Creatives: Better Together?

creatives

Right in the middle of church planting, that’s where you find me. Just weeks away from launching a new church in Toms River, New Jersey. Along with everything else I’ve learned and experienced through this time I’ve noticed a lack of resources and conversation when it comes to creative meetings. While there are some amazing resources for the individual creative ( The Creative Pastor and CRTV Church are awesome), I’m referring specifically about Creative Teams and how they work. Whether in a business context or within the church, the idea of Creative Teams has been getting more traction lately. Let’s talk about it.

For our church a Creative Team is made up of individuals who meet as needed to go over BIG PICTURE ideas, not the nitty gritty details. We hear what the Pastor will be preaching on and spend some time thinking about the overall theme, how we can create a series around the major theme, the visual artwork that accompanies it, and one major wow moment that will happen in that series. If someone can’t remember exactly what the Pastor said, but they can remember one “wow” experience, use that to jog their memory.

Who is on the team?

Lead Pastor, Worship & Weekend Experience Leader, Communications Leader (also happens to be our Production Leader), and two church volunteers. One of the church volunteers is a constant team member, the other spot we rotate out each meeting and add someone different. Find people who aren’t afraid to share ideas and who aren’t easily offended when their idea isn’t used.

When does the team meet?

We are trying to be a season ahead of schedule. For example, we met in January to discuss Easter and a sermon series happening in May. Each major holiday gets its own meeting and so does each series. Based on this concept, you only need to meet as many times as your Pastor changes his series. For some churches it could be 5-6 times a year, for others more like 9-10.

Why a Creative Team?

This part can get real personal to each church or organization. Acknowledging that each place is different I will move on to some basic reasons that I think can relate to everyone.

  1. Visuals: Seriously. Each day our communication is done more through pictures and emojis than we probably realize. If a post doesn’t have a picture attached to it, does anyone read it? I don’t know but it’s worth thinking about. We share images to reflect how we are feeling, what we are experiencing, and of course what we’re eating. Taking some time to think about the artwork that may accompany your teaching is time not wasted.
  2. Stories: Stories help us learn and remember. Throughout the Bible we see parables and sharing of stories to help the people listening really understand what Jesus was trying to teach them. When working on a Creative Team you are helping to ultimately create a story with the goal that your church will leave not only remembering what it is they learned, but be able to apply it to their lives and share it with others.
  3. God: He is the ultimate Creator. God created everything…. everything. It’s in His nature to create, to allow new things to bloom and to remove things that are no longer needed. He could have chosen to leave everything one way, never having them change, but He didn’t.
  4. Fun: Church should be fun.

 

Have you tried Creative Teams at your church or organization? How’d it go? Can you do this without a team? Who is on your team? Share in the comments.

Upcoming: How we run Creative Meetings. Games/Brain warm-ups we play. What is a WOW moment? Subscribe to be one of the first notified when new content comes out.

 

Prepping for the Promise

prepping

When I was in college down at Florida Atlantic University I was horrible at studying. By horrible I mean I never did it. Actual studying consists of consuming and reviewing new knowledge over increments of time. Who has time for that?! I was incredible at cramming everything in the night before and sometimes even the day of. I would try to figure out the most important ideas, grab better notes from someone else in the library, and ultimately fake my way through it. If passing college classes is what I had to do to prepare for my future, I was amazingly bad at it.

For most of us preparation equals stress. In all areas of our lives we need to prepare; work, school, parenthood, leadership, ministry, coaching, marriage, etc. In all those areas stress can get added to our preparation. We are uncertain of the outcome and some of us force ourselves to cram in every nugget of information  [insert the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book here] while others get so overwhelmed that they throw their hands up and cash out.

I’ve been reading my way through the She Reads Truth reading plan for the Bible in a Year, which means I’ve spent a lot of time lately in Old Testament books like Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, etc. [For the non-Bible readers, these are the books with all of the commands and instructions, and pretty much no one jumps there for a good daily inspirational reading.] In these books we see the Israelite people get constant instruction from God regarding how they are to worship Him, celebrate, cleanse themselves, basically live, etc. In the same books, over and over again we see the Israelites mess up, breaking God’s commands.

