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The Church Must Come First


Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
- Isaiah 2:2-3

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
- Ephesians 4:11-12

"Just like Mordecai was Esther's covering in prayer and direction, so will Christians who remain covered by pastoral leadership hear God's voice say ‘Go.’ Remem- ber that Mordecai was persecuted, not Esther, and that Mordecai was later exalted. Honor your leadership and recognize their covering. They are the front between you and your enemy (1 Corinthians 4:10). They cover your back while you do what God has covered you to do. Honor them, and you will be blessed." - Ps Sonia Jones, Care Pastor of TORCC-NY, Founder of SoJo Performing Arts
- From Season Casting, 2019 at Times of Refreshing Christian Center, NY
To the Arts and Entertainment mountain, I say, "What glory and shine I give you as you express and form culture with your gifting and talent. This is the fullness of My creativity given to the world through you as vessels and instruments. Do not downplay your importance in society, for it is you who shape and breed culture and worldview. I have commissioned your angel to stand watch and call you back to your original purpose -- bringing Me glory and showcasing every facet, tone, texture, and nuance of who I am to mankind. This is the reason for your expression. It's My goodness and My character," says the Lord. "This is the recovery journey for you to regain what My church gave up when you were at your prime and most important place of development."
- Ps Nathan Kassas, Associate Global Leader of TORCC-NY
- from Season Casting , 2023 at Times of Refreshing Christian Center, NY


 
I remember my surprise when I first heard my pastors say in front of our congregation that their passion was to see the Church of Jesus prosper and come into full maturity. Why would this surprise me? They’re pastors, after all. And shouldn’t that be the passion of every Christian? And yet, even having been a part of several other churches in New York City, I never heard anyone say that the Church attaining its full state of glory was their passion, not even a single pastor. But why not?

Now mind you, I live in New York City, the land of ambition. I have lived there my whole adult life, and I got saved there. So I don’t know if this is a symptom of the culture and attitude of New York City, or if it is a common problem throughout America. But the way I used to think, and it seemed like the way others around me used to think, was that the Church was there to support the rest of my life. That the Church was important, but not as the main thing in my life, or in society. It was *a* main thing, but not *the* main thing.

How small-minded. And un-Biblical.

Now why am I sharing this in a blog for artists? Probably because I’m willing to wager that almost every artist reading this has thought the same thing. Or has at least *felt* the same thing. That there’s my career, and then there’s the Church. There’s my theater community, and then there are my church friends. There’s the theater industry, and the institutions in it that will provide for me and feed me, so they come first in my life, and then there’s the Church.
After all, how many theater people claim to feel more connected to the cast of their show than the people in their church? I’ve been there, and I’ve repented. I repented because the connection I have in the Spirit with my church family is something I value more than the soul/emotional connection I feel with my theater gang. The theater gang may “get” my personality and those friendships are great! But the Church builds my character and draws out the Christ in me. They see my personality and so much more. Those friendships are vital to my eternal well-being.

After all, how many theater people claim to feel more connected to the cast of their show than the people in their church?

If the Church isn’t healthy, and if we as artists aren’t planted in a local body of Christ, then what is our purpose as artists truly accomplishing? Whom is it for? What is your art pointing to? If it’s pointing to a belief in Christ but there’s no connection to His Church, then it’s not fully pointing to Christ. There’s a sexy perspective popular in some Christian circles about influencing culture. And to that I say, yes, the Church should be influencing culture. But if individuals are influencing culture apart from the Church, they will only point back to themselves.

It’s interesting with artists because we’re gifted creatively, and creativity is meant to express something which often comes in revelation. That can sometimes lead to us artists fancying that we are meant to be the original recipients of revelation, like prophets, in a way. But that’s not actually God’s order. God’s leadership starts in His house - His fivefold ministers are the head of the Church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). When He gives revelation, it comes through His Church first! The best thing artists can do for their own creativity is to get connected to a powerful, prophetic church! From there should be flowing the rich revelation from God that we artists can take and run with in a way that no one else can. And when we do, we will take that revelation to places no one else can! (I, personally, believe this is why the Lord gave me the word “microphone” in His prophetic word to me rather than the actual voice - I am amplifying something I get originally from His Church and the leadership He’s given me - but in a way only I can!).

