My name is Christ (rhymes with “wrist”) John Otto, and I direct Belonging House. Belonging House is an international hub for artists and creative people. I write books for artists, teach, provide pastoral care, and send out an email every Friday.
Let’s clear up the confusion about my name. I am named after my dad’s grandfather. His family was from Alsace, the German speaking province of France. Since it was a family name, I didn’t know it was unusual until I began public school. In German, “Christ” means “Christian.” No, I do not think I am the Messiah, and no, at 48 I am not going to change it.
I took my first freelance art job in 1987 when I was 16 years old. Although I pursued full time ministry as a career, I returned to the arts as my source of income again and again.
After a major life crisis I sought help. My priest, Father Al Durrance, advised me to “Listen to the Lord and do what He tells you.” That guidance laid the foundation for the life and adventure I live today.
In 2006 I received a dramatic call to “raise up an army of artists who will build Jesus a throne in the earth.” God included some directions with the call: no fundraising, no networking, and tell the story. For 13 years God has been drawing the men and women who have become Belonging House, a global community of more than 600 artists and creative people
“God is calling artists and creative people to shape and change culture. That demands being real disciples of Jesus Christ. It demands knowing your craft, and it demands a commitment to a life of holiness and personal transformation.”
Scriptural. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible and Christian Education from Houghton College and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. My roots are firmly in the Wesleyan evangelical tradition.
Sacramental. While at Asbury, I made repeated visits to the Abbey of Gethsemani and was influenced by the monks who were mentored by Thomas Merton. The monastic lifestyle— the rhythm of prayer, silence, Eucharist, and work—continues to form my life and the ministry I lead. To learn more about a life of prayer, check out these resources.
Supernatural. Beginning in 1986 I was influenced by the “Third Wave” and charismatic renewals sweeping through my church. In 1995 I was deeply touched by the Toronto Blessing. My life and ministry has been dramatically touched by the Holy Spirit and we have been blessed to see God heal, restore, and transform lives in numerous supernatural ways.
Since 2006 my primary work has been writing “books of theology for artists.” We live in the moment of the story, and artists and creative people are storytellers. I believe artists truly are on the forefront of another global reformation.
Both An Army Arising and Drip have sold over 4000 copies. An amazing accomplishment, and proof that “word of mouth” is still the best advertising.
Drip was an ebook launched in March 2018. Since then the book has been downloaded over 4000 times and shared with close to 8000 artists across the globe. You can hear an excerpt of me reading Drip in this video.
You can download Drip here.
Speaking and Teaching
I try to say yes to every invitation to speak to artists and creative people. As a rule we generally ask for hosts to cover travel, housing, meals, and have a group of 12 attendees or more. For more information about ministry guidelines, please contact us.
All requests for speaking must be made in writing to via the contact page below. We will respond with our ministry request guidelines. We look forward to working with you.