Saturday, August 13, 2011

Where do I have SNAP?

In one of yesterdays sessions of The Global Leadership Summit I had the privilege of being introduced to Michelle Rhee (@M_Rhee).  She left quite an impression on me.  And over the last 24 hours as I have mentally sorted and dug my way out of the massive amount of good information from the Summit, I have been asking myself, Why?  Why did she leave such an impression on me?

One point she made during her interview came to the surface first.  She coined the idea of SNAP.  (She may handle the capitalization of the word differently, but having understood the concept, I believe it is best represented in all caps and perhaps bold.)

She described SNAP in a teacher as one who, as you walk into her classroom, you see her writing on the board beginning the next lesson and without turning her head she tells Jimmy to stop pulling Suzie's hair and throughout it all she doesn't miss a beat from the mission before her of imparting the next great information to the students in her class.

I have a couple of thoughts after ruminating on SNAP a little.

First, I believe deeply that God has created each and every one of us for a purpose.  He has specially crafted us with gifts, He has intentionally shaped our circumstances and surrounded us with people that have helped tool us for this purpose. I also believe within that purpose we can function in His power and not on our own power.  So, I believe we all have that seemingly illusive quality Rhee calls SNAP.

Second, I believe that we all have this gut knowing of when we are functioning with SNAP.  We call it different things:  being in the zone, working in our sweet spot, leveraging our strengths.  But in the moment, as it is happening we feel it.  Almost as a sort of beautiful Twilight Zone everything seems to be moving in the right direction.  We have all the tools needed for the situation at hand in that moment.  We are fully engaged in the moment and we wouldn't want to be anywhere else.  And we are being effective.

The question then, that begs to be answered is "Where do I have SNAP?"  Life is too short, time with the people we love is too precious for me to want to function anywhere other than in my zone of SNAP.

[image by Center for American Progress]

Friday, May 14, 2010

David and Solomon - a lesson in leadership

Today as I was studying 1 Chronicles 22 I stumbled on a fabulous leadership lesson from David and Solomon.

David wanted to build the temple. God told him no and even gave him the reason. God told him not only that one of his sons would build it instead, but also specifically named which son. God made arrangements to keep the fighting with other peoples at bay while Solomon was on the throne so that he could work on the temple and devote his focus there and so that his hands would not be covered in blood as his father's were.

David made a great statement, (I Chron. 22:5) "My son... is young and inexperienced, and the [temple] must be great and all the lands. Therefore, I must make provision for it."

David's not going to build it, but he is going to set his son up to succeed.

Not only does David assemble materials for the building of the temple, he also assembles workers to do the building, and he gives Solomon some wise counsel going into the project and his reign as king. (vs. 11-13) He also challenged those who would follow Solomon's lead to be confident, to seek God and to get started.

Where is it that I lead people that God has called to do a thing that I am not called to do?

Am I providing everything I can for them? Am I giving them good instruction? Am I encouraging those that will work under them to follow not only their lead, but God's?

How about you?

[image by "Cowboy"BenAlman]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rut A vs. Rut B

This morning I ran across a video recommendation from a friend of mine, Paul Steinbrueck.  It was hysterical and sobering all at the same time.

Take a look and see what you think.

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Our services become predictable. Well, I shouldn't speak for you, but my services become predictable. We refer to this in our planning meetings as the Rut Syndrome. Now, for variety's sake, we have more than one rut. We're probably up to about 5 by now. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Rut A: Worship, drama, announcements, offering, teaching
2. Rut B: Worship, announcements, offering, sermon bumper, teaching
3. Rut C: Worship, announcements, offering, teaching, closing song (ahhh! a refreshing wrinkle!)
4. Rut D: Worship, set up, drama, teaching part I, song, teaching part II, video, wrap up (now there's creativity at work!)

I hope you're chuckling as you read this because I am as I write. I wonder, what are some of your ruts? Perhaps, from the comments, we can all get a new one to add to our repertoire!

Thank you to North Point Media for sharing this with us!  I have a feeling I'll view it often. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Where's your focus?

I've spent some time today doing the things that refuel me.  Today is the day I've chosen to be the Sabbath in my week.  So I've been shooting, reading and now a little writing.

The one thought that has stood out to me the most today is not at all new and maybe it's not terribly profound, but it is foundational.

What you choose to focus on determines what you see and therefore how you react.

David chose to see his God that was with him rather than the giant.  Peter could ignore and walk across the waves as long as he was focused on Jesus.  When the disciples were looking at thousands of hungry people they were overwhelmed, but when Jesus took what they had and chose to look to God with gratitude there was abundance.

The seeming impossibilities of a situation become irrelevant when we are looking instead at God.  He trumps it all.  There is nothing bigger, stronger or more constant than Him.

So, today, where's your focus?

