Saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow. Even though we didn’t really say goodbye…
It’s true. It was our last “coaching” session but the friendships formed in this group were amazing. The last day was a “show and tell” of sorts as we all gave an exposé of our final projects and explained how we grew because of them.
My magic act when over well. I think I mystified everyone… but I don’t think I have a future in magic. We learned about caring for bonsai trees and found inspiration in some artwork provided by the other members of our team.
The best part about the #CreativeCoaching is the community that formed among a group. It’s a community that will continue to grow and sharpen each other. Something about that last meeting felt like it needed a boombox held high or “Don’t Your Forget About Me” by Simple Minds playing in the background, but with the way our world works we know that there will always be a sequel. : )
In the midst of some amazing screen shots and grand central station audio, along with a guest appearance by Jack White, I had an amazing time chillin’ and bouncing ideas off of my friend Carlos today. We talked at length about the creative process and some of what he recommends as far as bringing ideas to the table.
Here are my notes:
I’ll try and type it out into making any kind of sense.
The @LosWhit #Cr8iv5Phazes:
About this time the screen froze: #ZOMBIELOS
Then we hopped back into our discussion. He spoke some more about the safety of those creatives spaces and environments, how the bridge gaps in creativity and in generational connection. Nerf balls are thrown. Ideas are chosen. Expression of worship happens. It’s all built on relationships and trust. Something we’re talking a lot about right now at NewPointe.
I can’t wait to dive in for more.
Back with the crew again. Love these guys. It’s so cool to be able to grow with them.
We began with reviewing our examination talk and thoughts from our #MyDayYesterday video. Carlos had an interesting thoughts based on his own self examination when he compared how much he posts about his life instead of Jesus. It’s a great form of self-evaluation. For me it caused a major heart check (as many things did in this session). I’m pretty narcissistic and vain. I post videos/photos etc. about my life and my family way more than I think I do about Jesus. Is Jesus Lord of my social media world?
Bianca shared how she saw in her week the danger of “being result driven without having purpose”. This happens when we don’t ask “the Why”, which led us into our topic of the day…
DISTURB & DISRUPT
How are we disrupting our congregation’s spiritual growth in order to stop them in their tracks in order to draw them closer to a Holy God.
In order to disrupt we have to put the “why” at the beginning. We normally throw “who” at the top of the list. If we say “why”, we start at purpose. Bianca shared that “The “why” gets to the essence of what we do.”
Jon took note that - ”The why” is our communicates our intention. It pushes us to do something beyond our capacity and what we would normally do.”
In ministry sometimes we start with the target demographic. For NewPointe our demographic is the 35 year old male. Carlos theorized that if we focus on “the Why” (JESUS) more at the front end of what we do that we won’t have to focus as hard on the 35 year old male. Jesus will draw them to Himself.
In a strange turn of events, we were all disconnected from Adobe Connect due to a server error and our session was actually disrupted so we will do the second half this Thursday from 1-2PM EST. Or as Jon would say, “Decepticons shut down Adobe Connect in order to hack in and steal some of Carlos’ creative juices!”. Regardless funny.
So, more to come!
OTHER #TWEETABLES FROM @LosWhit:
Artists and creatives don’t get into scripture… we focus so much on creating the content rather than being the content.
Don’t tweet / instagram things the day of. Leave the moment sacred. Let the moment be the moment, post things later.
Micah’s Magical Mystery Mania
Yeah, I took another prayer screen shot… : )
It’s that time again. I threw on my #BeatsbyDre and popped into #AdobeConnect to meet up with a group of people that I can say I’m truly starting to connect with. We began by talking through some of our creative projects and how they are progressing.
We laughed about how uncomfortable we each were. We saw some awesome bonsai tree growth and gave updates on life, love, and other mysteries (Point Of Grace anyone?)
After some laughs we dug right into our topic for the day… #EVALUATION.
