Monday Morning Insights

Photo of Todd
    .

    Let’s Make 2010 The Year The Church Become Original

    Let’s Make 2010 The Year The Church Become Original

    The Associated Press ran a story over the holidays about how “Christian products”  and spoofing commercial brands and logos.  You’ve seen them… the cheesy Christian t-shirts that someone, somewhere thought was creative or witty.  The article shares some good (bad) examples:

    1. The Facebook spoof t-shirt:  “Jesus Christ wants to be your friend”
    2. The Abercrombie & Fitch logo transformed into “Abreadcrumb & Fish”
    3. iPray, instead of iPod.
    4. A myriad of rip-offs of the “got milk” campaign
    5. The Obama “Hope” image was transformed from Obama to Jesus

    I agree with my friend Brad Abare, who heads the Center for Church Communications when he calls all this stuff “Jesus Junk”.  Brad comments that he thinks this type of thing is just dumb:  “It’s not a true reflection of creativitiy.”

    In fact, what would our churches look like in 2010 if re really tried to be creative, rather than ripping off other people’s ideas?

    What if we came up with our own unique sermon series titles rather than taking the low hanging fruit of a series based on the movie Avatar?

    What if we came up with our own ideas to reach our community, rather than buying a curriculum or copying some program from a church 3,000 miles away with 15,000 move attendees than our church has?

    My guess is that the church would be actually much MORE creative and much MORE effective.

    As church leaders, we must, of course, glean the best ideas from other leaders all around the country.  We should constantly be on the lookout for trends and things we can use to reach our community.   But our community is OUR community.  There are ways to reach our own local community that Andy Stanley and Perry Noble haven’t thought of for one major reason:  they don’t live in our community.

    I firmly believe that the local church is one of the greatest incubators for innovation that exists.  But in order for innovation to thrive in your church, you have to champion it.  You have to empower people to be creative, take risks, and see what happens. 

    If and when you do this in 2010, you’ll find that you have a large number of failures.  But you’ll find one or two jewels that will work like a charm in your local setting.

    Let’s make 2010 a year of originality and innovation in our local churches.  Are you in?

    Have a great week!

    Todd 

     

    SOURCE ARTICLE: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/58625

    Comments

    if you want a Globally Recognized Avatar (the images next to your profile) get them here. Once you sign up, your picture will displayed on any website that supports gravitars.

    1. Jim on Mon, January 04, 2010

      This is an inspiring and interesting notion in today’s church climate.  Not only to spur us to be creative - but to recapture something that we have let go.

      Historically - in the days of Bach for instance - the church was the center of the creative work that was being done.  Music, art, scholarly writing, architecture - etc.  Amazingly - as today’s Americans tour Europe, the cathedrals are some of the most highly visited attractions!  There were, for sure, secular entries into the music/art world - but the church both set the bar, and led the way in quality and volume of output.

      Please friends - don’t turn what I am about to say into debate:  but while there may be some good reasons to use secular material in our services - let’s not cop out.  We were made in the image of God - and He is the Creator!  He created a way to reach us in our need - let’s try to do the same with our communities.  Let’s lead the way and quit trying to ride the coat-tails of secular creativity.

    2. Michael Dixon on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Our house church was blessed by a family sharing on Facebook (immediately following it happening) their personal experience of a disheartening family get-together in which one family member was castigated by a sibling. The house church responded quickly and directly with prayer and emails, and the family doing the sharing was said they felt sustained in their efforts to forgive the offense and put the incident in a Jesus-first perspective.

      What several persons commented on when the house church was next gathered together were the unique elements of (1) the privilege of being invited into a very personal experience of disappointment which is usually not disclosed to other church members (i.e., “Hi! How was your holiday? Oh, great, and how was yours?”), (2) being invited in in “real time,”  (i.e.,when the family was still hurting, and re-composing, and thinking about what it meant to the six year old child who witnessed the parent’s uncontested upbraiding) (3) being invited in to help, not just hear, to pray and respond. So I am looking forward to 2010 being a year in which I and the members of my house church relate to each other on a more nearly daily basis about the things that matter in each of our lives as they matter-to practice being known by God through allowing myself to be known by my fellow disciples.

