I?m always looking for creative inspiration. I have files of brochures, handouts from conferences, name badges, and an entire Evernote file just for creative ideas I capture?sometimes in the most obscure places. I can?t go to another church?s services and not take out my iPhone to snap some pictures.
As creatives, we constantly have to fill ourselves up with inspiration and new ideas so we can pour them out as we brainstorm the next sermon series or ministry promotion. Some of my favorites are Red Bull?s superhero cans, the Lego bridge, the time Target took over The New Yorker, and Milk?s new campaign after leaving ?Got Milk??. But when asked what was the most creative thing I?ve ever seen, the answer was easy.
The campaigns and ideas I listed are great. The fact that someone saw a bridge not as cement and steel but, tapping into their childhood, saw Legos?that puts a smile on my face. The fact that Target can take over an iconic magazine and brand it simply by the color and style used?genius. Leaving a successful campaign like ?Got Milk?? for something completely new?brave. These things are all creative but after coming on staff and moving from a creative to a pastor of creatives, I?m seeing creativity a little bit differently.
When I arrived at Victory, my goal was simple. I was going to do with Victory what I had done for 10 years with Holy Cow Creative and raise the creative output bar. I was going to create better creative work.
It?s a big church and a big task. But God had something bigger in mind, and that brings me to the most creative thing I?ve ever seen.
I?ve worked with some great churches, but there?s a difference between working as a consultant and being on staff?especially a staff like Victory?s.
Before coming on staff, I was the ?expert? when I visited a church. At Victory, it?s some of the best staff around. You have people like Mr. ?This is How We Do It?, Montell Jordan, the world?s greatest youth pastor, Jeanne Mayo, and the list goes on and on. You have Charlie Pike creating art with lighting, Cameron King making magic with video, Nathan Williams orchestrating production, Chad Price bringing emotion through design?
I wasn?t the expert anymore. I was surrounded by experts.
So when our 25th anniversary was put on the calendar and I was given the charge to lead the effort to celebrate all that God had done through our church, it would have been easy to let all these experts go off and do their thing. But we chose something better?the most creative thing I?ve ever seen: collaboration.
It?s easy for us all to stay in our own lanes. Each one of our experts can take care of music, video, design, lighting, and piece it all together. That gets the job done and would be a good celebration, but this was 25 years. This was more than a performance. Even before the anniversary service in the Gwinnett Arena, we celebrated by linking our creative spirits together. The result was music and video and lighting and design and sound all coming together to create an amazing dance of creativity. Most importantly, it caused the creativity to take second place to the story we were telling.
Here?s how it went down:
The lights go dark. A video of children scampering off to play hide and seek begins to play. On the search for her siblings, one of the children discovers an old TV?complete with a VCR?in the attic. The worship team makes their way to the stage and harmoniously accompanies the story as it unfolds on screen, and one can feel the excitement and anticipation building throughout the arena. As the service continues, Kim Walker-Smith takes the stage. Our worship team later joins her while a video captures our members, who represent 140 nations, worshipping together during our weekend services. The music crescendos, the lights gleam and a flag processional fills the arena. Pastor Dennis Rouse then takes the stage to share his gratitude for what God has done to reconcile cultures, while also sharing the vision for the future. Crystal Nicole and surprise guest, Lecrae, perform the final set of the celebration?everyone on their feet praising God for what he?s done through Victory for 25 years.
The most creative thing I?ve ever seen wasn?t about the creative; it was about the people who put down their boundaries to create something together. Working together created something bigger than we could have created on our own.