The #CreativeMissions 2014 Baltimore Team
I just returned from another incredible #CreativeMissions trip; this time to Baltimore, Maryland. Once again, a team of 30 creatives helped 20 churches with communications needs both big and small. You can read the wrap up piece from Church Marketing Sucks.
My team was stacked with talent this year with the presence of:
- Denisse Leon, communications and creative director at Phoenix First Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona,
- Eric Dunaway, communications pastor at Pathway Community Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana,
- Monica Singleton, media specialist at i5 Church in Odenton, Maryland and
- Nate Friedrichsen, pastor of middle school and communications at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois
We had the opportunity to spend time with three different churches, their pastors and leadership as we addressed needs varying from video, photography, design, experience, branding and websites. We left humbled by what God is doing in and through each of the leaders we worked with and over the next few days I’ll show you how God used our team to meet as many needs we could in just a couple days of focus on each church.
By the time we were done, the overall #creativemissions team had donated over $100,000 (based on average freelance pricing) in hours to these 20 churches. I can’t wait to tell you the stories from the week!
So many of the decisions my wife and I make for our family are based on the values we decided on before we were married over 13 years ago. I remember sitting down in our early 20’s and talking about how our family would operate and how we would handle raising children, should that occur (and it did….quickly). I can also remember the times that we compromised those values for different reasons only to retreat back to the guiding principles that caused us to create them in the first place.
Fast forward 13 years and I’m amazed at how she has sacrificed daily for our family as she’s guided by those values. We refer to Jnean as a Swiss Army knife with scissors. She’s as brilliant as she is beautiful and can accomplish anything she puts her mind to. Everything she does she excels at and she can push through any level of resistance she meets. Against all odds she succeeds and gets the job done. What amazes me though, is not what she’s capable of, but what she sacrifices to be as available to our son and myself as she possibly can. It would be easy to ignore the needs of her family and the wants of her child over a well-paying job and her own pride and success. Yet she makes the conscious effort to abandon all that and be available. There have been times she’s been able to stay home full-time but more recently, and most incredibly, she’s had to be the bread-winner and insurance provider, she’s taken jobs she’s ridiculously over-qualified for because they were the only ones that offered the hours she needed to be available for our family.
She’ll admit that the one earthly thing she’s given her life to, our son, is the most challenging and difficult position she’s ever held and will never feel qualified for. I watch her struggle as, for eleven years now, her heart has walked around outside her chest and struggled medically, socially, been bullied, misunderstood, under-estimated and sidelined. I watch her battle with what she perceives to be failure at every turn and endeavor to discover every way imaginable to overcome that perception. If there is a way, a cure, a strategy or tactic, she will find it and she will overcome it.
A woman who should/could be CEO of a fortune 500 company wakes up each day to lay in bed with our son and help him manage his emotions and walk through confusing social scenarios. Then she’ll stretch her aching back and ice up her failing knee and head to work a job where she’s on her feet all day long to help provide the rest of what’s needed to run our home and send our son to a school that loves and accepts him for who he is. She sacrifices daily what she wants for what our family needs.
There are chapters upon chapters that I could write but that would only embarrass her. We don’t struggle as much as many others do. What we’ve seen so many other people deal with is unimaginable. I don’t write here, today, to negate others’ experiences. However, today and everyday, in my mind, Jnean is a hero to me and to my son and I recognize her as that today.
“Baptism is an outward expression of an inward faith.” ~ Watchman Nee, Author
For the past three years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of spending a week each May helping pastors and churches all over the country with marketing and communications needs through an effort known as Creative Missions. Again this year, in partnership with The Center for Church Communication, Creative Missions will match the abilities of creatives from all disciplines with the needs of churches whose leaders understand the value of communicating with excellence and will ultimately run with the resources they are given at the end of this intense week of creative service.
Creative Missions is about creating sustainable solutions for churches to effectively communicate the ultimate message of God’s never-ending love for each community they’re involved in.
This year, 30 creatives will converge on 15-20 churches in the city of Baltimore, Maryland on May 17-23. Our mission is motivated by the voices of leaders we’ve supported in the past:
- 2013: Alaska – “As a church planter out here, sometimes I feel like an island,” said Jay Dagenhart. “Spending time with (the creative missionaries), I feel vindicated.”
- 2012: Northwest Arkansas & Joplin, Mo. – “For four years we’ve had graphic design, video and website needs and your team knocked it out in a week,” said Andy Swart. Andy’s church experienced a 400% growth in the 8 months after Creative Missions. Here’s more from him.
- 2011: Albany, N.Y. – “Thank God for Creative Missions!” said Sean Pierce. “We’ve had dozens of teams but none were better or had bigger impact! Their servant heart and expertise was a huge blessing to pastors.
Why is Creative Missions going to Baltimore?
Baltimore is a very influential city. There are 15 colleges/universities (200,000 students) and 19 hospitals. Johns Hopkins, in fact, is known as the nationʼs best hospital.
Baltimore is also rich in historical importance with past creative residents including Edgar Allan Poe, Billie Holiday, and Francis Scott Key.
However, recent numbers are eye-opening in terms of violence, poverty, and fatherlessness.
- Often found on list of violent cities – more murders than calendar days in January 2014
- 22% of the population lives below the poverty line.
- 58% of homes are led by single mothers.
Baltimore is in desperate need of the gospel.
- 52% of the population isnʼt affiliated with any religious body.
- Less than 10% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church – the number of evangelical Christians in Baltimore cannot fill the Ravenʼs football stadium.
Plan of Attack
Weʼre building five teams to accomplish a three-pronged strategy:
- Big Focus Churches: Churches just short of knocking it out of the ballpark, but lack resources/budget to get there. These are also churches that have influence over other area churches. They’ll have a dedicated team for a majority of the week.
- Other churches: Less time spent – tend to 1-3 top needs and move on to the next.
- Workshops: Several churches will host workshops throughout the week and invite volunteers and other churches/businesses to attend. Teams will lead these.
Would You Help?
If the idea of Creative Missions resonates with you, there are number of ways you or your organization can still be a part of it:
- You could support me through providing funds to cover my costs. Click here to contribute and know that your gift will be tax-deductible.
- Follow the efforts of #CreativeMissions on Facebook and Twitter.
There will be more ways announced soon that you can provide additional support to the overall trip as we seek to meet every need we can for the churches we will be serving alongside in Baltimore.