    3. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      I too get frustrated by the unoriginal ideas, but sometimes, when you’ve got to do something new every single week, it can get a little exhausting trying to be original and creative every single week.

      Creative people are hard to come by in this neck of the woods. So if you think some of us are less than creative, please give us a break… Thanks!

    4. CS on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Peter:

      First, my friend, happy new year.  I hope you and your family are doing well.

      “I too get frustrated by the unoriginal ideas, but sometimes, when youíve got to do something new every single week, it can get a little exhausting trying to be original and creative every single week.”

      I agree entirely.  I think that it’s responsible to have a few things in the pocket that are traditional, true, and tested on which you can rely to deliver.  And, I agree with Todd’s assessment that too many churches today pick up sermon-in-a-box kits and whip them together instead of doing some actual work.

      At my last church, over 80% of the sermons came from books, materials, or other churches’ materials.  There was nothing original or unique.  It was a steady blend of the biggest and most notable things week after week.  That helped contribute to my leaving and finding a different church.

      I wish that we would have more original Christian forms of art, writing, and music.  Maybe I’ll just have to step up and work on something too…


      CS

    5. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      CS,

      Happy and blessed new year to you, too!

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that creativity and originality are over-rated sometimes. And you and I both know there are churches that, at least on the surface, appear to bow down too low to some “god of creativity”.

      One of the best sermons I heard this year was totally re-purposed from somebody else. And the preacher openly offered that info, so people didn’t think he came up with it himself. Last weekend our preacher talked about grace and explained it in the light of our fallenness and depravity (yes, he even used that word in a seeker-sensitive church) in a very “non-original” idea. It was just fine, and nothing was “new” about it.

      That said, when I write original worship music I’m trying to get more and more original and creative all the time.

      Peter

    6. John Burton on Mon, January 04, 2010

      At the risk of sounding too spiritual, why are so many Sunday morning teachings rooted in ‘creative ideas’? Why is there pressure to do this? Why isn’t a burning, Rhema word enough to pierce hearts and capture attention?

      What happened to having original, impossible to invent or duplicate encounters with the Holy Spirit during our services?

      I am a marketer and a communicator. I do believe in anointed web and graphic design, marketing campaigns, etc. There is value in that.

      But, my feeling is if we do Christianity and church and ministry right, it will be very peculiar, original and different. Acts 2 is a perfect example.

      I think we’re trying too hard to keep the masses interested through natural means. When God comes down in power, many will marvel and many will mock. We saw that in Acts. We saw it at Azusa. We saw it at Brownsville, Toronto, Lakeland, Smithton, etc.

    7. CS on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Peter:

      “One of the best sermons I heard this year was totally re-purposed from somebody else. And the preacher openly offered that info, so people didnít think he came up with it himself.”

      That’s another big problem.  Even though some places openly give up their content for freedom of use without recognition, like Lifechurch.tv, doing so blurs the line of honesty and plagiarism.  I would rather a preacher be honest and provide references whenever adopting someone else’s content, even if the provider doesn’t care if sources are cited.

      John:

      “At the risk of sounding too spiritual, why are so many Sunday morning teachings rooted in Ďcreative ideasí? Why is there pressure to do this? Why isnít a burning, Rhema word enough to pierce hearts and capture attention?”

      You’re right.  If the creativity is the focus, then it can be an idol in itself.  Here’s a good example:

      My daughter went to a Sunday school class once that did all sorts of whiz-bang things.  One day at worship, the leader of the kids made them all pretend they were on a spy mission and trying to decipher some codes and find information.  It was intended to tie into a Bible lesson.  The kids and most of the parents loved how it engaged them.

      But what did my daughter remember?  The production, and not the content.  She could tell you all about the gadgets and trenchcoats, but didn’t remember a thing about what the Bible had to say.  The focus was on the activity and not on God.  It was an idol.

