Arts for Christ: An Artistic Umbrella in the Arab World

Arts for Christ (AFC) aims to move the hearts and minds of artists to glorify God and proclaim his love. This will be achieved through their talents and the influence of their lifestyles, whether directly or indirectly, in their societies and communities.

Believing in the power of change that can be brought by the Holy Spirit through the arts, AFC motivates a tremendous transition in the artists’ lives as they explore meanings and values of life and what they can do for the community.

Mission and vision: To redeem arts for Christ; to spread the kingdom-based values of love, tolerance, peaceful co-existence, respect of the other, and community service; and to invest in these values in creating a collaborative work toward a better future for local communities.

Overall goal: To mobilize professional and amateur artists in the Arab world; to train and encourage them to explore their talents and exchange knowledge by building bridges with their societies and communities.

  

As God creatively brought the world into being, he also empowered humanity with unique artistic communicative talents which are one expression of the divine image we all bear. AFC encourages artists to be where God wants them to be to honor him. God seeks to bless our Bezalels (Exodus 31), the crafts workers who would creatively demonstrate God’s word to the Church and the world.

Specific Objectives
In doing the above, we have some very specific objectives, including:

Objective 1: That amateurs and professional artists from various backgrounds practice their social responsibility to develop their local communities, capitalizing on the learned values of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and social cohesion through artistic expression and teamwork.

Objective 2: That partnerships be developed with educational and Christian institutions to have the vision accomplished.

Our strategies are as follows:

  • Act as an umbrella for artists through facilitating camps, forums, seminars, and meetings to help artists realize the value of their gifts and encourage usage of their gifts, and also to motivate the Church to understand the real value of arts and media.

  • Facilitate technical and spiritual workshops for talented people to learn how to deliver kingdom-based messages and values in a creative manner.
  • Prepare and arrange two libraries (physical and electronic) to be available for the artists.
  • Facilitate Art Reach trips to different Arab world countries, where arts play a role in community development and building different kinds of bridges.
  • Support the use of artistic multimedia at churches, helping churches to develop creative praise and worship time.
  • Establish arts centers in different cities in the Middle East. These centers will:
    • Carry out the mission and vision while implementing the strategies.
    • Provide academic artistic teaching for Christian/non-Christian artists.
    • Help build bridges between the artists and their communities.

 

As we work together for the advancement of the creative use of arts for Christ, we begin at a place of shared beliefs and values:

  • Jesus Christ is our savior, redeemer, and the greatest artist. God is the source of creativity—he creatively founded the world and communicated with us.

  • We believe in the redemptive power of God which can empower artists to glorify God while practicing their creativity.
  • We value the beauty of art and its role to give praise to our creative God.
  • We value tolerance and peaceful co-existence and urge artists to use different arts to celebrate these values within their communities. We believe in building bridges with the community through providing creative services where arts act as tools for communication.
  • We believe in the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in and through the lives of artists. What God wants to reveal about himself and through his glory can be brought forth through artistic expression.
  • The gifts, talents, and values that God has given us in order to express his beauty (in all its various forms and expressions) are guided by the work of Holy Spirit in the redeemed hearts of artists.
  • We believe that we shall reap eternal results [“gold, silver, and precious stones” (1 Corinthians 3:11-14)] as we practice the talents God has given us for the glory of his name.
  • We believe in encouraging amateur and young artists to continue learning about the will of God in their lives and communities.
  • We believe in the power of change that can be brought into the communities through artistic expressions of various types.
  • We believe in the redeeming power of Christ through arts.

AFC Programs
Arts for Christ programs can take a variety of formats, meeting needs in various ways and expanding the impact of knowing and loving our creative God:

Outreach programs for street and underprivileged children in Cairo. Thousands of homeless children live on the streets of Cairo where they face all sorts of horrible abuse and maltreatment. These deprived children adopt hateful attitudes of violence, theft, hatred, aggression, and begging. AFC, in partnership with other social workers, is committed to providing art programs that includes practical workshops and art therapy for abused children.

Artistic events for professional and amateurs artists. No professional umbrella exists for amateurs and professional artists in Egypt (or even the whole Arab world). AFC provides a platform for artists to express themselves, learn professional techniques, and network with other artists in the field.

Artistic trips, which we call Art Reach, are organized, in which artists visit different locations that have cultural or scenic values so as to help them gain needed experiences on the artistic, social, and communicative levels. We also hold band tours, art exhibitions, seminars, and workshops as a platform to reach out to the different communities. These trips have proved to be a wonderful resource for bridge-building in the diversified communities that we find in North Africa.

Arts for Christ needs your encouragement, prayer, and the release of artists and resources. If you wish to participate in the vision of the greatest artist—the Lord of all—to reach hearts, minds, societies, and nations for his glory, feel free to visit our website at www.artsforchrist.org or email emile@artsforchrist.com.


A.G. (pseudonym) is founder and director of Arts for Christ.