On our first “recon” trip out to Arkansas for Creative Missions 2012, way back in November 2011, God spoke to me in his still small voice.
It was pretty freeing. I was trying to have it all figured out and capture the success we had in our inaugural year, but God in his infinite wisdom offered the best advice ever.
I was eager to share this word with Andy Burns when I picked him up from the airport.
As we met with church after church between two vision visits, listening really paid off. Not only did it confirm we were right where God wanted us, but it was pretty therapeutic for the churches we sat down with.
Fast forward to several days before the Creative Missions 2012 trip. Again, on my way to pick Andy up from the airport as we were en route to Arkansas, God spoke again.
Of course! Creative Missions helps churches communicate better, but even deeper, there’s a soul care aspect that’s easy to take for granted. I shared two facets of Creative Missions soul care with the team leaders prior to kick off.
1. Relieve burdens
The tasks we’re completing are those that have been weighing pastors and churches down – sometimes for years. It’s usually a lack of resources, bandwidth/staff, or expertise in certain areas. Whatever the reason, it never gets old seeing the countenance on their faces change within a span of a week.
Pastor Andy Swart from Metro Church was impressed that we knocked out needs his church had for four years.
“This week has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders as a lead pastor. I have in my head what I want things to look and feel like, and your team somewhere did a ninja assault on my brain and figured out what that looked like. I’ve worked two twelve hour days with them, but they have been energizing and refreshing days! The work they’ve accomplished allows us to focus more on getting Jesus to NWA!”
2. Love on churches (listen)
Sadly, many of the pastors God places in our path feel like they’re on an island. Unfortunately that’s what the landscape looks like in a lot of areas – territorial, etc. They’re eager to share their story and frustrations with someone who is willing to listen.
Towards the end of the Creative Missions 2012 trip, Pastor Darrin Smith of the Journey confirmed what God whispered six months prior.
“You know why I like you guys? You listen to me… and even pretended to like that ol’ gristly barbecue sandwich.”
In addition, Pastor CJ “Switch” Brummett from New Song Church said of he and his wife, “For the first time since we started pastoring, we don’t feel alone.”
The result of all of this listening and soul care is pretty amazing. Here’s just a glimpse of how our teams allowed God to use them this year. Awesome what happens when folks serve from their sweet spots on a missions trip.
- 12 Websites
- 13 general creative consulting/audits
- 11 logos and/or branding packages
- 5 churches received updated or repaired lighting / video / audio systems
- 16 signs or banners (including design, printing, and parts)
- 9 sets of printed items (postcards, business cards, welcome packets, etc)
- 12 social media and/or community engagement strategies
- 8 videos
- 9 other misc creative tasks (staff photo shoots, etc)
So what is God saying about Creative Missions 2013? While taking a long walk on the beach last week during vacation I asked him if Alaska is the right target (since we had just wrapped up a week of a great conversations and connections with folks up there). He made me laugh.
“Absolutely! Let’s stop talking about it.”