The Creative Process
What will it take to connect with the current and next generation - both the churched (though sometimes unexcited about the things of God) and the unchurched? Frankly, I don't have all the answers. Neither does anyone else I've met or heard at this convention or that. This much I do know - it won't be done solely by fortysomethings like myself or by time-honored ministry organizations or dated methods or programs which worked twenty years ago but are unadaptable to a new century. (The exciting caveat is that if we're open to the Lord and to change, even we ministry veterans will still get to play in the game.)
To impact the current and next generation it will take a very substantial involvement by - you guessed it - the current and next generation. This means YOU. I'm convinced that the means and methods aren't half as important as the ability to involve young minds and hearts in the process - starting with young believers sitting on the sidelines being programmed and entertained but not always challenged to go out on the front lines and try stuff. I'm convinced that a calling is discovered in prayer, by following one's passion, and sometimes by just going out there and trying stuff. Failing at times, learning from the failures, maturing, obtaining guidance, falling on face again, and ultimately enjoying the opportunity to view just the distant tip of the iceberg which is the handiwork of God.
Thus the new Team and the new Team script will forever be a work in progress. Most of it is yet to be written and created by you and by the grace of God. And recreated again and again.
Allow me to illustrate. In 1990, we added a new sketch called "Hans & Franz," based on the then-popular TV characters. Its goal was more than mere amusement. We wanted to motivate, invigorate, and communicate that flabby believers could get out of their pews and find their calling through the empowerment of Christ.
Eric, then age 19, came up with the original idea and wrote the initial script. I recognized some potential, but the script needed a thorough rewriting, as it lacked a cohesive message. That's where ministry experience and a writing gift by the grace of God entered the equation.
But that's not the end of the story. The sketch still wasn't all that funny and lacked the energy to accomplish its goal. Tim (our most gifted comedic talent), Lucian (an 18 year old very connected to youth culture and to his Christian commitment), Eric (the concept originator), and Dave (one very funny veteran cast member) started playing with the script in rehearsals, choreographing moves, and trying out new ideas on our audiences to gauge response. What eventually resulted was a classic.
Today, if you know where to look, you can meet these guys. All four are still involved in youth, music, church, and drama ministries. Two are now senior pastors. Three are still good friends - I lost track of the fourth.* The "Hans & Franz" sketch was borrowed and adapted by various groups well after we'd moved on to other things (and after it had worn out its edge, as so often happens with a good idea, but that's okay).
*Until in January 2004, that is. I recently received a wonderful letter from Eric, part of the re-connection process taking place in our ministry via the reunion.
From where will the next great creative idea come? The next ministry which will impact a handful of young people for Christ? Maybe even an entire generation? From you ... and you don't even know it yet! We will need to be creative to make such an impact, not losing touch with our roots, especially in terms of biblical truth, but discovering new ways for a new generation.
Fall on your knees, and God will direct you. We invite those who may be so called to come be a part of God's creative and redemptive process with Team Ministries.
Lucian and Eric ("Hans & Franz")