Critical Book Review Anthony Sacco Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation

Art is a way to worship and Praise!

Critical Book Review

Everything on this book review has been compiled from Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation Paperback – May 17, 2015 by J. Scott McElroy.

Reviewed by Anthony Sacco, Liberty University at Lynchburg.

By no other name which man might be saved

Power of the Arts in Your Congregation delivers an insightful account and perspective on using the gifts we have been given to affect the Communities we live in as well as the Church bodies we currently serve in and eventually everywhere and everyone around the World. This book is an excellent resource to students, educators, and all church members. In reviewing this book, the principal criteria included great content, organization, and reference sources. I saw nothing that was a distraction to the story being told or the content of the Power of the Arts.

The Author shows great knowledge of the Arts and had a detailed progression of the Arts and how they are to be used in the edification of the Church, the church body of Christ and to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The reader is taken on a power journey through the power of the art and they receive first-hand accounts from the Author and church members whose talents make this book possible. The tone of the book reflects a Mastery of the topic at hand and it truly deserves a read by all Christians and Non-Christian alike. A quote that best describes this book is:J. Scott McElroy shows how the new renaissance of creativity in our churches is turning the eyes of our culture back to God. Whether you are a seasoned arts pastor or just investigating how the arts might benefit your church, this book’s gathered wisdom and curated advice will serve you greatly.

—Jason Leith, Arts Initiative Director, Saddleback Church

The author, J. Scott McElroy is a proven leader in this field of study and he is an author specializing in Arts with a heavy emphasis on all the talents the Body of Christ has been given through the Arts. In addition to his writing skills His educational accomplishments include earning his degree this book will convince you with practical instructions. The best and most informative chapters teaching all individuals about how to renew the art of creativity in church with a list of (10) special ways that the Arts and the art creativity support our local church’s missions and how as leaders and church members should envision the arts and creativity in their local church.

A wealth of knowledge came from the 4th Chapter instructing the readers how to launch an Arts Ministry in their local Church even if it’s a small Community church or a Mega-church. Detailed instructions are given to make sure leaders are empowering and inspiring the leading artists in the Church.

The next (15) or so Chapters grab the reader’s attention in a greater way with knowledge on how to Craft an Arts Community that is very creative in your church. Lessons on how to structure your church for the Ministry in the Arts and direction on how to properly build a congregation that is creative. The lessons are well thought out and detailed in the book as the Author has first-hand experience in these endeavors. The chapters conclude with a listing of Sermon ideas that will help with the application of creativity. While it is impossible to thoroughly explore all topics on the arts it is very important to implement them in the Sermon applications, they don’t need to be super detailed however they should provide biblical stories/ sources for obtaining more information on the Arts and how they apply to the Christian. As the Chapters move on it discussed the format for (5) interactive Art projects for the churches to do that will spotlights art creativity in a new way. Challenging yet attainable projects that will bring out the talents in the church body. Chapter 11 has a very strategic position to gather and assemble key members bestowed in the “Live Arts” as well as using Dance in the church. Some Southern Baptist’s and other religions might frown on this idea however, after reading it through thoroughly the reader will soon understand the edification intent of the Author. Meaning the skills and talents of the dancers is used to edify the Church and worship the Lord. It was not intended for vanity or self-promotion. pieces of aviation history that span the globe.

The organization of this book allows the reader to follow easily through the chapters. While it is impossible to thoroughly explains, and go through and explore all the topics chapters in my review the readers would be well informed if they carefully read the detailed guidance in Chapter 13 about how to incorporate Video, Media, and film into the Sermons it allows the reader to easily follow the evolution of new ideas and the arts and how they are productive in the Church all to the glory of God. The Author goes as far as dedicating an entire chapter about creating an art gallery in your Church.

The orderliness of this book is well thought out and arranged properly. My evaluation is that everything fits logically into the topic of each chapter, there is a sense of continuity in each chapter that you begin to realize quickly however in the final chapters the reader begins to realize that the Churches need to also reach outside of their four walls and work with outside artists is key. In my evaluation, this is the correct time in History to implement the ideas and sound advice in this book. It may not be God breathed but it is Holy Spirit driven. If the reader reads this book with an open heart asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the talents each of the church members (And what creative artistic talents they) have been given, all churches can us the blessings of the Arts for the Glory of God and the edification of the Church that can reach the people in the Communities and around the World.

The paperback cost of this book is $19.99 or it is available on a kindle for $9.99.

Bibliography

Tommey, Matt. Unlocking the Heart of the Artist. CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2011.

McElroy, Scott J. Finding Divine Inspiration. Destiny Image Publishing, 2008.

Elsheimer, Janice. The Creative Call. Shaw Books Publishing, 2001

McElroy, Scott J. Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation. InterVarsity Press (IVP), 2015

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