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

There was a time in my career when I freelanced for a licensee of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was one of those Charles Dickens/Tale of Two Cities/Best of Times/Worst of Times scenarios. The business end of working with this particular licensee was at times extremely difficult, but I was working on the hottest property in the world at that time, and even now decades later, when I tell people I did that, they will usually say, “Wow, that’s really cool!” But I’m not namedropping here. There is a point to this.

I was thrilled with the Turtles, from the time I first heard of them. “Why?” Because the idea was so delightfully weird. Two buddies, who were comic fans, started drawing this goofy idea that was sort of a parody of everything in the genre. It could have faded before it ever made it to the public, but instead, they kept at it. They took their weird idea and they ran with it and as a result, reaped benefits that had to have exceeded their wildest dreams. That’s the answer, you know.

Ideas are incredibly valuable, and not just the good ones, or the safe ones, or the popular ones.

Ideas can reap benefits that are huge, but only if they connect with people. I don’t know how many times I have looked at a product and said, “I had that idea 20 years ago.” and I’ve known many other creatives with the same lamentation. But do you know the difference between my idea and the person who cashed in. I had an idea and I kept it to myself. They took their idea and shared it with the world. More than that, they took the idea and did the work to make it reality. Yes I could have beaten quite a few people to the punch, but I had a dream, they did the work. The ones who win are always the ones that have the courage to claim their idea before the world and do the work. My goal is to never lament another idea that found completion at the hands of someone else.

Your ideas are valuable and there has never been an easier time to get your ideas before people to find an audience. You just have to do it. Think about the Ninja Turtles one more time. A lot of people, I’m sure, thought it was a stupid idea, it might even be a stupid idea, but I’m also relatively sure that Eastman and Laird, couldn’t care a lick about the people who think it’s stupid. Why? Because they put their work out there and found legions of fans who thought it was the best thing ever.

Don’t create idea that you think everyone will like. Things that everyone likes are usually painfully boring. Instead look for the unusual, the remarkable, the unique, and then do the work and put it out there for the world to see.

Your ideas are valuable, but only if other people know about them.

Assignment: Look back over your life and think of as many of your ideas as you can remember. Look for one you can get behind and create a list of things you can do, right now, to make it a reality.



The day after I posted about the importance of consistency, I missed a day. In fairness, there are still almost two and a half hours left in this day, but my service has already switched over to the next day. Nonetheless, while I was tardy with this post, I had a very creative day today. It started with creating two large graphic decorations for my son’s classroom, it turned out he had something he really needed and I was available, so off we went. When I finished that, I spent some much needed time with my lovely wife as we traveled to my church to lead a paint party, teaching about a dozen people how to paint a cardinal in winter. All in all it was a great day.

No I will admit, I had a few things I was thinking about doing today that didn’t happen, and again, it;s a little ironic that the day after I post about consistency, I missed a day, but, as it turns out, none of what I had planned was as important as what I ended up doing, and since my life verse is each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others…

Mission accomplished! It was a great day

I only have myself to blame. This blog was getting to the point, where about once a week I would have as many as 300 hits. The other days were usually somewhere between 50 and 100. It felt like I was really gaining momentum though I still can’t quite explain the spikes, but I digress. Then life happened. It was all great stuff, but my posts became more sporadic. Predictably the traffic fell dramatically, which kind of bums me out. For these first weeks of the year, I am back to daily posting and while I am still trying to get a handle on how much is too much, the plan is to continue as long as I have something viable to say. I don’t think that will be an issue. I have a lot to say about this world of creativity, creative ministry, etc.

So why do I share this. Consistency is huge in the creative life. We have to be regular and trustworthy or our audience will find someone who is and we’ll be left wondering what happened. As creatives, we are all vying for an audience that has limited time and attention. That they would invest some of that valuable time and attention on you and me is really humbling, and we should value it enough to be consistent, while offering the highest quality content we can.

I want to state publicly that I don’t know if a daily post is realistic at this season of my life, and there may come a time when I have to cut back, but should that happen, I will notify you, tell you what the new schedule will be and I will stick to that schedule or at least I will do my best.

While I am on this topic, you should know I am traveling over the next few days to minister at a church I really love, that have done me the honor of hosting me many times. The only difficulty with this particular place is their wifi and cell reception are really spotty. I am going to make a real effort to post through this trip, but if I miss a day or two, that’s why.

One last thing. Are the prompts helpful. Is it okay that I am sending them as a separate post or would something else be better? I’d love to get your opinions on this.


Dave Weiss

Ideas are powerful. Literally ever great thing that has ever created started out as an idea. It might have been a small thing that grew over time, or it might have been something that just came all at once like a bold from the blue, but it started as an idea. Look at any problem you have ever faced, at least the ones that were under your control. Faced with a problem, we have essentially two choices, give up or try to find the solution. If you do the first, I have nothing to offer, but if you decide to try to find a solution, guess what you’re looking for. Yep, you need an idea,

Ideas are powerful, but they’re not always well timed. Sometimes you have an idea for something and at this point in your life, given your resources and opportunities, you may be in no position to act on it at all. What do you do with that? Some people would say, well that’s just a pipe dream, but that’s not what smart people do. Smart people realize that ideas have high value. Smart Christian people realize we serve a God for whom all things are possible. Sometimes an idea really is ahead of it’s time. The prophet Isaiah prophesied the coming of the Messiah 700 years before he came. Now I know that was a little different than your ideas, but it works perfectly about what I am going to say about your “ahead of it’s time idea.” Isaiah wrote that idea down, and one day it was fulfilled. And again, I am not saying your idea is on par with the Messiah, because it isn’t, but it’s worth recording. It’s worth getting down on paper.

