church

Reblog: Creative Team Night 101

    There are many teams that act as the gears to my church but I think the one I feel the strongest towards is the creative department. That probably has something to do with the fact that work in that department but whatevs.
    Recently I came across Hillsong's blog called Hillsong Collected. Being a creative myself, when I read this post I found it inspiring and down right awesome! So awesome I thought I would share it with you guys.

Happy Readings,    
Teniola

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There’s something pretty unique about Thursday nights at Hillsong Church. It’s the night that our creative community gathers, first in Australia and then slowly as the clock moves, right across the globe. It’s one of my favourite nights of the week, and I look forward to it with great anticipation and excitement.

Our creative team has an incredible responsibility within our church to help create a picture of who God is through using the gifts and talents that we have been given. Within our church, the creative department encompasses many areas, not only worship music and singers, but spans production, TV, filmmakers, artists, writers, costumer designers, youth and kids worship teams, stage managers, designers, and regular people who choose to belong to this beautiful melding pot of people.

Often I get emails about why our team gather weekly from people outside of our context, and so I thought that I would share just a few of these reasons with you.

1. We gather to rehearse and prepare for the weekends.

It is our firm belief that God deserves our very best. We have a responsibility to lead the church in worship as best as we are able. As a result, there is a need to practice, to hone our crafts, to steward our gifts and to learn how to better work together in a team. Rehearsals allow us that opportunity. We make mistakes, modifications and then continue to rehearse until we know that what we will bring on Sunday, as people gather to seek God, is the best we are able to. Our aim is that we want to play a small part in helping people to encounter God, and by getting better hopefully people are helped by what we bring, not hindered by it. That’s what excellence is, a commitment to bringing your personal best to the table, and a commitment to ongoing improvement.

2. We gather because we love hanging out.

The truth is that our creative community actually likes each other. We find a sense of commonality in our quest to worship God with our gifts and talents. We find a commonality in our love for The Church, in our love for Jesus and in our love for the people of God. On Thursdays we are seeking to build a community that makes a big church seem smaller. That places value on each person who calls Hillsong Church their home, and that allows everyone to find a place to belong.

3. We gather to inspire each other and instil courage.

On Thursday nights we “have a go”. Sometimes we bring new songs, we try new ways of worshipping, watch our dancers let loose, or hear from artists endeavouring to capture beauty on canvas. We are inspired by pieces our writers craft, or moved by photos or music that our team is creating. Thursdays create a place where we can try things and fail, or try things and succeed, whatever way, we watch each other take steps toward becoming more and more creative. We find each other looking for words and ways to describe God differently to inspire worship and adoration from others. We want to find ways to help people see God is working amongst us and on the earth.

4. Gathering together shapes our culture.

On Thursdays we come together to worship. We are not performers on a platform, but people transformed by the love of God and living in response to this love. We listen to people within our team encourage us from the Bible and their own lives, which is causing leaders to rise up from within the ranks of our own team. We give to see the Kingdom of God advance, which is creating generous people. We serve so that others may encounter Jesus, which is allowing people to realise that life is bigger than themselves, and one of the greatest blessings in life is to give our lives away for the sake of others.

We attend master classes, coaching groups to refine our talents, unearth new gifts, and practice in preparation for what may be required of us. We laugh, we cry (some more than others), we share life and hopefully little by little become more Christ like. When we gather together we find ourselves united around a common goal, we are able to articulate why we do what we do and who we do it for.

If you ever find yourself at Hillsong Church, our creative community is open to you. Join us in Australia at our Hills, City, Southwest, Brisbane and Melbourne campuses at 7pm Thursdays. You’d be welcome!

Cass

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    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

You are not alone

How many times have you heard someone say, “You are not alone?” Whether it was directed at you or to someone else, it’s probably been quite a few times right? However, no matter how many times you have heard it please don’t ever become desensitized to that truth. Don’t ever forget that it is truth.

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Last week I attended a Hillsong album recording with a few friends. Although admission was free it was still sold out. By that I mean that everyone there was sold out for Jesus. It wasn’t about watching a show, showing up to meet friends, or showing off your religiosity. As the pastor said, that night was about “your spirit identifying with its creator”. That’s exactly what happened. I loved being in the midst of so many people who were so on fire for God.

It was such a humbling experience because it reminded me of how far God has brought me. My entire life I have always grown up in or around the church. As I grew older and moved away from home for college my relationship with Christ became stagnant. I allowed the things around to affect me negatively. In my eyes it seemed as though no one else was going through the same things I was. I invited people to youth group but most of the time they were too busy; I stayed in some weekends while others went out because God was calling me to be different; not to mention the ride to church was a lonely one because again, like most times my friends had other plans. After a while I found myself questioning my beliefs and asking if this was really a life worth living. It was a difficult time in my life because this new road God was calling me to walk left me feeling abandoned. Even though I had grown up in the church I seriously considered leaving it for a while (Man, let me just take a moment to say that doubt, lies, and cloudy thoughts will have you feeling every emotion God never desired for your life).

Moving on to my senior year, God brought me the most amazing set of friends. Friends that understood the lifestyle God was calling me to lead, friends that I could pray with, and most of all these same people were asking me to join in on their youth group! I remember one service I found myself crying during the praise and worship. At that moment God reminded me: “This is what you prayed for freshman year. A group of girls - and some guys - that you could grow close to so you would not feel alone as you grew up in me.” Funny how I had forgotten that prayer until then. Looking back though, I’m glad I did because it made me appreciate those God-given friendships all the more.

Long story short, this is why I urge you Christians to remember that you are not alone. The world will have you feel like you’re a crazy Christian; too religious; uncool; and amongst a bevy of other things, unwanted. There are other people out there just like you who want more people like YOU as a friend, just patiently wait on God for them. Although, even when you are waiting you still aren’t alone - you have Jesus.

Lastly, I just want to share this with you:

Romans 5: 3-5 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”