Sunday, August 5, 2012

Taking it to the MAX!

I had the incredible priviledge of being selected to participate in the Creative Ministry Dream Team at Ministry Arts Xtra (MAX) in Ohio. The Dream Team was charged with one task: learn a program in 3.5 days to serve as the finale performance for the conference. No worries... right?

Being on the Dream Team was inspirational. The high caliber of talent was apparent as soon as we began rehearsing. What was most amazing and impressive though was the passion burning inside these servant leaders, especially our directors, Christy Watkins and Amanda Cowles.

Despite running on little sleep, a problem I credit to the time change and a little thing called work, I survived the 6+ hours of rehearsal a day. Better yet, I had an amazing time!

Working with the Dream Team was a breath of fresh air. Imagine getting to spend all day with a group of 18 passionate and talented people that "God brought together for a moment in time to shine for Him."

Speaking of which, the program was titled "Shine." Don't let the simple name fool you, the depth of the script is awe inspiring.

The story centers around a hilariously adorable 3-year old turtle named Gigi (voiced by Amanda Cowles) who sits in her bedroom and talks to God. About what? About her day, about being his child and about what it means to shine for Him.

The program featured a variety of creative arts, including live puppetry, outfront puppetry, blacklight, drama, sign language, reverse blacklight, dance and dowel rods. The settings explored were just as diverse, ranging from a corn field to a jungle to the life of Jesus to the depths of history itself.

The week was filled with several God moments but perhaps the one that struck me the most was before I even met the Dream Team and became a theme throughout the week. It was the last line of the letter from the directors:
"We are looking forward to creating a program together with you and then laying it at His feet."

Wow, that hit me. I really don't how to explain why but it did. I've always loved the arts. It's something I am passionate about. I know I'm not the best preacher, singer, evangelist or writer and often we are made to feel these are the ways to share Christ.

But when I arrange a program and get to present the message of salvation,  I feel as if I'm finally doing something right. Yes, I am aware that I am using my gifts for God, but something about the visual of laying your passion, effort and work at His feet just floored me. What a beautiful way to look at the meaning behind our work!

MAX and the Dream Team definitely challenged my ideas of what it means to be a Christian artist. Our goal became not to have audiences saying "Wow what a performance" rather "WOW, what an amazing God!"

It's not about us. It's about him. We are not the light. He is.

So I leave you with this challenge: "Dare we hope to be mirrors in the hands of God? To behold God so intently that we can't help but reflect the light of God? To live a life that really 'shines' for him?"