Creating Local Arts Together is a manual designed to guide an individual or group into a local community’s efforts at integrating its arts with the values and purposes of God’s kingdom. The practical, playful text reduces experience-based scholarly insights gained from multiple decades of incarnational ministry around the world into a flexible seven-step process.
This manual is the second book in a two-volume set on the principles and practices of ethnodoxology. The first volume, entitled Worship and Mission for the Global Church: An Ethnodoxology Handbook, presents in textbook format the central “Foundations,” “Stories,” and “Tools” designed to equip readers in exploring more fully this important new field of research and ministry.
- ISBN: 9780878084944
- Pages: 316
- Binding: Paperback
- Published: 2013
- Publisher: William Carey Library
This manual combines intellectual rigor with a loving sensitivity toward local communities, and it’s all informed by a great wealth of experience. In this age of the endangerment of so many of the world’s distinctive artistic traditions—and with the expansion of Christianity often blamed for it—I’m excited by the potential effects of this thoughtful guide.
The sheer breadth of the project speaks of the multitudes of peoples around the world longing to offer worship and witness drawing from their cultural wealth in ways that that bring glory to God. Especially significant is how the dual volumes, a textbook and this companion, “make-it-happen” practical guide, offer opportunities for continued growth in the ministry of the church worldwide.
In the past, Mono traditional instruments were used only for ceremonial rituals honoring ancestral deities. But in 1992 Brian Schrag moved to my village and started learning to play traditional Mono songs on the kundi—a local harp. Eventually a small group joined him and began composing Scripture-based songs. Today, we see a radical change in how Christians live, because God’s message communicated through kundi songs directly touches their hearts.
Those of us who teach Music in Missions, Multicultural and Global Worship, or Arts in Worship courses in theological training institutions welcome the publication of the manual, Creating Local Arts Together. This volume contains specific and clear steps to lead the reader to explore local art forms and to encourage local artists to use them to advance kingdom goals. It also contains many resources for students doing internships in arts in cross-cultural settings. The manual provides a long-needed “how-to” guide built on a fundamental truth, that God is the Supreme Creator, and that since we are created in his image we can inspire and motivate others to use their creativity for his glory throughout his world.
In 2012 I found my wife and myself up in the mountains of northern Philippines conversing with the believers of a tribal group, introducing them to the possibility of using their indigenous musical forms and instruments in their worship. When they said yes to the idea, I began wondering, “How do I start the process?” Creating Local Arts Together is God’s answer to that prayer. I am a musician with no training in ethnoarts, but this material empowers me to do the work of the Lord in ways that will be meaningful and productive.
The book you hold in your hands is the result of great effort by many people who have worked in the area that most deeply touches the heart of a people—the arts. Its seven steps allow anyone, beginner or not, working in a cross-cultural context to integrate arts into his or her ministry. The gospel message is too important to be misunderstood; local arts allow everyone to hear God speaking directly to them. Studying and applying the manual will help you tap into this powerful component of the spread of the kingdom of God.
I have known Dr. Schrag for years. His love for people in general and Africa in particular has always touched me. This love is so intense that it pushes him to share all that he receives from the Lord. In this season—characterized by a growing awareness of African identity in African churches and in Cameroon in particular—this book is like a bulldozer, paving the way for the enrichment of our arts. I strongly recommend Creating Local Arts Together to worship leaders, theology professors, musicians, and all who crave to see peoples of all cultures give the best of themselves to the Lord.
Creating Local Arts Together is the perfect companion to field workers wishing to encourage a community in reaching their kingdom goals through the exploration and power of local arts. The painstaking efforts of the authors combined with their years of field experience provide one with practical tools to apply in research, analysis, and “sparking” of indigenous art for the glory of God and the blessing of his people. This manual is number one on our resource list as it contains in one thorough, yet convenient place so much of the practical wisdom we’ve received from various books, lectures, and presentations.
Step 1: Meet a Community and Its Arts
Step 2: Specify Kingdom Goals
Step 3: Select Effects, Contents, Genre, and Events
Step 4: Analyze an Event Containing the Chosen Genre
4A: Describe the Event and Its Genre(s) as a Whole
4B: Explore the Event’s Genre(s) through Artistic Domain Categories
Oral Verbal Arts
4C: Relate the Event’s Genre(s) to Its Broader Cultural Context
Transmission and Change
Identity and Power
Aesthetics and Evaluation
4D: Explore how a Christian community relates artistically to its broader church and cultural context
Discover a Christian Community’s Arts
Compare a Christian Community’s Use of Arts with that of its Surrounding Communities
Evaluate How a Christian Community’s Arts Currently
Fulfill its Purposes
Apply a Heart Arts Questionnaire to a Christian Community
Evaluate Worship Meetings Using Biblical PrinciplesEvaluate a Christian Community Using the Worship Wheel
Assess a Multicultural Christian Community’s Arts
Interpret Scripture Well
Address Theological Objections
Step 5: Spark Creativity
Step 6: Improve New Works
Step 7: Integrate and Celebrate for Continuity
Closing 1: Quick Reference
Closing 2: Sample Community Arts Profile (CAP) Outline
Closing 3: Glossary
Closing 4: Bibliography
Closing 5: Index of Artistic Domain Research Activities
Closing 6: Index of Sample Sparking Activities
Figure 1: Create Local Arts Together
Figure 2: Components of an Artistic Communication Event
Figure 3: Sample Intertwined Artistic Features in an Event
Figure 4: Categories of Insights
Figure 5: Contours of a Melody
Figure 6: Sample Floor Plan
Figure 7: Worship Wheel
Figure 8: Approach to Artistic Forms