This morning at my church, the sermon was titled “You Too, Be An Example.”
You probably don’t know this, but I put together the computer graphics and projected media for Norcross First Baptist. We don’t have a sophisticated “creative team.” There’s a small number of us that collaborate from time to time, but at the moment we don’t have a real formal process. But I digress.
I receive the sermon title and main scripture reference from my pastor, and then I will try to put together a simple background that can be used with it. This was what I got this week.
I am working toward a message about being an example. “You too, Be An Example” – 1 Thessalonians 1
My typical process for coming up with something involves 1) Quick Prayer. God, you’re a Creative God. Show me how I can design the sermon notes so that the design won’t be distracting, but will be impactful. 2) Read the scripture. I take the time to try to get into my pastor’s head. I’m not 100% certain of what God is putting on his heart, but I can generally get the idea. 3) Try to take the big idea that I know is being preached, and use some design element that will help the congregation remember the big idea after they leave the walls of the building. Now I have very minimal skills when it comes to photoshop. But, I was excited by what I came up with last night and this morning.
As I read the scripture last night a few words and thoughts came to mind.
- Work of Faith / Labor of Love
- Paul is calling them to be imitators of “us” and the Lord
- Have Joy which is from the Holy Spirit
- Be an example to others
Trying to package these big concepts into a symbolic design was going to be difficult. The keyword in the sermon title was the word “Example” what would be a good design for that? I prayed again for some creative direction from God.
Then I thought about how many christians go through life with the bumper sticker or icthus on the bumper of their car being the way that they tell others about Jesus. Now, I get it. I’m quite guilty too. It is so much easier to put a cross around my neck and wear a shirt with a scripture verse on it, than to actually engage people in meaning full conversation where I can show Joy from the Holy Spirit. I mean really… this is the extent to many people’s “Labor of Love.” This is my way to Be an Example. There’s low commitment but outward appearance.
So I thought that a bumper sticker on a car that somehow subtly told this would be both relevant and memorable. Perhaps I’ll throw an Icthus Fish on the slide too.
While I was working on this, I had college football on in the background. Facebook open on another window. Twitter opened. I was getting bombarded by fanatics watching their team play. It struck me funny that people who are really fanatic about their college or pro team will buy special license plates, stick magnets on their car, have the window flags going… they are showing the world that “I love my team!” I’m an example of a truly commited (insert team name here) fan.
Bingo.I knew I was on to something.
So here’s what I ended up with. In my mind it all makes complete sense. I’m sure some were trying to find the meaning to it. But in the end, everyone was challenged to go into the world, live by faith, be a witness.. Be excited and not a fake. Step out of the comfort zone and Be an Authentic Example to those around you.