Incarnate’s distinctive lies in its holistic discipleship of artists. All elements of the programme are designed to strengthen and integrate the art, faith and mission of each artist. This unique recipe prepares artists for a life-time engagement of their world with Christ.
Through connections with both OM and other organizations, you will be challenged with very real opportunities for arts ministry during and upon completion of the programme.
The first three months are spent in residence. We then arrange a placement for you on one of our OM Arts bases, for a taste of practical experience on the field, with one (or more) of our field artists.
Learning and practice are integrated through class time, homework, studio time, and in the community, engaging with local churches and people.
At Incarnate, you can expect to experience:
It can be inspiring to talk about community. It is quite another thing to live it! But there is no substitute when it comes to pursuing personal growth and reaching out in God's love. So we intentionally pursue healthy living in a Christ-centred community every single day for 3 months.
Through learning activities, homework assignments, and videos, you will discover biblical principles and interpersonal skills for healthy relationship in community. But we as staff are not the only one doing the teaching here—we actively encourage each artists in the community—staff included—to speak into one another’s lives, and to receive from one another. This too is a learned skill, best practiced in safe community. Our goal is to provide just that: a safe environment in which to practice Living Together Beautifully, so you can bring those skills to any community to which God sends you.
At the core of the programme are three courses:
God’s Story: laying a biblical foundation for the arts, this course explores God’s core messages, character, creativity, and purposes.
Your Story: picks up the intersection of God’s Story with our stories, and how Christ is formed in us (Gal. 4:19). This course is framed using the literary device known as The Hero’s Journey; it includes the practice of spiritual disciplines that are introduced weekly and practiced during Incarnate, and discipleship groups that meet twice weekly to process the material.
10,000 Stories: presented by a variety of OM Arts and guest artist practitioners, sharing experience and practical tools, this course explores how our stories impact others. Each week’s class will present material on culture, worldviews, and issues relevant to cross-cultural ministry.
These courses are integrated, run simultaneously throughout the Incarnate programme and share common themes. Each course meets weekly for two hours, and is taught in a variety of teaching styles: lecture, discussion and corresponding learning activities. Other workshops are added to studio time to support the creative process. Worship begins or ends class room time.
Classroom locations vary. We usually meet in a lecture hall, but don’t be surprised when we venture outside, into a cave or a local museum.
Homework assignments are varied, thoughtful, and creative. Expect to spend six hours per week completing these assignments, depending on your English language skill, creative process, and how deeply you process. Expect also to see spiritual formation homework seep into your daily devotional time, conversations, and Sabbath times. The assignments may require somewhat extensive internal processing, reading and writing. Therefore, English levels need to be adequate to complete the required tasks. This will be assessed during the application process.
Intentional outreach through assignments, course work and invitation are part of the Incarnate program. Come prepared to do outreach together and in collaboration with OM Italia and local churches.
We also like to bring artists out of the ‘Incarnate bubble’ and into the everyday live of the local people. Some of this will happen on campus, as we live in community with the Italian staff of our hosting facility. Other times it will be with neighbors, in local cafes, at the supermarket or laundromat.
Evenings and weekends are usually free, with ample opportunity to participate in optional outings, cultural events and even outreach. We seek to integrate into local churches on Sundays.
Exploration is encouraged through creative assignments, excursions, doing interviews and research with local people—guiding artists to engage deeply with our host community. Through prayer and mentoring, artists respond personally and creatively to real people with real hopes and real needs. Artists are sent out to different locations for the final weeks of the programme to put into practice what they have learned and experienced.
Since worship is the "fuel and the goal in missions”, we take time to make this connection continually. How do we worship? Because Incarnate staff and artists come from a variety of backgrounds and styles, we develop our own style as a community. You can expect variety in our weekly routine: corporate singing and praise, creative worship with visual arts and dancing, reflective worship with lectio, cinema and visio divina, thanksgiving and celebration, intercession, study and prayer, in communion and Sabbath rest. In creative worship, we grow in the habit of infusing our craft into worship. As one of our former artists wrote, “God delights in our art as we do it with a spirit of excellence and a heart of worship. Our art can be worship, not just a tool.”
Incarnate does not focus on teaching artistic technique. But excellence is key to us, and invariably, artists leave Incarnate stronger artistically than when they came. Why? Several hours are set aside each day to studio time; artists can hone artistic skills, learn from one another, and expand their creativity, in an environment of honest, constructive critique. Under the supervision of creative mentors, artists will be challenged to stretch into new techniques and arenas, and to develop their unique voices, incorporating new insights. Creative assignments are sometimes individual, sometimes collaborative, and will always seek to expand your horizons. Work produced in studio time will be gathered for our Arts Festival.
In addition to our regular outreach and engagement with the community, Incarnate concludes with a festival week, an outreach exhibiting the artists’ best work, along with art created by or with local artists. The event celebrates and captures our months of life shared with each other and the local community. Through exhibits, artist talks, testimonies and performances, we bless the local community with a truly international event, share the gospel message, and connect local churches to mainstream culture in a non-threatening way.
Explore the art and performances of previous Incarnate Festivals HERE.
It is hard not to have fun when surrounded by artists from all over the world who love Jesus, life, and creating. From welcoming neighbours, local markets, and delicious cuisine, there is a world to explore right at our doorstep in Isola del Gran Sasso, and further afield. We also like to find excuses to celebrate – from birthdays to the arrival of the weekend or warmer weather. Local celebrations and holidays offer unique opportunities to mix with the local culture, learn, and be a witness for Jesus. We encourage any artist who has the gift of fun to help us! For example, in past Incarnates, we have had an Irish ceili dance, American folk dancing, a Chinese New Year celebration, and Saturday morning hip hop classes!)
In OM and other organizations, opportunities abound for artists to set-up shop, learn, create, and serve. As artists develop their personalized vision for serving through the arts, OM Arts staff will work to connect them with best-fit placements and help develop a plan to get there. Our desire is that every artist who comes to Incarnate goes on to step into long-term ministry.
After Incarnate, mentors are available to coach each artist through the first steps of re-entry into their next chapter of life. Whether these steps touch on the artist’s internal world and spiritual life, or practical help in networking and finding resources, we will help if we can!