Why I love the Willow Creek Arts conference

July 5, 2007

I have worked at Sunset Presbyterian Church for 3 years.  Before I came here, I had never heard of Willow Creek Community Church.  Willow is a church in Chicago that holds an Arts conference each year, with a goal of equipping and encouraging people like me…who work in the arts at a church.

When I did start hearing about Willow…many times it was in a negative context.  Things like "Sunset wants to be Willow Creek" were very common phrases…usually shared in light of that being bad.  I have also heard people say that sending teams there for training is a waste of money.

This year was my third year going to the conference…and I’d love to share what I think.

I think God has used that conference to speak deep into my life, three years in a row.  I never leave Willow thinking Sunset needs to become Willow…because they do not show off their church while you are there.  What they do do is bring in people from all over the country….different people each time, who have the experience, heart, skill, and passion with a desire to pour that into the people that come.

I learned so much this last time..and gained enough passion and encouragement to run a long time on.  And let me be the first to say if you haven’t heard this before.  People that work in a church….desperately need times where they can go somewhere  and not be in charge, not be feeding, and be built into and encouraged so they can go back and keep giving.   Can this happen other places besides Willow?  Absolutely.  At the same time…if I find a place that consistently puts my heart into overdrive and sends me home recharged and refreshed, it makes me want to go back.

I have pages of highlights for me..but I’m going to list just a short list below of some thoughts and concepts that I have taken home with me this year. I could write a lot on each one..but I’ll just keep it simple and let your brain go from there.

*Celebrate what’s right in the world.

*All of us should share the best we’ve learned in this life.

*Creativity is a moment…when the ordinary becomes extraordinary.  There are not creative people and non creative people.  We are all creative, because we were made in the image of The Creator.

*Bring together your advocation (that which fills you with passion), and your vocation.

*Are we people of hope? 

*Live in the contradiction. (Life is full of contradiction)  Don’t be afraid to be real about living in that contradiction.

*Criticism lacks courage.

*Hope is only hope when things are hopeless..not when everything is going great. Hope that is hidden is selfish.

*Jesus is a friend of sinners. Am I?  Is our church?

*What would you be willing to do because you know its right, even if you don’t know how you’re going to pull it off?

*Non Christians think favorably of Christ, but not Christians.

*What am I doing to constrict the flow of Christ to my friends, family, church?

*Worship is about who God is and what he has done.

*For our life story to be good…..our life has to be full of conflict…its what makes a good story.

*What story am I providing for my family?  Is it a good one?

*Don’t take yourself too seriously..there are about 6 people who care what you are doing….relationships first.

*Add up the negative things you say about any one thing…vs the positive.  Start dwelling on the positive. 

*Mentoring is putting your thumb print on someone else and saying essentially…"I think you can do this, I believe in you."

*Seek out people that are better at what you do than you are…and ask them how they do it.

*The most spontaneous people are the most prepared.



One comment

  1. That’s awesome that the conference was so good for you this year! I’m still a little jealous that DC*B was in charge of worship and I wasn’t there to enjoy…

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