Echo12 :: Creativity Overcoming Safety – Cole NeSmith

Cole NeSmith is from Orlando, FL, where he has served on staff as part of the Status Church community for the last 6 years. In addition to now serving as the church’s pastor, Cole has also served as the Creative Director since 2005. During that time, he developed a passion to see people engage with God through experience. Moving beyond presentational elements like music, video and teaching, he sought to develop ways the church could engage in worship with their whole heart, mind, soul and body.

In 2008, Cole launched Uncover The Color to further develop the philosophy and practice of experiential worship. Through interactive art installations, tactile metaphors and reflective experiences, Uncover the Color seeks to connect people to God and to one another both inside and outside the Church.


  • The Artist as Prophet
    • Prophet – someone who is revealing the truth of God as it is being revealed to us.
    • Artists can lose their voice in the church. They need to seek the Lord and what He is giving them to communicate.
    • God has given each of us things to say and a unique way to say it.
    • Let’s move from a place where we just “get by” week to week, to seeking the Lord each week as to what He is moving us to communicate.
    • Many times in church we really value exposition and teaching, but many times we devalue the role of story in our spiritual experience.
    • When we look at the life of Jesus, we see that he uses story a lot.
    • Story is subservient to exposition, but we should allow the story to lead what is happening.
    • As an expository teacher, one of my goals is ask the Lord what he is doing and revealing, and then I as a teacher have the opportunity to stand up and say the words that God is already doing in our spirits.
    • God is revealing His manifold wisdom through the Church.
    • Ephesians 3:10-11
    • The multifaceted will of God is being revealed.
    • We as creatives, illuminate the Word of God and reveal it to our church communities.
    • The Holy Spirit is still revealing our identity to us.
    • Luke 1:14-17
    • 1 Timothy 4:11-14
    • Part of the Christian life is being a creative.
    • Language is important.
    • There are things that we as creatives have the opportunity to see that many times other people won’t see. These things are farther down the road, and we have the opportunity through story to reveal these things.
    • The importance of language helps us see both things that are physically true, and spiritually true. Our ability to use language to describe things that God is doing is allowing people to understand them better.
    • Story is the language of the artist.
    • when we encounter a spiritual reality through a story, it causes us to go back to God reflect on what it is that they just experienced.
    • Artists have prophetic permission.
    • There is this perception around artists that says, “Well they’re artists, so they’re allowed to do that.”
    • The artist is expected to step into things that make people uncomfortable.
    • You as an artist in the church are not subservient to someone else. You of course respect authority, but you have a unique voice.
    • You should compliment exposition with story.
    • The artist is a risk-taker who goes into territory first to illuminate it.
    • A couple years ago a survey was done, and one of the top reasons that people were leaving the church is because it was too safe.
    • Success is related not to outcome, but to obedience.
    • Failure is an integral part of taking risk.
    • God is not judging whether we’ve been successful based on the outcome, but based on our willingness to hear his voice and our response in obedience.
    • Success is about obedience, not the outcome.
    • Random Thought: The church culture is the most “rip-offy” culture on the planet!
    • The goal isn’t to accomplish our agenda. The goal is to help people be more intimate with God.
    • To be a Christian means to make sacrifices and take risks. For us to put icons, crosses and fish on our artwork is the easy way out.

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