The 3rd most popular post of 2012!
Have you ever thought that Creativity may actually keep you from being a senior leader in your church or organization? According to a survey done last year for the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology most people are attracted to leaders who remove risk and actually support and reinforce the status quo.
This is scary.
With the speed of our world and the turbulence for which we face daily, creativity should not only be encouraged but also championed as a trait of leadership that will help our organizations stay competitive and aggressive. The problem is, creative leaders come with stereotypes: Unreliable, Risky, Lazy, Forgetful, Aloof, Arrogant, Self-Consumed…and the list goes on and on.
The truth, most of these stereotypes are not true.
Our organizations need new and fresh ideas. As creative professionals it is our responsibility start destroying these and other stereotypes. It is time for us to be who God created us to be, in his image, creative leaders. We have the opportunity to set a new stereo-type: Passionate, Carrying, Desperately seeking new results, Hard working, Sensitive, In touch with emotion that creates connection, introspective, strategic, and willing to do whatever necessary to share the absolute most important story ever told in an attempt to help people experience life change.
It’s not something that we can do…it is something we must do.
We can lead and still be creative…and we will.
What are some of the stereotypes you experience as an artist? How are you combatting those via your art, work ethic, and approach?
You may want to bookmark or Evernote this post for next year. These songs won big for us. Hope you enjoy the #4 post of 2012.
There are two types of people in the world: those who love Christmas, and those who don’t.
Each year, we’re working to build momentum and worship culture inside our services. We want people to have the chance to experience God and understand the value of worshiping our Heavenly Father. For eleven months, we pine over this process. Then, for five weeks, we have to abort because it’s Christmas time. If you’re like me, you LOVE Christmas – probably not as much as THIS GUY – but still love it and you want to sing Christmas songs.
Well, Jarrod, our worship leader is a little more scrooge than Santa and he wishes we would never sing Christmas songs. With that thought in mind, we went into the lab a few months ago to dream up what it could look like to make both sides happy. We came up with these mash-ups that have worked GREAT in our services. They’ve allowed us to celebrate the season without sacrificing the momentum and culture of worship. Check ‘em out.
*Artistic disclaimer – these are work tapes we’ve created for our bands to practice with. Feel free to use these songs if it might help your service. Also, we’ve added an original worship song to this list that has been working well for us.
PS. If you need charts Email: Ali@Crosspoint.tv
The 5th most popular post of 2012!
There is nothing wrong with a 9-5 job. It is more than admirable. In fact, a lot of people dream of the day we can show up at 9 go home at 5 and not think about our jobs when we are on the beach, in the car, or playing with our kids.
But oh creative culture…you have ruined us. Because of our attachment to our art, and our inability to cut the tether from our creative core, we think, dream, process, and obsess about how our ideas will impact our jobs. For some it is a gift. For others, our creativity is a curse. But why? Why can’t the creative job not be completed during our “shift”?
- We are not in a setting that inspires us to think creative.
- When we are at work we have too much to do and not enough space to be creative, unless we plan and make that time.
- We get interrupted. (twitter, people, emails, ping-pong, meetings, lunch, responsibilities)
- We are afraid we won’t appear to be working when we do what it takes to process creatively.
- There is not a premium on ideas but a premium on execution. (Both are necessary)
- The routine of work bores us and depletes creative energy.
- Our environments are not conducive for creativity.
- Teammates, co-workers, bosses or employees cause us to be afraid of sharing that idea that might just change everything.
- We feel we will be rejected.
- We don’t feel enough ownership to be vulnerable.
- We have been told no before, so we feel we no longer are responsible for dreaming. (This could not be more wrong. As artists we are responsible to the idea and the inspiration, now how it is accepted or rejected)
- No one asks us, so we don’t assert our creative energy. Which causes us to rob ourselves and to rob others of the chance to collaborate on something amazing.
- We are frustrated.
- Our pace is too frantic.
- We are comfortable and stretching would mean getting out of that comfort zone.
- What if our idea is accepted…what would that mean. No thanks!
- We don’t feel valued enough to share our best ideas.
- We have gotten bored, and are so bored we have not realized it yet.
- We have to many priorities and not enough delegation.
Being creative is an honor. It is not always comfortable. It has requirements and responsibilities associated with it that at times can be an inconvenience. We need you to be your creative best and to share that with the rest of us. Are you ready? It may be uncomfortable, it may cost you, but it could also change….everything!
What would you add to this list? But more importantly, what are you going to do today to be a creative monster?
The 6th most popular post of 2012!
