Guarding your heart in creative ministry
As a Church Communications Director, I’m pretty much living the dream. It continues to astound me that every single day, I get to use creativity, art and technology to contribute to my church’s mission of reaching the lost for Jesus. Many of you reading this will probably be in a similar position. Whether you’re paid or voluntary, if you are involved in your church’s website design & maintenance, social media, branding, marketing, graphic design, photography or video production, you’re in a very special position. You’re in the unique situation where you get to employ your own creative gifts and abilities in a way that builds up the church, proclaims Jesus, and hopefully contributes to someone being saved.
Our efforts are seen by many, appreciated by most, and are a vital part of any contemporary church’s mission strategy. But with all that visible creative ability at work, church creatives face a very real danger.
The danger of pride.
That danger that creeps slowly into our hearts. That momentary high we experience every time we are commended for our work, which we begin to crave more and more. That subtle shift in motivation, where we push ourselves to achieve the best result possible, except deep inside we know it’s because we want people to see our achievement instead of giving all praise to Jesus. That lie we believe, telling us that God needs us in our position, that without our efforts he would be less effective at saving people. We begin to rely less and less on grace for forgiveness, thinking that our sinfulness is somehow negated by the great work we’ve been doing for God’s church.
It manifests itself differently in all of us, but it’s equally sinful, hurtful, and ugly to God.
Which is why, as church creatives, we must be on our guard. Of course we want to produce the best work possible, because we’re working for Jesus, and souls are at stake. But it’s when we begin to work for our own glory and not that of our God, that we need to stop, repent, humble ourselves, and shift our focus once again to Jesus and his grace toward even us.
This is a battle I face daily, which is why I’ve found it helpful to keep Colossians 3:17 in the back of my mind over these last few weeks: …and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
As a sinner who regularly forget’s God’s words, I found it helpful to use Adobe Post to create a simple graphic with those words written clearly, and stuck it to my computer.
We should work hard. We should be constantly working to grow and improve. We should use our creativity, our gifts, and our technologies. But we should be doing it for the glory of the one who gave them to us.
I welcome any church creatives to join me in repenting of our pride in our own creation, instead of looking to the creator, without whom we have nothing, and in whom we have everything. To the praise of his glorious grace!