Shawn Wood Writes... » Blog About Stuff... Fri, 16 Oct 2009 12:00:08 +0000 en hourly 1 Guest Blogger: Mandy Fisher Fri, 16 Oct 2009 12:00:08 +0000 ShawnWood Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Mandy Fisher of E-MANDA’S THOUGHTS & JOTS

Recently, I was talking to my pastor and I asked him to pick one thing that creative people in ministry have to deal with the most.  He said, “We need to make sure that creativity leads to the Tree of Life, not just the Tree of Creativity and Innovation.  As in the garden, when the pursuit of Knowledge surpassed the pursuit of Life, it led to the expulsion ‘from creativity’, not the propagation of it.”

Let’s take it back to the Garden.  Adam and Eve were blissfully happy and intoxicatingly aware of God all around them. They were created and then were given the God-esque assignment to be creative; to imitate the Master of Creativity. God brought Adam all of the animals, birds, fish and all the other squirmy, scaly, furry things in-between and gave him the first noted creative assignment to name them all.

I’m fairly certain that Adam never attended a “How to Maximize Your Creative Naming Portfolio” seminar or read the book, “Powerful and Effective Names to Attract Powerful and Effective People.” He simply tapped into the inner God-breathed creativity within his soul because after all, he was walking and talking with the very God that created him every day.

Life was good on the ranch especially after Eve came around. They could do anything they wanted to, had an amazing relationship with God and each other, were allowed to walk around naked and could have their fill of the Eden buffet. They pleased God by doing what He asked them to do and they all delighted in that.

Until they didn’t.

Instead of focusing their creativity on all that God bestowed on them and harnessing it with the wisdom and incredibly freeing restraint that God provided, they began to listen to the sultry whisper of more. They moved to a place where God held the secondary position on the agenda of their weekly creative meetings and the thirst for BIGGER and BETTER held the floor.

The whisper of more is what can get us.

It lays thick on our ears and tickles our lips as we, in ministry, look for ways to be bigger, trendier and become giddy when people follow our Tweets, attend our seminars and read our blogs.

It’s not that any of those things are bad in and of themselves.  In fact, they can be incredibly insightful and resourceful. I firmly believe in tapping into other creative’s resources and utilizing them to fit my ministry.

However, the whisper of more can bite me in the neck when I become too involved in promoting a creation rather than the Creator.

I don’t believe that Adam and Eve were tired of their Eden nirvana and intentionally wanted to shove God aside, but, perhaps it was a slow digression. It could have been a shift here or there from the beloved gaze of their Maker which turned into an insatiable thirst for more.

When we slice and dice up the fruit of knowledge and eat it up foregoing the Tree of Life, we cheat ourselves and others out of that Eden experience with the One who created the very essence of creativity. We cheat them out of The One who is not only at the core of, but IS the core of innovativeness.

Light shows are fantastic, seminars can be life-changing, leadership books can be resourceful and indie rock worship can energize and refresh the soul. However, we need to make sure that we are seeking the source of creativity and that our plans and ideas are to ultimately point others to Christ, not just our church, our ministry or our own creativity.

This week, pick wisely from the trees that God has put in front of you and remember the ultimate mission, to point others to the Creator through our ministry, our creativity and our life.

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What a line-up of uber cool people #planningchristmas Wed, 14 Oct 2009 14:57:03 +0000 ShawnWood So, yesterday I unleashed some info about a pretty cool idea the folks over at @shirtsdontsuck and I had over some coffee.  I know that having myself or a vendor on the line would bring about three people (that would be my Mom, a spammer and that dude that watched all livestream events) so I wanted to let you know about all the really cool guests that will be joining me on October 21st at 2pm EST …

October 21st

2:00 pm – intro Shawn Wood (Seacoast Church)
2:15 pm – Kem Meyer and Team (Granger Community Church)
2:30 pm –  Neil Greathouse (Dirt and New Life Church)
2:45 pm –  Blaine Hogan (Willow Creek Church)

There is a whole new line-up of extraordinary folks on October 28th as well – but I will save that info for another post.

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Planning Christmas? Tue, 13 Oct 2009 19:14:56 +0000 ShawnWood PCbanner
I was chatting with one of my partners the other day about some ideas that we were processing for the Christmas season when they came up with a great idea.

