Looking for young artists

Young People’s Ministries is looking for artists to become “good Charles Wesleys.”

NASHVILLE, TN August 9, 2017 / Discipleship Ministries — Young people in The United Methodist Church are being encouraged to deepen their faith by using artistic witness in the same creative tradition as prolific hymn writer Charles Wesley.

The Conspiritor Collective, a new project of Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a unit of Discipleship Ministries, seeks to inspire new generations of artists to use the spiritual practice of artistic witness to share the Good News and craft faith community revivals.

“We do a lot of things in the church to train young people become good John Wesleys,” said Carl Gladstone, a regional Young People’s Ministries staff member and project lead for the Conspiritor Collective. “This project is an opportunity for us to help young people to become good Charles Wesleys, to live into the hymnody and the artistic heritage of our particular faith tradition as a means for artistic witness, evangelism and then all the good fruit that bears.”

The Conspiritor Collective is not only a gathering of artists, but also a platform for sharing their work with the world and a strategy for translating artistic witness into resources, Gladstone said.

Young and emerging artists are invited to share their work with others online at http://conspiritor.co and find encouragement to explore new liturgical arts, prophetic words and missional actions for the world together.

The website also includes a podcast featuring interviews with musicians, poets, visual artists and writers who live out their Christian discipleship through artistic witness. The podcast conversations allow young people to meet new artist friends, learn more about God’s call in their lives and hone our understanding of the craft of artistic Christian witness.

“This project is an opportunity for us to help young people to become good Charles Wesleys, to live into the hymnody and the artistic heritage of our particular faith tradition as a means for artistic witness, evangelism and then all the good fruit that bears.” ~ Carl Gladstone

An online Worship Arts Incubator will help artists move toward perfection in their craft through workshops, creative partnerships and sessions which produce professional work from creators all along the spectrum of experience.

“With the Worship Arts Incubator, we will help artists speak boldly from their Wesleyan theological heritage,” Gladstone said. “We also encourage continual thoughtfulness about art and the generative tension between artist as performer and artist as leader of congregational worship practices.”

The best of the creative work generated by the collective will be curated and shared by a missional “Record Label,” Gladstone said.

“Through existing and emerging Discipleship Ministries publication and distribution systems, we will connect grass-roots creatives with connection-wide listeners,” he said. “The very content of the songs, poems and visual art shared will remind the church of its own scriptural call to mission and deep discipleship.”

The work of new artists will be shared digitally via Creative Commons licensing and will be accessible for direct use, remixing and sharing as churches see fit.  As the collective grows, new options allowing unique ways to conspire with these artists for the good of the church and the world will be developed.

“The Conspiritor Collective is an opportunity for us to lift up young people in Christian artistic witness to both inform their own faith development and to speak into the life of the church through the development of new worship arts,” Gladstone said.

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