Seeking The Sensational

I grew up in a neighborhood that had alley’s. In Vegas, most don’t know what that term actually is or if they do, they’ve never experienced an alley.  But as a kid that was where you escaped, played, and found adventure. It was the backside of your home, the place you didn’t want anyone to see or experience. As a kid, it was mysterious and fun. We would often spend the daylight hours working our way up and down the alleyways of our neighborhood uncovering all the mysteries of this often forgotten territory. It was a playground.

But as the sun retreated and night descended, the alley took a turn. It was no longer a playground, but became largely forbidden territory. When darkness stretched over the neighborhood, the alley was a last option.  It was no longer a friendly place.

Creativity has a dark alley too. It’s this amazing journey we take, this playground of ideas that we get to execute within the church. We believe inspired creativity lays the groundwork for God to have a heart impact.  Discovering new ways to communicate, unique perspectives to illuminate and helping engaging concepts to resonate. Those are good things.  These are often the front doors, the lit up porch through which people come face to face with Christ and find closeness with Him.

However, the dark alley is lurking.  And within that alley is the allure of sensationalism.

Often our draw to the sensational is justified by our need for relevance. If we don’t keep up with the technology or the latest (________________ fill in the blank), it’s possible that we will stop being impactful. It’s just not true. Or healthy.

If your creative team is chasing the spectacular there is only two eventual outcomes:
Fizzle or Failure.

Fizzle: Your team pounds their creative brain, conjures up more and more crazy over the top ideas, and then executes them to the max each week. They become victim to creating buzz, hype and hysterics. They live for the oohs and ahhs of the audience.  Somewhere deep in their hearts they know this is not sustainable. And they are correct. Eventually, the team fizzles either creatively or just by burning out.

Failure: The other result is the ideas just start tanking. In the pursuit of more spectacular, eventually you begin to experience consistent failure. Failure is a friend when it happens constructively and occasionally. As the failure frequency increases, however, it is a signal.  Something is broken. The more we pursue merely the biggest and brightest idea, the greater the failure rate will be.

So whats the answer?  Two simple, but solid questions must consistently be asked:

  1. Where is the heart?
    • The heart exist at the center of a person. It is who they are. And when we creative we are appealing to that place and that space.
  2. Where is the movement?
    • Movement is closely related to the heart. It is a clear response to what is happening within the heart of the individual.
      • They are challenged. They are convicted. They are curious.

But if we sell out to sensationalism; if we succumb to the hype; we quickly can lose our souls.  This is the dark alley  where real impact goes to die. It’s hidden and behind the scenes. But if our motivation creeps down this

We simply put it this way: Our ROLE is not to merely MOVE People, but to Create Space For God To Move

When a space is revealed it becomes a canvas, filled with the individuals life experiences that God can then engage to reveal himself

So… Fill The Space

Sensationalism will not fill the space. What space? The space that everyone has that is prime for God to move into, operate, and transform. Visuals and sounds combined with a compelling premise will open that space up and allow God to work as only He can.

The sensational fails to do that. It speaks to that space, but leaves a void eventually. It is an empty pursuit that merely “tickles the ears”, but fails to travel to the heart.

Ask your team as you gather to plan:

  • What specific space are we seeking to address in our gathering?
  • How do we sufficiently crack open that space so molding can happen?
  • Will  people be impressed or actually transformed?

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