Furthermore, I see a lot of Christians who go into theater thinking they will go into the industry and be a light and lead people to Christ. But let’s say, best-case scenario, you do that, and you go and witness and minister, and lead some through the salvation prayer. Then what? Where do they go from there? Now that person needs a church to go to where they can grow in Christ. What if they have been abused (and unfortunately, there is a lot of sexual abuse in our industries - another blog on that will come in the future)? They have probably at least felt used and undervalued by the industry. They will need to get inner healing from heart wounds, freedom from old mindsets, teaching that will mature them, etc. You are not equipped enough in yourself to give them what they need. They will need the Church, just as you need the Church!

I am aware that there is another deep issue here, that the Church itself needs to be ready to receive these people and have the ministries that can support them. That is true. We also need churches that know how to support artists. I know many artists don’t feel like their leadership understand their calling or even their personalities. But there are some that do, and so if that is what you need, ask the Lord to lead you to a church with leaders who will cover you and support what He wants to do in you as an artist. I have one - Times of Refreshing Christian Center, NY (TORCC-NY). I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without it, and without my pastors, Dr. Robyn Kassas, Dr Tony Kassas, and Ps Nathan Kassas. I could write a book just on what the Lord has done for me through them, but I’ll save that for another time. I pray you will find that in your church as well!

Our God is too creative to connect with His creation in only one way.

We have an important place in the body of Christ, and in culture, as artists - a critical place. The gospel cannot be shared merely with using words behind a pulpit. The Bible is rich with poetry, stories, parables, citations of people using song and dance - our God is too creative to connect with His creation in only one way. There are as many different ways of expressing who God is as there are people in the world! As an artist, you have a creative gift of expressing God in a unique and powerful way. To express Him, we must know Him intimately. That intimacy is achieved by your quiet time with Him and reading the Word, yes, but also by receiving great teaching from his teachers, relationship with His people, mentoring from His leadership, healing and wholeness ministry from His ministers, and worshiping with other believers in the assembly - and what a glorious life that is, my friends! As I mentioned above, I know firsthand. When I witness to people in the industry, they often interact with my church in some way as well. Many have visited my church and received words from my pastors, or witnessed my brethren working with me on a project or serving my ministry, or have received prayer from not only me, but others from my church family. They know I’m busy on Sundays, they learn that I serve my church and have a close relationship to my friends from TORCC - they know TORCC is central to my life. So they are not only seeing Christ in me, but Christ through His Church. AND, just as importantly, I am not going into my own ministry empty - I am going in full. And I am going in full because of my church.

On a bigger level, the Church is what Jesus is coming back for - not the theater community, not the culture. The Church is His bride. Furthermore, the Church of Jesus Christ is the institution on earth with the greatest spiritual authority - not the world’s biggest artists and influencers. The mountain of the Lord shall be established above all other mountains - including the arts mountain. Oh friends, when the Church is operating in full health, emanating with the glory of God, and out from that we are sent as artists into our mountain to do the work the Lord has prepared for us, all I can say is, WOW! What a glorious vision that is! Fellow artists, allow the Lord to make the Church your passion. It’s His passion. And then go out and influence culture to experience the gospel in its glory through your artistic gift!


The Underground Microphone is a weekly blog and email update for Christian working in or who have a burden for the Arts. These blogs are password protected because they are intended for believers only. The password to access all of the blogposts is BroadwayRebirth. There is also a weekly prayer meeting to pray into what the Lord is saying every Tuesday at 10:00AM EST. If you'd like to join the prayer meeting, please email info@regaarts.com and you will be emailed a zoom link.


REGA Arts is a Christian Theatre Company with the mission of training and raising up Christians to have a career in the theatre industry, and creating new works of theater. It is affiliated with Times of Refreshing Christian Center, NY (TORCC-NY) as its spiritual oversight, under the leadership of Dr. Robyn Kassas, Dr. Tony Kassas, and Pastor Nathan Kassas. The next Season Casting event where the leadership gives prophetic words over the world and various industries, including the Arts, is on September 23. Register here.




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