Normally, today I would post an excerpt from my bi-weekly contribution to Communitas Collective. However, I’m in the middle of something here; so today I’m just putting up a link to the article, so I can continue with “The Big Reveal.” 🙂
I started this yesterday by sharing a dream in our hearts that still lacks detail, but is taking shape–a dream of an out-of-the-box creative community for the mutual nurturing and encouraging of the arts, one in which the love of Christ can be ministered without it taking on the churchy cultural feel, and without attempting to create “Christian” art. (Remember–“Christian” is supposed to be a noun, not an adjective. People are Christians, not art.)
Today, I’d like to add some context to this dream as it is taking shape.
I mentioned in the previous post that we feel such a community should not be started, but rather born. We’ve done the whole let’s-start-something-it’s-gonna-be-BIG! thing several times–you know, hang a shingle out and advertise and try to get people to join your gig–but that approach has gotten very stale for us, because it feels more like marketing than ministering. I think the business model for ministry and church is both crippling and self-defeating–this thing was never supposed to be a business, and I think that’s part of what is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of our culture.
So this time, we’re going to try a different approach. And it’s really pretty simple.
First–we want to take some time (a minimum of one year, and likely longer) and really embed ourselves in the artistic/creative community. Go to where it’s happening, and form honest relationships there, rather than come in guns blazing as the self-proclaimed experts in our field, and try to hype up excitement. Especially in this culture and among these people, we think we need to take the time to earn the right to speak to them–to demonstrate that we have a vested interest in what we might contribute to the conversation, because we are in that place, too. As we do this, the picture in our minds will likely change and adapt, because even though we have a dream, we will not have an agenda, or an ulterior motive. This time, the vision must not be more important than the people, or the relationships.
Second–within this community, we are going to do what we do and see what happens. In other words…we’re going to focus on our particular creative gifts–ply our trade, as it were. The Wild One will work her photography business; I will turn my attention to freelance writing and music; and The Director will, well, direct–keep working on his filmmaking. We will gather with other believers and worship Jesus as we go–but “Father’s business” for us is taking a decidedly different turn away from holding church meetings and toward simple creativity. As we do this, hopefully, we’ll build relationships, “street cred” and trust–community in the true sense, not in name only.
Christ is the foundation of our faith, and thus, the foundation of all we will do for the Kingdom. That is a given. But for a community to be born naturally, we are convinced that these elements need to be part of the foundation of that community as well.
We haven’t even gotten to the really good stuff yet! Stay tuned…