Creative people are liars.
It’s a fact. A recent study conducted by professors from Harvard and Duke University have identified that creative people have a problem with honesty. According to the study that was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the same people who are gifted with looking at problems differently – seeing things others don’t – and have the “intellectual spark to think outside the box” are prone to drift into indulgences like telling lies, cheating, and general dishonesty.
And you know what…it’s true.
Creative people are liars.
The odd thing is, the lies start with us lying to ourselves.
We lie to ourselves when we believe we aren’t good enough.
We lie to ourselves when we believe that God didn’t give us the gifts that make us unique.
We lie to ourselves when we believe we always have to fit in or be accepted.
We lie to ourselves when we believe that the work is too hard.
We lie to ourselves when we believe that our dreams are too big.
We lie to ourselves when we believe that everyone should understand us.
We lie to ourselves when we believe that we don’t have the ability to change the world through the art we are creating.
Stop telling lies.
Stop believing lies.
We are the ones who have been chosen to write this chapter of history.
We are the ones who have been chosen to write this chapter of history. What will your page say today? What lies will you stop believing?
Integrity Music and I have decided to share a little peak behind the creative curtain of some of todays most prolific worship leaders. Questions about process and a peak at how these worship leaders are crafting songs for the Church.
Today Jon Egan is joining us. Jon is a worship leader at New Life Church in Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter HERE. Jon also fronts the Desperation Band. Their new album, Center Of It All, is available on iTunes HERE.
Q1. Jon, what does your creative process look like?
- Out of the heart the mouth speaks. In other words, what goes in will come out. As a worship leader/songwriter, it is of the utmost of importance to fill up with the things of God. The last few years have been a blast for me. More than ever, I have become a student. A student of theology, revival, the presence of God… What I have learned from Him and from others, He is using to fuel my creative process. When truth explodes in my heart, I am compelled to share it. Whether it is with my mouth through speech or through the vehicle of song.
Q2. When you write worship songs do you identify a target audience or focus on theme?
- I love the church. All generations, commending His works to one another. I want my songs to transcend age and/or season of life. I actually do not believe in “youth” worship or “adult” worship. People have tried aiming their songs at one age group for years. Myself included! All that has been found is that the songs that reach one age group the most are the songs that reach all groups. A great song is outside a cage. More than ever, I strive to write for the “church”. All generations. I am a theme writer for sure, maybe to a fault. I want to be moved by an idea and develop it in the song. God speaks to me this way so it is hard to write in other ways. It helps me focus on the weight of big ideas. For example, I wrote “Strong God” from Psalm 68 where it commands us to sing to God. But the “why” is what got me. Because He is father to the fatherless. Defender of widows. He puts the lonely into families. Incredible thoughts about family, justice, and the plight of the orphan and widow. I sat in this psalm for a while knowing that this theme had to be written into a song.
Q3. Do you have a favorite place to write or create?
- I have a space created for writing, but it’s funny how it works. I end up writing everywhere. I think writers need to ALWAYS be writing. Whether they’re in church, or alone in a writing room, or driving in the car, truth can come out and you want to be ready. Just the other morning I woke up singing a melody. I loved it. I grabbed my phone and recorded the melody. Now it is finding its way into the bridge of a new song I am working on.
Q4. What inspires you the most?
- The reality of God. He is more real than everything around us. Which means He is here, involved, engaged, close. I want to see God’s people wake up to His presence. Wake up to His love and grace. And therefore see that they are His. And they are carriers of His presence to this place and every place.
Q5. When you feel you have hit a creative block, how do you overcome that moment?
- First thing I do is not panic!! I think a creative block can actually reveal some nasty things inside us. If we panic, we are perhaps treating our writing as an idol. And why would we treat it that way? Because it points to us perhaps? Glory is God’s alone. Because it shows that God is using us? We must trust God to use us. Because it may generate income?!! Ouch! God is our provider!! When I hit the block, I relax. Perhaps I need to learn some things. Mostly, I need to come out of the writing season (the pouring out season) and enter into a reading season (the pouring in season). And by reading, I mean spending time with Him… in the Word and in the words of others He may lead you to.
Q6. Do you prefer to create in community or on your own?
- God is doing a tremendous thing with community. He always has been if we’re being honest. But writers are catching it…myself included. The Center Of It All album has only 1 song on it that is just my own. Every other song is a collaboration! And the result is something I am so proud of! We need each other. We are better together. We all see God in different ways. We interpret in different ways. If we are willing, we can learn from just about anyone. I was so honored to write with people I deeply respect. Jason Ingram, Mia Fieldes, and Paul Mabury are heroes of mine. To get with them and craft worship songs for the church was an absolute thrill! I do not think that writing a song alone is in any way wrong. But I do believe a spiritual thing is happening here with community. I plan to continue diving in to it!
