Pursuing Christ, Creating Art – A Review

I was thrilled when I heard the news that my friend Gary Molander was writing a book.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Gary a number of times on the phone as well as admire his work for several years now.  From those experiences I’ve learned that Gary has so much insight and wisdom for creatives that are on church staffs and/or are involved in creative media production and design.  His book Pursuing Christ, Creating Art is one of those books that I find hard to put down.  Honestly, I think for any church staffing a new creative position, they should be given a mac pro, Final Cut, Adobe Creative Suite and a copy of Gary’s book.

I wanted to touch on some of the highlights for me as I read Pursuing Christ, Creating Art :

  • Gary’s Story – As I was reading the first several chapters of this book, I was amazed at how many parallels I found to my own experience of being a creative on a church staff.  I can’t tell you how many times I was reading through this book and just found myself thinking, “Yep….yep….wow, been there…..wow, I am there….yep……ok, who has Gary been talking to…”
  • Church staffs – I think there is so much to this book that every church staff member needs to read and understand.  Not just regarding creatives but some realities of being on a church staff.  Seriously, if you are on a church staff, get this book.
  • Contributors – Gary took the unique approach to this book in getting several others to contribute.  I thought this added a huge level of depth and richness to this work.
  • Short and Good Read – I don’t read a ton of books.  I read online more than anything to be honest.  This is a short read but a good read.  Also, I love the way the chapters are broken up into sections that cover several topics.
  • Speaking of those sections, I think the one that totally nailed me where I am is the one on Identity.  Before launching out on my own recently, I had served on a church staff for over 17 years.  If I were honest, my identity had become my position on a church staff.  For me, the chapter “You Are Not Your Ministry” was challenging but so liberating.  Among other truths, this chapter pointed me back to the fact that my identity is not my ministry, not my job, not even the art I create.

I think the biggest endorsement I can give for this book is that I think if you were to sit down with Gary and have a conversation about ministry, media, design, culture and the journey of a follower of Jesus, you would hear the same ideas and insights you find in Pursuing Christ, Creating Art.  I think that’s what makes this book so appealing: Gary’s ability to write a piece that is to transparent, real and needed in the church world.  So, grab a copy or two for you and those that are a part of your creative team and be sure to join Gary’s ongoing conversation at his blog.  You can also find Gary on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GaryMo


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