Creativity & Collaboration are key

Our church values creativity and collaboration, and it's a perfect fit for Chad and I in our Raleigh home. Just like most people are proud of their families, I'm proud of my church family and love it to pieces. Don't mind this post as I gush a little...

You see, as creative people—graphic designers, photographers, and appreciators of anything "artsy"—creativity is what makes me and Chad tick; it's our language. As most of you know, we are people of faith, too, so worshipping Jesus in a church setting without being able to flex that creative muscle would feel unnatural for us. The highly creative, trend-setting, forward-thinking, impressively-developed environment at Elevation Church truly makes us come alive!

When it's our turn to photograph the Worship Experience and everything that surrounds it (volunteers, new visitors, kids, set-up, musicians, production team, emotional moments, baptisms, life-change, etc.) at our campus in RDU on Sundays, it IS our way of worshipping God! Chad and I were created—by THE Creator—to be creators (as many of you were, too). The ability to create and desire for creativity come from God, himself. Using that gifting to photograph and share the stories of what God is doing through the ministry of our church IS an act of worship when we view it that way. And we absolutely love it.

One additional aspect I value about our church is the emphasis on collaboration. The creative team on staff in Charlotte for Elevation is not an exclusive crew with secrets to protect. They encourage collaboration, accept new ideas, and make sure that the volunteers are each equipped with the tools and skills we need to capture images of our church with excellence. Once a month, the 60+ Elevation photographers (across all 13 campuses) are invited to Charlotte for a time of gathering and growing.

Last week, Chad and I were inspired by Sean Lyon, our Elevation Historian who oversees us all, as he met up early with our campus and photographers from the Roanoke, VA campus regarding studio lighting. We then went into a time of mingling, a sit-down time where Matt Vivanco took a turn at encouraging us all in a topic of his choosing: patience, Sean shared all the juicy details of what we need to know for upcoming events at the church, and we looked at images from other campuses & offered helpful critiques for improvement. After that, Lindsey Plevyak spoke on "Soul Seeing" with photography and showed some of her work and how she goes about her portraits. BEAUTIFUL portfolio! I love the dramatic black & white, emotional images she creates. Check her out on Instagram @lindseyplevyak. Lindsey did a quick portrait shoot example before challenging us each to do the same with someone we didn't know.

...This led to my meeting of Ashley Hollingsworth from Roanoke, VA. What a sweetheart! She's a stay-at-home Mom of four and is really beginning to get into photography. We swapped stories, swapped quick portraits and encouraged each other in our craft.

I didn't capture EVERYthing from the evening, but here are a few shots I did grab, including the pretty images of Ashley. We're already counting down to next month! This community is irreplaceable in our lives.

Do you have some form of a community that pushes you and supports your gifting? Yes? Awesome—dive into it more deeply. No?? Find one ASAP—it'll change your life.