A Letter To Creatives

UYWI logo at headquarters
Artwork at UYWI offices by FASM and DVNS

God Is A Creative

The very first glimpse of God we get in scripture is as a creative.

It is in the Book of Genesis, we read that he created the canvas of matter, space, and time (Gen 1:1). And then, as he speaks, suddenly the canvas begins to fill. First, with light, and included in that light is a palette filled with a combination of all colors (Gen 1:3).

If you’re an artist, you understand that a blank canvas is an invitation that beckons your creative spirit. As the story progresses, we see God exercising his creative spirit as he begins to fill that initial canvas with all sorts of amazing, beautiful, and colorful things. As he finishes each stage of his masterpiece, he takes a step back and sees that it is good. But once he is finished and sees the final product, we get the sense he is filled with joy over his creation, exclaiming it is VERY good (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).

“All the beauty we now see in creation comes directly from the mind of God, from his imagination.”(Psalm 19:1)

We Are His Unique Creation

But as we read on, we find something different and unique that takes place when God is forming mankind. It's not simply his imagination he uses as a guide, but rather HIS image (Gen 1:27). He forms us in his image and likeness to inhabit and enjoy his beautiful creation. He in fact breathes into us and we are inspired. Inspired literally means "breathed in", and in the process, he imparts a bit of his creationist "DNA" into our souls.

Mural for World Impact in San Francisco by Camer1
Mural for World Impact in San Francisco by Camer1

It is this creative DNA that is awakened in us. It comes in different degrees and in different ways for each person, giving us, not just the ability to create, but also the desire, and for some, the burden to create. Paul tells us thatm “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)

Throughout the generations we have felt compelled to create things from our IMAGE-ination. Creativity flows through us using the medium and canvas of our choice. Ultimately, the product of our creativity inhabits space and time. In this way, our creativity brings us and others near to God.

“We can feel a special intimacy with our Creator when we are exercising our creative gifts.”

We Are Grateful For You

At Urban Youth Workers Institute, creativity has always been one of our core values. We believe art gives a voice to our experiences. Especially in the context we serve, one of the greatest outlets for pain and suffering in urban culture is art. Over our 30+ years of existence, we have had the privilege of providing a platform for artists to showcase their work. We believe that urban art IS fine art. We have been privileged to give space to artists who now use their creative gift to share the Gospel, literally to the ends of the earth. As artists your gift is a witness and testimony of God's creative Spirit flowing through you.

Shuree Danyell, Chief Creative and CEO 4KMore
Shuree Danyell, Chief Creative and CEO 4KMore

We See Your Struggle

But we also want you to know that we recognize that it is not easy to do what you do. We get the benefit of experiencing the product of your creativity, but we don’t always know the cost of your creativity. We are not often witness to the endless hours of practice it took to get to this place and the struggle and pain you experienced along the way. For some of you, even the church has not been very welcoming, or fair, or maybe even kind. And that's ironic because for centuries the church commissioned artists to create masterpieces as a way to bring glory to God and to educate people about God.

But we are not without hope in this regard. We are believing for a renewed relationship between the artist and the church. As the next generations become increasingly young, urban, and multi-ethnic, and as urban culture becomes the global currency worldwide, creatives are taking center stage.

“For the next generation, art and creativity are part of their everyday social media life.”

They are leaving behind the systems they felt neglected them or held them back and launching their own things, and as artists continue to express themselves in greater and more beautiful ways the world is starting to pay attention.


2018 UYWI National Conference Festival - Aaron “FASM” Vickery
2018 UYWI National Conference Festival - Aaron “FASM” Vickery

You Matter

But I want to be clear that this letter is not meant to be a critique, but rather a celebration. A shout out to the creatives who have persevered and who we believe will usher in new expressions of the local church through their gifts and talents. For all those artists we have had, and continue to have the honor of co-laboring with, we want you to know that we value your contribution to the Kingdom of God. You lead us in worshipping God by using your gift in ways that are unique, beautiful, diverse, colorful, collaborative, expressive, and of course creative. Your ability to see something beautiful in your mind and then bring it to life is inspiring and brings us joy.

So, no matter what your canvas is, no matter what type of artist you are...

We see you.
We celebrate you.
Your gift matters.
You matter.

Thank you for creating the spaces and moments that evoke a sense of awe and wonder in all of us.
Thank you for sharing your gift of creativity with the world.

Continue to be who you were created to be.

BE Creative.

Featured Artists in this Article:

Cameron Moberg | Camer1 - https://www.camer1.com/

Shuree Danyell | https://4kmore.com/

Aaron Vickery | FASM - http://fasm.net

Collaboration on UYWI Mural by DVNS | @Life_Is_Layers

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