The Church of Scotland is recruiting its first arts minister as part of a £1m push for new ways to reach people as numbers continue to dwindle.

Ministers have until the end of this week to apply for the £40,000 a year post of Glasgow Arts minister, based in and around the city centre, charged with reaching out to artists and pioneering forms of worship and "ways of sharing faith that connect with artistic community".

It comes as figures show membership is down from 380,163 in December 2014 to 352,912 last year, and the number of ministers reduced from 811 to 786.

Fiona Crawford, strategy officer at Glasgow Presbytery, said: “Glasgow is home to an outstanding School of Art and a large number of visual artists, including Turner prize winners. It is a vibrant arts community that the Church doesn’t reach very well.

“As an artist specialising in fine art myself and listening to friends I recognised that they struggle with some of the formal structures of the Church.

“Artists think a little differently and they can be conscious of people looking at them and thinking they are a bit odd.

“So even though artists often have a strong faith they struggle with traditional forms of worship.

“We want to do church in a way that resonates with artists.”

She added: “What we envisage is Church where art and the sacramental aspects of worship will be closely entwined. Making art will become the act of worship.

“Some churches have been working with artists and learning how to create fine art that has credibility in the Arts community. We envisage there will be a lot of collaboration and churches across the Presbytery will learn how integrate visual art into their worship.”

Ms Crawford said: “New artistic communities are springing up in Glasgow and the Council is looking to invest in Art and regenerate Barrowlands and the East End.

“There is a lot of energy here for art and where the energy is, is where the Church needs to be.”

HeraldScotland:

The Arts ministry will build on creative work already under way in Glasgow churches. Renfield St Stephen’s Peacemakers Art project is creating art installations inside the Church.

At St George’s Tron Artist in Residence Ian Campbell works in public and displays his art in the church.

He recently received acclaim from across the world when his completed painting of The Last Supper, which portrayed homeless men from Glasgow City Mission, was featured in the media here and abroad at Christmas.

Norman Smith, Vice-Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Mission and Discipleship Council said: “The Christian faith is alive and well, but people today don’t always connect with the Church as we have known it.

“This exciting pioneer ministry will reach out to people of faith in Glasgow’s artistic community and build a church based on the needs and talents of artists.

"We have always understood that the Church is the people and not the building.

"By creating these pioneer ministries we are planting new churches that will be centred on people and the communities they live in."

Applications for the Glasgow Arts Community minister and an Ayr Farming Community minister will close at noon on Friday April, 29.

They were launched under a scheme to provide pioneering ways of ministering in Scotland.

The Kirk also has a ministry for students based in Stirling planned, one for residents of Hopefield housing development in Midlothian and a ministry for inner-city residents of Ferguslie Park in Paisley in the pipeline.