In mid-September, I (Matt) had the opportunity to lead a workshop at a local church about worship and local arts. This was in the Balinese community I’ve been working with recently, and I was excited to have the opportunity to run a workshop with them instead of just research. I am pleased to say that it went very well! We all learned a lot about their culture and arts and what the Bible has to say about it, and I hope that this is not the end but rather the beginning of the development of Christian local arts there.
This was a short workshop, just 3 evenings. The original plan was for 5 evenings (Mon.-Fri.) but that conflicted with some church services so we shortened it to just three. That was a little shorter than I was hoping for, but we made the most of the time we had. We covered topics such as:
- Worship in the Bible (the beginning, Moses and the Tabernacle, the temple, in diaspora, Jesus, the early church, and Paul’s writings)
- The Bible, Music, and Meaning
- New Songs in the Bible
- Borrowing Songs from other cultures/languages
- Creating an Arts Profile for their community
- making plans for the future
- sharing the plans with the group
It was a packed schedule! I was pleasantly surprised at how much everyone was interested in the theology of worship; I had expected those sessions to be somewhat dry, but they inspired some serious discussion. We ended with making plans for the future, so participants grouped themselves by area of interest and chose something from the Arts Profile that they would like to encourage, use in church, etc.
At the end, participants presented plans for encouraging new music, reviving a food tradition, looking for someone to help with Balinese dance, using local clothing, and using storytelling for special occasions at church. Overall, for an abbreviated workshop I was very pleased with the outcome.
Now it is in their hands – one principle we work by is helping communities with their needs, but not forcing our ideas or programs on them. This workshop was a great introduction to what this church could do with its amazing artistic and cultural capabilities, but it is now up to them to choose what to do. There’s much more I can do there to help encourage local arts in church, but we will take it one step at a time and see what their needs and desires are.
I hope to hold another workshop like this in November for the churches here in the city, so we’ll keep you all posted!