Three rules for missional artists

I have the privilege of leading a team of missional artists with an organization called Keynote. After many years of performing as an artist, working with concert hosts, and observing what audiences respond to, I’ve come up with a small list of things we consider to be values that we guide our efforts by:

  • We must be artistically excellent. 
    No one is compelled by mediocrity. Average artistry with a spiritual point sloppily pasted onto it makes both the artist AND the message dismissable. So for us, the pursuit of excellence extends to our skill as communicators. We want to be excellent artists, speakers, and storytellers. In short, we want to be great.
  • We must be strategically flexible.
    Serving our audience and hosts well means being flexible and accommodating in some extreme circumstances. At times, though, this means a firm ‘no’ when an idea or situation seems creative or clever, but in reality will lead to decreased effectiveness. We lead with our experience, and roll as servants – flexible, humble, and selflessly committed to putting the mission above our own interests. In short, we want to serve well.
  • We must be spiritually provocative.
    In Acts 17:16-32, where Paul is at Mars Hill, he does 3 important things.
    1. He goes where people are.
    2. He establishes common ground by observing their culture, addressing issues of concern, and by quoting poets they are familiar with.
    3. He deliberately turns the conversation towards Christ.That’s our calling – to be where people are, speak their language, and point them towards Christ. Music and other artistry opens HUGE doors to do that. Sometimes we can share explicitly, other times anecdotally.  Either way, our job as artists is to expose people’s inner longing for the love, meaning and redemption that are ONLY available through Jesus Christ. In short, we want to make people thirsty.

So – if you’re an artist with a mission:

  • Be great
  • Serve well
  • Make people thirsty
That’s what I can boil it down to. What do YOU pound the table over?