Parables Wk. 3 (Wise and Foolish Builder)

What. A. Week.  When someone speaks of fluidity in creative programming, this is the worship experience they are referring to. In conversations that took place over weeks and weeks, ideas flowed from everywhere and led us down different streams of thoughts. In fact, one stream of thought actually had us making it literally rain on stage. That idea went as far as being researched and into serious execution conversations. In the end, we diverted away from it largely on the strength of one thought: Heart.

The temptation within the creative world is to simply do something because you can. As we wrestled with this particular parable, we walked through the following process:

  1. Let’s tell the story of the parable.
  2. Let’s tell the story of the parable visually on stage.
  3. Let’s tell the story of the parable by having a “house” built on sand and a “house” built on solid ground.
  4. Let’s add visuals to this telling of the story projected behind each building “site” based on the sand and the rock.
  5. Let’s somehow have the house built on the sand collapse.

At this point we paused. Thankfully.

The plan included building a house (made up of oversized jenga like blocks) on each of these surfaces while the story was being told through images and v/o.  However, Dave Cowan mentioned at one point that while it had “cool” it lacked “heart.”  He was right. So we had to adjust.

Our plan was already to shoot a personal story with Michael Teter in our church regarding his journey from a life built on sand to one anchored on the rock. This was to be a separate element. Then we realized they needed to be combined to create the greatest effect and the most heart. So we changed it up.

Dave took Michael over to California two weeks prior and we shot his story in two locations: the beach and a rocky surface. At the same time, Dave shot a lock down shot of each of those environments to use as a visual backdrop.

We then drafted Michael to actually be the personal building the houses on stage while his story was being told on our large side screens. He would push out a wheelbarrow filled with sand, dump it on stage, and proceed to build our jenga house with the words “fool” written on the front.

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He would also do the same on the opposite side of the stage with blocks and the jenga house, “wise”. The video content would correspond as he built, telling his life journey from sand to solid ground. We rehearsed this many, many times prior to Sunday to get the timing right between the video and Michael on stage. We wanted them to weave together and conclude at the same time. His pace of building the homes was important.

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Post message we closed the service with the song “Rainy Day” and use the small backdrop video screens to portray visual content matching the tone of the day and the song.

So…the day was a huge win and we effectively broke the 4th wall by having Michael both on screen and on stage.

 

Learnings:

  • Lose the heart and you are lost.
  • Cool by itself…is not cool.
  • Personal always resonates with the hearts of people.

 

Set List

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Parables: Week 2 (The Two Brothers)

twobrother.jpgSometimes a passage of Scripture can really challenge a creative team.  Some passages are used often in church, while others rarely (if ever) get air play on Sundays.  What are your options if you hit a wall on how to proceed as a team?  Do you let this stop your process? Does it become a barrier to creative communication?

We found ourselves in a spot like this on Sunday.  We loved the rather obscure parable of the Two Brothers, but it wasn’t a story that any of us had ever heard taught on before. That made it a bit of a challenge to produce creative content to enhance the worship experience.

The obvious point of the parable is that our actions of obedience mean more than our lip service to God. This led some of us on our team to consider Jesus’ obedience to the Father to go to the cross on our behalf.  Like the two brothers, Jesus also had a choice of whether to follow His Father in obedience or to go another way.

From this discussion, we decided that perhaps we should lean into our communion moment and do something special/unique for it. Dave Cowan, our Arts Pastor, wrote the following and we expedited a quick video shoot.

The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus came to his usual place to pray: the Garden of Gethsemane.  There, the bible says, Jesus “fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'”

Jesus knew what awaited him in crucifixion, and the thought of it was enough to ask God to see if there was another way.  The Prince of Peace that walked on water and calmed the seas now found himself in need of peace.

There was a crossroad in the garden. Not one that could be seen, but rather felt. Would Jesus choose to follow his own path, or the one the Father had for him?

Thankfully for us, Jesus chose obedience.

The truth is… We each have a cup of our own… Our cup represents the moment where we know God is calling us to action, but the road before us seems so hard.  Will we take our own path, or the one of obedience? 

Each time we take communion we remember what Jesus did on our behalf – and each time we take communion we look to the week ahead with a fresh start. 

Let’s take the bread together…  The bible tells us that Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.  Let’s take the bread together…  

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

May we follow our Savior’s lead and be a people of obedience.

Learning: There are times when a team may hit a creative wall. Our experiences with this has led us to take our creative juices elsewhere in the service (a creative communion moment, a creative call to Christ, a creative way for people to respond to the message).  Give it a try the next time your team struggles. It may lead somewhere great.

Set List:

Only King Forever

Fierce

O, Come to The Altar

Special: I Will Follow

No Longer Slaves

Run Sheet:

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