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13- How to Use Media and Art for God

Neale Schofield


Martin Luther once said that music is next to theology in its importance to the church. However, throughout history, the church has not always been welcoming of the arts. As Christians and Seventh-day Adventists, what place do the arts have in the church? How can they be utilized to glorify God?  In this episode of the GYC Beyond Podcast, Esther Louw interviews Neale Schofield to address some of these questions. Neale is currently the Manager of Hope Channel New Zealand as well as the previous CEO of Adventist Media Network in Australia.


  • July 22, 2018
    2:45 PM


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Martin Luther once said that music is next to theology in its importance to the church however throughout history the church has not always been welcoming of the arts as Christians and something Adventists place to the arts having the church how can they be utilized to glorify God right this is best of love in this episode at the G Y C Beyond podcast I interview Neil Schofield as we address some of these questions Neal is currently the manager of hope Channel New Zealand as well as a previous C.E.O. of Adventist media network in a straight. Welcome to the G Y C Beyond podcast and thank you so much for coming here to share with us and to begin if you can share with us about yourself. Something about your background your. Current Media Nikkei thank Sister It's a pleasure to be here I'm from a stray. And spent living in New Zealand and also spent time living in London and now here for a little while here in Berrien Springs and enters university and so my background is originally in the area of marketing and media and worked in that area for Senator my health foods which is a church owned company in Australia and worked there for 12 years and then from there I was involved in advertising agencies and creating television ads. For different companies and then after that my wife and I decided to just work enough to pay the bills and spend the rest of our time actively involved in soul winning and so we open up our home really to be as a lie evangelists and to to be involved in sharing sharing the Bible and so on and then and then we were involved in planning a church in the center of the city of Sydney we sold our home we move right into the city and we then were able to invite people who live in the city to our home have Bible studies and plot a church right in Sydney and then I was asked to be the see Adventist media network at the South Pacific Division there for 7 years and then i were to London to study health the ology and the arts can work together to communicate the gospel. And now cared for hope channel in New Zealand. You know very broad background yeah I'm working secular environment for the church and then you have this degree where it's something more in the arts Yes So kind of backtracking a lot of it you know that experience how did you 1st start to relationship with G O When I left school I really didn't have a relationship with Jesus in fact I wanted to get involved in media and marketing because that's where them the money was not what I was what I was interested in and then I can remember I was at university and I was sharing with some of my friends from university of secular university what I'd been doing on the weekend and one of them said to me she was 7th Day Adventist as if to say were you shouldn't be living a large star like that and it made me start to think and then I was involved was invited to a youth Bible study I was actually interested in the girls of the Bible study rather than the Bible study itself but when I got in there there was about 30 young people and I was only 20 and the rest of the youth there about the same age. And that I. Had it that I had something and when I looked at them they had such small in their faces and it was genuine Nestle looked around the room I thought I want what they've got they've got something special and I remember asking somebody straight after the Bible study I don't even know how you saved a saved by faith by works I heard these terms but I have no idea what I mean and from there I kept going to the youth Bible study study the Bible for myself and gave my life to Jesus Christ through really beautiful testimony to seeing Jesus in allies and other young people and wanting to have that for yourself you shared that you were in media and marketing and then later on. More direct work with the arts media where did that interest art in your life. I think a couple of things one is from a a secular point of view are going to present new advertising concepts and I'm a strategist and so I would lay out the strategic flow of how people would be really encouraged to purchase a certain product and then my creative partner he would then share the the artwork to show how that idea would come to life in film and I noticed that when the different corporate executives would who would listen to me that yeah that's fine they're listening but as soon as they saw the pictures or they always would light out and that's one thing but the 2nd thing was actually at your previous church as to which was Mark previous churches well at White in Sydney and I can remember preaching and I yeah I consider myself a half decent preacher at least I can remember that as I was preaching people were listening and so on but then at the end I invited somebody who was giving