Part of what my vision is and what my job entails is to build bridges between outreach and discipleship. And while we were brainstorming last year we came up with the taster event, something that would allow people to come and see us in a setting that was still about the prophetic and creative ways God speaks, without the barriers that church normally poses for them. We wanted to allow them space to hear more truth, explore and respond for themselves.
This idea was actually born out of an LSJ course that bombed, and we realised that the three people were not ready to take the course, but that they might have benefited from a ‘taste and see’ event. So take heart from your situation… if it has bombed, then press into God and see what amazing thing he wants to birth from the ashes… because just over two months later we ran our first taster and two of the people that came to it are still enjoying their discipleship journey with us.
So I can’t take credit for what was a group revelation: that spiritual searchers love going to workshops, so to have a choice of two workshops as the first part of the event. Then to have the second part be ‘stations’ with a background of soaking music, preferably live, with a creativity station and maybe live art going on where people can play with pastels or paint activations. We made a soaking area with two large rugs and cushions and meditation postcards, and we had appointments available for people who wanted healing, prophecy, dreams etc. We had a cafe option for people who want to chat and are verbal processors, but this is best kept as far away from the soaking area so as not to disturb those there.
Here are some photos of the taster we had on Monday night:
My lovely friend Aline has helped me out this week with art at the taster event we ran and also at the psychic fair yesterday… I am really blessed that she managed to fit me in between her Bethel globetrotting as she is off to New Zealand on Tuesday with Theresa Dedmon! I had asked her to paint live during the taster event and here is what she made:
Aline wrote: “Goldfish grow to the size of their environment. If you remain inside a glass bowl, however beautiful, you limit your potential to grow to the extent of its influence and opportunities. There are moments when for whatever reason the ‘bowl’ you are in is rocked and a tipping point is created inviting you to take a leap out of your current situation or way of thinking and into what is beyond. What lies outside is often unknown but the momentum you carry with you as you jump creates life. Many of us have unfulfilled promises in our lives that are waiting for us to cease the moment so that they can be fulfilled. The question is will we recognize the opportunity when the tipping point comes and jump!”
Here are a few of the 15 entries, I hope they encourage you as much as they encourage me!
“Thank you so much for giving me inner peace. I now feel calm and more positive.”
“Thanks to both Heather’s for a beautiful relaxing experience. I look forward to experiencing the light of Wisdom in my future decisions.”
“Wonderful healing… I feel miles better from when I sat down. Lovely.”
“Fantastic, loved the healing, amazing what came from it and I can relate to this, so accurate and very true. Thanks very much xx”
“Thank you so much for two beautiful drawings which meant so much to me.”
“Fantastic hand massage, very relaxing, feel great. Many thanks.”
A huge thank you to all the team and intercessors for yesterday’s Body and Soul event, it went really smoothly and was pretty busy. We were given a great spot: when you came up the stairs we would have been the first stall you saw, and we had a corner in front of the entrance so you had to pss right by us to get in to the rest of the stalls. We could play our music as loud as we needed because we didn’t have stalls butted up on each side.
We don’t have a fancy banner yet, and I have plans to get that sorted, but we still had 26 appointments, which to me made it totally worth paying for a double stall. We offered free dream interpretation, spiritual art, healing and hand massage. God drew them! One lady came for a massage walking with two crutches, and Malcolm released healing to her and she said she felt so much better that she tested it out and was walking without her crutches the rest of the time we could see her! Another lady came for a dream interpretation and said, ‘wow, that is really accurate for my life’ a few times. We are praying for the situation she is involved in to be utterly transformed for God’s glory (she didn’t want us to pray then, but we said we would like to in our own prayers if that was ok).
One girl came for art, in which we called out her spiritual design and destiny, and although she had said she wasn’t really into groups, she was so impacted she said she was interested in coming to ours (lots more ‘wows’!). Another lady asked the light of Jesus into her heart, and we gave her a simple scented tealight as a reminder of what she had done, along with some of our meditation postcards and follow up flyers. We gave away all our bracelets too! We wrote a blessing on one of our postcards to the organisers and gave them a box of chocolates with it, and the team are coming for a meal on Monday to celebrate and chillax. You were so fantastic guys!
Our follow up taster event is in two weeks, will keep you posted!
- Sellotape, blu tack, stapler, string and scissors. Whether in a tent or a hall, you will find these indispensible! Tissues and breath mints.
- Appropriate signs and publicity. You may want to match the colours of your graphics to the rest of your visual components, and listen to the Spirit for His leading in all of this.
- Follow up materials: you could have a guest book for visitors to write their feedback in, flyers for future events, inspirational postcards, little art or jewellery gifts that can be prophesied over, tealights to remind them of The Light etc. Bibles and introductory materials for Christianity are always helpful. You can get recycled giftbags from the One World shop, along with Fairtrade sweets.
- Tablecloths: these make a huge difference, particularly as the tables you may have to hand may not be very beautiful!
- Cushions – they add colour and cosiness, as well as comfort for the elderly or afflicted.
- Candles or fairy lights or both! Check your insurance for naked flames. Any other decor such as bunting, art, banners, rugs etc.
- Music player if no live musicians, plus extension cord or batteries
- Depending on what you are doing and where, you may want a donations box, first aid kit, tables and supplies for art, face painting and hand massage, anointing oils, baby wipes, clear gaffa tape, bin bags, your wellies, sunscreen, insect repellent and lunch!