As we talked I said what would be very cool is if some of my friends across the country could share some of the planning they are doing now as well and allow you to be inspired and add to the conversation in some type of live event.  Sounded like a great idea.  So I emailed some folks and I wanted to fill you in so you can save some dates…

October 21st and October 28th I will be joined by some of the leading communications and worship arts proffessional in the country as we have just a raw, unfiltered converstaion about what is happening in our whiteboard meetings right now as wel are #planningchristmas – I hope you can join us!

I hear that the first 100 people to join teh forum get something free and the whole event is absolutely FREE so go join and dont miss the live events on October 21 and October 28 right here on this blog!

You can click on the ad to the left of this post for “Planning Christmas” to join in and get more information.

I will post laster this week on who will be joining me – I have to keep something secret :)

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Simple communication Thu, 01 Oct 2009 13:00:36 +0000 ShawnWood “Good communication does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way.”  - John Kotter

Communication is the killer app.
Nearly all breakdowns happen over a lack of communication.
Part of the problem is that we use too many words.
I find that many of the emails that I write are lengthy.  They have great information in them, but the truth is most people do not read them.

I don’t read long emails. Do you?  I’m guessing not. So if the purpose is communication, then even if people (meaning “I”) should read long emails but we’re not actually doing it, we have to fix the issue.  

Here is one tip to make your communicaton simple:

Start putting a “twitter version of this email” at the top of every long email. State in 140 characters or less what really needs to be communicated.  The “if-you-don’t-get-anything-else-you-really-need-to-know-this” stuff.

Simple communication never hurt anyone.

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Simple creativity Wed, 30 Sep 2009 13:00:01 +0000 ShawnWood “Technical skill is mastery of complexity, while creativity is mastery of simplicity.” – Erik Christopher Zeeman

Half of the battle of creativity is drilling down to the simple.  Sometimes I find that some projects are just too complex. There are times when I just cannot seem to get my brain wrapped around all of the details?  Have you ever been there?

Maybe our projects have become too complex.  Real creativity comes when we get simple.

When we rely on the complex, we tether ourselves to needing the talent with the technical skill required for said complexity.  Sometimes simple creativity might accomplish the same goal with fewer resources.

Here are a couple of questions to ask to find simplicity:

- What is the purpose of the project? I know this sounds like it should be a given, but seriously what is the purpose.  Many times if we will be as complex as it takes to accomplish the purpose but not a bit more we will find simplicity as well.

- If we did not do this project could we still accomplish the purpose? How is that for simple?  Maybe the most simple thing you can do is not do it.

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Simplicity week Tue, 29 Sep 2009 13:00:34 +0000 ShawnWood “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

One of the goals in my life right now is to simplify.  This week we will look at three areas of our lives that, when simplified, can change our lives for better.
Simple creativity.
Simple communication.
Simple choices.
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CULTIVATE your STORY for OUTREACH in the DIRT Mon, 28 Sep 2009 13:00:40 +0000 ShawnWood There are a lot of conferences.
You cannot go to all of them.
You should go to at least one of these.

I will be at The National Outreach Convention myself and hope to see you there! (It’s in San Diego by the way…)

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Vote Yes for Spec Work…(My Concerns with Artists, Part 5) Fri, 25 Sep 2009 12:00:08 +0000 ShawnWood And finally – why I am in favor of spec work.
After a couple of days of research I think I understand what spec work is.  And as I was doing that reserach I figured out that I think it’s a pretty good deal.  I also figured out that I wrote an entire book on spec.

A publisher came to me.
Said, “hey we really like your work, what would you think about writing for us?”
I Said, “sounds great”.
They said, “cool, we will print that baby up and if anyone buys any we will pay you”.

Because I did that first book and it went pretty well I was able to write a second book on spec with just a little of an advance.

Since then about 9,000 people have a copy of  one of the 40,000 word books I wrote on spec in either hard copy or digital and I have been paid a little for those 40,ooo words.  I was promised nothing.

