Can you offer some tips for starting my own art ministry?
Everyone's journey is different so I can't speak directly into your situation without knowing the details, but I can offer some general thoughts which may help.
If you're inspired to by this ministry and want to start something similar
Firstly, if you're asking because you're inspired to create an art ministry similar to mine, please I am honored that you're inspired! Thank you. Can we be practical about this together for a moment? I want to ask you to set your inspiration aside and consider if you've got the time to do what you're suggesting and also the funds to sustain yourself while you do.
This art ministry is my full time job. In the first couple years, I worked 40-70 hours per week and am finally able to work 40-50 hours per week. I deliberately made zero income for the first year and half to pour all funds straight back into the ministry. In time I have worked hard enough to start helping support my family. That said, I still make a rather meager income, investing a large portion of any earnings back into this ministry to help it succeed - thus impacting more lives. Let's be real, supplies, equipment and technology don't come cheap!
This ministry IS wonderful, inspiring and thankfully impacting lives, but it also requires a TON of invested time and money. If this is more than inspiration and you're feeling led by God, I have a request...
- Please do not use the Bible Art Journaling Challenge (or similar) name, to title your project. I would greatly appreciate you valuing the hard work I've put into helping people on my blog with this project. You can do this by coming up with your own unique project instead of a version of what I'm currently offering.
- After months of prayer and preparation, I started with a unique idea which I hadn't seen elsewhere and really fit my style, gifts and skills. The idea was of creating devotionals on my blog and YouTube channel, which had both spiritual teaching and creative tutorials included, with a finish of challenging people to go and create using the same devotional scriptures I've taught with. Please do not simply copy what I'm doing, with your own twist on it. I say this for you, me and everyone else.
- I encourage you to ask God to lead your inspiration into helping you create something that uses your unique talents, gifts and calling, to the best of your ability. There is room for all of us in this community and I believe it will serve us all best, if we don't duplicate versions of each others hard work and instead formulate what God has designed us each to be the very best at. You've got something to offer the world that I don't have. Find it and use it for God's glory with your own unique style, gifts and skills.
My general thoughts
Now, let's talk generally. I've got a few thoughts for you, if you'd like to have your own art ministry... regardless what shape it takes.
- We were each created with a calling which no-one else can fulfill. Find what you can offer the world around you and then think of ways you can best use your strengths to offer it. Maybe it's painting and selling your encouraging work, local workshops, study groups, one-on-one support or other creative ideas. Just ensure you operate out of your strengths, which will allow you to give your best. The key is to find the right fit for your gifts and skills, as well as what others are hungry for you to offer.
- Speaking of giving your best, make sure you don't confuse putting God first, with putting ministry first. Ever heard that old saying which says our priorities aught to be... God first, then yourself, then spouse, family, friends and lastly work. It is SO easy for people to confuse doing ministry as ministering to God. In reality, ministry is work unto the Lord and should never be put before personal relationship with God, yourself, family or friends. When we keep these priorities, God sustains us and helps us learn how to balance a way to meaningfully give of ourselves in ministry.
- Rather than waiting until you have everything set up and ready to go before starting, find a place where you're able to start offering with excellence, without having reached perfection. Excellence is important and perfection never arrives. Just get started and do it unto the Lord. Everything else will fall into place along the way.
- Love yourself. Please hear me out. If you burn yourself out trying to run a ministry, you will cease to be any good to anyone around you. Take care of yourself. Rest enough, enjoy life and enjoy what you do. Create a ministry which breathes life into you, rather than creates a burden for you. If you do this, others will be blessed by you being able to minister out of a place of refreshment and enjoyment of life. Everyone prefers to hang out with someone who is loving life. So, create a ministry that you love to be in and never becomes a burden which others can detect. The result will be a happier and more refreshed you, reaching more people with your message.
- Lastly, personal breakthrough comes before corporate breakthrough. Whatever we lead in, should be something we have personal breakthrough in first. A math teacher must learn math first, in order to teach it and we must gain spiritual and personal breakthrough in whatever we feel led to teach. Find what God has helped you overcome and find what you thrive at, and look for ways to package that into a sustainable ministry which can bless others, while continuing to bring you life.
How I run a full time art ministry
If you'd like to learn how I run this full time art ministry on a practical note here is a link to learn more: rebekahrjones.com/full-time-art-ministry-successfully