How We Think

Reluctant step from lush comforts of Eden onto acid-dry mud of broken desert, Imago Dei cracked and shadowed

Scabby feet trudge under the infinite weight of Law, then sprint beaming through YHWH’s burying and erupting to deep, freshening breaths, still somehow caged

Now we direct every sense and cell to crushed Eden restored, matured, crafted into God’s city.



EthnoArts scholars and practitioners have drawn on ethnomusicology, missiology, cultural anthropology, performance studies, linguistics, communication studies, therapy, and other established disciplines to craft an unprecedented fusion connecting creation to eschatological consummation. A seamless fusion of engaging with whole humans on a common path to the shalom of Heaven.

Creating Local Arts Together (CLAT)
Undergirding much of our training and work is a flexibly-applied set of seven conversations, or steps: Creating Local Arts Together (CLAT). 
  1. Meet a Community and Its Artistic Genres. Explore artistic and social resources that exist in the community. Performing Step 1 allows you to build relationships, involve and understand the people, and to discover the hidden treasures of the community.
  2. Specify Goals. Discover the goals that the community wants to work toward. Performing Step 2 ensures that you are helping the community work toward aims that they have agreed on together.
  3. Connect Genres to Goals. Choose an artistic genre that can help the community meet its goals, and activities that can result in purposeful creativity in this genre. Performing Step 3 reveals the mechanisms that relate certain kinds of artistic activity to its effects, so that the activities you perform have a high chance of succeeding.
  4. Analyze Genres and Events. Describe the event and its genre(s) as a whole, and its artistic forms as arts and in relationship to broader cultural context. Performing Step 4 results in detailed knowledge of the art forms that is crucial to sparking creativity, improving what is produced, and integrating it into the community.
  5. Spark Creativity. Implement activities the community has chosen to spark creativity within the genre they have chosen. Performing Step 5 actually produces new artistic works for events.   
  6. Improve Results. Evaluate results of the sparking activities and make them better. Performing Step 6 makes sure that the new artistry exhibits the aesthetic qualities, produces the impacts, and communicates the intended messages at a level of quality appropriate to its purposes.
  7. Celebrate and Integrate for Continuity. Plan and implement ways that this new kind of creativity can continue into the future. Identify more contexts where the new and old arts can be displayed and performed. Performing Step 7 makes it more likely that a community will keep making its arts in ways that produce good effects long into the future.
Two-Volume Ethnodoxology Set

Worship and Mission for the Global Church: an Ethnodoxology Handbook + DVD offers theological reflection, case studies, practical tools, and audiovisual resources to help the global church appreciate and generate culturally appropriate arts in worship and witness. From the expertise of numerous practitioners, this volume integrates insights from the fields of ethnomusicology, biblical research, worship studies, missiology and the arts.

Creating Local Arts Together: A Manual to Help Communities Reach Their Kingdom Goals is a manual designed to guide an individual or group into a local community’s efforts at integrating its arts with the values and purposes of God’s kingdom. The practical, playful text reduces experience-based scholarly insights gained from multiple decades of incarnational ministry around the world into a flexible seven-step process.

Derivatives of the Handbook and Manual include The Shorter Manual to Help Communities Reach Their Kingdom Goals (also known as Shmanual), Mission Frontiers Ethnodoxology issue, and the Orality Journal's Arts and Orality Parts 1 and 2

Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith - A peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publication of rigorous treatments of ideas and field data related to arts made by or for Christians.

These schools incorporate SIL's EthnoArts theory and methods into their curricula
Payap University (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

These schools apply arts to mission in their curricula, with particular foci that overlap with SIL's approaches
 All Nations Christian College (Easney Estate, England)     Liberty University  (Lynchburg, VA USA)
 Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA USA)    Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL USA)

For a fuller list of ethnodoxology related programs, see the Global Ethnodoxology Network (GEN) web site.

Reflective Communities
We encourage rigorous reflection on topics related to ethnoarts in many contexts. This may happen with international or regional scholarly organizations, government sponsored events to present research, local organizations dedicated to language and culture development, even informal groups meeting in someone's house to think about how best to use their resources to improve their communities' lives.
International Scholarly Organizations

Subpages (1): God In the Details