My thinking has always been extremely mathematic and pragmatic, sometimes perhaps to a fault! This is part of why I have always revered musicians and artists whom are able to just pick up an instrument or a brush and play an improvised piece, or draw a random subject, or sing some obscure line at a moment's notice. I need the music, I need the outlines. I make lists, do not understand abstract art, and HAVE to color in the lines. Even thinking about coloring a picture and going outside of the lines gives me anxiety! That is just how my mind works. I think that is part of why Methodism and Wesley speak so deeply to me.
Because my mind works this way, I can struggle to be "creative" as classically defined. Lindsey falls much more into this category, and for that I am eternally grateful. As we have worked through this COVID-19 pandemic, I have often been encouraging myself to see the potential for positive changes. There is a deeper appreciation for teachers, healthcare workers, and all those whom keep our necessities met. There is a realization that government (both sides) is not going to be the ultimate Savior for us (which is a great thing to learn, in my humble opinion). There is an examination on self-sustainability. There is more time spent together, virtually or physically to just chat about life, play games, or study. And, there is an absolute necessity to be creative. The "normal" ways of conducting business, worshipping, schooling, having a child or even just getting groceries are no longer feasible. We are being forced to be creative. Digital classrooms, online meetings, social distancing in a store, talking to a doctor through a computer screen, preaching into a camera, or wearing a mask wherever we go are just a few of the many ways we are being forced to be creative in our society. Forced creativity is not always a negative, however. For my pragmatic and analytical mind, it helps me to expand my thinking.
People are unable to come into our sanctuary to hear the Word of God, but leaving the Word silent would be a sin on my part, so how can I ensure that the Word is still reaching as many people as possible? We are being forced to be creative with how we present the Gospel for the transformation of the world. We mulled about online sermons or worship for months, then all of the sudden, we are forced to be creative and offer it.
What does it look and feel like to watch church service on a screen, instead of actually being present in worship? There is something missing for me, when I am unable to be in a sanctuary with my brothers and sisters in worship. But, there have been gains, as well, as I can hear other preachers speak God's Word, and we are able to have persons from different communities and even different states worshipping together.
What techniques can we incorporate to cultivate a spirit of peace, but also a spirit of reverence for the action of worship, while on YouTube? We must examine where we are going to have the sermon. It "feels" more like worshipping in the church when I am preaching in front of the altar, rather than in an office or a library. Offering some level of live music, also cultivates a feeling of worship.
Am I ready for my sermons to be available to anybody at anytime? The Gospel has a chance to reach more people, in more places, and in more ways. I must get past my apprehension and fear of having every word I say online.
What are the proper ways to offer a digital worship experience, without it starting to feel like a TV production? I make mistakes during in-person worship and need to stop and take a drink at times, so that must be alright to have over digital worship, as well.
How are you being forced into creativity? Perhaps you are making masks? Perhaps there is a project that has been staring back at you for months or years, and now you have the time to really get into it? Perhaps you are contemplating ideas about how church could look on the other side of the pandemic? Perhaps you are developing new business or professional ideas? Perhaps you are absorbing books, or new languages, or videos that are teaching you new aspects of life?
Sometimes is takes a big event to get us out of our "boxes."