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Arts in church planting


4 minute read

WEC’s Arts Release team is passionate about encouraging believers from the least reached people groups to worship using the music and arts that have the greatest resonance in their own culture. As a consequence, they hope to see lives transformed and people worshipping God deeply and freely.

In multicultural worship Arts Release seeks to train and mobilise:

  • People who are already gifted in arts – music, drama, storytelling, dance and visual art – for cross-cultural mission.
  • Musicians and churches in multicultural worship.

Juan is a WEC missionary working among the Basques in northern Spain and southern France. He tells us:

‘When I first came to the Basque country, I started trying to learn the language. In one of the first lessons, my teacher said to me: “If you want to say something important to me, you’d better say it in Basque.” This helped me see how proud the Basque people are of their identity. If I wanted to have a ministry among the Basques, I knew I needed to speak their language and understand their culture.’

There are around 2.1 million Basques living in Spain and 250,000 in France. Today, only 0.5% of the population consider themselves evangelical believers. The evangelical church is seen as a foreign concept, something for the immigrants and not for them. Many evangelistic endeavours have limited impact because they are done in Spanish (or English) and this is not appealing to the typical Basque man or woman.

One of the most effective ways to reach Basque hearts is to use elements of their unique culture.

They have their own forms of dance and literature, and a special form of improvised poetry called bertsolaritza which a group of people get together and improvise a song around a theme.

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Young musicians create songs in their heart-language at a song-writing workshop in the Basque country

In 2012, Arts Release took a group of musicians to the Basque country, where they ran two song-writing workshops. Here, local believers had an opportunity to create new songs in their own language. As a result, a CD with nine new songs was recorded. This is now being used to introduce Basque churches to this 'new way' of worshipping God.

The team saw their prayers answered when, during an evangelistic outreach, a woman approached them, saying she realised that she needed to change and that this could only happen through Jesus Christ. She asked for a copy of the CD, because she wanted to learn the songs the band played and to share them with people who think like her. Arts Release’s hard work is paying off, as more local churches are welcoming Basque visitors and some of them are becoming followers of Jesus.

Find out more about our Arts Release ministry

Arts Release seeks to help believers all over the world to use their own art-forms to shape their communication and worship.

To this end, Arts Release seeks to train and mobilise:

  • People who are already gifted in arts – music, drama, storytelling, dance and visual art – for cross-cultural outreach.
  • Musicians and churches in multicultural worship.
  • Arts Release offers internships, Short Term and long term placements.

We need you to get involved

Are you gifted in art, music, dance or drama? Explore how you can use your gifts for cross-cultural ministry.

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