It's almost here - Advent! A time of excitement, joy and hope. For the screens it's totally a crazy adventure! The lyrics of all the songs have people like shepherds, angels, wise men, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, lowing cows, mangers, stars - oh my! How do you find images that work and don't look cheesy?! Three words: Star of Bethlehem - it works for almost every Christmas Carol or anthem. Good luck - I hope that your Advent is full of joy!
I have been given the most amazing gift from the Holy Spirit - the gift of creating stunning, visually striking worship visuals. It's a crazy gift. Ten years ago I would have laughed at the idea.
One morning I walked into church and there were these huge HD screens on the walls. I didn't know it then - but in that moment my life was changed. Long story short - a few months later I became the volunteer designer of the screens. In the beginning I was not very good at it. I studied church symbolism, graphic design, worship visual classes and met with my Pastors and graphic designers. I prayed and I improved a bit. But I had a long way to go.
One afternoon I was alone at church. I was struggling with a song - I did not know how to express visually the positive power of the Holy Spirit. I prayed a long time and became aware of an energy surging through me and around me - it was astounding, marvelous and a bit scary - all at the same time. Afterwards I felt a drive like I had never felt before - it consumed me. I spend so many hours creating the worship visuals that my pastor would tell me to go home. But I could not - I had an interaction with the Holy Spirit that left me profoundly changed and I knew there was something there I was suppose to do.
I liked to say that my skills improved over night. They did not. It took much longer. I am blessed with a wonderful family, I worked full time and would work on my churches' screen on the side. And eventually something started shifting. After my moment with the Holy Spirit I knew I had been given a gift - I also started believing in this gift. The screens started looking amazing - very different than most of what is out there. Full of color and movement and power - I leaned into it. And I designed more and more creatively.
One Sunday, the congregation was singing the song Stand. It was crazy but they were all sitting. I designed the worship visuals for that song to build as the music builds. I use numerous images throughout the song - each building in power so that at the end - the music and visuals meld into this glorious energy. The last image was all these believers standing together and the sun breaking though their raised arms. When that slide when up on the screens - the most amazing thing happened. The Pastor stood and the congregation stood with him. You could literally feel the power of the Holy Spirit in the room. Now it was not solely the slides - the musicians and the music were amazing but the slides were a part of building that moment. It was a glorious moment. I wanted that moment for all people.
At the same time, church visitors started stopping by the tech booth after the worship service to ask me how they could get these slides for their church. I had been feeling a nagging pull that I should be doing more with the gift I had been given. So a few years ago I stepped out of the boat and started Envision Worship. Again a crazy thing to do - we were in the midst of the recession, I had just lost my job - it was a total walk in faith. Thankfully I am incredibly blessed with a husband that believes in my calling. We are funding Envision Worship. We are thankful it is growing but we also know that we will be funding it for a few more years. Over the years I have worked - sometimes two jobs - to keep Envision Worship going. But each year I have learned new things that have helped me reach out more.
We feel incredibly blessed to be a part of Envision Worship. It astounds us that our PowerPoints are in 19 countries and 43 US states. Christmas and Easter - we are a part of so many worship services - last Christmas over 100 Christmas eve services - can you imagine? It is so humbling - there is so much more in this than us.
So why am I sharing all this. I wanted you to know a little of whom I am and why I started Envision Worship. For me it all about helping people connect to Christ - helping churches to use images that are positive, gorgeous and build the worship experience.
I also want to create community for churches designers - often only one person in a church does this - every week - all year long - year after year. They often struggle over what image to use to express the meaning of the lyrics. I am still the volunteer designer at my church - I am one of you. My hope is that this website gives you ideas and spurs your creativity. And I want to thank you for creating the worship visuals at your church.
Each of us is given gifts by the Holy Spirit. If you have not recognized your gift yet - I hope you discern it soon. And then I hope you will take a leap of faith and utilize your gift to make our world a better, more positive place. God bless, Lisa