The Importance of Choosing the Right Church

Fundamentally, the church you call home should promote encounters of heart, mind, soul and body with God, challenging what you know and how you behave; it should be a place that provides accountability to how you love God and serve people; and it should be a place where you receive genuine care from other Christians whom you’re close with.

Worship God.

Provide care.

Receive care.

How some Christians make obtuse life-decisions without taking into consideration what quality of church they’re leaving or what quality of church they’re walking into mystifies me. And yet it’s inevitably quality churches which broken people finally land in that nurse them and their children back to health.

If you’re not in a church that promotes comprehensive God encounters, provides accountability that stings your worst and encourages your best, and pushes you out of your comfort zone to serve those around you, then I suggest you change churches. None around you? Then you’re either called to plant one, or move.

Move?

There’s a reason towns were built around churches: their founders valued divine relationship above industry and economy. Build your life around God and the community of believers, and you’ll find it hard to miss the plans and purposes that God has for you.

And, statistically speaking, no—you’re not going to change the pastor or the board. Though noble, the church is littered with the remains of people who stayed too long, fighting to change the very thing God himself said he wouldn’t: someone else’s free will. Get out, and go find a healthy place to pasture your family while there’s still daylight. Your future is worth it, and so is theirs.

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Attacking the Divine by Inference

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And he is the head of the body, the church. (Colossians 1:18 ESV)

Few social structures, much less spiritual ones, have undergone such internal divergences as the Christian Church. To be sure, these schisms are at the instigation of her adherents, and can be as potent and damaging today as some were hundreds of years ago (and some more recent) when forming early denominations.

I refuse to believe I’d be any less inclined than our early fathers to arrive at diverging conclusions in doctrine and dogma, save only that I’m afforded a greater perspective living today than what I may have had living then. Which is to say, the very nature of their error in the past has clarified my perception of the present. It’s like a boy who doesn’t know he shouldn’t break his mother’s China, who becomes a man and knows he shouldn’t break his wife’s China. Previous experience informs future behavior.

The arrival at true ecumenical embrace, however, doesn’t so much come from agreement as it does from understanding. If agreement is the cause for sustaining deep relationship, then I don’t know how a single marriage lasts for more than a year. But for two people to understand one another, and further, for them to understand themselves in light of an exterior influence, this is more beneficial than ever being able to agree on something.

This matter of understanding, therefore, stems chiefly from one all-encompassing fact, one that I’ve been studying for quite some time. The further I delve into it, hearing what great orators and thinkers have to say, the more I feel and know and perceive that it’s true. Namely, that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church.

This statement, and more so, Jesus’ supreme position, is so cleverly obvious that we often overlook the details of his position when making some of our more common comments about his Church. As Christians, critiquing, accusing and judging the Church seems to fair game, even when it’s out of season. The rub, of course, is that it’s been out of season for a long time, which means we’re harassing something else entirely.

We ridicule the Person when we revile the product.

Our error isn’t so much condemning the Church as it is condescending to the very Person we’ve pledged our lives to. In the Army, no soldier criticizes his commanding officer without casting blame on someone further up the chain of command that put that commanding officer in charge. Ultimately, it’s the person at the top who is responsible for the entire entity. It doesn’t much matter if the inference is understated or openly critical. The point is still there: you can not criticize the Church without criticizing the Head of the Church.

In attacking the Church, saying something to the affect that she is “broken” or “a mess,” there are only two logical conclusions that present themselves when all others have been ruled non-certatim. The first is that the head of the Church is a poor leader. This is to say, Jesus Christ is inherently broken, uncertain, and needs addressing. Such a heretical statement doesn’t need my assessment to qualify its delusional premise.

The second is that the Church itself is made up of broken people who are, by some divine allowance, permitted to represent the very God who sanctified them. It is this conclusion that becomes our basis for criticism, if there is to be any at all. And if we are to pass judgement on our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, by what authority do we do so? Do we have some insight into doctrine or theology that Jesus forgot to illuminate the rest of the Church world with? Do we ourselves have less error than they do, having so easily exchanged our plank for a speck?

