A few months ago, I received this photo of one of the pioneers of technology at Willow Creek. It is circa 1976, or thereabouts. I was struck by several things in this picture. How many audio consoles are side-carred together? Is that duct tape holding stuff down? I wonder if you could still get that shirt at Urban Outfitters?
Through the miracle of Facebook, I connected with the guy in this picture and asked if we could have lunch together. He said yes, and as the date approached, I began compiling a list of questions to ask him. I was interested in learning all about how production values got their start at Willow Creek, which eventually changed the landscape of how technology is now used in the local church.
Pretty soon into the conversation, I realized that my list of questions were irrelevant. My preconceived ideas of why production mattered in the early years of the church were way off. What was surprising is that what I learned wasn’t really new information.
You have to start somewhere. From the picture it is obvious that Willow Creek didn’t have tons of gear, or necessarily the best or the exact right piece of equipment. They were using what they could get their hands on, to most effectively communicate the message of Christ. They were using what they had in ways that it probably wasn’t designed to do, but they stretched everything to again…most effectively communicate the message of Christ.
Relationship matters more than strategy. When I asked what the strategy was for using technology, all I got in response was a blank stare. There was no strategy. At the beginning, it was two best friends trying to figure out ways to…effectively communicate the message of Christ. It was the partnership of a programming person and a production person leveraging their individual uniqueness and their relationship to pull off something together.
These are things that I believe pretty strongly in, and was reminded again how much they matter.
Use what I have. Do my very best with it. Don’t wait for more equipment.
Relationships matter more than just about anything else. For the fusion of the technical and creative arts to really happen, we need to spend time on building relationships.
The same concepts that help start a church 30+ years ago, still are true today.
How can you spend your time investing in these two concepts?