Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Karitos: An Investment in Your Ministry

Karitos: An Investment in Your Ministry
by Bob Hay, Director
The Karitos Christian Arts Conference

Someone once said, “Salvation is a free gift, following Jesus will cost you everything.” You might say the same thing about talent. Talent is a free gift, developing that talent will cost you.

I’ve worked with arts ministries for nearly 40 years. Most of my experience has been in the Christian music field where I’ve served as a concert/event promoter, manager and booking agent. I’ve watched people with amazing talent whose careers went nowhere. I’ve also seen others with a modest degree of natural ability build effective ministries.

In the first instance, there was almost always some outside thing that had to happen before the person could launch his or her career. “When I get my record deal, I’m really going to get out there and go for it.” “Once I find a manager, my career will really take off.” (I should add here that most young artists who thought they needed a manager really needed an agent. What they wanted was someone to do the dirty work of making phone calls-the job of a booking agent, not a manager).

In the meantime, the artist with modest talent was out there doing everything possible to make things happen. Playing everywhere possible, at a rescue mission or even on a street corner, and usually for free.

“A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” Many people think that because God has given them a gift or talent, He will also open doors for the use of that gift. Maybe, maybe not. Actually, a more accurate reading of Proverbs 18:16 might be “a man’s BRIBE makes room for him.”

I’m not suggesting that you bribe people to give you a platform to share your artistic talent. I am saying that opportunities are more likely to come to you if you are actively pursuing them and have made an investment in developing your God-given talent.

How about you? Are you sitting by the phone waiting for a record label (or a literary agent, an art gallery, or a ballet or theatre company) to call? Or are you spending time developing your talent, putting together promotional materials, growing spiritually, and attending conferences such as Karitos where you can learn from those who’ve already attained success? (More about Karitos later).

Where to start? To use an old axiom, “Bloom where you’re planted.” If possible, begin in your local church. I say “possible” because they may not accept your gift. A dancer is less likely to be used than a piano player in many churches. While they may not hang your artwork, they may let you paint characters on the nursery walls. They may not be open to your one-man play, but possibly put together a skit for Stewardship Sunday.

“What does this have to do with building my ministry” you ask? Quite a bit. Take it from experience, the support of your home church will be invaluable. Pastors, promoters and event organizers want to know that you are being supported and sent out by your local church. Also, I’ve known people who have developed very successful ministries traveling entirely within their own denomination.

The 15th Annual Karitos Christian Arts Conference is another good place to get started. One hundred workshops in music business, theatre, writing, dance, mime, visual arts and worship plus master classes for vocalists and audio technicians. Nearly fifty teachers, many of whom teach and perform nationally and internationally. Opportunities to network and to share your gifts. This conference has much to offer and the price is amazingly reasonable. Want to know more? Check the website, http://www.karitos.com/ or call 847/925-8018.

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2010: July 15-17