What About Us?

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This morning my heart is full.
My wick is a little longer.
My coffee tasted just a bit sweeter.
My personal worship time with the Lord was rich. I sang to Him and he dwelt in my praise.
I am feeling so refreshed after a lovely time of worship, impartation , fellowship, and SMORES with the worship leaders and musicians from church.

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My mind goes back to a time in my life when I considered giving up on singing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sing. But, singing…leading worship in particular, had become such a hardship. I dreaded looking the congregation in their faces.
Stoic.
Bored.
Judgemental.

I’d spend at least 3 hours during the week prior not only rehearsing the music but also looking up scripture reference for a greater understanding of the lyrics and content.

All that effort and time for blank stares.

I remember a preacher that I respected very much say openly, “People don’t come to church for the music or the singing.” Felt like a dagger.

For years my husband and I have longed to belong to a church and body of believers in which creativity and living a life committed to following Jesus didn’t have a dividing line.

When we began going to our church I struggled with getting involved in the creative arts department. I knew I was gifted to sing and lead worship but, my past experiences caused me to be hesitant about using my gifts passionately in church.

“It’s not necessary. What I have to give isn’t necessary”

Those are the words that spun around in my mind.

I understand there are people that prefer the hardwood pews and quaintness of a small, older church where everyone knows one another. A piano or organ accompanies a hymn or two and that’s enough.

I understand some people prefer the groove of “shouting” music after a soul-stirring message in which the preacher uses humming, singing, and squalling to deliver his point.

I understand some people prefer not to attend church in a building and instead gather with a few friends at a coffeehouse and find Jesus in the scriptures and fellowship. No smoke and mirrors. Just the gospel.

I get it, and I respect it all.

But, I’m a creative. I go to the movies fully expecting to come out inspired and ready to write a short story or find a scripture passage parallel to what I’ve just seen.

I find Jesus in Christmas lights.
symphonies.
Leaves on trees changing colors.
a marching band.
Disneyland.
a crayon box.
colorful food.
fireworks.
Love.

I find Jesus in the WOW and I want to use my gift(s) to create the WOW.

Set design speaks to me.
The unity and uniqueness of instrumentation speaks to me.
The texture of varied voices speaks to me.

And I’m not the only one.

So What about us?

Why are creatives often lost in the shuffle? Deemed as not necessary or over the top.

The gospel is always relevant, but the way in which we present the gospel isn’t at times.

When we refuse to allow creativity to be activated in our services and churches we miss out on ministering to those who dream in color, are looking for God in an out of the box experience, and make the assumption that all people receive the same. We force people to bury their talents when we limit their opportunity.

The journey toward meaning begins when we unearth our gifts (Rebekah Lyons)

Why is this truth? Because being aware of and having the opportunity to use our gifts in our respective churches is a reminder that our Creator Himself is creative.

Using our gifts is a manifestation of God’s creativity.

Our creativity offered to Him out of our relationship with Him draws others to know Him, and builds the church.

While every church is different and has a different vision and assignment I am so grateful to have found a church that believes in the connection between creativity and living a life of devotion to Jesus.

For the first time in a long time I am thankful that I am free to believe that what I bring to the table matters to God.

What a blessing.

The Simplicity of Gratitude

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I have a love/hate relationship with this quote. {By the way, I don’t know the originator or I’d give them credit. I think it may be @annvoskamp } . I use it often when teaching on worship or mentoring worship leaders. But, it can be hard to live by. Like , this morning when I had to throw out $150 worth of groceries because there was a power outage in our area due to Monday’s storm. So all the groceries we JUST bought before going out of town….down the drain & in the trash. I didn’t want to be thankful. I wanted to be angry & disappointed. I was disappointed and that turned into worry. But before worry could turn into anger, I wrote a mini list of necessities…things we could get by with and headed to the store. As I put every single item on my mini list in the trunk …I started to thank God. “Thank you for these groceries Lord. Thank you for the cash you blessed us with to get these groceries. Thank you for the milk being on sale. Thank you for the vegetables & fruit that’ll keep us strong. Thank you for the Klondikes that were on sale so the kids can have a treat before bed. ” {that’s important around here ☺️} And before I knew it I was thanking God for things that don’t have anything to do with the groceries and things that haven’t even happened yet. Thanks-giving transforms the heart. The disappointment didn’t magically disappear , it just became smaller in the face of gratitude. Disappointment & worry reminded me of what was lost, gratitude reminded me of WHO I have. #gratitude