Creative Missions is an opportunity to use your skills on a missions trip. Not everybody is good with construction or kids, but Creative Missions taps into your creative skills and gives you a chance to serve others. We first heard from Cleve Persinger, the man behind the mission, last year in the run up to the first Creative Missions trip. This May 19-25 is round two of Creative Missions and this year they’re headed to Joplin, Mo., and Northwestern Arkansas to help churches communicate better.
We sat down with Cleve to get the latest on Creative Missions.
Last year was the inaugural run for Creative Missions. Can you tell us what it accomplished?
Cleve Persinger: We had high expectations for the first trip, knowing the level of talent of the folks who signed up, but I feel we really exceeded those.
A successful first trip resulted in a good buzz online and in social spaces, more folks wanting to know about it (signing up online), more sponsors coming forward (both individual and corporate), and increased sign ups for the 2012 trip thus far.
Finally, that first trip allowed us to fine tune our processes, both leading up to (selecting churches, assessments, etc.) and the actual week of the trip. A big shout out to my wing man, Andy Burns, for being there every step of those processes.
Here are a few numbers from the inaugural trip:
- 700 hours worked between all creative missionaries.
- Six websites.
- Three church logos.
- Installed worship presentation for two churches—thanks to EasyWorship and ProPresenter.
- One awesome invite video.
- More than five churches now have Facebook Pages (Eric Murrell was a rockstar with getting churches excited about using Facebook).
- Lots of signage.
What sparked the idea for Creative Missions?
Cleve: God laid it on my heart a while back after serving churches on numerous mission trips—usually involving backyard VBS and construction.
Most of these same churches were lacking in good logos, websites, weekend experiences, and other creative and communication outlets. These were the areas where I felt God had gifted me to help, and I knew my eagerness to help was shared by other creatives.
After much dreaming and vision casting (but not so much that the idea died like most crazy ones), and a lot of support from my wife, Katie, we ultimately asked the question on MediaSalt.com, “As a creative, do you ever feel you could be serving more through the talents and abilities God has blessed you with?”
We were overwhelmed by the positive response, and it’s been game-on ever since.
What kind of response have you had?
Cleve: From creatives we get responses like, “This is the missions trip I’ve been looking for!”
From churches, it’s generally a surprised reaction that someone cares enough about them to offer free creative services, followed by “Just last week we were just talking about how cool it would be if…” Usually not a dry eye in the house, either.
After last year’s trip, it was noted by Chuck Scoggins how cool it was to see the countenance of the pastors we served change in the course of a week.
Why did you pick Joplin, Mo., and Northwestern Arkansas for this year’s Creative Missions?
Cleve: Actually, it picked us. No kidding.
We were originally looking into several other regions of the U.S., but it was hard to ignore the God stories coming out of Northwestern Arkansas and Joplin. Some include Brandon Cox moving from Saddleback Church to plant a church in Bentonville, Ark., and Shannon O’Dell rocking rural churches and communities all throughout Arkansas. In addition, after the horrific tornado that ripped through Joplin, this is the least we could do to help that town.
God is truly at work, and we’ve seen it with our own eyes after taking two trips to the area and meeting with networks, churches and pastors.
Creative Missions 2012 is going to be special.
Applications are now being accepted, but just because you apply doesn’t mean you get to go, right? How are you deciding who gets to go?
Cleve: Correct. Unfortunately, we can only bring so many with us on this trip, and we need to make sure we’re pairing church needs with specific skills.
In the future, we want to bring more or have multiple Creative Mission trips, but we’re still getting our feet wet.
You also have room for some people to help remotely. What does that look like?
Cleve: We prefer folks work on-site to get the most out of a trip like this—community, understanding the culture of the church they’re serving, etc. However, we understand not everyone is able to do this.
Remote creative missionaries will be a paired with a team during the trip just like everyone else on site. Each team has a leader who will be responsible for delegating tasks.
But please note, very few spots are available for this option.
How can we support the Creative Missions effort?
Cleve: Anyone who is interested in supporting Creative Missions can do so in one of three ways:
- Financially: Donate to the effort and get a free T-shirt.
- Resourcefully: Can you donate worship presentation software, old speakers that are in a supply closet, etc.? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Creatively: Sign up to go with us this May.
We’re so thankful for all of the support CFCC and Church Marketing Sucks have given us. From promotion to handling the donations that are submitted, you guys are such an asset to Creative Missions. We couldn’t do it without you.
Thank you, Cleve. We’re thrilled to be a part of it. Learn more about Creative Missions and check out those links above to help.