I used to believe that driving faster would help me save fuel (I was just starting to drive at this time). Later, I believed the slower I drove the better my mileage would be. As research has shown- right around 55 mph is the optimum speed to get the best mileage.
This got me thinking of the roles involved in the church’s creative world. Most of these positions put in so many hours that no one will ever know about unless they do these tasks themselves. From video editing, stage design, lighting, planning worship sets, to countless more- creative jobs demand intense focus, and long hours.
We are speeding ahead at 80mph, fueled by pour overs and energy drinks.
There is nothing wrong with working hard- in fact, hard work is a necessity to achieve truly great results. But we can maximize this work, and greatly better our lives both spiritually and physically, if we slow down.
Below you will find 5 ways you can slow down.
1. Plan Ahead
A typical Christmas service requires extra rehearsals, set changes, special lighting, organizing children’s choirs, preventing some of the more traditional members from decorating the stage with garland and poinsettias, and all the while making sure the regular services in December stay up to par. All of this is on top of spending time with family and friends. Many churches I know begin planning in the summer time, and begin rehearsals for large scale productions in August. They spread out everything that can be spread out to avoid overwork and unnecessary stress.
Sometimes we can busy a crowded week- a stage change is one of those things that simply is a “big week”- but we can try to plan for a few days off on either side of that week to allow us to rest up.
2. Limit Our Resources
This is something you won’t hear said very much- and I don’t mean get rid of things. But in today’s culture, we can find inspiration and resources anywhere in the world from a tap on our phone. In our pocket we carry conferences, ideas, news, and rolodexes that inspire us toward great work. But sometimes- it is better for us to step away. This is one I am especially bad at, so I am preaching to myself. Our phones are the greatest and worst thing for us. Any downtime we have becomes mindless scrolling, or determined searching for answers that could wait. Limit your resources every once in a while.
3. Schedule a Sabbath
I’m currently reading the book “The Dude’s Guide to Marriage.” In a chapter on rest, Darrin Patrick writes, “Sabbath is about remembering what is truly life by forgetting normal life for a day.”
If you are like me- you have grown up with a very skewed view of what sabbath is. After growing up in church, attending a Christian high school, and getting a degree in Christian Ministry, I knew sabbath was the Jewish Holy Day, that it was on Saturday not Sunday, and that I should probably spend the entire day on my face praying.
Now, I am learning that while there was some truth in my belief, I was missing the point.
Patrick goes on to tell readers “When you observe the Sabbath, you cease to do what is duty.”
On our sabbath (which can be any day of the week), we enjoy God by doing what He did- resting. We don’t go in to work, we don’t “put out fires” because of an email – because we aren’t checking our email. We enjoy nature, maybe take in a movie, spend time with family, and yeah- spend time with God through prayer and devotion. It doesn’t mean we are lazy- God Himself provided the example for us, and no one would call Him lazy.
There are many parts of my job as a Worship Pastor that are patterned routines. Uploading the previous week’s sermon, check Planning Center, putting all the loops into Ableton- its mindless work. I will many times rush through it because its easy and I could probably do it in my sleep, and it needs to be done before I can move on.
However, when I begin my next task, which is typically planning setlists, I many times feel rushed. The answer is simple- that feeling of ‘rushing through’ is carrying over because I am not taking time to breathe. I’m not saying take all day to do the meaningless tasks- but I am beginning to learn that after I finish my routine work, I should get up and walk around for a bit, allow my creative mind to reawaken, and let my “have to get it done now” mentality subside. It might mean my work takes longer overall, but I know it will always be better.
5. Enjoy it
When we enjoy our work, we tend to take the time to enjoy it. This goes along with taking time to breathe- when we breathe and allow ourselves to slow down on things we enjoy, we will find more joy in our work. We can celebrate our work more because it is something we believe in.
While programming lights once, I realized that despite creating decent scenes, I was rushing through it and resenting having to do it. My pastor advised me to take my time, crank up the music we would be playing that week, and worship while I program. I took time to breathe (step 4), and began looking at this time programming lights as a time to enjoy. I would pray that God used the lights to point to Him, not just to be flashy. As the music played, I found myself worshipping through my work, and enjoying it more. And the lighting became better because I was enjoying what I did.
Friends- we need to slow down. We need to lose the idea that slowing down and resting means we are lazy. Let’s embrace a belief that slowing down will result in better work, better lives, and making us better people.
We can maximize our work, and greatly better our lives both spiritually and physically, if we slow down. @jhwilliams @twelve30media Click To Tweet When we breathe and allow ourselves to slow down on things we enjoy, we will find more joy in our work. @jhwilliams @twelve30media Click To Tweet
Josh is a native of Greenville, SC, where he lives with his wife, Dorothy, and daughter, Juliette. With just about 10 years of some sort of creative ministry experience, he serves at Velocity Church leading the worship, production, and stage design teams. Starting in music, he began to become interested in the technical side of making worship services happen. While serving at Lowcountry Community Church in Bluffton, SC- he began to learn and experiment with stage design and lighting. Since then, he has created many stage designs and consulted to help churches think creatively despite their size or budget. Josh’s goal in his ministry is to point people to Jesus, and believes that all the pieces of a service, from booth to stage and everywhere in between, need to work together to point to a singular goal of Christ.