Why Creatives Leave the Church

The church is made up of all kinds of people–businessmen and women, farmers, industrial workers, theologians, teachers, blue collar, white collar, entrepreneurs, servants, and leaders–but there’s one group of people that the church is in danger of losing: her creatives. 

Why is it so hard for creatives to fit in to the local church? And why do so many artists leave? 

It’s simple…the church has a hard time speaking “creative.” 

In Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class, he says that creatives have fled from rural towns to urban spaces where their talents, skills, and values are a better fit. Could this be true in the church as well? Are we losing our creative class because we’ve made it too hard to be an artist in the average church today?

I’ve met with many young creatives who are struggling to find their place in the traditional church. They typically don’t have a problem with the music or the message; it’s the church culture that’s the biggest obstacle. It’s hard to feel like you belong when you’re God-given talents aren’t valued and, at times, even suppressed. 

I’m not a church historian, but I do know that the Reformation, which was a great movement by the way, was also partly responsible for throwing out church art to fight against the worship and veneration of images. However, in reaction, the church started to embrace a more austere and plain worship style–one where the arts and artists where no longer valued, and to some degree, kicked out with the icons. It was right to put a stop to the worship of images, but as a backlash, I think we’ve been fighting an anti-creative current for generations as a result.  

The bottom line: the church at large needs to learn, once again, how to embrace and empower its creatives. 

We need a creative revolution.

Not a revolution that makes creativity king, but a revolution that seeks to embrace artists. A revolution that restores value to their Kingdom contribution in deeper ways. 

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Brian is a writer and editor from Ohio. He works with creative and innovative people to discover the top stories, resources and trends to equip and inspire the Church.