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Arts Ministry: Nurturing the Creative Life of God’s People
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Arts Ministry: Nurturing the Creative Life of God’s People


Eerdmans 2013

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First United Methodist Church in Augusta, Georgia, gives concerts to raise money for local service organizations. Trinity Lutheran Church in Mission, Kansas, has been sponsoring a religious art show for more than 25 years. Fellowship Lutheran Church runs a Christian arts camp for young people every summer. These are just three of the 18 case studies of practicing arts ministries in Arts Ministry, in which Michael Bauer encourages the nurture and support of all the creative gifts of God’s people.

Bauer lays a solid foundation for arts ministry, grounding it in the historic Christian tradition and urging churches to expand their engagement with the creative arts—“to live and worship in full color,” as he puts it. A concluding chapter clearly lays out how to develop an arts ministry, helping readers to take these ideas from theory to practice, to embrace and celebrate the continuing creative activity of God in the church.

In the Logos edition, Arts Ministry is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Powerful searches help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Discusses various individual arts ministries
  • Considers the need for arts advocacy in the church
  • Examines the relationship between arts ministry and God
  • Focuses on human creativity as it develops in and through arts ministry
  • Explores questions related to the development of arts ministry in the church


  • An Introduction to Arts Ministry
    • A Celebration
    • Arts Ministry: A Walk in the Rose Garden
    • Arts Ministry: Defining Terms
    • Christianity and the Arts
    • Toward a Definition of Arts Ministry
    • Who Is Involved in Arts Ministry?
  • Skepticism about Arts Ministry
    • An Apologetics of Arts Ministry
    • Arts Advocacy in the Church
    • Arguments against Arts Ministry
  • Arts Ministry and God
    • Experiencing God’s Presence through the Arts: What Is at Stake
    • Encountering God through the Arts
    • Recognizing that God Is Beautiful
    • Exploring Transcendence and Immanence
  • Arts Ministry and Human Formation
    • Human Identity
    • Human Formation: Who Will We Become?
    • How Does Art Help Us Grow toward God?
  • Arts Ministry and the World
    • The Arts Minister as Servant
    • Arts Ministry and Evangelism
    • Arts Ministry and Community
    • Arts Ministry and Social Justice
    • Arts Ministry and the Cosmos
  • Arts Ministry and Human Creativity
    • Creation and Destruction
    • Dry Bones: The Imagination in Christian Life and Witness
    • The Meaning and Significance of Human Creativity
    • Toward a Theology of Creativity
    • The Creative Enterprise
  • Arts Ministry and Worship
    • Ritual Moments
    • Worship as Art
    • Artful Worship
    • The Arts in Worship
  • Toward a Theology of Arts Ministry
    • How Do the Arts, Beauty, and Creativity Impact Human Life?
    • Art as Meaningful Communication
    • On the Objectivity of Beauty
    • Making Artistic Judgments
  • The Practice of Arts Ministry
    • A Model
    • Theoretical Considerations
    • Practical Considerations

Praise for the Print Edition

This volume is the best available guidebook to the emerging field of Christian arts ministry. Michael Bauer lays a solid foundation for arts ministry, grounding it in the historic Christian tradition and urging churches to expand their engagement with the creative arts—‘to live and worship in full color.’ Eighteen illustrative case studies help round out Bauer’s rich discussion.

—John D. Witvliet, director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

There are remarkably few books on arts ministry in the local church, and very few of them do justice to the sheer diversity of expression such ministry can manifest. Ecumenical and warmhearted, practical and positive, Bauer’s book will provide great encouragement to churches on the ground.

Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke University

This is an unprecedented exposé on arts ministry—what it is, how it works, and why it succeeds. With unblinking, erudite analysis, Michael Bauer elucidates the meaning that is mediated through arts ministries. His myriad examples are richly ecumenical and resourceful in their capacity to captivate mind, body, and spirit. This must-read book will convince even the disinterested. Through this work Bauer succeeds in undergirding a nationwide movement.

—Catherine Kapikian, founder and director emeritus, Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion, Wesley Theological Seminary

For anyone wanting to explore the field of arts ministry, this book is a superb and remarkably comprehensive primer. Whether readers are most interested in the theological, aesthetic, or practical aspect, they will discover a solid foundation along with a generous list of resources for further study and application. Best of all, Michael Bauer’s perspective is a refreshing antidote to the frequent laments I hear about the current ‘decline of artistic standards’ in the church. . . . Bauer’s enthusiasm for the work of the Spirit in the church today is contagious! I recommend this book heartily to professional artists, clerics, and laypersons alike.

—Stephan Casurella, director of music, Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati

Product Details

  • Title: Arts Ministry: Nurturing the Creative Life of God’s People
  • Author: Michael J. Bauer
  • Series: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies (CICW)
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 352

About Michael J. Bauer

Michael J. Bauer is professor of organ and church music at the University of Kansas. In addition to his university work he has served on the music staff of 12 different churches and established arts ministries at three of those churches.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition