The War of Art, by author Steven Pressfield, begins with the idea that all of us have a barrier between the life we currently live, and the yet-to-be-lived life full of creative potential within us.
Creatives, whether artists/writers, entrepreneurs, or ad men (and it’s not a stretch to include preachers here), have deep within them a desire to create, to make, to craft. All are equipped with God-given talents; putting those talents to good use honors and glorifies the One who gave us them. That work makes us feel more alive, more connected to our Maker, more in tune with the universe as He created it.
Pressfield depicts the barrier between that fulfilled life and the life we live every day as a “dark antagonism to creativity,” the anti-Muse… the enemy within. It’s called Resistance.
Resistance takes many forms: fear, self-doubt, busyness, distraction. It’s the sum of all the things that keep us from acting on our desire to create, to make, to craft. It’s a malevolent force of nature, but within us, relentlessly pushing against our capacity to create. It usually wins.
In my experience, there’s a form of Resistance that is particularly troublesome for mission-driven organizations, and especially churches. In these cases, Resistance often sounds something like this:
I’m not a marketer, I’m a pastor.
I’ll leave the promotional stuff to the experts like you. I just love people.
I’m too busy working on my ministry to spend time creating content for social media.
This idea that the work of creatively promoting some event or ministry is better left to others who are more well-equipped for this work is a form of Resistance that’s pervasive in churches everywhere.
There’s no societal force pulling people in to the increasingly-foreign experience of church anymore. So while leaders and pastors spend countless hours crafting experiences that help people grow closer to God, nobody is thinking about how they’ll get people to choose to participate in those experiences. As multisite church expert Rich Birch has said through his blog UnSeminary:
“Many leaders need to think as much about how they market and communicate what is happening at their church as they think about what they’re actually doing. In the same way that artisans wish they could just make their art and not have to find people to purchase it, we can fall into the false notion of believing that our quality experiences are enough on their own.”
Overcoming this type of Resistance is what this blog is all about.
This blog is my best to empower those self-declared “non-marketers” at mission-driven organizations with the wisdom and tools for communicating effectively about their work.
It’s my own way of fighting Resistance, and I hope you find it helpful.