Q7. What is the hardest part of creating worship sets every week (or as often as you lead worship)?
- Like a marriage, worship-leading is a God given role that does present challenges. The greatest things will always include the greatest challenges. For me, the biggest tension is having to put to death the “people pleasing” thing. We are only free to deliver people when we are delivered OF people. I pray for and seek to have authority in my leading and songs. Longing for man’s approval will cripple your spiritual authority. It is something that must die. And it seems to have resurrection power now and again because it seems to find its way back! it is something to consistently slay. But! His grace is sufficient!
Q8. How do you balance original songs with songs that are leading the global church when you are creating a set?
- In context to leading with authority, it is important to me to make sure I lead songs that are truly “in” me. My original songs are “in” me yes. But they haven’t always been. I’ve been at my home church of New Life for 11 years now! I believe that I’m meant to write for our church. In 11 years of massive ups and extreme downs, there is quite a bit to SAY now. So the songs written lately have been special to me because they are FULL of things we have learned as a church body. But also, I believe that when God speaks something, MANY hear it! So you can find incredible songs from others that are meant for your church. I’m constantly amazed that themes that are burning in my heart end up coming out on other albums! From other people! It’s really an amazing thing. So, when I commit to singing at church what God is speaking, the balance of original songs to other songs works itself out.
Q9. Who is the one writer you have not worked with that you would love to write a song with?
- Ah man. There’s a few. But my hero that I have never met is Martin Smith. I grew up listening to him and his songs. He is more than a songwriter. I would love a chance at that!!
Here is the art for the album, Center Of It All.
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Here is the 8th most popular post of 2012!
Leadership is intangible, and therefore no weapon ever designed can replace it. – Omar N. Bradley
Here are a few traits I have learned working for and with some amazing leaders. (with the obvious Christian focus removed):
1. Set the tone and set it with passion and audacity.
2. Avoid drama and create peace.
3. Think positive, but realistic.
4. Lead by serving.
5. Act as much as they talk.
6. Ensure that their words and actions align; own and correct it when they don’t.
8. Know they don’t have all the answers all the time.
9. Ask questions more than you make statements.
10. Trust their team to do their jobs.
11. Set and articulate expectations.
12. Insist on results.
13. Delegate. Then, delegate more.
14. Give others credit.
15. Listen. Listen. Listen. Then respond.
16. Have compassion, but don’t be fooled.
17. Respond instead of react.
18. Hire talented, young, future leaders and trust them even when they fail…and never stop investing in them.
19. Know their idea is not always the best idea.
20. Never stop learning.
What are traits you look for in a leader? What traits are you attempting to model?
The 9th most popular post from 2012.
It has been said that the difference between creativity and imagination is action. Action is more than talking about our creativity or idea. Action is putting our creativity into motion. We have to build solid habits that help us move our creative ideas from the imaginary to the activated. What are some of the ways we can do this?
- Create something everyday. / This keeps us prepared and in a creative space. It helps us avoid getting lazy.
- Share our ideas with people who will hold us accountable to them. / There is a pressure that comes when we are accountable for our great ideas. A lot of time, fear keeps us from sharing these ideas, but we have to share them in order to “get them out”. An idea that is in process has the potential to change lives. An idea in our head is equivalent to no idea at all.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. / Learning to conquer our fear helps us to engage our creativity. We have to understand that creativity and love have a lot in common. One never experiences love in its fullness until we take the chance to be hurt. The same goes with creativity. The hurt of failing is not dull, but the regret of not trying will haunt us forever.
- Prepare a plan./ Make a plan that is FULL. Define expectations. Delegate. Create action items in the plan and attach dates to those plans. Leave no stone unturned in the process. Define the goal and make sure every action is leading to that goal. Planning is the not-so secret power for creative people. Great creative professionals embrace planning. Also, planning and preparing allows us to finish on time – which actually provides us the flexibility to adjust. When we can adjust, we are able to be our MOST creative.
- Be concerned with execution. / Ideas are not worth a dollar without execution. No one is going to care about YOUR thing as much as YOU do…and if at some point they do, you need to move on. Artists have to understand and embrace the business of their art: be concerned enough to – at a minimum – build a team that can help them manage the execution and be willing to not ignore the importance of “GETTING THINGS DONE.”
