So, examine your influence and see how you can use it to build up the next generation to serve the Kingdom...
Jesus turned worldly priorities upside down in the Kingdom Parables, inspiring wholehearted devotion to His mission. In a practical sense, what does it look like to use your talents, passions, and creativity for God’s glory?
Meet Grace’s Creative Team. These are the people behind the videos and blogs, social media presence, technical production, graphic design, and worship. Through prayer and constant innovation, they’re leveraging their creativity for Christ’s Kingdom.
Here are some lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Acknowledge That You Are Creative (Yes, you.)
Christians who are painters, musicians, dancers, or sculptors often find it easier to see God’s creativity reflected in their own.
But it’s also a creative act to write a great business plan, plant a vegetable garden, design a perfect spreadsheet, offer wisdom for a problem, craft a great sandwich, or invent a silly game with your toddler. Each can be a way to partner with God to make the world more fruitful and to multiply truth — replenishing the earth with beauty.
One of the best ways to use your creativity for the Kingdom is simply to acknowledge your unique gifts as the image of God revealed in you. You were made creative because God is creative, and this brings Him glory and pleasure. He’s longing for you to lift your head in thanks, so He can smile on the way He made you.
When we know this, our creativity becomes one of the best places to grow our gratitude and our friendship with Him. It’s much easier to “give thanks in all things” when we see “all things” as actively partnering with God’s creative work to make His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Kelly Adkins, Experience Director
Invite Others into the Creative Process
We all have big decisions to make in life. Some of those decisions are instant, but many allow us time to decide the best direction for a desired outcome. Could be a project at work, or it could be a plan for the next family vacation. We all have the ability to make decisions, and we have the opportunity to make better decisions. Over time, I have learned that the best outcomes involve collaboration. Inviting trusted others to speak into a process – colleagues, family members, and friends.
God has blessed us at Grace with an amazing and talented creative team. Each person brings a specific skill set to help support the mission and vision of the church. I know that each of us see different opportunities to make a project the best it can be, and inviting those voices to help shape it will set us up for the best possible outcome.
We are designed for community; to work together to show love, kindness, and generosity to the world around us. How are you using collaboration to draw in others so they feel seen and trusted? You never know what impact it will make or how God will use it for His glory.
Chad Wyatt, Creative Pastor
Strive for Authenticity, Not Perfection
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a Worship Director is to be authentic over perfect. So many times I’ve worried about how the song is sounding, or whether it’ll get through to the congregation, or whether I’ll hit all the right notes, all the while not realizing I’m completely missing the point.
God isn’t holding the door open to only the people who got it right that day, week, or month. What a waste of the sacrifice of His Son if that were so. He’s holding the door open to us all, inviting us to enter His sanctuary – His heart – just as we are.
Being on stage doesn’t always mean we get it right, but I push back against the pressure to be perfect by remembering God can’t love me anymore than He already does.
Anna Smilinskas, Winter Garden Worship Director
Do It Afraid
Singing has always been something I loved. But leading people into God’s presence through worship strikes a whole different level of passion within me. Still, there have been many times when I come in tired or weak on the inside, and I don’t feel like I can do it.
Full transparency – just because you’re on a stage, or in ministry, doesn’t mean life can’t throw things your way. Some days are mentally hard, but that’s where Jesus comes in and gives you the strength to keep pushing.
I push forward with the covering of the Holy Spirit, and I can attest to the reality that as I lead and sing, the heaviness lifts and Jesus takes over. Being able to use my God-given gifts to lead His people to a closer relationship with Him is something I will never take lightly. At times I get in my head, but I am reminded of a quote I once heard that says, “Do it afraid.” So I choose to lead with the boldness that I know is inside of me.