The truth is, when critiquing the Bride, I must do so knowing that my words and thoughts pass through the throne room of God. And then, if deemed worthy of passing, speak of people who are precious to him in ways far beyond anything I can possibly comprehend.

My estimation, therefore, is that we measure varying degrees of maturity and perspective within the Bride, not a sense of right or wrong, broken or whole. Since we are all unpunishable sons and daughters in the Kingdom, for me to gauge anything other than these two components is either attacking the Head of the Church, or else his blood-bought possessions, ones he considers holy.

Such a state is incredibly freeing. It relieves me of “always having to be right,” and, further, always comparing myself to every other Christian and denominations, which is downright exhausting—a waste of energy and time. But what’s more, it leaves the job of examining and informing the Church up to someone far more qualified: Jesus Christ, the head of all things.

With such a view, I’m able to see the values hidden within orthodoxy and modernism alike. I’m able to celebrate with Baptists, Episcopals and Lutherans as easily as I am with Catholics, Pentecostals and Anglicans. Surely, my natural mind will find plenty I don’t resonate with, and some I flat out disagree with. But to paraphrase the late E. Stanley Jones, our faith does not center on baptisms, bishops or benchmarks, but on Jesus Christ. If I can find Jesus, God in the flesh, then I can look past all other mitigating issues and see the Bride, no matter how dismissive. For who or what is truly admissible other than perfection itself? No matter how close I may come, proximity to perfection doesn’t net any awards. Only Christ Himself.

If in our agreeing (or disagreeing, as it may be) we position a sub-servant aspect of doctrine or dogma to an elevation beyond categories of maturity or perspective, esteeming it as superior to the divinity of Jesus and his heading of the Church, we have in fact created an idol. And an idol is an idol no matter how innocent its motive. We should not and must not rally around anything more central as Christians and leaders than the person of Jesus Christ.

If I can find God the Son, then I can celebrate the Bride, no matter what form she takes. After all, she’s his Bride, not mine, and I’ve never been one to irrationally irritate a prospective husband over my treatment of his fiancé.

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
(Colossians 3:11 ESV)

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New Life Church Buys Old Cinema for $1.5 Million

WATERTOWN, NY - Senior Pastor Kirk Gilchrist and Associate Pastor Christopher Hopper stand in the sanctuary of New Life Christian Church's recently purchase building on Arsenal St.

WATERTOWN, NY – Senior Pastor Kirk Gilchrist and Associate Pastor Christopher Hopper stand in the sanctuary of New Life Christian Church’s recently purchase building on Arsenal St.

I love it when the Bride of Christ makes headlines in the public square for noble endeavors. This article just came out today on Newzjunky, and I couldn’t be prouder of New Life’s board, staff and congregants.

Much of this pride comes from what I know of the motivation behind the news: a desire to leave a legacy for the generation we’ll never meet. And while some may argue that only spiritual legacys are valuable, I’d insist people of those opinions have missed a deeper truth that physical properties, investments and possessions help usher people toward the knowledge of the truth when governed with heavenly wisdom. Sometimes the cost of a soul is a building, a billboard, a pamphlet, a commercial, a song, a piece of art, a tour, a tent revival, a school, an announcement.

My pride also comes from knowing the man that carried the bulk of this burden for six years, our Senior Pastor, Kirk Gilchrist. Working to build something that effects lives like this requires a tremendous amount of virtue—virtue being a form of sustained creative energy. There are constant challenges, roadblocks and dilemmas to any worthwhile project; meanwhile, the private man deals with sleepless nights, words of extreme ridicule, torment from the enemy, frustration, countless delays, and the nagging self-doubt that plagues all leaders I’ve ever met.

I don’t know everything he went through, but I saw and prayed through enough of it to know that Kirk is one of my heroes. He’s paid a profound price for this headline, and I’m celebrating with him today. If the Lord tarries and the Bride stewards things wisely, Kirk’s children’s children’s children and their generation will feel the effects of what he helped accomplish.

