Empowering indigenous people to worship through the arts

By Maria | Philippines in East Asia

"This is the first time I have felt that I can be a Christian and an indigenous person at the same time. Before I felt like I was a Christian on Sundays and a Bla'an from Monday to Saturday. Now I feel like I can be a Christian and a Bla'an from Monday to Sunday!"

 Workshop participant from the Bla'an people group

These are the kinds of comments we receive after we run ethnoarts workshops for indigenous Christians in the Philippines. Our goal is to encourage indigenous believing communities to consider using their own languages and art forms to worship and teach others about God. 

Sometimes church planters here copy the church culture they are familiar with in new locations. This approach can lead indigenous people to struggle to see how Christianity relates to their everyday lives.

In our workshops, participants think through their own creative art forms, including music, dance, drama, verbal arts and visual arts. They consider which ones might be appropriate to use in worship and to communicate the gospel. Although our aim is to spread God's word, an unexpected outcome has been seeing people understand how their Christian identity intersects with their ethnic identity.

We are working in a country where certain ethnic groups have been labelled Christian, others Muslim and others animistic. What does it mean for a person to follow Jesus if he or she isn’t from a 'Christian' background?

As our participants' art forms are deeply connected to their ethnic identities, it is encouraging to see them energized by what it means to follow Jesus within their people group and cultural setting. Many have learnt they can be themselves in the community that God has placed them and still follow Jesus.

Serve with us

Do you have a passion for the arts? Are you interested in serving in arts ministry, empowering others to worship God through the arts? Contact us today to find out more.

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