Ashley Weaver, Orlando Worship Director
Share Your Story (Because Every Story Matters)
God loves a good story. He is afterall, Author and Creator. So, naturally, the Bible is filled – cover to cover – with stories. Stories of miraculous things. Stories that we can relate to. Stories that conjure up images in our minds. And naturally, we are drawn to the art of storytelling, and that includes visual storytelling. It’s one of the main reasons why I started making videos with a Mini DV (that’s tape!) camcorder at a young age. It was just my way of telling stories.
Now, I get to be a part of the team that tells all kinds of stories of the people of Grace. And every time we do, there’s impact – from the person sharing their story, to the people behind the scenes putting it all together visually, to the people in the congregation watching the final video – sharing our stories impacts so many here at Grace.
You may not think you have an important life story … but you do. So go out and share it.
Felix Rodriguez, Video Production Director
Ask God-Sized Questions
Years ago I read a book that challenged readers to ask God, “How can You use my life to change the world?” I thought the question was laughable. “Change the world?! I’m a stay-at-home mom who hasn’t worn real pants in ten years.”
But I asked God anyway. While I was listening, He brought to mind some of the darkest chapters in my story, particularly my rebellion as a teenage missionary kid. I thought about my passion for writing, and an idea began to stir. What if I wrote a book for missionary kids, who by definition are dispersed throughout the world? If they could learn from my mistakes and develop a real love for Jesus, they could influence everyone around them … people all over the world.
When the book was published years later, I marveled that it all began with a God-sized question. Think about your story. The suffering. The growth. The unique experiences that have made you, you. Think about your passions and God-given talents. How could you use everything at your disposal to influence others for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom? It’s a big question, but don’t be afraid to ask it. You may be surprised by the answer.
Jeanne Harrison, Staff Writer
Lean into Discomfort
It’s important to engage with ideas, processes, and art that we are unsure of, or perhaps even feel at odds with. In this way, we deepen our theological or creative resolve through the process. Or, we may find that there are areas for growth in how we think about an approach to art, execution, or technology.
Theologically, we have to be sure of what we believe and test words, ideas, and themes against the truth of Scripture. Meaningful art moves us to new places emotionally and creatively.
As an exercise, I have been practicing by putting myself in musical scenarios I do not know the way out of, in order to stretch my ability to think my way out of the situation. In this sense, the “obstacle” is the way. It’s what challenges me to think creatively, pushing toward a larger goal. In all aspects of life, we should be pushing ourselves to learn and grow.
Kyle Carden, Oviedo Worship Pastor
Make God Most Visible
When God spoke the world into existence, He created it to be both beautiful yet functional; simple yet elaborate; awesome beyond our imagination yet fully cooperative in nature. He is the ultimate producer and a perfect example of what it means to be creative.
Much of what we strive for with live production involves this balance of grandeur and detail, beauty and functionality. Everything created and seen by the audience is encapsulated by an enormous amount of cooperation and technique. As Technical Director, my role is unique in that I use creative methods to showcase the creativity of others – bringing their ideas to life using lighting, audio, video, and more.
As a whole, our technical department uses excellence and ingenuity week in and week out in order to compliment the grandness of our Savior and create a distraction-free environment for people to take next steps toward Him. Since most of our recognition comes when something malfunctions or goes wrong, our goal the whole time is to be invisible in what we do, so that He is most visible.
Nathan Campbell, Technical Director
Be More Sure of God Than Yourself
Insecurities. Inner critics. Inconveniences. They’re sometimes too easy to entertain and do a good job at halting the creative process. Am I saying the right thing? Is this even good enough? Did a hurricane just change all the dates in the 3,000 guidebooks I just had printed??
A dear mentor once wrote, “Courage is not being more sure of yourself but more sure of your God.”
Overcome insecurities, deal with the inconveniences, and silence the inner critic by taking the focus off yourself and placing it where it belongs instead: God.
Because God is good and the Author of creation. And He doesn’t just create, He lavishly adorns, wonderfully expresses, and perpetually delights. And since we’re created in His image, He can take our brokenness and help us to adorn, express, and delight too.
So have courage. Be creative.
T Munroe, Communications Director