Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” Christ Community Church takes this quote by cultural critic Neil Postman seriously. According to the church’s vision statement, it “desires to be a vibrant, spiritual community that shapes the next generation of God’s champions.” One way this happens at Christ Community is by involving kids in creating visual art that helps lead the congregation to worship God.
Recently, kids at Christ Community made a triptych that has been a blessing to the whole congregation (see photos). Artists have come out of the woodwork and talked to me about the piece, since I helped the kids create it. I have been given many opportunities to share my dream to gather a community of artists to make art to glorify God and lead his people in worship. I believe God has shown us that the first step in realizing this dream will start with the kids, because they will help Christ Community Church grow in the area of art in worship.
Some of these artists are now using their creative gifts in the children’s ministry “Kids for Christ” to make props, backdrops, and do “art attacks” to help the large group leader tell the story. Others have expressed a desire to host an art show to draw out even more artists and have the opportunity to highlight their art. All of the artists I have talked to are actively and prayerfully waiting on God’s leading and direction to know the details of the timing, the process, and the shape that art in worship will take in the life of Christ Community Church.
About the Triptych
This triptych was inspired by the artwork of Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455), an Italian Renaissance artist best known for works in sculpture and metalworking. Ghiberti became famous for creating a set of bronze doors for the baptistery of the cathedral in Florence in 1401. His design, a set of twenty-eight panels, was called Gates of Paradise (see detail).
Our triptych celebrates God’s amazing love for his people. He sent his Son Jesus to be born in a stable and to live among his people and die the death we deserved. He rose again, forever defeating sin and death. If you look closer, you’ll see stars, hearts, the fish symbol, the nativity story, and the cross of Calvary.
The top three panels symbolize the new “Faith at Home” emphasis Christ Community is adopting. The home and church are connected by paths to the crown and the heart to symbolize the lordship of Jesus. Our deepest desire is to live with Christ at the center of our lives, both at home and at church.
The kids who worked on the panels are in kindergarten through grade 5. I believe that—even though they didn’t sign their work—the kids who contributed will always think “I did that one!” and know that they are a significant part of God’s community here at Christ Community Church.
How Did We Do It?
To make the individual designs we first glued foam shapes on squares of cardboard. After covering the shapes with glue, we applied heavy-duty aluminum foil and pressed to capture the shapes and texture. After brushing on a light coat of tempera paint, we smoothed the shapes with our fingers to give it the metallic look that you see. The artwork is attached to the triptych panels with carpet tacks.