It’s the first day of the Willow Arts Conference. It’s also my first trip to “Mecca” (aka Willow Creek Community Church) (that’s tongue in cheek) . It is a big church. They have lots of toys. A lot. But I didn’t come here to be impressed with the toys. I’ve seen and worked with a lot of this stuff already in other venues. Sure it’s cool to have all the latest technology, moving lights, hazers, a great sound system. But unless you can create an engaging and immersive worship experience, what does it matter? I think that’s what we’re learning here.

The first speaker, Dewitt Jones, spoke of finding creativity. He suggested an exercise that all of us in the technical arts should do regularly. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down 5 things that “fill your cup.” In other words, what do you enjoy doing, what brings you joy? Then put a date next the last time you did any of them. Has it been a while? How can we as technically creative people be creative and give of what we do when our cup is empty? What do we have to give when we are empty?

Here are some more of my notes from the second session, presented by Nancy Beach:

We can become so consumed with the work of building and sustaining our “church,” that we leave no margin for with engaging with the culture. All of our time and energy is spent getting ready for Sunday morning.

Who am I intentionally building a friendship with that is not part of the family of faith and has no part of the church?

Other miscellaneous observations: I really like the moving lights and the hazer they use extensively during music scenes. I didn’t care for the tuning of the speaker system (at least where I sat). Seemed pretty hot in the 1-2K range. Nearly painful at times. They run the sound quite a bit louder here than we do. I like it. The musicians didn’t feel the need to play all the time during a song. That was good.

So far we’re only a half day into the conference, so stay tuned for more posts as I can access the “inter-web.”