Ever wonder why there are so many Disneyland fans? Granted… not everyone is a Disney fan. But for those that are… What exactly keeps them coming back? Is it the spinning tea cups? The long lines to get a pic with Mickey or Minnie? Is it the mouse ears or churros? It’s none of the above, actually… Though who doesn’t enjoy a good churro every now and then? 🙂 In the end, it’s the inspiration people feel when they are at the parks that keeps them coming back. People are inspired when they see the fireworks at the end of the night. They are inspired when they realize that are literally walking through Walt Disney’s vision when they are in the park. People are inspired to dream big dreams and see them become a reality when they “wish upon a star.”
Thankfully, inspiration is not only found in Disneyland but can be found everywhere: in a song, a movie, a book, or a story. Inspiration lifts us up; inspiration shifts our thoughts from the common to the uncommon. Inspiration stirs the soul.
In fact, the word inspire means “to breathe” – it literally means to take a breath in. Breathing is what distinguishes us from the dead. Only the living breathe… Sounds like inspiration should be a vital part of worship services, huh? We sing songs, we watch videos, hear from the Bible, and hear stories of life change. All of these things should inspire. As a church, the goal is to “breathe” life into people. That’s the goal. Literally.
Week after week our Creative Team dreams up and executes creative elements in our services that inspire people in various ways. We fight against the usual or mundane and fight for the unique and extraordinary. We seek to find the creative elements that go beyond the common to discover the uncommon. As you can imagine, this process is often a challenge. Like many things in life, familiarity drives away awe. When we are around something enough, the gleam and shine wears off. As much as we hate to say it, the same is true about spiritual truth for those of us that have been in church for years. Some of us have been through 30+ Christmas stories or 30+ Easters.
Yet in many churches (but thankfully, not all), “awe” is often lacking. Christians in many churches have lost their “awe,” and few non-believers attending services are calling their experience “awesome.” Creative elements are viewed in suspect or seen as unnecessary leaving the inspiration to a great sermon. Perhaps that’s why one could call preaching “thirty minutes to raise the dead.” No one element of a service should carry the creative load, but rather each part should work together.
This is not, by the way, a critique of a particular worship style. There is not a worship style that is more creative than another. People are inspired by many traditional worship services, liturgical, and contemporary services alike. At the same time, people have felt the malaise of all three as well. What was the difference? Inspiration.
To be clear, the point is not to put on a show, but rather to inspire. These are two different things. Cool lights do not inspire. A great guitar lick is cool, but does not inspire. But lighting that fits a creative piece or a well-played instrument can work together to create a moment that moves someone. And that’s the goal of the creative process: creative elements or content that moves someone towards life change. That’s inspirational.
The roadmap to inspiration:
In order to inspire in a worship service, the author of inspiration must be involved. For us as a creative team, our number one job is to seek what it is that God seeks to do in a service. What is the main point? We then work backwards to the beginning. What is created is a roadmap to inspiration.