The people of Israel were so stuck in their current situation (wandering around the wilderness) they couldn’t see that in the midst of it, God was preparing them for the promise. The promise in this case was land, a special place for the people to call their own. In these books God doesn’t say “If you make it to the land do this….”, He says “When you get there….” God knew the plan and promise He had for His people. He also knew they weren’t ready yet to receive it and would need some prepping along the way.

Is He prepping you along the way right now?

Sooner than later I will be taking the biggest and riskiest step in faith I have ever taken; leaving my established home church and helping launch a church plant in Toms River, NJ where I will be leading worship. Terrifying. Exciting. Unqualified. Sufficient. The mix of emotions is intense and real. My pattern of “cramming for exams” will not work in this situation. However, I have been given a promise. It is written that those who take delight (follow, love, trust, walk with) in the Lord will be given the desires of their hearts. That’s a promise. Never in a million years when I walked around aimlessly with the promise out of sight did I think God was preparing me for such a role. I can rest in the assurance that if God has promised it, He will be in it, and He will help to prepare me for the promise He has given.

The desires of our hearts vary, as do our life circumstances, but can you take a moment to look back and see how God has been shaping you for your future? The shaping is not easy, it can be painful and messy. It can be extremely long (think 40 years in the wilderness long).  It is through both the victories and trials that God prepares us for His plan, His promises, His Kingdom building work [all night coffee cram session not needed].

 

The Role of the Volunteer

the-role-of-the-worship-volunteer-largeI’ve got a new post up at The Church Collective today! Volunteering in our churches is more than just showing up and not complaining. Head over to the site and see if you agree.


 

 

Worship Team Building: Love & Respect

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[This personal content was originally published by thechurchcollective.com on 11.03.13. Make sure you stop by and see all the other resources they have.]

Have you ever had that moment on Sunday morning when everyone is strolling in on time, except for the drummer? Or what about the times when practice lands on the same night as Back to School night and your bass player, keyboard player, and acoustic guitarist can’t attend? In these moments it’s easy to remember how valuable each team member is, but with the hectic schedule of planning, practicing, and playing, it’s easy to forget.

Worship teams tend to retain their volunteers longer than other ministries. One of the main reasons is because the people in your ministry have already put in time and dedication on their own learning their skill. They are committed and passionate about music and enjoy being able to use their skill or ability in the church. However, worship ministries can be some of the most demanding and disheartening. Each member of your team is sacrificing something in their own life to be there. For some it may be family dinner, an extra shift at work, or even attending church with their spouse.

While God is the one who placed them on your team, as the leader, it is our job to both encourage them and show them appreciation.

My goal is to share with you some practical means by which you can implement with your team some encouragement and appreciation. But first, let’s see how love and respect play into this idea.

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Worship; Here, There, & Everywhere

Blog- Here ThereAn “aha moment” as Oprah has so called it….that’s what I had. A couple months ago I attended Sunday evening chapel at America’s Keswick in Whiting, NJ. This place is something that I have taken for granted. The mission of this place in the middle of nowhere on a lake, to the outsider a summer camp, is to reach men who are struggling with addiction. While they do hold conferences and miscellaneous Christian events, the heart of America’s Keswick is for these men who are stuck in their substance addiction. 

Their chapel is actually more in the middle of nowhere than their main campus is…Jon and I got lost. Once we found it though, we found a tiny white church with one room, a dirt parking lot, wooden pews, hymnals, and the friendliest people I’ve been around in awhile. The people that filled the pews seemed to be a mix of regular congregants, men going through the addiction program, their families and friends, and staff members. We were all gathered there for different reasons, yet still acknowledging each other as brothers and sisters of the same faith. The pastor stood up, asked us to grab our hymnals and directed us to a page number.

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