“Souls or I die.”
– William Carey

If there’s a leader in your life, go out of your way to thank them for their sacrifice of “normalcy,” because if they’re a good leader, their life is far from normal.

Here’s to the generation we’ll never meet.

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Regimen fit Dei (Government Becomes God)

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Government, to satisfy its ever increasing lust for dominion over human existence, if even (and most dangerously) from the notion of staying off its impending demise, must eventually declare itself as the sole proprietor of good and dispenser of fortune. To acquiesce otherwise would be to acknowledge a superior means of positively bettering humanity, one which it does not posses; such credence is not within the capacity of a ruling class to ever admit, unless humility and servanthood are at its core. As such, any grantings or permissions to such aims are merely superficial, meant to appease the remnant that still believes the people make better choices than despotism.

Government, at its worst, then maintains that the wealthy man is incompetent of choosing whom he may bestow support upon, and by what vehicle his aid might be best administered, somehow disassociating the wealthy man’s earning prowess from his ethical responsibilities. Rather, it is Government’s role to make such determinations by securing as much of the wealthy man’s resources as possible to satisfy the entitlements of the collective, one which the wealthy man is, at most, ignorant to, and, at worst, ambivalent of. Far worse off is the needy man, whose obvious lack of fortune speaks to his social ineptitude, in so far as Government is concerned, as he has neither the wealthy man’s skill or fortitude to better himself. In both cases, Government emerges supreme, sagely providing for the lesser what was generated by the greater. Interestingly, both cannot survive without Government, as it takes from the wealthy what he did not know enough to give, and grants to the needy what he did not know enough to earn. Neither man is served nor solved in matters of his soul.

In the end, Government seeks to be the centerpiece of hope, the Great Conductor of Society. The Church is relegated to its orthodoxy, confined to the quarters of stewarding the frail, and peddling to the spiritual seeker. No longer the precedent setter of virtue, the Church becomes irrelevant in comparison to the Great Conductor who, not only gives the collective what they want, but further qualifies its own actions as both truth and pure, simply to satisfy the hellish itch of guilt that festers within a body of immorality. It dare not face God, accountable to His statutes. Thus Government becomes God. Regimen fit Dei.

Man’s once creative impetus for being the proprietor of his soul has now become the withering task of entertaining the thief of his cause. We trade creation for quota, industry for association, and fortune for uniformity. In all, despotism has brought the vitality of hope to its knees, all in the name preserving what no one else has seemingly ever had the revelation to protect.

“Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God.”
-G.K. Chesterton
Christendom in Dublin

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It’s Just a House

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I flip the lights on early this morning and I see that people have been hard at work.

It’s under construction.

Someone’s been in the house.

Preparing. Thinking ahead.

Working with others in mind.

Tonight in this house, hundreds of young people will gather to worship Jesus. Some for the very first time.

Their arrival was planned for.

Intentional.

Deliberate.

The sacrifice of many for the freedom of a few.

Tonight we’ll meet with God. And turn a house into a hall of homes. Where the Holy Spirit can reside.

It’s just a house. Full of miracles.

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God Spaces

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Last night Jennifer and I had the privilege of taking this stage in the mountain-ensconced city of Martigny. Christians from all over the region gathered together for their monthly night of worship, and we were so honored to serve them with our team. Jennifer in particular had some powerful things to share with the people and was used mightily in song.

One thing that impressed me was the Swiss team’s ability to transform an ordinary hotel ballroom into a house of worship. They worked tirelessly, imported a truck-load of gear, and managed to create an atmosphere where not only did people feel welcome, but the Lord did too.

Creating God-spaces in our lives is extremely important. They help facilitate moments of encounter and inspire long-term memories. Whether it’s a prayer closet, a stage, a forest-nook, or a church sanctuary, creating a physical space where people can connect with the Holy Spirit is not only something I’m passionate about forming, but God is too.