a special music and as soon as that person started to sing I looked around the church and everyone was glued to the action listening teams were coming down and. I thought right there's something special about the arts that is idle to communicate and reach people where even preaching by itself yet it can be complemented by the Arts in reaching somebody out there was his observation and you could connect to people intellectually you know the arts connects I kind of more visceral emotional level yeah sparks in me years yeah. Yeah now. You are preaching in church and I realize I thinking how do you think that the arts have historically been you know having to them I think we need allies Yeah I think within Protestantism. Spain people are being very cautious and I think a lot of that is because if we go back to the mediaeval church that I instead of being biblically focused focused on on the arts to to really as the center of their faith and the visual lots of people would come and worship images worship paintings. Instead of being encouraged to look to Christ actually worship the object themselves but also music with liturgy. Of penance and we are righteousness by works in all these sort of things so Protestantism has been very cautious against the arts because it has reminded of a Catholic heritage divinely that I go back and say also biblical Herridge particularly with the music and poetry and so on so you just stand here in the biblical heritage what is the Bible called perspective and hearts in Europe. Well if we look at you know the visual arts were not so important although if you go to say the building of the the sanctuary it's interesting that the 1st instance of somebody being filled with the Holy Spirit be given the special gift of the Holy Spirit in the AL Testament as the man who was inspired who the Holy Spirit inspired to create the beauty of the the sanctuary and so there is certainly And if you look at a number of elements hope the sake of course they have great symbolism but there's also great beauty in and of itself and so there is that the beauty of the arts and also the visual representation of spiritual truth that we find in the Bible and course music in the sciences extremely important and situations where prophets would call on a musician in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit and I remember reading this are by just how Jesus when he was walking along and they do so I believe we're all complaining is our right as well in Illinois has a geezer just not to sing and as Jesus began to sing it would quieten down over all the moaning and groaning of the disciples so music is in total to Jesus and also cause poetry to go right through the arts and my my special area of study in London is on how the Arts had a major impact on the start of the promise of reformation particularly the message of Martin Luther King a little bit. We often think of Martin Luther and we we know him for his preaching and he's writing which is is very important but a number of historians as they have looked into the. Wife of Martin Luther they can see that there was. A man by the name of Jim and by the name of Lucas Crowder who was Ruth his best friend actually he he was best man at with his wedding and he decided to put Luther's message into a visual art so he was he was the the court artist for the Elector of Saxony and so for instance if you think Martin Luther now you'll see I image in your mind of a portrait that was paid by credit because he died in $128.00 borders and then some of you would be aware of those that juxtaposition of say the pope putting his foot out to be kissed and then on the other side you have Jesus washing the feet of the disciples all of those were painted by Lucas cronic and then he put the concept of Loren Grice into a beautiful painting to show the difference between those trying to keep the law. Have salvation by keeping the law and their own merit in goodness versus those who appointed to Jesus and trusting in Jesus and so what indeed up happening is that Luther he he's message then got out to the masses and that was the big difference because when people around the community saw. Righteousness by faith visually because remember much the cut rate that doesn't and so that they could see the pictures and then of course Luther was really strong on music Luther would sing he had a little Luther I think it was and he would play and so when it comes to music and poetry and particularly the visual arts it had my age or impact on helping people to understand the theology of the Reformation and then that got people talking everywhere so it created an impetus to the Reformation which otherwise perhaps would not never have happened OK so it's a mystery to say that the arts for the reformation went on this like Facebook that today like in Maine Yeah it is made on this viral Yeah I mean people connected here now today as an end to this is what we do see as having me and I've been to young for thinking you know arts for God Yeah I think is Adventists are good Protestants that we are we are really strong on preaching and I love preaching but also I think it's it's vital that we good God has given us the capabilities to utilize a number of gifts in spreading the gospel and many of these gifts different gifts connect with different people in different emphases connect with different people so to give you an illustration I have a series on hope channel called Master strike where I go through