A Creative Church Book Review Ebenezer Awoyera Arts 105-002

A Creative Church by Todd Smith, from a student who is very much in love with the history of Arts was a great reading. The overall content that Todd Smith provided throughout the book was very interesting and left me wanting to explore more into the realm of the history of arts. His way of connecting past art history such as the Fisk Jubilee singers to present Gospel singers such as Kirk Franklin and Mahalia Jackson was truly outstanding. The below content will express my overall take on his book in a more detailed way

From the beginning of the book, Todd Smith shows his deep passion for the history of arts by dating back to the 18th century where he talks about the origins of the singing schools. With the first pages of his book, Smith brings the pioneers that first mixed gospel and arts together. This was very pivotal and interesting since most people don’t really know the beginning stages of arts in the church. In his book Todd was really trying to get the reader to focus on the importance of the church history and key movements that took place throughout the history of the Church. He articulated his book into different sections that covered theater, music, visual arts, dance, theology education and arts, congregation’s denominations and the arts, and global arts networks and renewal. All of which that broadcast his overall take on the history of arts.
DRAMA!!!!

From the beginning of the book, Todd Smith shows his deep passion for the history of arts by dating back to the 18th century where he talks about the origins of the singing schools. With the first pages of his book, Smith brings the pioneers that first mixed gospel and arts together. This was very pivotal and interesting since most people don’t really know the beginning stages of arts in the church. In his book Todd was really trying to get the reader to focus on the importance of the church history and key movements that took place throughout the history of the Church. He articulated his book into different sections that covered theatre, music, visual arts, dance, theology education and arts, congregation’s denominations and the arts, and global arts networks and renewal. All of which that broadcast his overall take on the history of arts.

On the issue of music in the reading, the origin of singing schools was brought up. The way that Singing schools helped to reform church music, worship services, and educate church goers intrigued me from the view that God could use ordinary singing schools to help promote his word. Visual Arts was discussed in Todd’s book as well and the emphasizes on church building’s being a sign of a visual symbol at first puzzled me but I later grasp more on to what the author was trying to portray. The church itself is a visual to both its members and those who see it from the outside, so in Todd comparing the two I can see how visual arts would be even apart of the structure of how a church is built.
The moving image which came into play in the early 1900s helped evangelism in a huge way. Church used film to achieve their mission of attracting new audiences, of instructing and entertaining their congregations, and of exploiting nontheatrical films to serve the kingdom of God and their parishes. Without Visual Arts in the church great T.V evangelists such as Billy Graham may not have had such a bigger impact on society as they did have. Dance which plays a huge role in the church was also covered in the reading and with it brought a bigger light on my previous assumption on how worshiping through dancing should be presented in the church.
With the help of Charismatic and Jesus movement’s in the church, dancing was more acceptable in the church. Prior to it worship was more a “keep it to yourself thing” as it is today. Holiness camp meetings which started in the 19th century were some of the first meetings to first accept the sense of exuberant worship. With Theology, Education, and Arts, several theological institutions arose. Jeremy Begbie who was discussed in the book established the institute for theology, imagination and the Arts at Duke Divinity school in 2008. With his establishment, he paved way for many other great theological institutions such as Yale University Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The rise of new institutions seeking to further spread the gospel through their school was both astounding and revolutionary for future institutions such as Liberty University.

In the author’s last few pages he covers two different sections in the book. First, Congregation, Denomination, and the Arts which spoke on Bahamas Faith Ministries International Fellowship focused on how the congregation should as well be focused around arts to help promote the gospel. Global Arts Networks and Renewal which was Todd’s Smith last section to close on, emphasized on how important the role of television and Radio played in evangelism. As stated already in this paper, Evangelist Billy Graham used the broadcasting of radio and television to help promote the gospel. A Creative Church by Todd Smith covered key points that occurred during the past of Church Art history all the way to modern day. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Church Arts history or a fan of Art in general.

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