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There was a time in the past when the church highly influenced the community in the areas of music, drama, and art. Many of us were able to experience excellent opportunities provided by the schools that we attended through our high school years. At many times, our churches have been the beneficiaries of training offered to young musicians by schools.
However, as everyone is aware, when funds are short, the first things to go are the arts. This has created a void in exposure to the arts for our young ones. On the other hand, this is a great chance for the church to step forward to influence our communities in a way that honors Christ and is a beacon of light in a world of darkness. Many fine churches across the world are making great efforts to fill this void.
John Parker has recently written a tremendous resource book and CD entitled, How to Start a Fine Arts Academy in Your Church, to assist congregations in this important ministry. In his book, which is published by Parker Publications, Inc., Parker provides a step, by step approach to creating a fine arts academy in the local church that is delivered with conciseness and clarity. His accompanying CD contains many forms and documents in both Word and PDF formats that can be used and modified by each individual church.
Mr. Parker started a school for the arts at his church, First Baptist Church, Keller, TX, in 1994. It now has over 350 students and teachers involved in lessons for voice, piano, flute, guitar, violin, organ, horn and more... He is also a well-known lyricist with more than 300 publications to his credit with numerous publishers and is known for his worship resources for the local church.
Here are some benefits that he presents of having a well organized, properly functioning fine arts academy:
To be an outreach tool by providing quality instruction in the arts in a safe and positive atmosphere, a church may be able to attract prospects for the Kingdom that may not otherwise enter the doors.
To aid in the development of students in the areas of self-esteem, social interaction, personality, skill and accomplishment.
To be a source of the church's future musicians. If a church wants to be assured of a well-trained worship leaders and participants in the future, then the church needs to provide the training and not rely on outside sources.
To influence the community by creating an awareness of the arts that is represented by excellence and Godliness.
The church needs to return as the leader in musical, dramatic, and artistic training. While large churches may have more resources, even a small church can open its facilities to a local Christian piano teacher to teach lessons on the church's piano. The artistic seeds that are planted in the lives of young students may in time grow into a positive example of Christ to a needy world for years to come.
James M. Stevens
Senior Music and Culture Advisor