This weekend, United Adoration hosted another one of its Online Creative Sessions. You may have seen these events advertised on social media, or someone may have invited you to one, which may have left you wondering, “What on earth is an Online Creative Session?” Good question!
UA—like everyone else—has had to get creative in responding to the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. As in-person gatherings were canceled, we responded to the continuing need to connect in the same way everyone else did, with Zoom meetings. For the last several months, our “gatherings” have been online-only events, structured around two electronic platforms: Slack allows us to chat in text and share documents, recordings, and images of works in progress; Zoom allows us to connect visibly and audibly with one another. We start with a Zoom meeting, allowing participants to introduce themselves and facilitators to introduce the theme of the creative session. Then, after a prayer, we all separate to work independently.
What do we work on? Anything. While UA used to be focused exclusively on songwriting for local churches, we have expanded to include all art and media forms in our workspaces. Many participants are still songwriters, but visual artists, poets, and filmmakers have attended these online sessions as well. All participants are invited to work on the day’s theme, selected from scripture and prayer, and to share their work in whatever form and state of completion in the two later Zoom meetings. We also share work and feedback over Slack, where we can keep the conversations going well past the limits of one day.
One regular participant describes her experience of the online creative sessions this way:
Like many others have found, the United Adoration creative sessions have resulted in my creating more, finishing more, and being more intentional about engaging with my craft, but for me it’s also meant the unexpected gift of a unique Christian community. I’m on various Zoom meetings, but how much I enjoy the UA Zoom sessions has totally surprised me. In part I think it’s because this is a new community of people, whereas Zoom in every other instance has replaced face-to-face gatherings. I also think it’s because we’re all artists, and there’s something powerful about being creative together, even though we go off and do our own thing most of that time! But having a safe place to share at all stages of creation, not just at completion? And to immediately get encouraging suggestions? And to have others genuinely invite our input into their creative space? Just. Wow. It is humbling to hang out with these amazing artists and see how God is pouring his creative Spirit into us during this time “together.” I am so grateful, and I can’t encourage folks enough to come to the UA table and taste and see what the Lord is doing. You won’t go away hungry!
When we meet together online, our goal is to encourage each participant to share the gifts God has given them for the good of the church. Whether those gifts are in music, visual media, words, or anything else, we exist to encourage each other. If you are hungry for that encouragement, if you are looking for a supportive community of Christian artists, we invite you to join our next online creative session on August 22. We welcome you and look forward to marveling at what God is doing through you!