Sunday, September 19, 2010

Judika and Steve

One huge ‘stone’ in the church is the relationship between artist and leader.

Unless the leader is an artist as well, or at least an arts advocate, there is frequently great strain and pain, with the artist usually being asked to put aside their gifts, complaints, and/or agenda, stop whining, and “Get on with it.” Artists can come arrogantly into the relationship and insist on certain ‘rights’; a lack of discipline and maturity earns them no allies, and undermines what we are trying to do. Relationships are strained to the point of breaking, and so a big part of arts ministry is moderating reconciliation between both parties. And as much as we are advocating for the artists, we are dedicated to challenging the artist to grow in maturity, integrity, grace, and servanthood.

One aspect of this whole mix is to educate leaders as to why the artistic personality operates in certain ways, and how potent a proper arts ministry can be.

Steve, a leader about as left brain as they come (by his own admission), sat next to Judika, an artist who works under him, through our SALT conference. While pleased that a non-artistic leader valued the arts enough to take the time to come, and pay the expenses, I had no idea of their relationship; was it good, bad, strained, or healthy?!

On Day 3, I learned. Steve gave a beautiful testimony as to the contribution Judika made to the team, and we smiled at his humility and grace. Before we could say anything, Judika piped up. “I need to defend my leaders,” she announced, in no uncertain terms. “You may think it’s all on Steve, but let me tell you how arrogant I was…” She gave a disarmingly honest appraisal of her own part in undermining the relationship, and how God had led her into a more humble posture, submitting to leadership that didn’t ‘get her’ and learning how to serve in spite of great misunderstanding. Eventually, both sides began to understand each other, and forge an effective working relationship.

In less than 10 minutes, we saw a stunning display of exactly what we had been trying to teach and encourage among our participants. We could have all gone home happy at the point. Judika and Steve are models of how to work together, arts or no arts: mutually honor, respect and submission to one another. Bravo!!!

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