by Kenyon Adams in Relevant
Kenyon Adams is a singer, songwriter and actor with a passion to see artists living out their kingdom callings. In addition to his life as a professional artist, Kenyon currently works in Arts Ministries at the Center for Faith & Work, Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he continues to nurture community and dialogue among the arts community. His cultural advocacy has not gone unnoticed. Kenyon has served as a White House Presidential Scholar in the Arts and currently serves on the Alumni Board for the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts.
Helping Christian Artists Succeed
Each year hundreds of artists make the move to a major city to pursue their ambitions in the arts. This opens the door to a lot of unsolicited advice: “Be sure to have something else to fall back on.” “Give yourself a time limit after which point you should move on to something else.” “Beware of losing your morals in the theater.”
But rarely will you hear someone say: “Moving to New York? Get ready for a spiritual awakening!” or, “Hey, you should check out this great church there!” Can you imagine if the churches in New York City or Los Angeles or Chicago became so engaged with artists in the city that being an artist there was inextricably tied to questions of faith and calling?
On a crisp, autumn morning this November, I met in the loft space of the Neighborhood Church in the village. Sitting around a breakfast table with artists and pastors from various churches in the city, we talked about how to serve the growing number of artists in our congregations and communities. One pastor wept as he testified to God’s faithfulness in making a place again for artists in the church, and explained that he himself had once been an aspiring painter but quit after he became a Christian. At that time, there was no one to help him integrate his faith and his work as an artist.
That morning over breakfast we recounted the names of early contributors to art and faith dialogue: Francis Schaffer, Madeline L’Engle, Hans Rookmaker, Calvin Seerfeld, Colin Harbinson, Nigel Goodwin and many others who helped to build a bridge theologically and relationally for artists to find a home among Protestant, evangelical churches. We sat together in awe of those who came before us and prayed for the reconciliation of artists and the church.
The rapidly growing number of artists in the churches of major cities and the lay leaders equipped to serve them gives hope to the vision of Gospel renewal in and through the arts…