In my recent post Pursuing Good: The Backstory, I wanted to begin to process what makes something good. I ran into a couple of articles that really helped propel this idea forward. I even started to address the bad press we give good as opposed to great or excellent.
More on that later.
In this article I want to tackle the first in my master list of what makes something good:
A service is good when it is…
- exposing vulnerability.
- interesting (with a by product of my engagement).
- complete or full (delivers on the expectation).
- smooth in transitions.
- purposeful (or communicating a point).
- impeccably executed.
A service is good when it is authentic.
Don’t just read past this one as something that you already know. There is more to the story here.
—of undisputed origin; genuine
—made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original.
—based on facts; accurate or reliable.
—(in existentialist philosophy) relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life.
Apple Dictionary, v. 2.2.1
Authenticity has as much to do with being genuine as it does with believability and accuracy. For the Christian this brings in a dimensions of truthfulness as it relates to how we do our work.
In my post A Test of the Spirit’s Presence, I share Garry Wills excellent word study of PARRHESIAS — speak-all. There should be no shade or shadow of meaning between the Christian and the truth that we share. That means we have a heart that is responsive to the Gospel message that we share. Being authentic means allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us first.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
This seems like an easy thing, hardly worth mentioning, but if statistics are to be believed (and I believe they are) those outside the church mostly see us as judgmental and hypocritical. We need a strong dose of authenticity. One challenge we face in this area is that we feel it is the preacher’s job as opposed to us lowly congregants.
We should see that we, the church, have a message and we must embody it in a way that mirrors the Originator. There should be no doubt as to the undisputed origin of our message—we are speaking for God, on behalf of God, using God’s words, to a world He loves desperately
To embody this message in a way that looks like the original is the first step in being good.
A note on creativity
True creativity comes from embodying the message we want to communicate. When we have absorbed the meaning of the truth we want to communicate, we have the foundation for real creativity. This is very different than copying what someone else has done.
Where are the labor pains for your creative ideas?
Where are the stretch marks?
Point to the sleepless nights and intercession.
We don’t have to believe something to copy it.
We do have to believe something to be authentic.
This is why copying someone else always rings hollow. It is not genuine. It did not originate with us. Ultimately, copying does not resemble the Father because it did not come from Him. It’s a cheap imitation. We took a short cut. It is not authentic.
So what does this have to do with technical artists in the church?
Here’s a few off the cuff principles that will show us if our work is mirroring the Originator. All of these points are true of Jesus. To be authentic means they are also true of us.
- We live and work from a place of belovedness, not using others (or our work) to make us feel better about ourselves.
- We consistently withdraw for alone time with our Father.
- We creatively communicate the beauty of the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Relationships trump rules. People are more valuable to us than performance.
- Discipleship must be the primary focus of the tech ministry.
- We rely on the anointing, not human skill.
- Worship is the way we live.
- We must be so close to the Father that we can say, what He does, we do.
- If you’ve seen the tech team interact, you’ve seen the way the church is supposed to work.
They will know we are the tech team by our love for one another. When that is said of us, we are pursuing good.