Ashley Blake Exclusive Interview
Tell us About Your Role as Creative Director for Soul Church NC:
When we create, we change the hearts of those around us, we change the world. We have to serve the calling that cries out of us to express wonder. When we choose to be diligent to the work that is placed within us, we are walking in obedience to our calling. The challenge begins with each new day. The challenge of finding the message that we have to share in this moment. And all that is created is a display of worship. It all points to the one who created it all.
Out of creativity, I was formed. To create is my calling, it is my ministry, it is who I am. My job is not to make things beautiful. But to help people see the beauty in the gospel. My hope is to break down barriers, engage community, comfort those who are hurting, and point every heart towards Jesus. That is what I do at Soul Church.
How would you describe where you are in life right now and how does that affect what you create?
In the last year, I have transitioned from being a Communications Director at an established church, to becoming the Creative Director at a church launch. These are radically different roles for me. I have a lot more freedom. The biggest change for me is that I now have the space to fail. So I can take a lot more risks creatively which allows me to think differently.
Describe how you find inspiration or inspire your team:
I have to be intentional about spending time exploring. Whether that means going downtown and watching people interact, or finding a place I’ve never been before, I have to spend time experiencing the world. But one of my most important processes is artistic worshipping. So essentially using art to journal the time I spend studying the word and worshipping. When I don’t make time for this, I find myself basically incapable of creating anything desirable.
What keeps you going in creative ministry:
My love for the Lord. My love for communicating His heart for His people. My heart to engage people in new ways. Creativity is part of how I live out the call to share the gospel but also the command to build up the church.
Just acknowledging that God is the ultimate creator and that He lives in me. So if I am ever frustrated and having trouble with something, reconnecting with the knowledge that I’m crafted in the image of the ultimate creator. Therefore, I also have the ability to create beautiful things that are pleasing to the Lord.
What are some of your best moments in Creative Ministry?
I never really view myself as creative. I love all forms of expressions and am perfectly average in all of them. I know people who far exceed my skill levels. So for me, the best thing that I can offer as a director, is to help people in finding their place in the church. To empowering them to do what is in them to do. To help people realize their strengths and encourage them to walk in their giftings. I won’t remember every graphic or each project, but I will always remember the people who I am able to witness flourish. That is everything for me.
What is one creative tool you cannot live without:
Staedtler erasers. I’m sure that sounds super basic. All of my ideas start as sketches. I have these erasers literally everywhere that I work.
Creativity is part of how I live out the call to share the gospel but also the command to build up the church.
My hope is to break down barriers, engage community, comfort those who are hurting, and point every heart towards Jesus.
Describe your work environment:
My primary work environment is in my home office. I have a desk with a comfy chair that I use for “free-spirited” activities. That is where I brainstorm, dream, explore different ideas freely. On the opposite side of the room lives my get-stuff-done corner. That is where I get all of the administrative tasks done. As well as any music tasks done. I have to keep those technical and creative worlds separate. Even mentally I keep them separate. When I don’t, the creative work suffers.
Describe your ministry and how your creative team works:
Since we just planted our church, I have to raise support for my role. My complete financial income is based on donations. So an on-going project to raise funding that we call SOULmail. I create packets of creative swag that reflect our church’s heart and focus each month. People sign up by making a donation. They are able to partner with us and our vision and receive a fun surprise in the mail. This keeps me constantly creating. But it also connects us all. I can’t do what I do without my team. They are rock stars with amazing hearts. But I also can’t do what I do without the financial partnership of people who want to support our heart for bringing hope and life to the city of Raleigh. My dependency on others creates a beautiful relationship between us all.
Creative Director for Soul Church NC
Ashley does all things creative. She is passionate about sharing her heart with others through writing, music, and art. She is the Creative Director at Soul Church. Some of her favorite things are John Mark McMillan, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Reckless Faith by Beth Guckenberger, Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle, Cageless Birds, and the entire town of Asheville.