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Symposium Leadership Team

Larry Linenschmidt
Executive Director
Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity
Austin, TX

David Taylor
Arts Pastor, Hope Chapel
Artistic Advisor, and Resident Fellow
Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity
Austin, TX

Advisor to the Co-Directors
William Taylor, Ph. D.
Global Ambassador,
WEA and the Mission Commission
World Evangelical Alliance
Austin, TX/ Vancouver, Canada

Advisory Committee
Sandra Bowden
Artist and Founding President, Christians in the Visual Arts
Chatham, MA

Thomas E. Cedel, Ph. D.
Concordia University at Austin

Andy Crouch
Editorial Director,
The Christian Vision Project
Member of the Editorial Board,
Books & Culture,
Swarthmore, PA

Dan Davis
Pastors in Covenant,
Austin Bridge Builders Alliance
Austin, TX

Rev. Tom Deviney
Senior Pastor
Bethany United Methodist Church
Austin, TX

Calvin W. Edwards
Founder & CEO
Calvin Edwards & Company
Atlanta, GA

Gordon D. Fee, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies
Regent College
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Nigel Goodwin
Founder and International Director
Genesis Arts Trust
Isle of Wight, UK

Colin Harbinson, D.D.
International Director
Jackson, MS

Rob Harrell, D.Min.
Senior Pastor
First Evangelical Free Church
Austin, TX

Tim Hawks
Senior Pastor
Hill Country Bible Church Northwest
Austin, TX

James M. Houston, D. Phil
Board of Governor’s Professor of
Spiritual Theology
Regent College
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Kelly Monroe Kullberg
Founder and Creative Director,
Veritas Forums
Columbus, OH

Dr. Michael Lewis
Senior Pastor
Great Hills Baptist Church
Austin, TX

Phil Miglioratti
Facilitator, National Pastors Prayer
Palatine, IL

Rev. Ben Patterson
Campus Chaplain, Westmont College
Contributing Editor,
Christianity Today and Leadership Journal
Santa Barbara, CA

Hal Poe, Ph.D.
Charles Colson Professor of Faith &
Culture, Christian Studies
Jackson, TN

Rev. David Schroder
Senior Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church
District Vice President, Texas
Missouri Synod Lutheran Church
Austin, Texas

David Smith
Executive Director
Austin Baptist Association
Austin, TX


Official Endorsements for the Symposium

Jeremy Begbie, theologian, Cambridge University, St. Andrews University
“ With so many fresh engagements between the Church and the arts today, this is a timely and crucially important venture: it deserves every support it can get.”

Tyrus Clutter, director, Christians in the Visual Arts
" A gathering of pastors and seminarians that presents the "state of the arts" will do much to bridge the gap between the rising creative class and the clergy within North America. The time is ripe for bringing the arts and the church back together and it will only happen through concerted efforts to educate the clergy, like this."

Scott Derrickson, filmmaker, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “Paradise Lost”
" As a filmmaker I hear a lot of impassioned talk about movies with a message. Christian filmmakers could easily be divided cleanly into two parties: those who want a religious message and those who don't. You have the evangelists and the expressionists. You have the Ten Commanders and the Beautiful Lifers. What we sorely need, I'm afraid, is something altogether different. What we need is a profound renewal of the Christian imagination that eschews such reductionistic and largely crippling approaches to aesthetics. We need an infusion of substance, of weightiness if you will, into our theologies of art. And it seems to me that such a conference for pastors could help our leaders and the artists in our communities move together towards a vision of cultural renewal that is deeper penetrating and more longer lasting."

John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College
" With all the recent interest in the arts as vehicle for worship and mission, now is crucial time for thinking about the arts in pastoral and theologically sound ways. We need both to enhance and discipline the creativity we offer. This conference would be a strategic way to contribute to the discipleship of Christian artists, pastors, congregations, and many seekers whose attraction to the arts may very well help them one day embrace Christ."

Luci Shaw, poet
" This is the time to build on what Walter Brueggemann has long said, that if the Good News is to be received with excitement and enthusiasm, awakening the imagination is a primary task of preachers. Now David Taylor dons the prophetic robe to challenge us all, as creatures made in the image of our Creator, to look through the lens of the arts and see our salvation anew . . . to honor the role of the artist in the Christian community as the spark plug that gets this engine going!"

Calvin Seerveld, philosopher, theologian, and poet
“ The conference David Taylor envisions is worthy of support because pastors need a sense that artistry is a ministry outside the church doors, not to evangelize but to do justice in artistry to our Lord's Rule over creation and human relationships. Communal reflection together by pastors with open hearts and artists with a sense of God's calling is a sound step to take in following Christ's directive for us to be an obedient light of hope and wisdom on earth today, and for a coming generation.”

John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture
“ It’s a truth universally acknowledged that God is a maker—a makar too, a bard, a sculptor in time, a cosmic artist with an infinite canvas and, on our little planet, a special fondness for beetles. But how this truth should be embodied—in our worship, in our households, in our theology—has not been as high on the church’s agenda as we might wish. This arts conference for pastors is one necessary step in the right direction.”

Bill Dyrness, Professor of Theology and Culture, and Dean Emeritus, Fuller Seminary
“ I think conferences of this kind make a very important contribution to the renewal of the Church and worship. The three emphases of the conference represent the best ways to enter this important conversation.”