I know that there will be artists that will punch all kinds of holes in my comparison, but to me it at least is in the same ball-park if not completely spec.
If you are good, people will pay you your fair wage.
If you are doing what God has called you to do, do it as a servant and he will take care of you.
If you see an ad for spec work and don’t want to do it, you are free to not apply.

Almost every pastor I know has been a free intern before. Spec work.
Almost every speaker I know has spoken for free before because they know they are called. Spec work.
Almost every speaker I know has spoken for a “love offering” and gotten more love than offering. Spec work.

When you are young, hungry and trying to make a name for yourself, spec work can be a very good thing.

Don’t let elitism keep you from getting a chance. Don’t let the artists who can now charge $100 an hour and bill a minimum of 5 hours on every project keep you from getting your chance.

Some very bright person is going to enter Rick Warren’s contest.

They are going to win.

And in doing so, they are going to buy more advertising muscle than they could ever buy in their lives.

Because of that contest, they are going to get a chance to affect the Kingdom in ways they never would have otherwise, and they are going to be a part of a book project that will sell millions of copies.

Congratulations for not being wise in your own eyes and seeing the potential that a little spec work can give.

I thank Rick Warren for giving you that chance and not just hiring the so-called “best,” who sit in ivory towers deciding what is “talent,” what is “art,” and what is “worthy.”

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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AIGA or Holy Spirit… (concerns with artists part 4) Thu, 24 Sep 2009 12:00:19 +0000 ShawnWood Artists have so much more to give.
For all the negative concerns I have pointed out in this series I also believe that artists have the potential to give a great deal of value to the kingdom.  Some will be paid for that contribution, some will not.   Some will be recognized and given encouragement.  Some will not.

My dad is a pastor shepherd.  Now, he is not an ordained pastor, but he pastors people (especially the staff of the local Starbucks). He told me 18 years ago that he was called to be a pastor around the same time I was called.  It was a cool time.  He started attending seminary classes online, has taken our training classes at Seacoast and most of all started pastoring people.  Over the last 18 years I have had the honor to be paid to do what I do as a Pastor.  My dad has had the even greater honor not to be paid to do his pastoring. He has never let anyone convince him that the value of his pastoring was measured by how much money he was paid for it.

When we as artists allow ourselves to start believing that what we do is of such a high value that the AIGA can give us the guidelines for our use of that value then we have started reading our own press releases (literally I guess since it is an association of artists).

I am concerned at the fact that we rarely have the most talented and skilled artists volunteer their talents in the church.  (Braod brush I know, but it has been my experience) Then that same group complains and ridiculeswilling servant-minded people who step up to the plate and design something in Microsoft Publisher or God-forbid use PowerPoint to try and fill the gap that has been left by those who will not serve with their God-goven talents.

Speaking in love, we really need to get over ourselves.  Our value and our honor is not determined by the amount of coin we are given but rather the amount of creativity we give.

I pray that we would be driven by the Holy Spirit and not AIGA.

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Rodney Dangerfield lives on… (My Concerns With Artists, Part 3) Wed, 23 Sep 2009 12:00:44 +0000 ShawnWood Artists seem to have a Rodney Dangerfield complex.

I am concerned about the cries of “I don’t get no respect!” that I hear from the creative tribe.  As I read through the comments on the now-infamous Rick Warren post on CMS, I noticed that a few people feel like the church gives creatives “no respect.”


I think the church is due some respect from creatives.  For one thing, last I checked, if you are a believer and a creative, you are a part of the church. Second, in my opinion no other ”industry” has been changed by and embraced creatives as rapidly as we have in the church.

The rest of the world slowly changed with creatives, but the church of our time (and we cannot do anything about the church of 50 years ago) has done a full-court press over the last 25 years to promote, accept, challenge and give respect to creatives.

There are conferences, books, blogs and consultants. Quite frankly, my job and the jobs of the 8 other people who work on my team–as well as a great deal of you who read this blog–is a result of that respect. I think it’s time to say a simple “thank you” to the church that we are allowed to do what we do.

In fact, here is my challenge to you as a creative.  This week, thank your Pastor and give him honor for allowing you to serve as an assistant to the vision and mission that God has given him and to serve him in a creative way. Not only is it the right thing to do, but  you may be the first person to thank him in weeks, and he will appreciate it more than you can imagine.

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