This session started with a beautiful video telling the story of a guy who came a long way to find his faith in Christ (Originally used at their Christmas Eve services last year). Watching the video is the best way to learn his story, but I’ll just say that it was moving to hear how hard he was searching for answers, moving from one potential source to another, but never finding peace. He ended up coming to Christmas Eve at COTM, and, as he said, he “looked at the people, and they were worshiping, and I believed them.”
This experience led him to an honest encounter with God where he surrendered his life. It was also cool on the back end of the video to hear him process how he’s grateful for all he went through and the process of his journey. The band then went into a great, stripped down version of the hymn He Lifted Me, complete with cello & upright bass (which both sounded incredible, kudos again to Andrew Stone & team).
This was the only song they did and it was a great package to start the morning, moving smoothly into Whit’s message.
Message Recap: Whitney George
Whitney started out by introducing the idea of a holy discontent. Bill Hybels describes a holy discontent as a God-given righteous indignation in order to use that discontent in a positive way.
He talked about what it was like to grow up in the church in the 80’s & 90’s as a PK, how he didn’t hate the church but he knew it wasn’t right for him. He remembered how a lame children’s church experience stuck with him, and how the words of a worker would haunt him: In Heaven, we will worship like this . . . forever. #TheWORST
After an experience at a U2 concert, Whit noticed how people were singing deeply, and were pulled into the experience. They were a part of something bigger than themselves and as soon as it was over, he just wanted to start all over again.
He thought about what it would be like to have this at the church. He remembered the words of the kids volunteer, and forever didn’t seem so bad this time.
From there, Whit laid down one of the best messages on the topic of creativity that I’ve maybe ever heard. He took some time to talk about what creativity is, what it is not, and some misconceptions about the creative process.
Here are the four key misconceptions Whit mentioned with some things that stood out:
1. Creativity is not art, its solving a problem.
- People think too narrowly about the concept of creativity. It isn’t just for the artist or the songwriter or the director. ANYONE can be creative.
- Don’t miss this: Art is not Creativity. Creativity is seeing a problem and solving it.
2. Creativity is NOT magic, it’s a discipline.
- Magic is when you see something incredible or amazing & you don’t really know how it was done.
- A dangerous assumption he mentioned is that when you see something magical, you assume that the process that created it is magical too. WRONG!
- When you assume its magical, you don’t think you’re accountable for doing great work, cause you’re not magic. WRONG!
- Creativity is a discipline you must instill in yourself. He asked an awesome question: Do you have a routine or habit you use to develop your creativity?
3. Creativity is NOT original, it’s authentic.
- I loved this: The goal ISN’T to always have something brand new.
- He pointed to Genesis. God created something out of nothing. We’re called to create something out of things he’s ALREADY made. THAT’S the creative process.
- It is very difficult to see something in one context and to translate it to another context, but that is where we can leverage the best ideas.
- Gotta dig this: There is nothing new, but there are new things THROUGH you.
4. Creativity is NOT the absence of limitations, it’s leveraging your limitations.
Can I just say . . . PREACH Whit!
Without problems and limitations, we don’t have opportunities for creativity.
Many of us see our pastors and churches as limitations to our creativity. That is SO narrow minded! You are where you are for a reason, so lean in and lead creatively thought your limitations.
Whit made the observation that some are in a dangerous spot where they lean from towards frustration, which leads to bitterness and burnout.
For those in that place, he closed by providing three pieces of advice for them:
1. The perfect situation isn’t perfect.
- Even the Garden wasn’t enough for Adam & Eve.
2. Settle your calling.
- Determine where you need to be & what you need to be doing, because He’s called you to it.
3. Lean towards thankfulness.
- There is a tension between being thankful for what you have & wanting what you don’t have. Try to lean towards thankfulness.