[Note: The following was originally given as a speech at “The CACCies” (an award show we put together for our team a couple of summers ago), but we wanted to share and archive this content here on the blog.]
What Difference Does It Make?
If you ask a lot of people in our culture what “church” is, you’d hear words like boring, irrelevant, and they might be able to tell you a lot of things that the church is against, but hardly ever what we are for.
If you ask those same people what they think about church music or worship services, you might also hear words like boring, irrelevant, bland, or even lacking in quality or creativity.
This should not be!!! And I’m so thankful that Capital Area cannot be characterized in this way, and is trying to make a difference in the way that people think about church, and we, as the creative arts ministry of Capital Area Christian Church, want to make a difference too.
Why do we do what we do?
We have the greatest message in the world! We haven’t communicated it well or effectively if our services or music are perceived as boring.
Our God is the God of yesterday, and today, and forever. If our messages are irrelevant, chances are that they haven’t connected people to that God.
We serve the very Creator of all that is seen and unseen, of life itself. Shame on us, His people, if we are ever accused of having a lack of creativity.
“How do you change culture?”
I received a story via e-mail, and I wanted to share this with you. The man writing the e-mail said that years ago, he had once asked Rick Warren (mega church pastor and author of the Purpose Driven Life), but he once asked Rick Warren in a random car ride, “How do you change culture?”
Now, it was late and I guess this guy had just picked up Warren from the airport, and he had offered to get him something to eat. Warren requested Burger King, but the only thing open was Waffle House (of course), so they stop there.
And the guy telling the story says, “Besides treating the Waffle House employees like they were his best friends, and literally loving on them like a big Disney character, he gave an answer that surprised me.” And this is what Warren said…
He said, “music.”
He went on to talk about the relationship of music to culture change.
Warren went on to make his point…”Think about America? What’s made it okay to legalize marijuana? What’s made it okay to call women derogatory labels? What’s made it okay to be angry at the police?”
“Music,” he said. He concluded, “Music influences our hearts and minds as much as anything else.”
This is something that the prophets knew. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea (the one whom we’re reading from on Sunday mornings)…we don’t talk about this very often, but their books are filled with Hebrew poetry, with songs that are intended to bring change to their city, their nation, their culture, in the way that we want change to happen in ours. They wanted people to turn back to God, and so they not only spoke messages from God, but they were artists who could weave these words of change into poetry. They sang God’s messages too. Because I think they knew the impact that music has on our hearts and minds as well.
Making a Difference
So…let’s continue to have an impact through our music and our worship services. What impact could they have, even on the culture of our city?
And this impact is not limited to music.
The same is true of other art forms, even the technical arts, through the visuals that are projected and the environments that are created. Through the well-mixed worship service and the intentional lighting design, to the videos and other artistic media that we create. What impact could they have, should they have? Our worship services and everything that goes into them. should shape people’s imagination for service in the world, to help them to be able to live out what it means to be a follower of Jesus in a world that desperately needs Him.
So we want to pour into your lives and to develop you as musicians, as techs, sound engineers. As visual artists and film makers. As photographers, and designers; as worship leaders and artists, as catalysts, as agents of change and transformation in the name of Jesus.
I want to have culture changing worship services, don’t you?
I want to make a difference. Not as an end in itself… Not so that we can step back and say, “Oh, look what we’ve done!” But so that people can come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Because we want to say that we have partnered with God in what He wants to do in the world. To bring people back to Him, to bring them from hopelessness to hope, from chaos and disorder everywhere to peace; from living out the bad news and the hopeless headlines to living in the light of the good news, the very best news; to see people move from death to life by the power of God, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, the same power that lives in us through His Holy Spirit.
We want to connect people to God, because that’s where true and lasting change and transformation takes place. That’s the only way that we can have culture changing worship services, if we lay our art and our music, our leadership and our passions at the feet of Jesus and let him do with them what He will.
Why a “Collective?”
We have a great adventure still ahead of us. So much has been done already to lay the groundwork for where we are at today. For those of you who’ve been a part of making the Creative Arts ministry what it is already, thank you, and there is still work to do as we continue to adapt to being a multi-site church and the new challenges and struggles that come along with that. To use Jesus’ imagery from the Parable of the Talents, please continue to invest your talents in these ways that have paid off huge dividends over the years.
For those of us, myself included, who are more recent additions to the team, “What will we do with the great gift we’ve been given?” Will we invest our talents in the same way? What return will we see on the investment of our talents, in the development of the gifts that God has given us for His glory and to draw people into the relationship with him, the relationship that we were meant for?
As the Creative Arts Pastor, I want to empower leaders, to organize this team and to equip you, to help to resource you to be able to grow and develop personally and together as a team, and in whatever area you specialize in on our team, but…
We need each other if we are going to remain faithful to the task that God has called us to and continue to move our team, this ministry God has given us, to the next level.
We are a big team, and we could be even bigger. There are around 75 people across both campuses that form the core of the creative arts ministry. There are still others who are more loosely connected, but still a part of the team in many ways. Sometimes it’s easy for us to lose sight of the fact that whatever the “make up” of the band or tech crew on a particular weekend, we are all working together toward a common goal and we have a common purpose, and it takes every single member of the team to realize that purpose. So, as a continual reminder of this common purpose and the task that we’ve been called to, I would like our creative arts ministry to adopt a name that expresses the fact that we’re all together in this. I would like for us to be known and to refer to ourselves as “The Capital Collective.”
Why? Because a collective is a group of people working together toward a common goal, a common purpose.
The Capital Collective is just that; we have many members from different age groups and walks of life, but all of us are working together toward a common goal: to connect people to God through music and the creative and technical arts…
…We can be a part of something huge, maybe even something culture changing, Lord willing. And you are making a difference by using the gifts that God has given you as a part of our creative arts ministry. Thank you!
We tell people every week to “go and make a difference.” In your experience, in what ways do the creative and technical arts make a difference in people’s lives?