This past week I had the honor of joining the Alpha Team of Creative Missions, a new venture that connects individuals with skills and passion for graphic design, web design, social media, technology and general communication to short-term mission opportunities. As the inaugural team (hence the name Alpha), we spent a week in the Capital Region of New York working with several different churches on everything ranging from designing new logos and revamping websites to fixing small technical glitches and showing volunteers how to set up a Wii dance party.
As a mission trip, Creative Missions Albany had a lot of familiar characteristics. There were the inside jokes (the “You might be on a Creative Missions trip if” email strand has 13 items and counting), the snoring roommates, the team member we weren’t sure wasn’t a serial killer in a past life and the occasional clash of personalities. The big difference of course was that we weren’t running a VBS, attempting to build a house or digging holes.
Rather than attempting to complete tasks we don’t normally do in our real lives, this short-term mission trip honed in on our strengths and passions, which varied from team member to team member. My team, for example, featured Danielle Hartland, a communications director from a church in Eerie, Pa., and Brad Huss, an assistant to Billy Graham’s personal photographer.
We spent the bulk of our week helping overhaul a church website and ended up getting an incredible amount of work done in three days on very little sleep by each focusing on our strengths – me tearing apart copy and WordPressing it up, Brad BigHype Media getting his server management skills and back-end groove going and Danielle creating graphics and directing the show like an award-winning symphony conductor.
While we worked mostly as a tremendous trio, we frequently crossed paths with our other creative missionaries at evening meals, in apartment living rooms and seminary conference rooms with laptops always in view. Between the lot of us, there wasn’t a question or problem left unanswered, team members dropping what they were doing to offer assistance in a very non-Apprentice kind of way to help other teams and vice versa. The humility, spirit of unity and genuine concern for communicating the Gospel on display was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
To put it simply: it was one of the best weeks of my professional life.