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Easter, Creative Bankruptcy, and the Promise of Refilling for Tomorrow...

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Happy Easter!  

Today, we stop for a moment and revel in the fact that God, Creator of all things, deemed us, His sinful and rebellious children, worthy enough to pay the ultimate price of death.. 

Today, we celebrate resurrection with family, near and far (far being the key word lately).  

Today, everything is rosy.

But we church leaders all have that feeling in the pits of our stomachs, right?

“Monday is coming.”

Monday, when we need to spin our engines back up and get into the grind of creating something that furthers the ministry, especially in these trying times.

Monday, when we have to face up to yet more reality that we’re not doing church or really anything like we used to.  

Monday, where we need to recognize that our church still needs us as leaders to show them what hope, faith, and trust actually looks like.

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If you’re like me, you are at the end of your rope, creatively.  

You don’t know how you’re going to get through this week, other than to drag yourself into the office (or home office, as the case may be) with yet another cup of coffee, a half-whispered prayer, and a heart to serve that is getting more and more faint with each passing week.

These COVID-19 times are taking their toll, aren’t they?

This week, I got home from yet another 12-hour day, this time full of Easter rehearsals and video shoots, and was literally in tears while eating dinner with my wife.  We were watching some of the footage back from the shoot, and the only thing I could think in the midst of the tears was, “I’m so tired.” 

I’m the Digital Pastor for Bay Hope Church. After hearing that we were shutting down physical meetings over 4 weeks ago, we’ve been able to pivot to digital-only church expressions in a way that can only be seen as miraculous.  

Our skeleton crew of 10-15 people has been churning out content at a near-insane pace.  Live broadcasts 4-6 times each day with worship, teaching, and student/kid programming. Live Sunday services each weekend.  New small groups 5 days a week. Graphics and social media posts and engagement and everything that goes with it.  

We’ve been creating, creating, creating.  New ideas. New concepts. Troubleshooting new issues.  New ways to engage our church.  

And it’s been working!  Our church is coming together in ways that I don’t think any of us would have expected, and that’s a credit to the team around us, but more than that, to the God who assembled the team.

Easter has traditionally been the capstone of the church calendar, for good reason, and this year is no different. In a previous life (see: the 10 years before), I was a worship pastor.  The weeks leading up to Easter were a sprint, but the week after Easter? Glorious refreshment. Vacation and a break. Every year.  

On Easter Sunday, all of those energies were released, and it felt like we could take a breath and be refilled by the Holy Spirit’s recreating power. 

We ground ourselves into the dirt, knowing that our creative energies were eventually going to be refilled.  The light at the end of the tunnel was vibrant.  

Now?

Monday is less than 12 hours away.  The light is still just as far away as it was before Easter.  There is no real break. 

And I’m not sure what to create.  

I’m creatively bankrupt.

Show of hands: who else is feeling that? 

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So what do we do about that?  How do we get refilled and be ready to lead a church again so quickly?  That light will eventually get here, and we’ll all get a true break, but how do we maintain energy levels, moods, and creativity in these times?

I wrote another piece about the need to take a refreshment day during the week, Sabbath. 

But every day, I  think there are some things you can do to get those creative minds pumping and to make the daily grind less of a….well, grind.

Here’s my daily checklist for you, to be completed in any order you see fit:

  1. Worship! Say “thank you” to God  Release your gaze from your own worries and stresses, and fix them on the Lord above, the “Father of lights.” (James 1:17)
  2. Get moving.  Exercise.  You always hear about the vaunted “runner’s high,” but it’s an actual physiological thingAnd it’s not just running, it’s any sort of movement that elevates your heart rate. Your brain will thank you for this release, and you’ll be surprised at how creative you will get after your heart rate returns to normal.
  3. Get “silent” before the Lord.  Preferably in the morning. (Go read Pete Grieg’s How To Pray.  It changed my entire prayer life for the better)
  4. Go read.  Even if it’s for 15 minutes.  The Bible, but also something other than the Bible. (gasps abound!)
  5. Try another “instrument.”  When I would write a song and get stuck on a part, I would switch instruments and usually found a wellspring of ideas.  Get away from your computer for a bit. Go write something on an actual pad of paper or a whiteboard. Do something ANALOG.  Watch your mind come alive.
  6. Eat HEALTHY.  Cook.  Real food, please, not a microwaved burrito.  Your body AND your mind will thank you.

All of this is just a start, and I want to know more from you i

n the comments below: how are YOU refilling each day?  How are YOU coping in this time?  

Praying for you all.  I’m here with you on the front lines, arm-in-arm, fighting this battle.  And once we’re back into whatever normal looks like, we’re all going to look on this time with fondness.  

Until then?

Say healthy, engaged, and prayerful.

 
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About Author

Andy Mage
Andy Mage

Andy is the Digital Pastor for Bay Hope Church, located in Tampa, FL. He was a worship pastor for 10 years before that, and can routinely be found drinking every single drop of coffee he sees. Andy lives in Odessa, FL, with his amazing wife and 3 amazing kids.

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