An online magazine for pastors and church leaders.

This special July issue of Sunday| Mag explores the creative process of?SALT Nashville, a?creative arts conference. I (Jonathan Malm) know firsthand that putting together a conference is a lot like putting together an Easter service. The goal of this issue is to take a look at a conference and see what things we can learn for our own creative church endeavors. Enjoy!


For years, I bowed my knee to The 1.

I devotedly sat on comfy leather chairs in wood paneled board rooms drinking long-named coffees, so completely enamored and engrossed with the thought of The 1, that my contagious adoration forcefully dominated adjoining departmental discussions…especially if I felt they weren’t as dedicated to The 1?as I was. This was my job, right? Pointing people to The 1? If you weren’t doing the same, you should probably repent…and then get out of the way.

I built teams with the sole purpose of worshipping The 1, almost going as far as promising eternity with virgins if they would just strap on an instrument, fire up a Mac, cue the lights, and sacrifice their lives in devotion of The 1.

I walked on and off platforms all over the world knowing I gave The 1?everything I had…because the crowds loved it and he was worthy.?

I easily dismissed neighbors and even neighborhoods because of my fierce loyalty to The 1, often proudly not knowing next door neighbors’ names because The 1?will have no other 1’s?before him.

Most days I brought The 1?home, giving him the seat of honor at dinner, a hollowed spot during family kickball games, and the complete license to forcefully interrupt any and all bedtime stories. All real 1?followers know shooting a text mid-page to tell another 1?follower about Goodnight Moon making a perfect series opener is just part of kingdom sacrifice. Geez. This stuff costs! And four year olds don’t know the difference, right?

Heck, I even invited The 1?into my bed, often asking my wife to simply roll over and make more room for the glory and honor of The 1. There was going to be a full on sacredness to The 1?in this marriage bed.

I was in love with and lived for The 1, grateful to be counted worthy of the name and included in his circle.

Only problem? He was the wrong 1. And maybe he’s in your bed too.

Obviously there are exaggerations in this article…but not many. Ask my wife. I gave The 1 Hour on Sunday the best of everything I had and in the process, lost intimate touch with the One who gave me everything He had.

The 1 was spectacular, but he had replaced the One…and I had justified the swap biblically to everyone but Him.[quote]The 1 was spectacular, but he had replaced the One.[/quote]

Like Indiana Jones in a faraway temple, I had swapped God for a bag of sand, cockily tipped my hat, and slowly watched the entire thing fall apart.

But you would have never guessed it because the crumbing was happening on the inside. We all know “The 1 must go on!” and go on it did. Even when the One had left the temple.

Mine.

So I invited the One back. The real One. The One who lifted me out of a muddy pit and set me in high places with Him. The One who calls me to Himself with a jealous love, instills in me a burning passion for His truth, and gifts me His Spirit so I can know the way to walk every hour of every day. The One who calls me to be salt and light to my wife and kids first; and then to take precious time to love my neighbor as I love myself. The One who promised me an inheritance with Him, stoops to call me “friend”, and whispers secrets that even this morning gave me goosebumps in the midst of a humid sunrise.

That One. The real One. The One who will have no 1’s before Him. And He’s calling you too.

If your relationship with the One is overflowing into glorious revelations in and beyond The 1 hour on Sunday, I am ever grateful for the road you are forging for the rest of us. We need your voice, your wisdom, and your caution as we navigate the days of ministry ahead.

But if The 1 is keeping you from intimacy with the One, then one of those needs to go. And I think we all know which 1.

168 hours in a week. We’re in church for 1. What do we do with the other 167??Only One way to find out….

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