This past Christmas at Central Christian Church we took some creative risks and developed an opener that utilized dance, video, and an in-room vocal experience. This was quite the undertaking, and we certainly learned a lot about who we are and the idea of creating for a specific audience. The video was meant to depict the summary of the need for Jesus. From creation to the introduction of sin, to the 400 years of wandering, then into the birth, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the final scene showcases the idea of us gathering behind Christ to influence the world. Our service message was to help people understand that their time on earth, no matter how simple it may be, could be the momentum needed to transform the world. Take a moment to check out the final product:

Here is a live recording of the room that shows the vocalists singing the music live and the drummers coming in at the climax of the element:

From a creative standpoint, our team would say this is one of the most creative and collaborative things we have done in several years. Eight months prior to Christmas we started planning and dreaming. We had a vision and a plan, but first we needed approval. And we got it! From there it was green lights and smooth sailing…well maybe not. As the months went on, we had our ups and downs. But most importantly we worked hard to keep going back to the vision and making sure all of our creative elements were consistent. As the creative team grew from design, video, and myself to adding a choreographer, outside video crews, lighting, leadership, and final editors, we really saw ourselves experiencing growing pains. In the end, I could not be more pleased with the outcome of the product. But, I did have three major takeaways that hopefully you can learn from:

  1. Know Your Audience: On the countless projects I have worked on, I never experienced the need for this more than on the Momentum shoot. We planned, examined, sought counsel, and still missed a few points from the audience perspective. The outfits could have been a little more conservative, and interpretation of the dance could have been more clear. If you would have asked me about either of these I would have said we were covered, but from the mass audience view in a church setting we didn’t dig deep enough.
  2. Seek Counsel: I mentioned this above, but I feel it needs more attention. Anytime we create, we often avoid counsel to avoid criticism. But, when you are creating for someone or something and not just creating for your own vision, make sure to seek that counsel so you don’t miss some glaring areas that would, with a simple change, have a greater impact.
  3. Your Baby Might Be Ugly: This idea hit me during one of our final walk-throughs. Since I was the spearhead driving this particular project, it was often asked, “Since this is your baby, what do you want to do about ___________?” In those moments, I didn’t think anything of it until the moment we were showcasing it. It was in that moment it hit me…if this is my baby, would people tell me it is ugly? As a father of two perfectly beautiful babies, I understand the idea that my children are cute no matter what. But with creativity and work, that cannot always be the case. We may be the owner of a project or the driver of an idea, but if you don’t encourage your team to be honest in the process, most likely you will produce an ugly baby. Always, always talk about the ugliness first to avoid issues later.

I hope you enjoyed this piece and gained something valuable from our experience. It was a wild ride that stretched us creatively, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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