- Stay focused on the goal. / The biggest temptation for an artist or creative person is to allow the next idea to steal our focus. Document the next idea, but stay on task and don’t lose focus of the potential we have to complete what we are working on today. Tomorrow can be for the next thing…today is about what is in front of us.
- Control what we can control. / Stop worrying and buying excuses. We have areas which we can control. Maximize those spaces. The areas for which we do not have control, we can not waste time or energy worrying about. We will navigate around those when the time is right. Today, control what you can control.
Have you ever had an experience you could share of when it worked well…or didn’t happen at all?
Revisiting the top 10 posts of 2012!
Number 10 was a fun piece about the relationship between Creative people and their pastors.
I am so blessed to get to work with a Pastor who is not only a great pastor, but a great man and an awesome friend.
As a creative arts pastor, I understand what is needed in the relationship between the Sr. Pastor and the CA Pastor. Lets look at 5 core elements that creative team need from their pastor:
- 1. Permission to fail. No one enjoys failure, but the reality is if we want amazing and really creative experiences there is a very solid chance that at times we are going to fail. Real art is not safe. Safe stuff is created in the middle, but really amazing stuff, the stuff people remember and can’t ignore is created on the edges. Sometimes when we are creating on these edges, we may fall in the ditch. Knowing that we are allowed to fail from time to time creates the safety to really experiment. That does not give creative teams permission to be lazy, but really places a healthy pressure on us as creative teams to create unforgettable vehicles for the amazing content that pastors are communicating. We have the greatest story of all time to tell, we should utilize the greatest vehicles for that story.
- 2. Communication. Never be afraid to communicate what you like and what you dislike. Be clear and very candid. Being aware of expectations helps to create clarity for what should and should not be created inside your organization. Another key in communication is the ability to articulate where you are headed with your content. Give as much info as you can, as early as you can, so that the creative team can dig in and find the best tools to help share the amazing content God is placing on your heart. When a team has a week to execute your vision they will not create as great of an experience as they would if they had a month.
- Also key in healthy communication is to celebrate victories publicly and criticize in private. Creative teams by nature are going to be emotional and get attached to their creations. Besides you as a communicator, no other department in your church leaves as much personal DNA on a weekend as your creative team. Criticism is healthy and necessary, but protect your team and it will build an amazing amount of equity between both parties. Communication will make or break your creative process.
- 3. Trust. We have to trust each other. There is a song that we have in our rotation right now that is not Pete’s favorite. I love the fact that he trusts us to continue to try to work the song and he trusts that we have a purpose behind why we are trying to make the song work. Pete also trusts that if the song does not work, we are going to pull it and not risk negatively impacting the momentum that God is building around Cross Point. Trust goes beyond music. It is also vital to external communication, creation of vehicles for content, and the hustle both parties are putting into what is being created. Trust is also necessary in the creative meetings. In our meetings we need to make sure the playing field is level and everyone is trusting, not focusing on titles or position. If that trust is not there people will be afraid to communicate their true feelings about ideas, concepts, and impact.
- 4. Inclusion. Pete is great at this. Keep creative arts included in the conversation. Knowing what is going on and eliminating surprises as much as possible helps everyone plan, be prepared, and create our best stuff.
- 5. Space to create. As a Pastor and a boss, be as involved as you can be in the process, but once you feel you have contributed to the process, allow the team to create. If you walk by the creative suite and wonder why half the team is laying on the floor with Hillsong music playing and the other half of the team is playing ping pong, understand that may be part of their process. When expectations are set and clear, allow the process to be worked out in the methods that allow creative teams to be their most creative. What works for one person may not work best for the next.
Pastors, what are some of the things that you need from your creative teams?
Creative team members, what have I missed on this list?
No one sets out to be average. It’s never our goal to be just good enough.
Inside all of us is the desire to be our absolute best. But because we’re human, sometimes our intensity becomes desensitized.
Remember when you started that project, design, job, or training and you were on fire? Nothing could stop you. Challenges were laughable and opportunity was everywhere.
Then, over time, you started to drift. Your passion maybe dipped a little. You got tired and with that, lost a little of the drive or hustle that kept you going every day.
Sometimes the only way to get the pace back is to change gears. Changing gears can look like:
- Taking a break.
- Going to a conference.
- Encouraging someone else to be their best.
- Revisiting our history.
- Having a hard conversation.
- Remembering to be inspired.
- Hiring someone new.
- Changing team positions or responsibilities.
What are some of the ways you engage your passion, change gears, and start putting the momentum back in your favor?