I am currently reading ‘The New Mystics’ by John Crowder:
“In the church, I believe there will be a virtual renaissance, blending the old and the new. We will be able to get back to our roots, while becoming something entirely unique. Not only will miraculous power return corportately, but the arts, music and even undiscovered forms of worship will abound. The church will become a cultural leader because of the creative anointing it possesses…
People will want to join the church because we have the best gig in town. Spiritual creativity will ignite innovation. We will spearhead cultural advancement, as did the ancient Celtic church. Not only will we reach new realms of divine authority and experience, but we will also reopen deep wells of blessing that were abandoned prior to the modern age. We will get past the mind … and demonstrate a spiritual life that attracts the world. ” pp 42-43
In the past I would have said bring it on! But I realise we are in the middle of bringing it on, and that is my call as a creative church planter. How exciting to be alive now!
Lara turned to me at the end of our time on the streets and said of our encounters:
“Do you know what it’s like? It is like ‘I see you’ from the film Avatar.”
We went on to talk about how the people coming for encounters felt like they had been truly seen and that their comments and responses reflected that, and I felt Lara had said something deeply profound. The popularity of the film Avatar reflects the spiritual hunger of our age; and the phrase ‘I see you’ means not merely a physical perception, but in fact a recognition of the inner person. It is ‘used figuratively to mean “I see into you”, and essentially “I understand you”.‘
This is what I love about the name of the team, Insight – to see deeper into someone or something. I love how Jesus is constantly teaching me to ‘see’ in a whole myriad of ways… and I saw many things in Avatar that resonated with me.
The song at the end of the film opens with these lines:
I see you
I see you
Walking through a dream, I see you
My light in darkness, breathing hope of new life…
I felt like we did these things also, interpreting dreams, bringing light, hope, new life, and spiritual awakening.
James Cameron says that the idea of the tall, blue-skinned race came from a dream his mother had! Some of the other elements in the film are drawn from deep ecology. I am trying to incorporate more of care for the planet and all creation in what Source does. We are trying where possible to use recyled, fair trade and organic materials, and to recognise that the world around us has a very important role in our spiritual lives. This week as part of our gifts to people we gave recycled gift bags with fairtrade sweets in, along with bead bracelets, and postcards with meditations on them. It has to be said, the tealights were from Ikea: I did look for fairtrade options but they were fiercely expensive… will keep looking!
Atmosphere design is a phrase that sounds trendy, but is something that we all use and think about at differing levels, even if it is not consciously. It is how we create the enviroment of our homes, schools, work places, and spiritually significant places like churches. Much of the time we think of it as visual but actually all our five senses can be involved.
One of the groups I have worked with, Insight, have really invested in creatively designing the atmosphere of the outreaches they do, which follows the pattern of how God gave instructions for the spiritually significant spaces He wanted to bring His presence to. When reading the scriptures concerning the tabernacle and temple, you see how full of creativity they were: textiles, sculpture, incense, and much more.
This is the fifth time I have worked with Insight, as we have sought to listen and release the things of heaven using all kinds of creativity. Charity just keeps birthing beautiful sculptures made with wire and beach glass, driftwood and even mirror fragments; and these sculptures have travelled all over the nation communicating deeply to many. My favourite moment has to be when we hung a circular sculpture over the ministry area at the Clan Women conference and as women came to receive at the end of the meeting, God lit the sculpture with a shaft of sunlight that came through a window in the roof and passed through the sculpture down to the women, representing the portal idea in a way we could never have planned. The photos are here: http://www.clangathering.org.uk/cw2011.php with the poem that they inspired!
On the mission field we were able to do even more.
We decorated the tent with many ideas that God had prompted: a muslin canopy dyed purple for the ceiling of the smaller tents that was then decorated with blue glass droplets like stars; Charity’s sculptures; paintings by several artists, and bunting. We had a wall of jewellery and smaller artworks to give as gifts, and at night we cleared away the chairs and had rugs and cushions for soaking, plus dancers who had been trained in a West African style of dancing by Hanna, pictured centre, above.
There were scented candles, yummy treats and beautiful live music. A feast for the senses, to connect Jesus with the hearts he longs for. And you could feel Him there… sweet, powerful, strong. The responses to all these things were amazing, as God ministered to people through all this creative communication, and brought inner healing to many.
More photos on the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/INSIGHTfulNESS/photos
As part of the creativity team, we ran a little street festival in the town centre, in a pedestrian street. At one end we had a team of dancers with flags and drummers, then our ‘Insight’ tent offering everything from spiritual readings, cleansing and art, to healing and dream interpretation.
We had at least 63 encounters over the three days, and because we didn’t really have a time limit we went really deep with people and did a lot of inner healing appointments with people. At least two salvations and many other amazing stories!
Then next to us we had live artists from Morningstar in the U.S., Greg and Susan Card. They did a grafitti piece and invited people from the street to decorate around the lettering of the word ‘EVER’, using art tools called colour shapers. Colour shapers are rubber implements that wipe through the paint, like combs. Susan told me that you could have great conversations with people about what the word ‘ever’ means to them, and that you could prophesy to them over the mark that they make.
Then there were also people out treasure hunting, and at the other end of the street was the lovely Chris Duffet dressed in his clown clothes making balloon crowns for people. A whole street of heaven invading earth, you could feel it in the air! I have a couple more photos but mostly I was working; however it was full of colour and light and fun and freedom! Even the regular busker ended up playing ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’ on his accordion.
I am honoured once again to be breaking ground in St Andrews: more creativity, more stretching the territory of what we do to reach spiritual seekers, more sharing the vision of how to disciple and build spiritual community with these seekers. I was honoured to once again hear Alan talk about Source from the platform, and I am wondering… what will happen as a result? What will take place in our nation from his heart-sharing of the need for a church planting explosion? If you didn’t hear Alan McWilliam speak on Tuesday night at Clan, please get the cd…
Here is one of the paintings I created in the Atrium on Sunday and Monday, entitled ‘Explosion’, captured in haste on my mobile!
I think it sums up my feeling for an outward rush of energy, life, colour and light in this nation and its church!