Mako Fujimura, Artist, Director of the International Arts Movement, NYC
“ In order for the Church to recover her call to be the Bride of Christ, beautiful and creative, we need efforts like this to bring pastors together. I am very thankful for this work.”

Andy Crouch, Editorial director, The Christian Vision Project, Author, Culture Makers
“ We are on the cusp of a great renewal of Christian art--serious work of lasting value done by people who participate both in the Great Tradition of faith and in the wild and wonderful conversation of the contemporary art world. This renewal will touch both our society and our churches--if, that is, it is led by both artists and church leaders who can serve as witnesses, ambassadors, and translators. So a conference that brings artists and church leaders together is timely. And David Taylor's years of practice and reflection make him the ideal convener for such an event. I'll be there to listen, learn, and celebrate the new cultural creativity that is emerging in the church.”

Sandra Bowden, President of Christians in the Visual Arts
“ Transforming the Culture: A Vision for the Church and the Arts symposium for pastors, church leaders and artists is an urgently needed approach. It is critically important that church leaders understand and embrace the arts in the 21st century--as we reach out to an image saturated culture. Exploring together the importance and place of the arts in the life of the church at a symposium such as this, can help develop a vision and energize the church to again celebrate and worship with all our senses.”

Calvin W. Edwards, Founder & CEO, Calvin Edwards & Company
“ For hundreds of years art was primarily sacred, and the church was at the center of the arts, be it architecture, music, painting, literature, poetry, or sculpture. But for more than a hundred years Christians have largely disconnected from the world of the imagination and creativity—rather, favoring pop culture’s more crass forms of mass communication and entertainment. This conference is a timely and vital attempt to get us back on the right track.”

Ben Patterson, Chaplain, Westmont College
" We need this event! The question is not whether the arts will impact us spiritually, it is which kind of artistic vision; for competing artistic visions abound in American consumer culture. Christians can partake of the false and tawdry as easily as anyone else, unless the church will teach discernment and cultivate its own voice. It's not about pretty pictures and pleasing music, it's about discipleship."

Hal Poe, Charles Colson Professor of Faith & Culture, Union University
“ Larry Linenschmidt has demonstrated his commitment and vision to help Christians deal with the looming challenges of our rapidly changing culture in a positive way that will glorify Christ and bless his church. Larry has a track record of facilitating conferences on matters of critical urgency to Christian leaders that help equip people for the realities they face.”

Phil Miglioratti, Facilitator, National Pastors Prayer Network
“ Larry Linenschmidt and the Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity have done it again: a conference that has the potential to reorient our perspective of the role of artistic expression in worship and upon the community. Praying Pastors are praying toward such an end, worshiping our Lord and Savior in all the creative fullness of His Spirit and impacting our communities with the revelation and demonstration of His glory. Let's pray this gathering will influence the Church toward a major impact upon our culture!”

Sandra Organ Solis, Artistic Director, Sandra Organ Dance Co., Houston, TX
" Larry and David, in their individual callings, have both been so supportive of the working artists among the Body of Christ! They have taken many opportunities to educate others in ministry to listen and learn from this army of craftsmen, and have each personally reached out to nurture and empower them to use their gifts to revitalize the faith of their fathers. It is refreshing to see these two in action, committed to coordinating liturgies and conferences which allow those creative in spirit to apply their artistry to extend the borders of worship."

Rick James, Publisher CruPress, Campus Crusade for Christ
“ While optimally we as Christians would have cared about aesthetics simply because art reflects, magnifies and glorifies God, pragmatics have forced our hand. It now seems that any of our evangelism strategies meeting with success are all deeply entwined with art, film, writing, and design—aesthetics. Now, thanks be to God, we have to care.”

Miriam Adeney, Associate Professor of Global and Urban Ministries, Seattle Pacific University
“ Colors, aromas, tones and textures are gifts of God who overflows with beauty. Shouldn't we steward and shape these raw materials so that our churches sparkle with creativity?”

Andy Wileman, Lead Pastor, Grace Bible Church, Dallas, TX
“ The church was once awash in artistic expression. Art was respected as a means of communicating its message and celebrating its meaning. King David was, I'm sure, proud! But many followers of Jesus today seem to fear the arts, as well as the artist. We've walked away from their contribution so that both the church and the artistic community are poorer for it. I'm thrilled that this symposium will address this vital topic, and our church plans on taking advantage of the opportunity.”

Colin Harbinson, International Director, StoneWorks
" God's redemptive purposes embrace the restoration of all things to His original creational intention. This timely conversation about the transformation of culture, deserves the support of all who love the arts and care about the recovery of the imagination to the glory of God. "

James Parker, Professor of Worldview and Culture, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
" David Taylor is just the guy to be involved in this kind of conference. He has hands-on experience of ministry in the local church, is theologically literate, and really knows his way around the world of the arts. If pastors have an interest in how to make sense of Christianity, the local church, and the arts, David Taylor is the man to help them walk through this strange terrain."

Reg Grant, Professor of Pastoral Ministries, Director, MA in Media & Communications, Dallas Theological Seminary
“ It's going to be a great conference. We need it. We should all be there to encourage each other to be better artists for Christ. And we all wish we had thought of it first.”