California - Purpose, Place & People
California 2016 Team Member
Something More Academy 16/17
A few months have passed since September's California dreamin' and with applications now open for new recruits to join the journey in Summer '17 I feel like it is a good time to share a snapshot of a very special trip I ventured on with Something More.
In the past I have talked a little about the company, the vision and my involvement with them as a writer for their lifestyle articles. In these next series of posts I want to give an insight into the purpose, places and people from my first hand experience that went far beyond your average week in the sun.
At the end of summer 2016, I was invited to join their core team and some of the wider community to fly out to California. This was an opportunity for us to spend the week living as community and to learn from world-leading communicators in the Christian creative sector.
I can't pinpoint individual influencing factors or claim to crack the science behind it, but it seems that in many cases things "drop" in America sooner and with greater impact than our experience within the UK- and I don't just mean the latest movie releases.
In the US, Christian expressions within the creative arena are vibrant, dynamic and constantly developing. Connection is more fluid, frequent and surprisingly natural. Opportunities occur organically for creative collaborations and we would do much to learn from those who blaze an exciting trail before us.
Any organisation in its infancy passionate about the road ahead would be certifiably crazy not to make full avail of spending time with the best people and resources, right?
So, what happens when you take 14 relative strangers and pack them off to the Hollywood Hills?
Initially this may seem like quite a daunting prospect, but the product of our week in the West Coast far surpassed our initial expectation.
We lived - together, as community. Getting to know peoples' stories, gifts and contexts.
We loved - connecting with one another. Building relationships. Establishing trust and a space to be honest, open and vulnerable.
We learned - from the wisdom of our peers and from an innovative team of talented communicators and creative professionals.
We lingered - in the presence of God for a while.
We listened - by creating a space to help silence routine busyness and distractions that constantly battle for our time and attention, allowing Him to speak. All this and the beautiful backdrop of the sunshine state.
Personally for me, this was a time of challenge.
To be still.
To build into a company that I have grown alongside as they flourish and continue to be a champion of the process.
To let God reveal Himself in new ways.
To understand more about the people who have translated the vision set upon their hearts into reality.
To ignite existing embers of creativity so that God can use them more fully, both from what I bring as an individual and as part of a collective. To find, develop and better own the ways I choose to communicate faith.
That is one dreamy week you've got on your hands.
We arrived to a myriad of faces we had only glimpsed online. To voices we heard at the end of a Skype call, or in continuous email exchanges. We left encouraged, inspired, excited and ready to step forward together, as family.
Applications are now open for 2017 for you to join the team and experience California for yourself.