[image by OrganizedArtist]

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Flood in Franklin, TN

Over the weekend thousands of people in Nashville and Franklin TN were devastated by the worst flooding in 500 years.  Many churches were obviously affected and many churches are stepping in to help wherever they can.  CrossPoint is stepping up to help in organize efforts in the area.  You can get the information here.

I'm wondering, does anyone know of churches that were directly affected by the flooding and what needs they have for restoration. 

Maybe we at The Organized Artist could be churches helping churches in this time of need.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

How far out do you plan?

One of the most frequent questions I hear in conversation at arts conferences is "How far out do you plan your services?"

The answers are as varied as the arts leaders themselves.

In the span of my 13 years in service planning I have seen our services run the gamut from planning a few days out to planning several weeks out.  One of my biggest goals when I took the lead of our arts department was to become consistent in a planning system to allow us to average being 5 weeks out in our planning. Here is an example of the system I use:

1.  The upcoming Sunday:  Any final changes?
In our planning meeting (which we hold on Tuesdays) the first week we address is the upcoming Sunday.  We review the order we've created discuss any technical needs that haven't been discussed, think through transitions and check for anything we may have overlooked.

2. 2 weeks out:  When does what happen?
For the service that is two weeks out we look closely at the elements planned for the service and create the order or flow of service we think will best convey the Big Idea at hand.  We take into consideration several things like the tone of elements (is it fast/slow, somber/funny, etc.) and make sure that we won't cause any awkward moments.  More importantly we will try to anticipate where elements may create holy moments in the service and allow for space for people to have these moments and not let them be violated.

3.  3 weeks out:  Who's in What?
Three weeks out we make the selection of elements that we will use in the service and plan who will perform what role in the elements.  This gives our team leaders time to ask our volunteers if they can serve in those roles and give the leaders and planning team time to change plans if that is necessary.

4.  4 weeks out:  Whatcha' Got?
Four weeks out we put "on the table" elements we have found that we have found in our research of the Big Idea.  My hope is that everyone at the meeting will come prepared with a few ideas of songs, dramas, videos, personal stories or out-of-the box elements. This is the time when any original videos or scripts should be suggested to allow time for element creation. 

5.  5 weeks out:  What's the Big Idea?
Finally we take a look at the service that is five weeks out and determine what the main point or "Big Idea" as Andy Stanley calls it will be for that service.  We make it a point to leave this meeting with a very clear understanding of the Big Idea so that we can research elements for the next meeting. 

This system isn't perfect and neither is our ability to stay on it week in and week out all year long.  But it does provide a great framework to easily know where we should be to allow the time necessary to create a strong service in a manageable time frame.

Do you have a similar system?  What have you found that works for you?

[image by prettydaiseys]

So, tell me about your blog...

This past Sunday I was asked about my blog. Well, to be specific, this blog. I found myself stumbling around and said something like... "well, in the past I've discussed the similarities of raising toddlers and leading artists in the church." OK, well, that's not exactly my intention for this blog, nor is that statement entirely true.

The question did get me thinking.

Today, I began reading an e-book by Darren Rowse about blogging. The first chapter addressed exactly my dilemma Sunday. Darren challenges the reader to develop an "elevator pitch" for their blog. While that seems terribly "spin-savvy" I was incredibly intrigued by the possibility for focus and intentionality that this offers. It felt very much to me like the process of writing a mission statement for my ministry or for any business or organization for that matter.

The process helps to refine the purpose of the organization, or in this case the blog. It also serves as a sort of ruler by which future actions are measured. You can always go back to the statement and check to be sure you are on target with your next move.

Of course, my next thoughts were musings about the purpose of this blog. A friend recently said that they would be discontinuing their blog because they had begun to realize that the reason they were blogging was more about having a place to be heard and then feel validated by the number of people who wanted to hear what they had to say. Ouch, I, like probably many other bloggers, can admit the same when I'm very honest with myself. And, I agree. If that is the purpose behind my blog, I really should just focus these bits of time on other things.

So what is The Organized Artist all about? I am a systems and spreadsheets kind of girl working in, living in and loving a world of church artists. I am the translator who speaks both languages: the process and details needed to get it all done and the beauty with which we long to do it. My hope is to be able to help and encourage other leaders of arts in the church by sharing my experiences, knowledge, in some cases scar tissue.

Serving in arts in the church is hard. It's very hard. It takes a toll on your time, your family, your sanity, sometimes even a toll on your relationship with God. I want to be able to pass on suggestions and tools that can help others in their hard work in arts in the church. I don't begin to think that I have all of the answers. In fact, some days I don't even think I'm asking the right questions. But I would love to get the conversation started. I would love to be able to help other church arts leaders find just the right program for Christmas, figure out a great solution for the service planning timeline crunch, pray with them about struggles in their teams, suggest resources that have been lifelines for me.

So, hello, I'm the Organized Artist. What's your name? And is there some way that I can help you in your ministry?

[image by anniemole]