Published on December 20, 2023 by Peyton T. Robbins  
Peyton art blog

The first verb in the canonical Bible is create. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Many of us are familiar with Genesis 1:1 as the opening line to the Bible. Rather than revisiting the creation story, let’s delve into the concept of being made in God’s image as creators ourselves. After all, we were created to be creators.

Chances are, your church features musical art (in the form of corporate worship) as a large part of its weekly service, and music is a wonderful tool to use God-given creative aspects to edify, encourage, equip, and exhort the church, while directing glory to God.

Similarly, but in more subtle ways, your church also likely utilizes visual art every week, perhaps in the form of lyric slides, worship guides, digital newsletters, and church architecture features. All of these are useful and appropriate means of visual art contribution, but they are not necessarily fully utilizing the potential of visual arts. Creating comes in all shapes, sizes, and mediums – and it would be wise to explore ALL these different artistic forms. It is even more important to consider the stewardship of gifts and talents the Lord has entrusted to your own congregation – and to encourage ALL artists within your church community to express themselves and their faith using their creative gifts.

I personally believe churches need to do a much better job of encouraging current visual artists and raising up the next generation of artists who desire to serve the church with their gifts. However, there seems, at times, to be a negative stigma associated with entering the visual arts field. Like many churches across the world, my home church valued the contributions of musical art over visual art. I remember one church leader even warning the church that visual art is a field “filled with darkness.”

This claim, whether it is true or not, is certainly discouraging to young believers who are passionate about the arts. Hearing these negative words was incredibly hurtful to my motivation and my passion to create, and I even contemplated stepping away from pursuing an artistic career entirely. I believe the visual arts field it is only as dark as we make it out to be. We need to encourage the next generation of visual artists who are also believers in Christ to go out and be a light to the world, no matter how much darkness may or may not surround them.

Encouraging visual artists is not as hard as you may think. There are multiple ways of including the visual arts into worship services and many scriptures that can be used as encouragement for these young artistic believers. A student interested in graphic design could be invited to work with the tech team to create slides for worship. Or a student interested in drawing, painting, or sculpture could create illustrative or inspirational artwork to display during the service or out in the foyer. These are only a few examples of bringing the visual arts into a church that both glorifies God and encourages young artists.

If you don’t have the space to incorporate physical artwork into your church, you can always give an encouraging word to the young artists in your congregation and remind them of their God-given talents and abilities. Verses like Exodus 35:31-35 can be used to remind artists that all their work, whether 3-dimension with metal or wood or stone, 2-dimension with engraving or designing, or even verbally through the art of creative teaching, were gifted to them by God.

And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze.

–Exodus 35:31-32 (NIV)

It is crucial that we give the next generation of artists in our churches the confidence to create boldly and use their skills to proclaim the glory of God. What steps can you take within your own realm of influence to consider encouraging young visual artists within your own congregation?

Peyton- eadshot

Peyton T. Robbins is currently a sophomore at Samford University studying as a Studio Art major and a University Fellow. He intends to pursue a Business Masters and a PhD in Art History after graduation. Peyton was raised in the suburbs of Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas. After traveling 10-hours from home to attend college, he revived his fire and passion for the Lord and for the arts. As a student resident for the Samford Center for Worship and the Arts, Peyton regularly engages this meaningful intersection of worship and art to bring glory to God. He attends Mountain Brook Community Church and consistently seeks opportunities to volunteer and to give as a part of the congregation.  See Peyton's growing collection of artwork here:

Read more about visual arts and worship:

Redeeming Wood and Wounds: Worship Through Woodworking

Art is Holy, Worshipful Work

Dear Artists

Where are the artists in your church? The Center for Worship and the Arts wants to inspire you to imagine new ways of incorporating the teenagers in your ministry more fully into the life of the church –channeling their creative passions into a life of worship that glorifies God and advances the kingdom of God in the world. Watch this video now to catch our vision.

Learn more about incorporating visual arts in worship here.