      You can usually tell if the creativity is the focus if the person has to go, “Oh, yeah, we do focus on God,” or has to interject a big, “but,” in my experiences.


      CS

    8. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      CS,

      Good points… but…

      If somebody remembers my production rather than my message, that’s not my fault. And it doesn’t, imho, prove that the focus is on the activity. Get me?

      Peter

    9. John Burton on Mon, January 04, 2010

      The question is very easy… is it anointed? Leonard Ravenhill said, “In all your getting, get unction.”

      I don’t know how many really creative, very interesting sermons I’ve sat through in my life that had little or no unction.

      I’ve heard it say that we need to prepare one hour for every minute of our sermon. I’d agree, but I would possibly differ on what it means to prepare. Let’s pray 30-40 hours a week in preparation… and see what happens.

    10. Michael Dixon on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Peter & CS

      True, Peter, especially for/from one as Christ centered as yourself. However, CS’s point should not be overlooked as a criteria for the discerning heart, as in what is my purpose in this production I am undertaking, and does my production do all that it might to lift the purpose and obscure the performer, except as the dirt ball (i.e., incarnation) the Spirit is currently using.

    11. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Michael Dixon writes [CSís point should not be overlooked as a criteria for the discerning heart, as in what is my purpose in this production I am undertaking, and does my production do all that it might to lift the purpose and obscure the performer, except as the dirt ball (i.e., incarnation) the Spirit is currently using.] Yes, I agree. Always examine and re-examine.

      And John writes [Iíve heard it say that we need to prepare one hour for every minute of our sermon. Iíd agree, but I would possibly differ on what it means to prepare. Letís pray 30-40 hours a week in preparationÖ and see what happens.] Is that in addition to preparation time? Okay, let’s say it isn’t and I pray/prepare 40 hours in prep for my sermon. When am I actually doing ministry and equipping people? Whenever I hear those numbers thrown out it sounds to me like it’s from people who think all that the Christian faith is is a selfish internal mind-exercise and not a lifestyle/worldview that blesses and changes the world around me.

    12. Michael Dixon on Mon, January 04, 2010

      John,

      The really convicted might even try , say, 20 minutes of prayer on Sunday & see what happens. 

      Betcha the blog posts on the results make the responses on the MMI post about last Sunday of the year collections amounts seem besides the point.

    13. John Burton on Mon, January 04, 2010

      We know in scripture that the most important activities of church leaders is prayer and study of the Word. We can’t pretend to presume we have life changing power if we aren’t deeply involved in those activities.

      Another Leonard Ravenhill quote- “Pastors who don’t pray two hours a day aren’t worth a dime a dozen.”

      We have to know God. We have to introduce the lost not into a religion but into the furnace of Holy Spirit activity where the power of Jesus explodes before them.

      In houses of prayer it’s common to spend 4-6 hours a day in prayer, and another 4 hours or so in ministry activities. That’s a formula for church success… and, for creativity that will be so far outside the box that we won’t even remember what the box looks like.

    14. Michael Dixon on Mon, January 04, 2010

      John,

      10 hours…1 day…and that’s not the 1:00pm, 4:00 pm and 8:30 pm football games, but prayer + ministry…pretty xxx_treme, my brother, pretty xxx_treme.

      How are your last Sunday of the last month collections? Bet you don’t even give ‘em a DVD and tell ‘em to worship with their families!

      Kinda 1rst century…donchya think?

    15. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      John Burton writes [In houses of prayer itís common to spend 4-6 hours a day in prayer, and another 4 hours or so in ministry activities. Thatís a formula for church successÖ and, for creativity that will be so far outside the box that we wonít even remember what the box looks like.] I’ll try to be delicate here. This a ridiculous ratio. I can only guess that if you are in ministry, you are either not doing this or you are not successful.

      I am not saying that prayer is not foundational, that it not THE work of the church. But your ratios are, sorry to say I can’t find a better word… ludicrous.

    16. Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 >

      Post a Comment

    17. (will not be published)

      Remember my personal information

      Notify me of follow-up comments?

    Sponsors