Of course His greatest space is that of the human heart. He’s very intentional about turning it from a dark, cold rock into a warm and inviting home. But he was just as passionate about prescribing specific instructions to builders of the Tent of Meeting – the Tabernacle – and the Temple.

What’s your role in preparing God-spaces? Being intentional with your preparations is not only good for you, but benefits those who are effected by your service. Minimizing distractions helps eliminate disappointments. ch:

Life-Themes and Leadership Tips

While it seems the subjects of “age” and “getting older” are the brunt of many jokes, we would be remiss if we didn’t reflect on the fact that God invented the process. As such, there are some incredible benefits.

One of which is seeing life-themes emerge.

Although Jennifer and I have certainly had some highlights leading worship for thousands of people, that’s not the context God places us in most often. Rather, it’s is ministering to rural churches that are on the verge of “epoch” change.

A life-theme emerges: encouraging people that the idea that God likes to do big things in seemingly small places.

It’s a joy to fly home from a trip utterly spent. And my time here at Hope Community Church in Marlette, MI will be no exception. This place is in the midst of transforming their town for Jesus, and further, their county. In one year they’ve already moved from one building to a bigger building, and are transitioning to two services in less than a month.

Two tips to seeing a local church have a massive impact through word of mouth:

1.) Love your community. Every person on a church’s leadership team must be sold-out, head-over-heels in love with their region. If they’re not, they need to get the Father’s heart, step out of leadership, or move. People in a region can smell hirelings that are not 100% committed to a locale, and as a result the church will never grow. As my Senior Pastor once asked me, “Are your feet planted?”

2.) Love whoever God sends you, and whoever God sends you to. I just heard a story last night where a church leader did a mailing but told his secretary not to include the addresses of a trailer park. That is so anti-Christ it made me sick to my stomach. Yet we all have a little if that in us and it needs to be confronted. Loving the unlovely will spark revival every time: it’s what Jesus did for each of us.

Hope Community’s people clearly love their community and are walking testimonies of Jesus’ tangible love. I’m thrilled to be here for their one year anniversary weekend. My sincere congratulations to Pastors Paul & Erin Rohling. I’m behind you 100%.

So if you’re ever in Michigan’s thumb, you’ll be blessed to visit a powerful church touching God’s heart. ch:

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When You Look

Jenny and I were driving into church Sunday morning when I snapped this pic from behind the wheel. We had views like this pretty much the entire drive in.

Jenny was especially impressed because her natural sleep patterns (ie, “not a morning person”) don’t allow her to catch many sunrises.

So often the most beautiful things in life are happening all the time without us even knowing. Change when you’re looking is as equally important as where you’re looking.

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.’” -Gen. 28:16

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Rewards Hang Above

For dreamers, graphic designers, and visionaries, it’s not too often you can quantify something you produce.

It’s the “feel” or “emotional response” a project stirs in people – not a physical building that you’ve built, corn field you planted, or cabinet you crafted.

But when things go into print, something happens. Holding a book in your hand, feeling the card stock between your fingers, or – in this case – seeing the billboard looking down on 110,000 cars per day, that’s pretty rewarding.

Thanks to my team mate, Jason Clement, for rocking this sign. ch:

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Video Production Schematic

Audio is fairly easy. There are loads of tutorials online, gear is easy to come by – especially used – and almost any church geek can help you get set up in a few hours.

But video is a whole other animal. In fact, it’s probably not even an animal at all. It’s a monster.

I have been asked countless times (no – seriously – I’ve lost count) to share just how we’ve wired New Life’s live video production department. The reason? There’s very little out there on video. And what’s there requires a very steep learning curve, tons of proprietary information, and a skill set that – among other things – necessitates the discipline of monitoring gear that changes monthly. That, and the equipment is expensive enough that you can’t afford to make mistakes.

The other factor is that there’s very little out there for mid-size budgets.

Sure, anyone can plug a home video camera into a computer via firewire and get a livestream.com or ustream.com account for their church. We’ve done that, and it served it’s purpose for a season. But it won’t last long, unless your viewers love when your senior pastor’s message gets interrupted by a 30 second Teen Wolf commercial of a guy groping a girl. (True story).

