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Art and Community

August 26, 2020

Resonate Global Mission

Ethnos Community Church, a CRC church plant in Bellflower, Calif., has found a creative way to reach their community: through art classes.

A Need for Community

When Tomas and Christine Ivens moved to Bellflower to plant Ethnos Community Church, they noticed a lack of community. People spend a lot of time alone or feel disconnected from family and neighbors. Many people are lonely. Some people struggle with depression.

In response, the Ivens started a jewelry class through the church plant.

“We noticed that God was in that first class,” said Tomas. “The art is a kind of bridge to know people, to connect people, [build relationships] with people.”

Martha is just one of the many people who has joined Ethnos Community Church’s community through the jewelry class. She was invited to the class after visiting the church for worship a few times.

The class changed her life.

Finding Purpose

“Before coming to this church, I had no sense of community,” said Martha. She felt alone and that her “weekend days were empty.” But as she continued to worship with Ethnos Community Church and attend the art classes, she felt less alone. She found new meaning.

“It’s like finding yourself, discovering new things about you,” said Martha.

It was through the art class that Martha formed her deepest friendships with people in the church community—and she also learned more about herself and who she was as God’s child.

“When people come into the arts program, they are not finding only an opportunity to discover their abilities in art,” said Tomas. “At the same time, they start discovering spiritually what they need in their lives.”

One day after the church’s worship service, Martha approached Christine and Tomas. She told them that she wanted to learn more about Jesus and pursue him more. While she had grown up Catholic, she felt like she only had head knowledge of God. That day, she wanted to accept Jesus into her heart.

“Since the first time I heard the Word of God here ... I have been so happy. I have found love. This is my place,” said Martha. “I have truly learned to have God in my heart. I feel God in my heart.”

Resonating Effects

Ethnos Community Church and the art classes have had resonating effects in Martha’s life and her relationships. Martha has also brought friends along to the classes and worship services.

“I’ve seen change,” she said. “This makes me happy, and I feel good that they’ve been able to belong here too. They learn what’s important and that you can find yourself here. That is my mission. That is my hope.”

The art classes were supported in part by Resonate Global Mission through a community engagement grant. Christine and Tomas said that the classes are incredibly important for the church and the community.

“It’s not about only the crafts or about art,” said Christine. “It’s about developing new things in them. I don’t know how ... the how is from God.”

Ethnos Community Church is one of the many CRC church plants reaching out to—and serving—communities in unique and creative ways.