Archive for the ‘Thoughts on art ministry and life’ Category

I wrote this for my church and thought I’d share it here.

We live in a world of great complexity these days. Everyone around us is telling us we need to be apart, by at least six feet and never in groups of more than ten. It sounds simple enough until you decide to go to work, or have a celebration, or be the church. That can be a real head scratcher. In these nearly unprecedented days, it begs the question “What do you do?” Now the answer to some is to rebel. I saw there was an arrest warrant issued for a pastor in Florida who kept his church open. Truth be known the church ended up being full. The comments ran the gamut from a man standing for our constitutional rights to everything that is wrong with the church. I will leave that up to His God to decide. At Springfield we have taken a different tack.

Part of what makes this complex is we have a pretty clear Scriptural command. Some will say you can worship God anywhere, and that is true and you should, but the Bible also says in Hebrews 10:25: “Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It seems pretty clear that the Bible is telling us that gathering for worship is not just important, it’s commanded, especially when the world, and the church for that matter, are in need of encouragement in a way I can scarcely remember in my lifetime, as least sing 9/11. So how can we be together when we can’t be together. It seems to me we need to learn to be together/apart.

For example, one of the things that brings people together is shared experiences. It is for this reason that we have started to share our services on line. Our facility is such that wi-fi does not work particularly well. Old buildings with two foot thick walls tend to not be as conducive to bouncing signals off of satellites. For this reason, live streaming is not really a good option, but nonetheless we can make sure that everyone hears the same message and sees the same images. For those who do not have internet access, we mail the messages so that they too can keep up with what’s going on.

Another way to be together apart is to have our Bible study on Zoom, which we are also doing. That way we can have some face to face contact even though we are separated by quite a few miles. We are also making efforts to connect more via social media and my hope is in creating all this very sharable media, that we are also creating tools to take the Gospel beyond our walls.

Other than that we have to go with the old tried and true methods. We can call each other, write letters and send cards. Now I’ll be the first to admit, none of these solutions is perfect, but what is in a pandemic situation? All of us are learning as we go. We will get some things right and we will get some things wrong. My prayer is that nothing we do will go too wrong. Please know, we’re trying, even as we pray this soon comes to an end. I long for the day when we can worship together again, but until them, There may be a “shelter-at-home” order in place, but we can still stay connected and if we do that, we can still be together even when we’re apart.

I’ve been hearing this story a lot lately. The idea is pretty simple. Sometimes the best way to move forward is to eliminate the possibility of turning back. Here’s a little tip, the way forward very rarely involves going backwards. Where in your life do you need to burn the boats?

Here’s the sermon for this week. This is the first in my Easter Series, looking at a series of Psalms (113-118). These were songs that the Jewish people, like Jesus and His disciples would have sung in Passover celebrations. Placing these Psalms up against what was happening in “Holy Week” can really help us to understand even more of the Easter story. I’ve been planning to do this series for months, yet as it came into focus, given our current world situation, brought even more to light.

Dave Weiss Pop Art FocusI have so many ideas for so many things to do. I’d love to start podcasting. I have an idea for a game. I’m chomping at the bit to get out speaking again and I miss my church. I have a book sitting on this very computer that is nearing completion and a master’s thesis that is starting to come together. I’m thinking about doing some creative ministry meet-ups on Zoom. I’m also debating whether to start another website where I can consolidate all these creative ministry ideas into a more useful format. The ideas are flowing but of course I can’t do them all right now. I need to focus. And that’s just the professional/ministry end of life.

As I’ve said on many occasions, ideas are a blessing and too many ideas is even better, but most of the time you can’t do them and you have to focus. The best way to handle it, is to record them all and prioritize. There are a few things that have to be done. In these turbulent times, I have a church that needs and deserves strong and innovative leadership, and needless to say, that’s got to be the top professional priority. Next in line for a variety of reasons I can’t go into here, I need to get that masters finished, so that moves to number two. Does that mean all the other stuff goes away? No. The corona virus eliminated the speaking for a while, but things are coming up, so wisdom dictates that I keep working on getting that ready, some time will go to that. Beyond that I feel a calling to help the church embrace creativity. Does that go to the back burner? Hardly. I have a church in which I can devote my creative energy and share that with the world through a channel like this one. In the mean time, the other projects are on my computer, where I can add to them as ideas pop into my head.

At the end of the day, the purpose of our lives is to glorify God and do His will. We do that best when we are faithful and finish what we start. Finishing requires focus.

What’s your ministry focus today? Are you finishing what you started? Start, finish and share it with the world. In order to do this, you need to focus.

