need all the facets of the arts ministry to be available in an atmosphere of unity, so that all of our giftings can be blended into one holy tapestry of worship by our Master artist, the Holy Spirit. This unity brings glory to God and the opportunity for the fullest expression of worship.