More and more churches and companies in America are facing challenges stemming from complications with effective communication. Unresolved cultural tensions and other issues are increasing as this digital age brings more awareness to the world in general about the differences and even hostilities between people groups. Finding easy ways to address these things and get them out in the open so they can be discussed and resolved has been something of a conundrum for many church and business leaders.
Art with a Heartbeat is a start-up Christian company that brings creativity to content through the arts. The mission of founder Erin Burton is to use acting, dance, spoken word, song and other art forms to help individuals, organizations and churches communicate their messages in a more impactful way.
Erin Burton started Art with a Heartbeat about two years ago because she was sensing a need for change, and at the same time, God was showing her how her creative giftings could be used for evangelism and discipleship. The Atlanta, Georgia-based Christian company has offered insights into answering questions like, "How am I supposed to build genuine relationships with people who are different from me?" and "What does it really mean to live life as a Christian?"
The artistic blending of acting, dance, spoken word, music and visual effects challenges people to stop hiding from difficult issues such as racial tensions, style of music in the church, partnering with other ministries and other dilemmas faced by the modern-day church. Burton's ability to create something specifically for a church, Christian ministry, businesses, or secular organization offers leaders a non-confrontational tool to facilitate productive discussion that leads to healing, reconciliation, and repentance.
In an interview with The Gospel Herald, Erin Burton was asked how starting Art with a Heartbeat impacted her own faith. She responded that, "It forced me to trust the Lord."
She added that since productivity and results are measured differently than with a more traditional business in corporate America settings, she has had to learn to look to the Lord to provide for her daily bread and believe that her work is worthy.
It's a challenge to, "find people who are willing to commit to a new venture," Burton said. "Sometimes it can feel like I'm in a financial freefall while trusting the Lord to bring in new projects."
Burton noted that there's often a pressure to, "qualify why Art with a Heartbeat is worth supporting or using."
One of the most exciting opportunities that Erin Burton said she has had came when she was asked to write four creative vignettes for Cru15, which is the national staff conference for what is formally known as Campus Crusade for Christ. Interestingly, an organization that she worked for before starting Art with a Heartbeat, a ministry called The Impact Movement, was birthed out of Campus Crusade for Christ.
"Cru 15 asked me to tackle some topics that would help them move forward in changing as an organization. The topics that I think were most impactful were power, privilege, partnership, and ethnic diversity. They entrusted us to depict the lives of people in their organization through acting out original scenes around those topics.
I built story lines around those things, had an audition in Atlanta and the impact was two-fold. Not only were the people watching able to see themselves in what we did but so were the people in the production. Afterward, there were people apologizing to each other for not being able to see their ignorance in issues of race and ethnicity and the door was wide open for reconciliation and repentance."
Erin Burton's vision for the future of Art with a Heartbeat is to, "Continue to help people make self-discoveries through experiencing life changing art and give Christian artists work they can be proud of."
Art with a Heartbeat has been invited to perform for a leadership conference that will be taking place this Friday at Blueprint Church on Boulevard Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. The Boulevard Conference is tailored to urban church planters and practitioners with a theme that focuses on the church as a family.
More information about Art with a Heartbeat can be found at http://www.artwithaheartbeat.org/ or at @Artwithaheartbeat on Instagram.