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  • I'm a creator, entrepreneur, author of DREAM YEAR, and aspiring novelist. My wife Ainsley and I live in Virginia Beach with our five kids Wyatt, Dylan, Cody, Annie & Millie

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This. Is. Awesome. GREAT decision. Great leadership. Great conference. This is a win on many levels.

"The camps are more divided than ever. The church planters and the revitalists. The Calvinists and the infidels. It's like no one can have their own opinion anymore."

Can I tell you that this is exactly what we're struggling with, as we try to find a local church family? I wish I could hand off my responsibility to Hebrews 10:25. :)

Kudos to you for being able to recognize when a shift has happened and taking the necessary steps to adjust to the shift. We, the participants of STORY, are glad to still have you.

Ben,
knowing you from a distance, spending the little time that I have with you, and having friends that are close to you...I just see this as Ps. 37:4 coming true. "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." You have a passion for God and He is using you to do something that many of us could only dream of doing.
Just as Johnathan's armor bearer said to him...I say to you... "do all that you have in mind to do. I am with you heart and soul"

your wisdom amazes me.

So impressive.

You and I normally agree on most things but I guess we're not seeing some of the "church" landscape the same way right now.

What's strange to me is that my experience in the last year has been that this statement (The camps are more divided than ever. The church planters and the revitalists. The Calvinists and the infidels. It's like no one can have their own opinion anymore) is becoming less true than it ever has before.

I'm seeing more of a willingness for churches from different "tribes" to partner together for the sake of the Gospel than ever before.

I know we don't always run in the same circles so that could be part of the different viewpoint but I'm not seeing it.

On another note -- it doesn't surprise me you're handing off Whiteboard but it saddens me a little bit. I think you continue to be a needed voice w/in and for the church.

narrow focus is probably better...former church planter is a hard sell to the folks who are church planting...just a guess. Maybe leaving the wisdom imparting to folks who are active in that area is best. God is awesome and when He sees a need He fills it. You seem more drawn (called) to the need of the body of Christ to help appreciate things that are beautiful. I would say that it is a hard road. The creative call is very abstract to most folks in the body of Christ. Look at the bare walls in alot of churches today. Alot churches seem lost when it comes to how creative ventures apply in the context of their congregation. You are an agent of change!

Refocusing is good — especially when it means you will be doing more of what you enjoy. And STORY, already a great event, will only get better.

Yes and Amen!

This is really exciting news. Can't wait to see where Story (and Dream Year of course) goes

Congrats on the refocusing!

Good post Ben. I find it interesting your experience and mine are completely different. Although, I attend a very creative and eclectic church so maybe I'm on the outside too and don't even know it. I have seen some of what you're saying, but it is usually relegated to the "old guard" and frankly I'm not around that much, nor is God is leading me to go in that direction. Glad to see you made a move you feel is positive and focusing your efforts.

wow. looking forward to watching your journey continue to unfold. this i know: it's gonna be good!

appreciate the feedback...

Follow your heart. I will miss the chance to work under you again as a volunteer but admire your focus on the bigger picture sort of speak. I wish you the best and hope that our paths will cross again. I kind of agree with the person that posted that your creative vision still is needed within the "church" circle so I hope you never lose that connection. Be blessed my friend.

'It's like no one can have their own opinion anymore. We need a charismatic figurehead to show us the way... or forget about it. This is not a church culture I can navigate as easily anymore'

I love your post! I feel the whole nature of church has shifted (def in Pentecostal/charismatic churches) and I find myself (as a former pastor) navigating the whole new landscape too. I don't agree with it, but I think God can cope with expressions of differences in opinion, individual thinkers, and people who hear God all for themselves.

All the best for your shift of focus.

Ben:
I'm new to your "tribe" and don't have much pre-Story10 exposure to you, except to know that you are highly influential in the world of Christian "leaders" (cringe -- there's that word)...

I say all that to say, I'm grateful for your decision to pour into the Creative Class, especially as it was stated (at Story) that the artist will soon save the church. I don't know where this movement is going, but you and Randy Elrod may be on to something.
Thank you for shepherding us... the sometimes un-shepherded.

I'm already looking forward to the next chapter of Story.

welcome Mandy. I'm looking forward to it too. Feel like I'm taking roll call to see who is out there....

A friend and I were reading coverage of your opening holo-sequence with Blaine Hogan with jaws agape. I very much wish I could have seen it in person! You've set a very, very high bar now.

I'm thinking Story 2011 is the one conference I and our "creative class" at palau.org need to be at. Utterly unique.

Re: church unity (Jason's comment above): I suppose it's a matter of perspective. I, too, am seeing churches more willing than ever to work together. I have no idea how it works. For the last 5 years, I've seen Luis Palau do it, but it's a complete mystery to me (given how I grew up seeing churches not work together). I think there's a generational change afoot, part of the great historical oscillation between unity and isolationism movements in the church.

I know this isn't universal. I think being up in the Pacific NW there's less resistance to churches being in community with each other; it's not entrenched culturally as in the Bible Belt (where my 'people' are from).

@ Jason Limato - what an awesome encouragement. Ben, make a poster out of that and look at it on days when your mission feels impossible. Jason, you are a modern Barnabas!

Ben, you're a rolling stone that gathers no moss. It doesn't surprise me at all to see you shift your direction, refocus, or start something radically different!

I'm personally heartened to see you focus on pouring yourself into creatives. The church at large is awakening to the arts again after a long sleep. The church at large needs leadership and inspiration - they haven't known what to do with artists in the church. Leaders need more "art" in their messages, in their stories. I think you're bringing exactly what the Kingdom needs right now (and without all the church unity messiness! =).

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