Question about Professional Skills for missionaries:

"I am an art major and I want to serve overseas. Will my art be helpful in church planting among the unreached?"

"Yes, you can teach art to future Christian teachers."

Answer from Karen in Florida, who has served with Rafiki Foundation in Nigeria and several other countries for 26 years, and is currently the Executive Director.

Yes, you may teach art to future Christian teachers who in turn will reach young people in schools with a great education and Bible study. We offer this opportunity at the Rafiki Foundation in ten countries in Africa.

We have nine teacher-training colleges established to equip African nationals to be Christian classical teachers. All of them need to be taught art during their three-year college experience. We can use artists!

"Use art for evangelism and more."

Answer from Ken, webmaster of Mission Resources.

You could give lessons in art in another country if you knew the language. You could use that opportunity to share the gospel or invite your students to church just like others do using English lessons.

You could take art classes in overseas and witness to other art students.

You could share the gospel outdoors using art. Draw portraits of people and show on the same picture that good works, church, etc. will not get them to heaven!

"Use the arts to transform a community."

See the book, Taking It to the Streets: Using the Arts to Transform Your Community, by J. Nathan Corbitt and Vivian Nix.

"This practical handbook combines real life stories with tested methodologies to create a new paradigm for the role of the arts in Christian ministry and mission. Taking It to the Streets provides a historical perspective and theology for understanding the transforming power of the arts, a vocabulary for discussing the arts outside the sanctuary, and creative methods for turning faith into action in society. An ideal textbook for urban missions and youth ministry courses, Taking It to the Streets will also be a valued resource for churches devoted to creative mission."

You might also contact the ministry Artists in Christian Testimony.

"Yes, it might."

Answer from Eric, who has served in missions for five years in the US and Singapore and currently serves with Joshua Project.

Great question. Nothing would prohibit anyone with an art degree (or any other degree) from serving, but the bigger question is if they have the other qualifications needed. We tend to think of missionaries as formally trained ministers, and for many missions roles this makes sense. A theological degree is not necessary to help plant a church, but for teaching, preaching, and leading a church plant, such training may be necessary.

Missions needs people with a diversity of talents and training. The arts, business, health care, education, and other areas all provide avenues into people's lives and opportunities to share Christ.

If missionaries who have a unique ministry like art do not think of themselves as ministers or leaders, they may not realize that others still see them this way. Recognize that local Christians will usually assume you are some type of church leader if you are being paid by your church to be there. And unless you make all your money from selling art, non-Christians will wonder how and why you are living there. I've seen this on the field.

These realities should not keep anyone from pursing a valuable ministry like this, but I'd encourage you to see yourself as a missionary first, an artist second.

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