And on the high end? Well, you don’t even want to know. I followed a lead that my friend in a 5,000 member church gave me for what they use: a Spider box from Vista Systems. Oh, it did everything I wanted, and then some. Even had the name recognition of being used in FoxNews studios, CNN, the NFL, and other major production facilities. And for an entry level price of $53,400 I immediately understood why. “Yeah, I’m going to have to pass on this one,” I politely said and then hung up.

Back to the drawing board.

After joining nearly every video message board, having emails and posts go unanswered (or under answered) for weeks on end, and researching far more than I had time for, I decided no one was going to help me the way I needed, and that I didn’t have the budget to hire a consulting firm (only then to spend more money on the actual gear I needed).

I was going to have to create something from scratch.

The following represents 6 months of work (with even more research before that from my Video Director, Tim Desormo), a lot of sleepless nights, and the inevitable call from my “video savior” Mike Ricks of Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville, FL, who – after seeing one of my final desperate pleas on a message forum along the lines of, “Will someone just please tell me if this schematic I’ve created will work?” – wrote me back and said, “Bro. It will totally work. We’re doing the same thing down here. Call me.”

I’m making this schematic as well as a detailed description below available completely free because, a) this is the Kingdom, and we share our successes as well as our failures, and b) I don’t want others going through the hardships I went through.

Many thanks go to Mike Ricks, Eric Dally (LCM), Jeremy Bielawski (TFH), Dave Bode (Elim), David Seaman (Revive), and my own production team, Tim Desormo, Tammy Desormo, and Joseph Gilchrist. Without your patience and input, we’d still be interrupted by Teen Wolf every Sunday.

NEW LIFE VIDEO SCHEMATIC OVERVIEW

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD HIGH REZ PDF

MAC PRO: Our main hub is an Apple Mac Pro 8 Core tower. We have a cinema display and a wireless keyboard and mouse. It’s hardwired into our router, serviced by Westelcom’s screaming fast fiber optic lines that provide us with amazing 17mbps up and 10mbps down service. Among other video editing and ripping applications, our main use for the system is Wirecast. Tied with it is Desktop Presenter which I’ll discuss under the iMac section.

WIRECAST: Rather than going back to physical hardware (TV monitors, switching consoles, lots of cable, and a $15-$20,000 price tag), I wanted to stay digital, knowing software was easier to upgrade, and I had more than enough power. Wirecast by Telestream was the answer, especially at $400 for the por version. It allows for mixing of multiple shots in multiple layers all in real time, including chromakeying and clear background PNG overlays (that we produce in Photoshop for each series). Even more important than the mixing features is the encoding abilities. Wirecast has the ability to assign our final signal to multiple locations at once, including our in-house projectors, video and audio archiving, online iCampus streams (flash), and our iPhone and iPad streams.

LIGHTCASTMEDIA: Unrelated to Wirecast, LightCastMedia is the largest Christian live-streaming servers in the world (if not the largest), and provides the backend of all our delivery, bandwidth, and storage needs (see LifeChurch.tv). Erik Dally has been an indispensable wealth of knowledge, and represents a company that provides amazing customer service and reliable products.

CAMERAS & VIDEO CARDS: Until we’re ready to make the jump to HD, we’ve been buying up used Cannon GL2’s (broken tape drives, bad mics) and utilizing their great white balance options for low light and their great glass (lenses). We’ve been running BNC cable (available cheap and fast from monoprice.com), but for longer distances – and the eventual conversion to HD – we’re starting to use only cat5 with RCA converters on either end. The video cards that work best and have the least amount of lag are Decklink’s Blackmagic Intensity Pro cards. Each one will run you about $200, but your lag time will be about 13ms. (The only better solution that I know of is the Spider box. Refer to price tag previously mentioned). The Mac Pro can handle up to 3 cards (with one camera per card), and each card comes with the wiring harness that allows for all sorts of marvelous connections concoctions. I ordered ours through B&H Photo out of Manhattan. (Note that each card must be installed and set up one-at-a-time. A fairly simple process, but you’ll bugger it up if you do them all at once).

