Reflections on Life as a Fine Arts Missionary

Reflections on Life as a Fine Arts Missionary

Guest post from Rachael Kemp. Rachael grew up in the Christian fine arts world, which prepared her for a life as a Christian working in the arts.

Every Christian is a missionary, whether they realize it or not. Whatever career you work in or country you live in, it is your responsibility and call to show the light of Christ.

When I was growing up, I was surrounded by people who said they were called to the mission field. They were usually referring to places like Africa or South America. I never felt called to a different country, but rather to the arts community in my own city. Around age thirteen, I joined Rejoice Dance Ministry through Arts Alive. At the time I was already taking lessons multiple nights every week, but I wanted to reach out beyond the classroom. Rejoice traveled to different festivals and churches, using dance as an act of worship and evangelism.

This experience taught me at a young age that art is not about glorifying ourselves but rather glorifying beauty and its creator. Even as an adult, I am constantly reminded that everything I do on stage is not for my own fame, but rather to point people towards Christ. It is my ministry.

Any Christian in modern culture knows that navigating “in the world but not of it” is complicated. For me in particular, that saying could be changed to “in the show but not of it”. Every time I consider auditioning for a production I have to ask myself, “Is this a story worth telling?” Some stories show the deep ugliness of the world and address controversial topics, but ultimately end with redemption. Other shows are lighthearted and happy, and can simply be used to help hurting audience members escape from their pain for a couple of hours. Ultimately, I keep in mind what the audience will walk away with.

Of course, the audience members are not the only people affected by my work. While the audience sees my performance on stage, it is primarily my performance off the stage that impacts my coworkers. It is not always an easy thing to keep up a daily Christ-like posture, especially when surrounded by extremely vocal, proud, and liberated unbelievers. It gets even more complicated when some of them become dear friends of mine. However, it is these people who are most in need of a true example of the Christian walk.

More than once, I have felt like the only light in a dark place, and it can be draining and lonely. But through bravery, humility, and a sacrifice of kindness on my part, as well as an abundance of grace and guidance from God, I have had the joy of seeing how He has worked to soften—even a little bit—some hearts.

Not every show I am a part of will be as full of the Gospel as Les Misérables and not every cast member I interact with will walk away with a full understanding of salvation. When opportunities arise, I try to communicate what I believe as clearly as possible, and when they don’t I present the love of Christ in my everyday life. I don’t know what my cast mates have been through or what opinions of Christianity have been formed in their hearts, so I trust the Lord.

In the end, my calling is to present the love of Christ the best way I know how, whether through shows or personal interaction, trusting that God will water the seeds that have been planted.

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