So I’ve been working on technology to get my services out via technology during the COVID quarantine. So far I’ve recorded sermons and posted them to youtube, embedding them into a service order. My internet both at home and at the church is pretty spotty, so I am relatively sure Facebook live, etc won’t work well for us, plus, is is just me or have all the work from homers really put a drag on the internet? We also did a prayer meeting via Zoom last night which went okay but there’s a learning curve there for sure. I will say I was most grateful that Zoom extended the meeting for free last night which was most appreciated. We’ll be subscribing to Zoom shortly. So overall technology has been helping a great deal and we have had some success, but there is still one problem. I have a fairly large percentage of people who are not online at all. How can I extend services to them? Now some might say well if they’re not online they need to catch up or get overlooked. If you think that way, shame on you. These people who are not on technology are some of the same ones who built this church up and mad it what it is today.

I love these folks and I was at a loss. I thought about trying to do some sort of drive-in church. That still could happen, but I’m concerned by the time I get the technology, the quarantine will either have passed or the restrictions will get worse. Like I said I was at a loss but over the course of the night, I had a thought. I have a few ladies who are “shut-ins.” We send them the bulletin, and they always tell me that they read it voraciously. And that’s when it hit me, the solution doesn’t have to be technological. Sometimes the easiest solution is the best one. I tightened my notes into a readable “sermon” and mailed it to all the folks without internet. It should arrive in their homes on Saturday, just in time for Sunday. Is it perfect, No, but it will work for now.

Sometimes the best solution is the Old School solution.

Okay we worked out how to do a worship service online, now how do we do Bible Study? Well I know some of the organizations I work with use Zoom for meetings,will it work for Bible Study. so tonight we’re going to start light. We’re going to do a prayer meeting. We’re using the free version to see where the difficulties are, and if it works, I plan on subscribing to the paid version. I’ll post the links here.

Hi everyone,
With all the upheaval around the Corona Virus, we are cancelling Bible Study this week and next week. I am experimenting with a service called to see if we can use it for Bible Study and possibly worship. So this evening at 7:00 we will be having a prayer meeting online. You can access this with a tablet, computer or even your phone. Because this is experimental, we will be using the free version of the software, which has a time limit of 40 minutes (and up to 100 people). If it works well, I plan on subscribing to the paid site which will allow for more people and longer meetings. I decided just to do prayer tonight and perhaps a short devotion because I don’t want to leave anyone out who has been following the Esther study.

The following is the information needed for the meeting.

David Weiss is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Springfield Prayer Meeting
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 645 179 250
Password: 074827

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God bless,
Pastor Dave

P.S. Wouldn’t it be awesome if God expanded our reach during this time of upheaval. Romans 8:28

A few months back I was working on a book called Failure and Other F Words. It talked about fear of failure and other such things. I hope to publish the book later this year. Before that, I wrote another book called ENOUGH. God and the Fine Art of Measuring Up. Today I realize what I am experiencing is a combination of the two. I’m afraid I don’t measure up. I think I’ve always sort of dealt with this issue, but in the midst of these days it is really manifesting. With all the uncertainty surrounding this “pandemic” it is really hard to know what to do. We cancelled services and two people didn’t get notified. Now I took a lot of steps to make sure that didn’t happen, even putting the notice on TV, but people still managed to get missed and that breaks my heart. The feelings I’m experiencing in these days are not unlike the days when I was doing publication design and the publication came out and the phone started ringing to tell me about everything I missed. Once again I am starting to feel like I don’t have what it takes. Why do I share this? Because this wreaks of something that cripples most people creatively. It’s called perfectionism and right now, it’s really hurting me. Once those feelings set in, all kinds of stuff started to happen. I was trying to figure out how to offer some services to my congregation online. It didn’t work right the first time and rather than looking for the reason why, I immediately started to think, “I don’t have what it takes to do this.” This stuff often seems to compound when I allow myself to lapse into that state.

Should I feel bad that someone got missed? Yes, I love these people and they are very important to me. All I can do at this point is try to rectify the situation. Further, an oversight does not make me incompetent or stupid. I wasn’t too stupid to make the online services work. There’s just a learning curve. Limiting beliefs limit us. The fact is, I’ve never dealt with a situation like this before and neither have most of the people I know. This is uncharted territory, but it’s even more than that. The truth is none of us has within us the capacity for perfection. To live in fear of making a mistake is to live in fear of the inevitable and that, my friend, is an empty life. These are trying times, and trying times are not limited to the length of this “pandemic.” To succeed is not to stop failing, that’s impossible. No, to succeed is to learn to fail forward. In the case of the notifications, there were some problems, Now I need to find a solution. In the case of the online services, there is a solution, now I have to do the work of learning to use it. Will it work perfectly the first time? That’s doubtful, but it will be supremely more effective than doing nothing. This is essentially true in every creative pursuit.

Let me let you in on a little secret. Failure is inevitable, especially as you move into the realm of trying new things. Very few people can do something perfectly the first time and that difficulty is amplified in pressure situations. Try, fail and try again. Now all I have to do is live like I believe this in this stressful time. Please know this, I am praying for you.  God is good and we will get through this.