Creative Bylines

by post yesterday: Out of Bounds Church? by Steve Taylor
I’m looking forward to reading it, but seeing as I had bought my copy from Steve direct, and had made a passing comment about him signing it, I opened the first few pages to see if he had scrawled something inside it. It wasn’t a test, it was just curiosity. Last year in the States, we were with Vintage Faith visiting with Dan Kimball, and he gave us all a copy of Emerging Worship, the 2nd Kimball book. Anyways.. Nige thought it would be a great joke to get Dan to sign Heather’s copy. Afterwards she was so embarrassed that we made her out to be an Emerging Groupie. Heh heh.

by post today: NZ Youth : Portraits

I need a new word for creativity.

Creativity is such a complex word. It’s not big enough for the scope of influence it has, and it has a lot of baggage as well.

On Sunday we had a “creative service”. I actually can’t think of a more inappropriate way of describing it, other than maybe “alternative worship service” as it was pegged in the bulletin. Our basic service outline was like this..

intro, welcome, notices
explanation of the night
stories from al, heather and brian
worship set (songs)
– invitation to enter the South Lounge
Nooma DVD on noise
– invitation to enter the South Lounge
discussion on silence in auditorium

In the South Lounge, there were 2 installations as well as a journalling space, prayer space and communion just outside.

There were 2 labyrinths, that arrived at the same centerpoint, and journeyed back out. One was called ‘noise’ and the other ‘truth’. It was an adapted labyrinth, deisgned to be well-structured so as to provide security for those experimenting. But even that as a concept is difficult. It wasn’t alternative worship they were experimenting with, that would only perpetuate the myth that worship is about entertainment. It was experimental connecting that was going on.

The idea initially was that one space was quiet, and one was noisier for those uncomfortable with silence, but the proximity of the venues meant that mostly all you heard in the quiet space, was the overflow of noise from the loud space.. a discussion on why it is hard to be silent.

It was a good service. But I don’t like the word creativity, because it feels bland, over-used and non-specific, and non-generalist enough to satisfy a description of what I am trying to create or aim towards in our evening community liturgy.

We gathered for pizza, which is becoming a loose kind of ritual, and one that I enjoy. It’s usually Luke & Katie, Jeremy and myself, with others occasionally in the mix. On Sunday Ben, one of the part-timers at Windsor and a fellow Carey-ite was there. The discussion became relatively impassioned and infuriating.. talking about the value and acknowledgement of contribution to community.

The comparisons and contrasts between those of us who see our ministry as being intentional with our relationships, and those of us who serve in more formal ways, and the seeming gaping chasm between the validity of both.

Personally I view that intentionality in relationships is a Biblical given for every follower on the path, and that contributing to any community we belong to is also a fairly evident biblical principle. But how do you do that in the real world, where service is about gifts and talents, rather than doing what needs to be done? Where there is so much esteem and pressure surrounding the measurement of our service and contribution to the community we live in.

I strongly disagreed with a number of points or comments being made, and yet my compassion was stretched because of the deeply personal impact of the examples used.

A lot of conversation felt like self-perpetuating mythology. The story of the monkeys in a cage, with a bunch of bananas at the top of the stairs. Every time a monkey went to grab the bananas, they were beaten with sticks until it became intuitively programmed that they weren’t to climb the stairs regardless. They began to replace the monkeys one by one, and each time the new monkey was held back from the bananas by the original monkeys, until there were only new monkeys left in the cage. Still, they would not climb the stairs. The belief was firmly in place.

One of the other very evident pieces of information from the night was again, that leadership is not a role or a position you can simply attain, but a deeper outworking of personality, talent, charisma and skill.

Leadership Ideas
These are ideas on transformational leadership that I’ve picked up off Todd Hunter. He bylines it.. Transformational Leadership : Creating Places of Realized Potential. He’s influenced by Max Depree.

Leadership is an art to be learned over time, not simply by reading books. Leadership is more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information…and thus hard to pin down in every detail.~Max DePree

Leadership has to do with our Philosophy and our Worldview. DePree challenges us to thinking within these lines:

Open universe
Concept of persons and the sacred nature of relationships
A scriptural basis
The glory of work
Leadership is a stewardship
Moral purpose of organizations

What are places of realized potential?

The art of leadership is liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible. Thus the leader is the “servant” of his followers in that he removes the obstacles that prevent them from doing their job. In short, the true leader enables his or her followers to realize their full potential.
The driving force in our organizations ought not to be goal achievement or asset management or quantifiable growth, important as these are. Rather, our society badly needs organizations and people that move relentlessly toward reaching their potential.

Places of realized potential:

Are inclusive
Are open to change, contrary opinion, the mystery of potential, involvement, unsettling ideas and risk-taking
Offer people opportunity to grow
Offer the gift of challenging work
Shed obsolete baggage
Help people decide what needs to be measured
Heal people with trust, caring and “forgetfulness”
Leaders who create places of realized potential listen well and “see” what is really going on (pain, heartbreak, achievement)
Leaders of places of realized potential specialize in trust

Acoustic Lounge
Last night we did jukebox worship at REAL, an intermittent young adult gathering. We set up in a semi-circle with acoustic guitars, keys, bluesy electric, djembe drums, bass and vox. We opened with one, and then the gathering called out the numbers of the songs they wanted as we went along. It was a cool, relaxed, worn-in kinda groove. Harmonies were subtle but warm, vox were at times soft, and at other times rustling. It was cool. If only we could do tha

t 3 times a week somewhere.

New Addition
The Covers Project is going on the sidebar, because that’s a wicked idea.