Then there are times when your idea might seem weird. Is it really, or is it just ahead of it’s time? Remember when the devices they had on Star Trek in the 60s. How many of them seem pretty much like devices that are now reality? Record your ideas. They are powerful.

Who knows maybe your conditions might change in the next year, or two, or ten. Maybe technology will catch up to your idea. Who could have foreseen some of the devices we have now a decade or two go? But can I tell you, someone did. That someone might as well be you.

Record your powerful ideas. It costs nothing but a little time and once you have them, you can refer back them any time you’re stuck for an idea.

There’s a somewhat apocryphal story about Walt Disney. He had envisioned Disney World back then the area where it is build was little more than a swamp. He worked and dreamed, but unfortunately, he passed away before it was completed. At the grand opening, a Disney executive had the privilege of sitting next to Mr. Disney’s widow. It is said at some point in the event, the executive turned to Mrs. Disney and said, “Oh if only Walt could have seen this.” Without missing a beat, Mrs, Disney said, “He did see it, that’s why it’s here.”

Your ideas are powerful. Record them, and look for the ones you can begin to bring to reality. Then pray and do the work. Every great thing that has ever been created started as an idea. Maybe it’s time to bring your idea to reality.

Assignment: Set something up to record your ideas, whether it be a notebook, a sketchbook, computer file, or whatever else. Revisit your idea file often.

Up to this point in this stream of consciousness, I’ve devoted a fair amount of time talking about offering your best, and I think I may need to unpack that a bit. You see I hear a lot about “excellence” in the church, especially pertaining to creative ministry, and that’s great, but I have a question. What does it mean?

You see in some places, I think we almost idolize talent, to the point where the talented can get away with just about anything, because they’re gifted. In the world, that may be the case, but in the church, it should never be. Honestly, it can even be disastrous in the world, but that’s not the realm I’m exploring. Ask me which is more important, character or talent, and I’ll take character every time. We do ourselves a disservice in the Kingdom of God if we accept any less.

On the other hand, sometimes people minimize the importance of work done in and for the church. You know, “Well it’s not the best, but it’s god enough for church.” Perish the thought. All you need to do is go back to the Old Testament and the requirements for sacrifices to see that the Lord expects our best, and rightfully so, because He gave His best.

I hope you caught those two words in that last sentence, because they are crucial. The words, in case you missed them, were “our best.” This is the key to everything. When churches look for excellence, what they are often really looking for is people who are successful by the world’s standards. I find that a little tragic, because if we are looking for excellence by the world’s standards, the novice, the person developing their talents need not apply. The result is sometimes very glitzy and polished, but sometimes lacking heart and soul. But what if excellence was the best you can do today? What if we just expected people to work in their area of gifting, bringing the best they have today? To my mind this is key.

Look, the arts are subjective and so is excellence. Were this not the case, there would be a massive cleansing of museums tomorrow. Who’s to say what’s good or great or excellent? And in the church, who’s to say what will touch a heart or mind? What if excellence was defined as bringing our very bet to the table? What if we were genuinely seeking our calling, and gave our best at each and every opportunity? Truth is, if we did this, everyone would be learning and growing, and we’d have a lot more participants and a whole lot less spectators in the church.

Isn’t that what we want?

Assignment: Find something you did some time ago and compare it to what you’re doing now. Do you see growth? If not, how could you work toward growth?

I just updated the booking pages of my web site. I moved the 2018 schedule to my past speaking engagements page. I have now gone over 250 speaking engagements in 18 states since I started keeping records in 2012. I continue to be amazed at how many places I have been, how many lifelong friends I have made and how incredibly blessed I am to be allowed to do what I do. To God be the glory.

So if you’re one of the people that has had me in, Thank you. If you have yet to have me in, I’d love to come and do what I do for you. I am so grateful for this calling on my life and I am especially grateful to all the people who trust me to stand before their congregations.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Looking forward to more ministry in 2019 and beyond. How can I serve you?

One of the things that has always eluded me, has been finding a creative group to work with. Part of the reason I travel and minister alone has been that getting creative people to work together is like herding cats. Well, for the next few months at least, I found my tribe. A few months back I got an email from the The Peter Becker Community, a retirement community. They were emailing me in my capacity as a pastor, just hoping to get a few folks to volunteer to help out with their annual flower show. Now, scratch what you might be thinking of as a flower show, because this is bigger. It’s a plethora of beautiful flowers displayed in dramatic sets, more of a walk through wonderland than what you might be thinking of when you read flower show. It’s impressive, but that’s not what got my attention. What got my attention was the theme:

Superpowers and Flowers

I thought maybe they could use my cartooning skills, so I volunteered. Sure enough, that was something they were looking for. Well yesterday, I got to speak at the kick off meeting and meet some of the folks who will be taking my designs and bringing them to life and it was awesome. These are people who are willing to put their imaginations and their skills  to work to create something truly remarkable. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this.

I shared my message “Hurried, Buried and Worried” with them. It’s an interpretation of the Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25, and the idea is pretty simple. God has invested something in each of us, at least one talent. It is something of great value which belongs to Him, that He wants us to invest for the sake of his kingdom. These people are ready to step up and do something great for their community. But how about you?

First off, whether or not you have a talent, in not in question. God has invested something in each of us. Your gifts and talents are God’s investment in you. In a way, they actually show that He believes in you. The question for each of us is will we be faithful with what He has given, putting it to work for His glory, to serve others and draw others to Him, or will be bury it. Maybe you have something buried. If so, maybe it’s time to go and dig it up. This year, take what you have been given and put it to work, trusting God to do something great with it.

Use your gifts to serve the Lord and serve others, and see what God will do with it. I can’t wait to share photos of what we do as things progress. In the mean time, above is a picture of one of our “Super Seniors.” We call her Hyacynthia.