iMAC: We use a new iMac to run ProPresenter 4 by Renewed Vision. In my opinion it’s the simplest and most straight forward display program on the market, especially if you’re an Apple user. Making the switch for a few of my PC-only users has taken some getting used to, but they are enjoying the OS. (Side note: at New Life we stress that we’re not Mac or PC people – we’re Kingdom people. I’ve seen geek loyalty, which I’m the first to be guilty of, get in the way of friendships and stir up dissension. Make a policy on your team to celebrate the use of technology for the Kingdom regardless of your allegiances. I can truly say I celebrate someone’s new Droid as much as I celebrate someone’s new iPhone). The tricky part here is that – because the Mac Pro can’t except a fourth video card – we had to figure out a way to make Wirecast “see” the iMac as another camera. This is where Desktop Presenter comes in (included with your purchase of Wirecast). This little app lets you select a screen on the originating computer (in our case, a cheap Dell monitor that ProPresenter is sending a full-screen output of it’s master display to), and Wirecast – using it’s internal Desktop Presenter protocol – “senses” the IP address of the sending computer (our iMac) and treats it as a “new shot.” Because we edit the shot on Wirecast to chromakey out green, and logically make all the slides in ProPresenter have a green background, a always have song lyrics displayed over top of camera shots whenever the Media Director (on the iMac) changes slides – all in real time.

AUDIO: The last component is actually sometimes the trickiest to run. Our audio. That’s because we’re using the Mac Pro not only as a receiver for audio coming from our console (which is how our online audience hears the services), but we also play videos in-house from Wirecast – which means if we don’t mute the incoming console feed, we’ll get a feedback loop (as the viewers would hear both the original play-video audio, as well as the audio coming back through the front-of-house console). Like wise, the in-house audience hears a wild looping delay. So making sure our Video Director stays on top of things is key. (It’s one of the biggest jobs we have on a Sunday morning and requires a lot of practice, diligence, and discipline). You’ll also note the implementation of a small powered Mackie 1202 console, which you can pick up super cheap. This has been one of the only solutions we’ve found that conditions the line-level output of the main console into the Mac Pro without frequency oscillation issues or ground hums. It also allows us to use extra outputs or aux sends to power speakers placed thorughout our production suites so we can hear what’s happening in the sanctuary (as we’re all enclosed in glass up top).

As with any church entity, we’re already looking to expand, adding more projectors, better cameras, bigger screens, and more effects. But for now, the guts of our system will stay the same.

I’m happy to try and field any questions you may have, so ask away. If I don’t know, I’ll reach out to someone who will.

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” Proverbs 4:7 ch:

UPDATED – 2013.07.24: Here is a more recent version of the schematic, which still doesn’t fully reflect the entire system we have today (I need more time to document it); our newest schematic should include our new audio mixing system, and the addition of a third, center-screen projector run from a MacBook Pro handling Wirecast and the same lyric feed from the ProPresenter iMac. Hope it helps! • ch:

nlcc video schematic v3

TechPeople serve People

Recently drummer Greg Best said something on Twitter that I really connected with:

“I really appreciate how easily we can minister to people because of technology. Pretty awesome.”

If nothing else, God has been releasing wisdom and revelation about technology for one primary purpose: to serve people. Sure, we can say we’ve been served by our car, served by our computer, even served by our deep frier. But superior purposes of services always point to the Kingdom, the Gospel, and the plan of God for the future of Creation.

Bringing technology into the greater Church experience is one of my favorite calls in life. And serving with the volunteers that makes this happen is a source of tremendous pride.

