My son, Ben, has been working on a research paper for college credit for the Summit Worldview Conference he attended last month. His topic is the Christian and the Arts and he and I have had some great discussions on the role that the arts has in the life of the Christian as well as the responsibilities that the Christian artist has within our culture. He has been reading Francis Schaeffer, of course, as well as some others who have expressed, quite well, the various aspects of this topic.

In the midst of this I heard of a church that is starting a fine arts guild for children and another church that plans to begin a school of music. One thing that has always distressed me, probably as far back as the very off-key choir in my church where I grew up, is the idea that “singing a joyful noise unto the Lord” somehow negates any striving for excellence. Christians of all people ought to seek to do things well, to minister “as unto the Lord” in whatever calling they find themselves.

It is my contention that churches would do well to recognize the value of college training for those who are involved in ministry, perhaps even showing their commitment to excellence by contributing to the educations of those who would serve their congregations after graduation. Perhaps there are churches where this is being done. I would like to see the local church show their support for excellence by investing part of their money in the training of young men and women for ministry. I could see a scholarship of, say, $5,000.00 per year being allotted in the form of a grant that would not need to be paid back unless the recipient didn’t come back to serve the local church. For each year they stayed, a portion of the money would be “forgiven.” This could work in the areas of music, counseling, education, or church administration.

I would like to see churches who do not hold to women as ordained elders or pastors, show their commitment to using the spiritual gifts that women have been given by encouraging their young women through these sorts of scholarships. In the end, everyone benefits, everyone can say “I’ve got me a college girl.”