I am the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You.
I wrote God’s Creative Gift in obedience to God. While I was attending seminary, God planted a tiny seed in my heart, nurturing and watering it along as I learned. At the time I was training young women in the area of worship dance and embodied prayer, so I wanted to write a book for dancers filled with Bible studies. The Bible is filled with mandates and instruction for the creative Christian, and I wanted them to have a strong Biblical foundation from which to serve and minister to others.
Yet as I wrote, I quickly found that much of what I was writing applied to all areas of arts and creativity. I knew God wanted to inspire artists of all levels and genres, not simply because they are creative, but because they are made in His beautiful image. So I wrote, and just kept on writing until God said it was done. The result was seven chapters filled with Bible studies to inspire the creative Christian.
You can read more about my book and what inspired me to write it here.
I am a preacher’s kid, well, kinda.
My father was a preacher before I was born. By the time I came around, his work in Christian education had led him to a position as dean of Ashland Theological Seminary—the very same seminary I attended decades later. If you told me way back then that I would be in ministry now, I would’ve laughed. My brother, Joe? Yes! But me? Don’t think so!
Not sure when I finally realized the call on my life. Somewhere between worship team rehearsals, Christmas plays, and a desire to go to seminary, God pushed me into his will and ways. At some point, it finally dawned on me that I was already answering the call. I suppose it was part of my DNA.
I am a piano teacher’s daughter.
Growing up with a mother as a piano teacher meant that children of all ages, skills, and abilities sat at the piano in our living room and chipped away at the music lessons in the books propped on our beautiful Steinway. Day after day I heard the same simple tunes and scales—the very same ones I attempted as my mother tried to teach me piano (with little success, I might add, not due to her lack of persistence, but mainly mine).
She is a remarkable artist at the piano, and her artistry was most evident when she practiced in the privacy of our home. She benefitted from her practice by being a great pianist. I benefitted from her practice by learning a deep appreciation for music, and for finding God in the midst of her playing. To this day the piano is the one instrument that easily takes me into the Lord’s presence. It calms my soul and brings me a deep peace that resonates in my spirit.
I am a jack-of-all-trades; master of none.
I sing, lead worship, play guitar and flute. I have painted and crafted—on both large and small scales. I love drama, dance, and embodied prayer. I write—songs and books. I preach, teach, and lead. I coordinate large community worship gatherings and workshops. Yet, I do none of these in a full-time capacity or with any perfected skill.
In the past, I hated this aspect of my skill set, until my friend Aaron Wardle (a gifted worship leader & songwriter) told me that this “jack-of-all-trades” approach to ministry was a great asset. He admired my courage—he saw no fear in me that couldn’t be overcome by my faith in God to equip me in any given moment. Instead of waiting until I had perfected some art form, I stepped out in faith, expecting God to fill in the gaps. And he did.
And because of this breadth of experience, God has given me a heart for artists and creative Christians regardless of art form, genre, or medium. I love to see artists empowered to give their God-given creative gift to the body of Christ and to a world desperately in need of his unfailing love.
I am a wife and mother.
These priorities have always taken precedence above all other activities in my life. All decisions are made with the question, “How will this affect my family?” When I went to seminary, I took day classes and only one or two at a time so I would be home when the kids were home. It took me more than five years to complete a two-year degree.
My firm belief is that the greatest area of ministry is right in your own home. After all, if your own husband and children reject the gospel of Jesus Christ because you were too busy to be concerned with them, then you have failed to realize the mission field in your very own home.
That’s my soapbox, I’ll get down off of it now.
Above all else, I am a daughter of the King.
Through Christ’s sacrifice, I am forgiven.
I am reborn, redeemed, and restored.
I am filled with the gift of his precious Holy Spirit.
I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.
…because He is the Great I AM!
Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians and artists. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader and creative arts director. She has coordinated artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts. She has had the opportunity to perform, teach, choreograph, preach, coordinate and lead workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer throughout the region and also in Barcelona, Spain. She also leads worship at local seminars, retreats and women’s events. In addition, she has recently released a devotional album entitled Song of the Beloved, which is available through CD Baby and iTunes.
Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the way in which God uses the arts to bring formational development and healing to His people. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.
Activities: Leads worship, teaches, and performs through dance and drama at area churches, worship events and Healing Care Ministries events. Guest lecturer at Healing Care Ministry International Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation & Spiritual Direction. Directs creative and formative worship experiences.
Teaches on: Creativity and the Artist; Biblical ABCs of Creativity; Incarnational Artistry; Theology of Beauty; Dance as Prayer (Embodied Prayer); Portraying Scripture through Movement; Flags, Banners & Color Meanings; Symbolism in Worship Movement and the Creative Arts; Moving/Beauty from the Core; the Prophetic and Priestly Roles of the Artist in the Church.
Education: BA, R/TV & Public Communication, Ashland University (1988); MA, Organizational Communication, Ohio University (1990); and MA, Religion, Ashland Theological Seminary (2009).