different Christian works of art and just a little while back to 17 year old boys from Melbourne in Australia emailed me oh actually Facebook friend me and they sent me a photo of their. School and their class from their final year at the biggest Catholic school. In Melbourne and they said We're watching your program your hotel program in our Bible class and he said all the young boys just love it because instead of having all of the liturgies and all those things from from the Catholic even the Catholic boys state they see the pictures and hear the stories and then they can understand the Bible and the Bible stories and the beauty of Jesus and so it is able if you have a gift in the visual arts if you have a gift in music or in poetry or whatever it happens to be. Then you can communicate with people who otherwise would say I am never coming to a church I'm never going to hear a 7 but suddenly die will listen or hear something through the arts and the Lord can use that thing just like with the Protestant Reformation the Lord can use that then to really make a major impact into showing his love and truth that's a really powerful story that you shared about the Catholic boy school having access to the gospel through the arts if narrow often I've heard this idea that the arts are somewhat useful but they're not as important to our reach them as preaching or teaching Yeah I do agree with our district. Well I don't think it's an either or situation that would be my view because I preach every day well every Sabbath all through New Zealand and so it's preaching reaches a number of people there and but also just the week the Sabbath before I came here to to bury and springs I preach in the church in a man came up to me and he said to me I would never have come to this church if it was not for seeing your programs on television on the arts and he is an artist and he showed me on his i Phone I photo of one of his works about and as I was watching there the pastor came up and talked with him and I agreed and they started Bible studies together so. And he's emailed me since and he said I'm enjoying a bible studies on that's the church I'm going to serve he was in a 7 day not at all but now he's going to church so I don't think we should have an either or when when everything works together it's the whole is greater than the sum of the parts that's beautiful Ironman thing of the bible passage guesses period where some teaches at some and everyone has a different gift and when they're together they make up the body of Christ if so the arts are an essential part of the Body of Christ and they're needed just like anything else it is right I guess just sitting back now and we talked about how utilize the arts through you know. Different ways what would be your advice to somebody who's thinking about pursuing a career in the arts in some way what would what advice would you give them when you have really lies that in a crisis in their. I'd say don't let anyone discourage you and dedicate your gift to the spreading of the gospel because what it does is it enables you to communicate in a unique why and I'll just give you want to illustration is preaching at the General Conference session in San Antonio last given the general conference asked me to preach on the manner of Christ's return and how do you preach to a whole lot of people who know the manner of Chrysler today. And so. As the Lord impressed me to utilize one of the arts in terms of filmmaking and what what we did is I went into on New Year's Eve to Sydney Harbor where the fireworks were going and I was filmed as with all the fireworks going behind me and I asked all the bang bang bang bang bang and you could hear people cheering and all the lights I just simply made the point as I was describing what was happening behind me that if you think this is something special imagine the 2nd Coming of Christ it will be allowed and. Every our I will see him my all over the world and a far greater than this and soundso think creatively not only utilize the gift of the arts but think of the big idea creative idea in order to present a message in a unique why and I have a personal view that when you're presenting your they say something new or say something old in a new why and the arts enables you to do that it's really powerful. Thank you so much for sharing that because. There's. Places that people can connect with that would help them to lies arts in the church. Maybe short courses and thanking them for having heard about the fire. Who had I actually I'm not so sure about that I know that yeah with hope channel we work with a number of young artists and personally I have worked with say visual artists I have worked with musicians filmmakers and so I think the best thing is to just maybe bring some friends around you and have a vision for what you want to do and then just go and do it with what's available now from a technological point of view you can get the message out through the apps so easily and you just do it yeah just go for it yes it does get anywhere yeah I think yeah I did try things out you know and I thank you so much for sharing in this today and. When it's back to the fact that every part of my uterus is useful we can all do something for God and he gets to meet others pleasure we are grateful for the time that field has spent with us we hope that this episode has encouraged you to develop your creativity and passions.


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