I have grown up as an artist. When I was a kid I was singing and hamming it up every chance I got. When I hit high school I began acting. My freshman year I was a lead in the high school play (even got to kiss a senior, gotta love Brigadoon). Then when we moved to Florida I went to a performing arts high school for singing. After school I joined a band, and spent a few years traveling and playing rock music. I have a deep love for all things art. It has always been the number one thing to me. Art was perfection. But I have discovered something in my last few years that has turned all that around.
A couple weeks ago I was listening to an interview with Harrison Ford. He was discussing what it was like to make movies with George Lucas. He said a couple things that really could change the way you approach ministry, both in church and in your personal life.
“There are a lot of things that need expositional dialogue. But the best way isn’t with words….it is with action. Do something.”
So often we feel like the way to win is to put on the biggest show. We think the songs must be the greatest in our services. The lights have to move more, and be brighter than the concert we went to….or in the very least better than the church down the street. After all, to not get eaten by the bear you don’t have to be the fastest human, just faster than the guy you are running with. Even in our personal lives, we feel like the only way to talk to people about Jesus is to make everything about our relationship with God the “greatest thing ever”. It is the instagram of witnessing. On instagram people make the most mundane trip to the mall look like we were at the louvre. We take a picture of something that is normal to everyone, like a burger, and add filters, cock the camera to a cool angle, and make sure the people across the table look wistful. But in reality, the baby was just out of the camera yelling and throwing food, and the burger was overcooked. We do this with our walk with Christ. Everything is the greatest ever, instead of it just being a part of our life. Somehow we think we need to make a relationship with Christ more exciting than it is. Which is crazy, because it is more exciting on it’s own than we could ever make it ourselves. Why do we feel the need to “hype” Christ?
I have a theory. Maybe we have let our own walk with Christ grow stale and stagnant. Maybe we aren’t trying to “hype” Jesus to other people. Maybe we are really trying to “hype” Jesus to ourselves. We have created a culture of big events and massive outreach that has little lasting effect. And through it all, we end up just trying to get back to the feeling we had when we first started our relationship with Christ. But chances are, we started that relationship at one of these giant big events as well. So we are like an addict seeking a high. Always looking for that next fix. Looking for excitement.
Can I tell you something. Sarah and I have had some incredible moments. Awesome highs. Big events. But that isn’t what defines our relationship. Our relationship is defined by those simple Saturday mornings when we get up and make Arlis a Mickey Mouse pancake, and then go shopping. Sounds boring. I guess it is….to most people. But to me, it is the best thing in the world. It is what defines my relationship with her. It is our foundation.
Throughout the bible Jesus isn’t referred to as the party, or the biggest show. When he traveled and spoke, He didn’t have a hype man, or circus performers. He is always referred to as Faithful. Steadfast. The Cornerstone. Loyal. Constant. Steadfast. Harrison Ford went on to say:
“Art isn’t what is important. Art is happenstance, and actually comes from comfort in your craft. You need to have craft to get art in the first place.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I love lights. I love sound. I love art. I love big events. I LOVE ART. My church will do all of those things. I am not saying we should avoid them. I am not saying they are wrong. What I am saying is, we need to make sure our relationship with Christ is actually rooted in Christ and not in Christendom. That our walk is all about that authentic relationship each and every day. That our ministry, both from stage and personally, is steadfast and rooted in Christ. Not rooted in the awesome event. Let those events be awesome. Let them be the salt that seasons our relationship. Let them be the tool we use to lead others to the real and authentic relationship with Christ that we have. After all, if you don’t have the craft first, then the art is pointless. Remember, in a world where everyone is instagramming their awesome life, no matter how fake it is, maybe what they really need is the steadfast cornerstone of Jesus, and not the hype. They need what Jesus created, not what we created. We create art to introduce people to Jesus, not so our art becomes their Jesus. Who would have thought that Han Solo was such a smart guy.
peace – love – recycle