Clustering creatives in the church

I just ran across a very intriguing article over at Think Christian titled Church and Clustering Forces. The entry details a post written by one Pastor Bruursema from caffeine, please. The crux of the discussion centers on the need and desire for creative minds to commune. The Pastor quotes a man named Richard Florida:

    “When people — especially talented and creative ones — come together, ideas flow more freely, and as a result individual and aggregate talents increase exponentially: the end result amounts to more than the sum of the parts. This clustering makes each of us more productive, which in turn makes the place we inhabit even more so — and our collective creativity and economic wealth grow accordingly. This in a nutshell is the clustering force.”


Photo from Lori Wright’s Flickr photostream, taken at MOMA

As an artist and a Christ follower I can attest to the “urge” to create and to commune with other artists of faith. People possess a natural tendency to gather together with others of similar interest, and I have to wonder if part of the reason the artists Bruursema cites express the desire to “dream, pray and create” with their peers is on account of the lack of opportunity for this within the church. They know something is and has been missing for them. The arts, at least anything that wasn’t overtly pious, have been suppressed in Protestant ranks for the better part of a century, longer than that depending on who you ask.

The Pastor concluded by saying “I’m convinced its time to create intentional space for creative clustering, invite participation and see what God stirs up.” Such efforts have begun to creep back into circles of faith across the country; some such efforts I’ve mentioned on this blog from time to time. However, I still feel the need to ask the question of readers — and of Pastor Bruursema — how do we do this?


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

2 Responses to Clustering creatives in the church

  1. TAE, my first visit to the blog. Looking forward to becoming a regular reader. (I’m “Pastor Bruursema”. Actually, I normally answer to Kevin.)

    We’re in the early stages of creative clustering. Right now we’re looking for a good date to gather a core of between 8-10 musical and visual artists. We’ll gather in a space that we want to redeem as a sort of Studio–think creative cauldron that has relatively free access to artists. Once there, we’re going to cast vision for the idea of creative clustering. Then my hope is to give a little bit of a budget and invite the artists to transform a space into a Studio and performance space as an initial project. I’m hoping this gives us some startup momentum. I expect this script will be adjusted considerably as we go along.

  2. TAE says:

    Glad you could make it Pastor!

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