God has made us all unique, each with our own talents, interests, and passions. But it can be hard to know how to use them for something that matters. If you’re an artist, how can you leverage that to serve God? To answer that, during a recent episode of Indigitous PULSE, we met with Mick Haupt, a photographer and graphic designer with the missions organization Cru.
In eighth grade, Mick took his dad’s camera to school for a presentation about photography. He then began experimenting with that camera and fell in love with photography as an art form. “I love the creating process of finding something and trying to make an image or make a scene into something that is memorable for somebody else,” Mick says.
To Mick, talent in photography is a gift from God and is something that can be used to point people back toward Him. “Part of the gift from the Lord is that if we can stir that longing for wonder, you’re helping another person tap into wanting to explore God, explore what they’re thinking and feeling about the world, explore creation,” Mick says. “I think photography helps somebody else see a bit of the creative aspect of the Creator God.”
Thirty years ago, Mick joined the campus ministry of Cru. “There wasn’t much creativity required there,” Mick laughs. Mick enjoyed making flyers, posters, and videos promoting events, but most of his work was standard campus ministry stuff. Looking for a more creative outlet, Mick taught himself graphic design and eventually became an art director for the ministry.
Mick also served as a traveling photographer for the Jesus Film Project, where he traveled the world capturing images of film showings in fifteen countries. “It was very interesting, sometimes scary. Totally at the edge of my faith on occasion,” Mick says. “But God really utilized that to spark something in me that I don’t think even graphic design does. I think photography is something that itches where my soul is at.”
How to use photography for God
Whether taking photos of ministry events or doing photojournalism, Mick takes care to use his God-given talent for photography to tell the stories of what God is doing. “I need to be continually telling stories with images that tell of God, that tell what God is doing through our ministry,” Mick says.
But Mick’s journey isn’t typical. There’s a good chance that there are no Christian ministries near you that are looking for an artist. And if you join a campus ministry, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to transition it into a more creative role. So how can photographers and other creative Christians use their talents for God?
One way is by volunteering your talent to help others. “Be willing to use your talent to serve people, to serve the body of Christ,” Mick says. He does a lot of free photography for friends and for his local church. You can also volunteer with a short-term mission trip or to shoot for a ministry event. “Do a lot of things to serve your church, serve in things that are in your proximity,” Mick suggests.
In the parable of the talents, Jesus talks about how those who are faithful over a little will be given more (Matthew 25). Mick sees that as a promise for those who want to use their artistic talent for God. “Be faithful in the small things of your talent or skill and take the opportunity to serve in ways that may seem insignificant and something significant will follow,” Mick says.
All images in this post are by Mick Haupt, from Unsplash.