Tim & Tammy Desormo are the ones in this shot making sure New Life’s congregants – both in-house and online – can focus on the most content rich portions of the service and not be disappointed by distractions. In fact, the size of our online viewership is as large as the majority of churches in the US – all because of our production team’s faithful service. The message goes out. Today Brendon Campbell is on camera, Merritt Meeks is on lights, Ben Gilchrist is stage managing, and David Woodkirk is our audio engineer. Proud to serve with these amazing, unsung and unseen heroes.

Who makes your church function week-to-week? Make sure to recognize them and encourage them this week. ch:

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Day 2 at Creation Fest NE 2011

Thanks to all those who came out to Creation fest NE this year! It was so great meeting you, and such an honor to help push you into the plans and purposes of God for your life. If we aren’t connected on Facebook yet, please open up a new tab here and “like.” Likewise, you can get daily bald craziness from me by following my twitter feed here.

As Joseph and I made out way back to the Woods 3 stage on the hill overlooking the rest of Creation [ha!], we noticed even more people than yesterday were filling in early. Harry Thomas [pictured below] noted that all the teaching stages were packed out this year. “I think teens are really hungry for the Word, not just great music,” he said in a meeting at the Admin Office. In light of so many negative statements by disgruntled complainers, what a great commentary on our generation’s youth!

I’m not sure how you can “pack out the woods,” but we did! My message for Friday was on the role of the Arts within the Church. I really felt like I delivered the message well and was able to connect people with the inspiring heart of the Lord to use their gifts to promote Him.

I’ve made the PDFs of my notes for both messages available below, as well as the promised “Crickets Soundtrack” recording I used during Friday’s message. The audio recordings of the message’s themselves will be available on Creation Fest’s website later on this month.

Of course my favorite part about any event is meeting people, and Creation is no exception. Hearing their stories, praying together, and celebrating victories are some of my joys. One dad, Charlie, said he was so touched by “a conference that was loving on his daughter.” When I asked him to elaborate, he went on to explain that the only 1 of his 6 children to want to attend Creation with him was also the only unsaved one. With tears in his eyes he said, “My 18-year-old daughter is being loved on by the people here. She bumps into someone accidentally and they apologize profusely; she drops something and they pick it up for her. She can’t understand why everyone is so kind. She’s actually seeing a manifestation of Jesus’ love in them.” We prayed for her salvation together and then hugged.

Another great personality was a surfer from south Florida named Tom [pictured below]. His heart is to reach the beach community through the use of visual communications. And boy is he! Between his inflatable screens promoting the Gospel and his conversation starting t-shirts, Tom’s heart for evangelism through unorthodox methods made me a believer. I loved his t-shirt so much he even went back to his campsite and gave me one! Email him if you’d like to order one.

Thanks to everyone that came out! Go and be everything God has called you to! ch:

MESSAGE PDF: The Purpose and Power of Music

MESSAGE PDF: The Role of the Arts within the Church

Crickets MP3:

DOWNLOAD: Crickets Soundtrack

“We love you, Jennifer!” from Creation to @jenniferlhopper VIDEO

Production Within the Church

I had the privileged of addressing my favorite House yesterday on the subject of production and its value within the Church world. The impetus came from my Senior Pastor, Kirk Gilchrist, who never shies away from taking issues head-on–one of the reasons I so appreciate his leadership. Rather than let people wonder why (or why not) we run our sound system the way we do, or why we use graphics, or why our lobby looks the way it does, he informs them preemptively before rumors have a chance to become destructive.

As the Creative Arts Pastor, yesterday’s production explanation fell on me.

And I was was excited for the chance.

Training a community how to value beauty is one of the most significant steps toward teaching a culture how to value life.

The response to my short presentation was so overwhelming that I decided to answer the requests for my notes and the message link by providing both below. Feel free to use as you need and pass on to your own church leadership or staff. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and help you in your process. ch:

DOWNLOAD NOTES: Why We Beautify

WATCH MESSAGE

What role does production play in your church services? How has it impacted people’s hearts for Jesus? If production is not something utilized by your congregation, how might elements of lighting, audio, video, graphics, printing, or stage management improve the message you’re attempting to communicate?