It’s obvious that we should constantly evaluating. We need to evaluate our spiritual lives, our home lives, our ministries, our hobbies, our volunteers, our environments… you get the idea. If we don’t evaluate we can’t learn and we can’t get better.
So how good are we at evaluting ourselves? Do we look at both the good and bad? Are we honest? I’ll say this is something that, I feel, NewPointe does very well. Carlos even mentioned the #360PeerEvaluations as a useful tool for personal evaluation.
Before we dug to deep into ourselves we looked at the past. Part of evaluating means looking at others from the past, present, and future that we can learn from.
We looked at the past generations of Billy Graham and asked about what we could learn from them. One of my initial thoughts is that we don’t pray like Billy did. Sometimes I feel like we pray to fill time and transition or just to say that we have. I don’t want to be guilty of getting by on my own strength and not living in the faith/trust/risk of following Jesus with everything.
Carlos shared a quote from Matt Chandler of The Village Church on that same thought:
I never want to be guilty of that.
As part of our own self evaluation we were tasked with creating a “My Day Yesterday” video. This is a 90 second video made of up quick shots from your day. There’s not fancy editing and no added background music. It’s simple. But it gives an idea of what you actually spend your day doing.
I’m learning a lot in these sessions and am super excited to continue to grow and stretch.
Today marks the second session of #CreativeCoaching with Carlos Whittaker and my new set of friends! If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my introductory blog. I actually ended up in the meeting a few minutes late (Outlook>iCal>iCloud>iPhone>Sync Failure). I realized I was late when I got this tweet from Carlos:
As soon as I saw it, I thought “WHAT THE WHAT!?!?!” and ran down the staircase to my #DenOfZen threw on my #beatsbyDRE and bounced on into Adobe Connect.
Luckily I wasn’t shunned or stoned (I mean this in the biblical sense), but instead welcomed with smiled and open digital arms into the conversation on #Innovation. As part of our assignments from the last class we were to read #TheMythsOfInnovation by Scott Berkun. You can check out my review here.
We talked about ways we strengthen our innovation/creative skills. Carlos shared one where he sets a #ConsumeAlarm. It’s a daily alarm that will randomly go off on his phone that says “consume”. He at that point takes note of something that is around him and writes it in an Evernote folder entitled “Consume.” This could be anything from “White room with white furniture.” to “kids playing kickball.” It’s just a way to constantly be observant of what’s around and a file to pull from for later creative inspiration.
After sharing some of our insights from the book and thoughts on personal innovation we began talking about innovation and it’s place in the church.
We began by diving into scripture and looking at Isaiah 26:8 - In the path of your justice, Lord, we wait for you; with all our being, we long for your name and your acclaim. (CEB)
We talked about the innovative word “wait”. What that implies for us as we create weekly to “wait for you, with our whole being”. We move so fast. We are a people of multi-taskers. We are high quantity and low quality. This morning, while GPS tracking my pace and distance, I ran 4.2 miles while listening to Elevation Worship, read my YouVersion plan for the day, updated Path with the music I was listening to while running - my location and thoughts on my run - and answered 3 emails and set up a lunch appointment with a volunteer for next week… it’s hard to innovate/create for the church without slowing down and “waiting” to hear from God. Our best ideas will pour from us when we are most filled with the Holy Spirit.
Along with our desire to push forward and seek after innovation and relevance, the church must learn to have a healthy balance of understand it’s culture and challenging it’s culture. If a local church community is not ready for the next innovative/creative thing you have planned then a few things to think about:
Innovation for your church or wherever you create will happen most freely and authentically whenever you are innovating yourself. We must constantly be innovating ourselves and getting into the practices of stretching and growing if we are going to be able to lead our people in that direction as well. “There is your ethos, and your church’s ethos.” Having a clear understanding of who you are and who you are in your role at your church is key.
