Walk On…”Chalking” It Up To Creativity

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 2.16.30 PM.pngThis past weekend we continued our Art Effect emphasis with a combination of live painting and music all happening in the middle of our service. Any time we integrate live art there is the challenge of timing. Not many artists can execute a piece live and on cue in a limited time frame. We have an awesome one who can.

Jennifer Main has been with us a number of times and in the past she has done her art on a LARGE scale with oils.  We have even created a “Jenn Canvas” that we store backstage that is laid out to facilitate her paintings.  However in the run up to this painting experience we made a course change.  Jenn, who lives in downtown LA, started posting pictures on her instagram of her using chalk. It got our attention.

After talking with Jenn, we decided to go with the chalk look. This would allow her to create quicker, work in a smaller space, and work on a smaller canvas. With this decision, we shifted her to the center of the room and would now be able to highlight her more.

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We choose to do a medley of U2’s 40 and Walk On during the painting which gave a 6-7 minute window for the painting to happen. The interwoven songs provided the perfect bed for the painting and spoke to our theme of the day and the call for people to make a public step of faith through baptism.  The band executed the song well while allowing space for people to absorb Jenn’s painting as it unfolded. This is always a unique tension when two strong creative elements are being melded together.


  • Art speaks best when given space to resonate in the individual observer
  • Managing the tension between colliding art forms is an important part of any creative element
  • The use of art should not be for hype, but for engaging the heart.

Set Flow:

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30 Minutes to Raise the Dead


Many years ago, one of us on our creative team had a mentor that  had written a book about preaching. His book was called “30 Minutes to Raise the Dead.” It is a clever title, and also an all too real tension many of us face with the creative process: How do we rouse a deaf world?  How do we get people’s attention in a world full of distractions?  Obviously it is God’s roll to do that, but how do we partner with Him to give people the opportunity to listen?

In our Art Effect Series this fall we have been highlighting a Psalm each Sunday as well as continuing our Transformed series, while also drawing from the talent of artists from all kinds of creative genres (photography, vocal performance, song writing, dance, video, etc), This past Sunday we highlighted Ps. 72 and also drew upon the artistry of Hosanna Poetry, a spoken word artist.

For the Psalm 72 moment, we discovered a retelling of the psalm from a Rabbi named Brandt Rosen.  We asked Hosanna to deliver this before the message. Here is the text:

Psalm 72: Transformation | Rabbi Brandt Rosen

let the lowly rise up,
let them crash and collide like
tectonic plates, let them burst forth
leaving soaring mountains
in their wake.

let the oppressed, buried deep
within the earth smolder and
shape like pressurized carbon
gliding inevitably upwards
only to emerge like diamonds
in the morning sun.

let the justice that trickled first
from shallow creeks now
roar through the valley and saturate
the dry parched earth, let it flow
relentlessly throughout the land
where life once grew
and will grow again.

let those who cry out in pain
feel your presence growing within
their broken souls like green
stems shooting through cracked pavement,
let them live to see new life spreading
through abandoned streets and
neighborhoods and cities and nations.

let the promise of your transformation beckon
still that we might finally take the first
tentative step into this new day, yes
let it be so.

Here is Hosanna’s live version:



After the message, we asked Hosanna to perform one of her own works.  She performed “Speak Lord.” Here is what she shared:


Our prayer is that when God speaks, He will rouse a deaf world… that He might rouse our deaf ears… to listen when He speaks.

To see more of Hosanna’s work, please visit her website: hosannapoetry.com



Creativity is Hard…

Here’s a summary what we’ve been up to the last couple weeks…

Working. Very. Hard.

On a regular basis I have conversations with people especially within the church world who express a desire to go deeper into creativity on a more regular basis.  It is a “well-intentioned” idea. However…what most fail to realize is the level of just plain old hard work that is necessary to execute effective, moving moments on an ongoing basis.

Almost weekly I find myself thinking, if our team knew what it would take to make this moment happen when we came up with it…we probably wouldn’t do it. A commitment to the moment means we are also up for the various known and unknown challenges that element will create.

But that work…is what makes it awesome.

Over the last few weeks we have navigated the kicking off of a new series, alongside the execution of an emphasis we call Art Effect (you can read about that here), alongside the normal elements that had to happen outside of our weekend worship experience.  It stretched everyone on our team to the limits.

But it’s been great. And setting the tone with art has continued to be transforming for our church community. Here’s a taste of last weekend when we were thrilled to have Lauren Diaz with us, currently a part of The Voice. This song was presented over a background of nature photography from our featured artist Todd Clark (@eatart) and was a powerful moment. Enjoy!