It’s that time of year for us where we begin to discuss what our Easter services are going to look like. We’ve spent time narrowing down our themes and aesthetics and are looking at how we want to portray the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s a heavy, yet jubilant season, and we want to do it well.
But in the past couple of weeks, I was challenged like I haven’t been since I took the role of Drama Ministry Coordinator. One of my dear colleagues (and good friend) suggested a presentation that would take the entire team’s input and direction throughout the process to pull off. I wouldn’t be able to go and create my part and put it together with everyone else’s later. We would be breaking new ground with what we’ve done artistically, technically, and organizationally.
My initial thoughts included: “Yes! That’s so cool!”
My subsequent thoughts included: “Can we even do that? I really don’t know if we can.”
This is a terrifying and exhilarating place to be. If we move forward with this idea (which I’m not going to spell out. You’ll have to come and see the service if you want to see), it will challenge me and the team to step into ground that is out of my comfort zone. Which, I believe, is exactly where we need to be.
Can you imagine Michelangelo, suspended under the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, brush in hand, about to place his first stroke? That could not have been an easy project to start. So much empty canvas in one of the most important churches in the world. And HE had to fill it. Failure would be unacceptable. Mediocrity would be disaster. Michelangelo HAD to step up.
And he did. With, quite literally, flying colours.
It can become easy, especially when have a stable, creative job on staff somewhere, to stick with what works and what you know. Often the drive to create comes from someone else: a boss, a co-worker, a ministry partner. I get to stretch my creative muscles, but I am not creating something from the depths of my own soul with the frequency that many artists keep. My own projects get built slowly in my spare time (or occasionally get matched up with the needs of the church…those are wonderful days!) while I work on what the church needs.
It’s a wonderful place to be, but it doesn’t push me artistically very frequently. Yet, it is in the pushing that we grow. There is a place for repetition and practice. There is another place for stepping outside what we’re know to see what’s on the other side.
This is one of the big points Ed Catmull makes in the book Creativity, Inc., which uses the story of Pixar to teach about creating creative cultures. We need to balance one foot in the known while stepping out into the unknown if we are going to tap into our best creativity. If you haven’t read this book, I suggest it.
So, this project may fall flat on its face. We may realize it’s too big for us right now and pull the plug. Or, we may realize a dream and step into a new era of creativity at RockPointe.
I like that last option.
So, when you are faced with challenges that seem beyond you, remember that each one gives us the opportunity to lean into God, who is FAR bigger and FAR more capable than we will ever be. He who created the cosmos lives within us. If we can tap into what He is doing, we will be able to create FAR beyond what would otherwise be possible.
I challenge you to look at what you are doing with your work this week. Does it challenge you? Are you keeping both feet firmly planted where it is safe and secure? Or are you ready to step out, in faith, to push back the boundaries of the new and the safe? See what happens. Maybe God will step into those moments alongside you, and what you are left with will be a legacy that can be placed alongside the Sistine Chapel.