God: A Motion Background or a Foreground Video?

Earlier this week, Stephen Proctor was sending crazy late night DMs on twitter. Anne Jackson (@flowerdust) had sparked a conversation on Twitter earlier in the day about coaching and mentoring. Proctor thought he’d be funny & say he was starting worshipVJ coaching network (by the way, his next DM said NOT!!!!!!!!!!! hahaha). That sparked a conversation though about coaching. Is it good? Necessary? That led into the whole idea of “church idols” (elevating someone in the church world who we think is doing amazing stuff to the point that we worship the person not the God who gifted them). That led to the thought that sparked this blog post. The essential part of the conversation went like his:

Me: “As someone said at a conference I attended this fall we have to get behind the cross & let God use us. If we try to stand in front with him in the background we fail.”

Proctor: “In other words, God shouldn’t be a motion “background.”

Me: “VERY true! God should be the foreground image covering all and we are the background text peeking through simply trying to help people connect the dots.”

Proctor: There you go. Now go write that into a blog post.

That nugget of wisdom I’d heard at a conference – it was from Stacy Spencer who I heard speak at STORY. WOW! Amazing. I had never heard of him before that but will never forget him. Not only is he one of the best speakers I have heard but his content was rock solid. My notes from Stacy’s talk say this: Telling the story is about getting behind Calvary’s cross to tell the story so someone can see Jesus.

Back to the twitter conversation: God shouldn’t be a motion background. God should NEVER be in the background, that’s where we belong. He should be the foreground image over which nothing else can cover. Yes, God supports us and holds us up and i that way is our background but the minute we try to outshine him we have failed. The minute we think we can tell the story better than the cross can tell the story we’ve failed.

Our roll is to put God in the foreground by putting ourselves in the background. That whole “you shall have no other gods before me” includes ourselves in case you were wondering! That includes our media, our videos, our photos, our music, our cool typefaces, all of it. When we try to stand in front of the cross and tell the story we are in the way of what’s most important. However, when we get behind the cross and reflect it with our lives, in our churches, with our music, through our visuals, then God can and will use us as his tools to communicate His Story in a powerful and meaningful way.

Now, how does that apply to your specific area of ministry? Ready, set, share!

Science vs. Art

On Saturday (Dec. 5th) at 4:58pm Stephen Proctor a.k.a. @worshipvj dropped this tweet: attn media peeps: which would best describe yourself? a lot of science with a littler art – or – a lot of art with a little science? My initial response to Stephen was “honestly think i’m about half science half art rt now & lk it. i was science bf i was art, but gain a better balance everyday”

That question has been pestering me since Saturday. To be honest I’m still wrestling with it and haven’t completely sorted it out in my head yet. I’m wrestling to figure out if I am personally more art or more science. More importantly, however, I’m wrestling to figure out if it matters and if so WHY it matters.

My first step in my search was an attempt at defining “science” and “art.” According to Webster science is the state of knowing; knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding while art is the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. My initial response was based off of the misunderstanding that art isn’t systematic. But I’m beginning to think it is. Isn’t that part of “conscious use of skill and creative imagination?”I think maybe art is the putting into practice of science (the knowing)

Okay, but what, if anything, does this have to do with worship media and why does it matter? I firmly believe that if you don’t have a philosophy of visual worship you are setting yourself up for failure. Perhaps no philosophy = pure science. A philosophy takes the science (the knowledge) and applies it consciously and practically to a practice, in this case, visual worship. Example: you may KNOW what meaning and significance of different colors. However, unless you consciously use them at the right time in the right environment that knowledge means very little. I would argue that without art you aren’t leading visual worship. You are simply projecting pretty images and maybe some words on a screen. That being said, I also would argue that art is impossible without science (the knowledge). Without science as a foundation art carries much less meaning and significance. Using the color example, if you don’t know the meaning and significance of colors you likely won’t use them at fitting times in worship.

Conclusion (as of now): a balance of both is necessary and it matters because both are needed for a practical philosophy which ultimately determines your WHY of visual worship which is the most important part.

Okay, so do you agree? Disagree? Where do you fall?