Moving Day

Tomorrow, my office location at Willow is changing – not just down the hall, but to an entirely different building where most of the Willow Creek Association staff works. After two years in my new role, it was decided that it’s time for me to relocate even though I’ve enjoyed my proximity to the arts team on the church side. In about 23 years on staff at this campus, I’ve probably had at least seven different offices. These have ranged from windowless small-box spaces to one of my favorites, a spot hidden away on the lower level with a view of the lake.

Moving offices isn’t a huge deal in the scheme of overall life, but it does impact the little things. Instead of saying “Hi” to Jodi, Jon, and Dave, I’ll now cross paths with an entirely different group. My new neighbor with an office right next door is one of the most joyful, fun people on the planet – Steve Bell. I look forward to laughing with him! I will park in a new spot, walk through different main doors, and try to find the right place to get hot water for my morning tea. This physical change will put the final period on a sentence of transition in my role that began 23 months ago, and somehow, it will make it all much more real and final.

We humans are creatures of habit. Think about your daily routine – how you get to work, what stops you tend to make, where you park, how you schedule your day, where and when you tend to stop for breaks and lunch, who you chat with about last night’s sports scores or the winner on Dancing With the Stars. Experts on creativity challenge us to break out of these routines once in awhile, if for no other reason than to shake up our thinking and give us the chance to reframe our perspective. So if you’ve been stuck in a fairly predictable pattern for a long time, you can celebrate my moving day tomorrow by doing at least one thing differently in the next 24 hours. Order something new from Starbucks, drive through a different neighborhood to work, call someone you haven’t connected with in years, do a completely different form of aerobic exercise. And let me know what you did and how it felt. I’ll be setting up shop in my new space, and though I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone, I think it will be good for me…
Read more

Free Download: Unaverage Joe drama script

We have seen all through Scripture that following God doesn’t always lead us down the prescribed path. His way often contradicts the predictable choice. His love is contrary to popular belief.

Joseph’s story is no different. Faced with loss of honor and so much more, he responds to God’s calls with courage, devotion and love. Unaverage Joe gives us a glimpse into a pivotal moment in Joseph’s life, as he tries to explain his decision to marry his betrothed, despite her being pregnant.

We love this script. We love that in the midst of humor we are reminded that God calls us to follow Him … to trust Him … and to love Him with our whole lives.

Click here to receive this free resource.

To learn more about this resource visit ServiceBuilder....
Read more

Showing R-Rated Movie Clips in Church

I heard from an arts leader in California this week who was struggling with whether it’s advisable or not to show a scene from an R-rated film in church, assuming the scene itself is appropriate. Would the church be seen to be endorsing the entire movie, and is that ok? I thought back to some of these decisions at our church, and remembered that we showed a clip from We Were Soldiers and Saving Private Ryan, and I think those are R-rated. My friend wondered if the decision was to go ahead, do we need some kind of verbal or written disclaimer, stating that we are not necessarily recommending the film, acknowledging its rating, and leaving the decision to the discernment of each attender?
So what do you think? How have you handled this in your church? I would love to hear from you, and so would my friend....
Read more

I NEED your help!

"Sometimes creativity just means the daily work of helping others to see a problem in a different way.” -Joseph Badaracco

A team of us sat down to talk about the music track for the 2008 Arts Conference. This track is designed to inspire and equip music directors and instrumental music volunteers in the local church. We came up with a preliminary group of topics and were hoping you would give us your input. Could you take a few moments to give me your top 3 choices for the next conference? I’ve started the list of topics you can choose from, or write in your own.

Here are some ideas:

1. Leading Effective Rehearsals
2. Soloing – guitar, bass or keyboards
3. Improving your music reading skills
4. Basic techniques for members of a rhythm section
5. Voicings and styles for guitar, bass or keyboards
6. Becoming a tighter rhythm section player
7. Music theory
8. Understanding harmony
9. Songwriting
10. Building and leading a music ministry
11. Making music technology work
12. Producing a CD
13. Adapting songs for my band

Thanks so much for your feedback!
Read more

More On Arts Ministry Org Charts

The dialogue about ways to best structure leadership for a worship arts ministry has been robust and fascinating to me. I had a conversation with an arts leader yesterday who is not a musician herself, and who is fielding questions from the up front worship leaders about whether it is best for a non-musician to actually be leading the music team (in terms of reporting structure). This is not a new question to me, and yet it still surprises me that a worship leader is very open (usually) to reporting to the pastor, who is often not a musician, but not as open to following a Creative Arts Director or Worship Arts Pastor if that person is not musically gifted. I think the key here is leadership. As we look at the gift mix of each individual, we need to discern what his or her best play is. Also, a non-musician is often better equipped to represent the large percentage of non-musical people in the congregation – and make wise decisions as an advocate for those folks.

Sometimes musically gifted people don’t understand that not everyone is quite as “into music” as they are, and not everyone connects with God as a worshipper through the pathway of music. As a result, some worship leaders design long, repetitive worship times with music that is not very accessible for the average person. Those worship leaders and their music teams often look like they are in heaven on stage, and are authentically worshipping themselves. But they lack the instincts and discernment to read the room. Often, especially past the first few rows, the congregation is not as engaged as the worship leader may think they are.

For years I’ve been an advocate for expanding our toolbox in worship to include many different art forms and dimensions of communication. Some people respond most to story, or visuals, or video, or drama, or dance – therefore, we must not limit our experience in the gathering to music exclusively. For this reason, a non-musical arts leader may in fact be a great choice for leading the process of designing the Sunday morning experience. What do you think?
Read more