Why attend a creativity conference?
By Pastor Zachary Harris
I attended my first Creativity Conference as an alternative to the same-old, same-old educational opportunities provided by my denomination. I was intrigued by the connections with Disney and the fresh take on understanding modern means of storytelling in relation to sharing the old, old story of Jesus and his love. That first conference opened my eyes to so many paradigms that needed shifting, as well as to the robust opportunities we have at our hands in how we can talk to the people of today from our congregations. I was so excited! And I talked about it and wrote about it with such enthusiasm that I came on board as a leader for the following years. It has been such an energizing event to gather with creatives who not only see the possibilities for how Disney and other creative endeavors use their resources but now how the Church can tap into those same gifts that are literally all around us!
Each year that I have returned to the Creativity Conference, I have learned some new insight or picked up some new resource, even when I was there to lead a workshop or talk myself! You cannot beat the energy when all these creative professionals come together to model the way imagination, technology, and the simple values of hospitality can be joined into a very powerful and engaging draw for the Gospel.
For my part, each time I come to the Creativity Conference, I try to bring my own personal experiences of the creative process and my own theological lens by which I view telling the story of the love of Jesus so that others might benefit. But I also am always open to what everyone else brings to the conference. And without exception, God has blessed me and my ministry with a renewed enthusiasm, and new ideas that could come from no other forum. If there is one event that I have consistently endorsed and promoted in my ministry, it is this one!
Workshop:“Elseworlds: The Kingdom of God and our Draw to Alt-Realities”
The landscape of entertainment today seems rarely based in the world as we know it. Across multiple platforms, be they television, books, gaming, movies or the like, there is a cultural quest to be immersed in “other worlds.” Sometimes those worlds are some post-apocalyptic future where human survival is at risk. Sometimes those worlds are ones as detailed as Tolkein’s Middle-Earth. Sometimes they are simply populated by “meta-humans” who super-heroically steward the realms of the DC and Marvel Universes. And sometimes, concepts such a physics are overruled by the laws of magic anywhere from stories inspired by fairy tales such as “Once Upon a Time” to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Could the quest for these other realities actually be the underlying human need for the Kingdom of God? Come explore how the Christian Hope may actually be the REAL answer to this human quest, and how we as Christian leaders might use these other worlds as a doorway to conversations of Faith!
Workshop:“Rubber Meets the Road: When a Decade of Creativity Conferences and Five Centuries of Reformation History Collide”
This workshop will dissect a real-world event from this past fall to show the real world implications of the paradigm being relayed by the Creativity Conference. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a Lutheran congregation held an Oktoberfest celebration to both honor the event and engage the community. Reverse engineering of all that went into this event reveals a prime example of how the principles espoused in the Creativity Conference can achieve real-world results and unravel some of the principles that have been developed over the past decade in Creativity Conferences past. Workshop participants will then have the opportunity to integrate those insights as a springboard to their own plans, events, and programs for the future.
Pastor Zachariah Harris III has been an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 26 years. He has served as a Mission Developer in the past and currently serves as Pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in Wilson, NC. He writes a weekly column for the Wilson Times newspaper entitled, “Through a Lutheran Lens: A Pastor’s Perspective.” He is married with two grown children. Pastor Zach approaches ministry as well as life from the perspective of trying to impart a well told-story using the images and metaphors of today. If told with heart, the Gospel, and one’s life, can make an incredible difference!