Carlos challenged us to mix something up this week. He asked: “What is something that you have always done one way but can do in a new way this week? (e.g. drive a new route to work, order a different drink at Starbucks, change the color of your dry erase markers)” Something to cause some disruption in our day to day lives that will help us to view things differently. - I’m a t-shirt and jeans kinda guy. So this week (starting tomorrow until the wednesday our next coaching session on the 22nd) I’m going to wear a shirt and tie every day. I’m going to dress it up a bit. Let’s see if that causes some innovation. : )
He also challenged us to do something that we have been wanting to do, but haven’t had the time to do. For me this is definitely painting. I used to paint a lot but haven’t had the time to do it in quite some time. I’m gonna grab some canvases and give it a go. At least one this week. Maybe I can get Kristin and Rylee involved…
Then the final creative challenge: “We are great at innovation in our particular creative sweet spots. Yet I (Carlos) think that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative ability. This month we are going to become innovative in our creativity. We are going to master a new creative skill set in order to unleash creativity in the rest of our lives.” - Carlos gave each of us a creative skill to master that we don’t currently work with. My assignment is to learn put on a #5MinuteMagicShow with at least 3 tricks for a group of 5 or more kids (or adults). So I have 14 days to become an amateur Criss Angel… this should be fun!
As part of my #CreativeCoaching with Carlos Whittaker, we’ve been tasked with a book called The Myths Of Innovation by Scott Berkun. I’d never read any of the author’s work before this work but immediately I connected with the writing style, stories, and conversational approach to each chapter.
After a little while the text seems to repeat some of the same basic truths about innovation over and over again. They are good things to remember when innovating.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It looks at creativity and innovation from a very practical perspective. Berkun gives great examples from history and strong challenges for tomorrow.
As leaders I believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the skills and talents that God has put in our wheel house. I believe that part of good stewardship of our skills means that we should constantly be growing and stretching ourselves within those skills and talents and outside of those skills and talents.
One of the resources I’ve found extremely useful in helping stretch myself has been the blog of fellow worship leader and creative, Carlos Whittaker.
One of the ways that Carlos helps other leaders to grow and stretch is through offering a #CreativeCoaching workshop. You can learn more about it here.
The long and short of it is that I am currently locked in creative collaborative craziness with some awesome peeps! Check us out! (I tried to find a flattering screenshot).
One of our first exercises was to give a seven word bio of ourselves. One sentence describing a bit of who we are and what our passions are.
#MY7WordBIO: Teacher of worship in and beyond church.
It was awesome to hear some of the stories that surround those guys and dig into our passions about God as our Creator and that it’s only when we are in Him we are the most creative.
One of the ways that I grow closer to God as my “creator” is when I immerse myself in His creation. One of my favorite things ever is to go to an aquarium or a zoo. I love the detail and beauty and care that God takes in creating each and every animal. It drives me to a sense of wonder about who He is.
Oddly enough Carlos shared a story of how once his son, Losiah, called him outside so they could both examine a Rolly Poly bug together. We’ve all seen Rolly Poly’s. We know as adults that they roll into a perfect little ball when you poke them, yet through the eyes of his 2 year old son, God revealed something new of His creation to Carlos.
We looked at Ezekiel 37:1-14 where God brings “death to life” in the account of dry bones.
One of my big take aways was how:
My creativity flows from an expression of my life and my life is an expression of God’s creativity.
We are impacted by stories, expressions of God’s creativity, and so when we share our stories and expressions of our stories we are sharing expressions of God’s creativity.
In living our lives with the understanding that every breath is a creative expression of God we can point others toward LIFE. After all, He’s the only one who can point us to true LIFE anyway.
I’m excited about what God is going to teach me and how He’s going to stretch me through these sessions. I hope I can help you get a better picture of God through my own story and my relationship with Him as I grow through these sessions.
Also, we prayed at the end and I snuck a screen shot again… I may have lost a crown in heaven because of it. : )
Great post on worship leading by Carlos Whittaker.
Carlos Whittaker Ragamuffin Soul