Two Moon Design + Craft
How would you describe where you are in life right now and how does that affect what you create?
I’m in a very interesting season of life right now. My husband and I just had our first child this summer, in addition to starting multiple businesses over the past year. We are seeing the first fruits of a lot of vision and hard work becoming reality, but there is so much going on, it’s easy to overload yourself. That’s true in my personal life, and also in my work/ministry. 2017 was the busiest year our church has ever had. We launched multiple new campuses, built new buildings, and had many huge conferences and events. You really have to look at your schedule as a whole and decide what you are capable of – not just for each event – but on the long term timeline. If you overwork yourself for this event, will you be hosed for the next that’s right around the corner and is more important to your church as a whole? Our team decided early in the year to work smart. Even on the lowest level of my personal work projects, we chose to do just a few design elements for our installs.
Do it big, and do it well. Don’t try to decorate every square inch of a building. We call it “high impact, low effort.” I’ve started looking at my personal life this way too. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst impacted me greatly and taught me a lot about not just saying “yes” or “no”, but choosing the best times to say “yes”. Now that my roles include wife, mom, creative, business owner, and most importantly, Christ follower, I have to choose the right places to make a high impact and not spread myself thin. Be effective in the right places, not just present in every place.
Describe your typical schedule, what do you do in a typical day/week?
One of the things I love most about environmental design is the variety of tasks I get to do on a weekly basis. Sometimes, I’m knee deep in the design phase of a project, and I’m glued to the computer for hours creating a space in Sketchup. Then, I may do very administrative tasks like creating informational documents for our team, sourcing furnishings, answering emails, checking progress or assigning tasks. I may have very physical projects like installing a full gallery wall of antlers, putting together furniture, or gutting a space for a remodel. It’s not uncommon to find me driving the lift or using all the “manly” tools. Whenever I can, I love to visit one of our seventeen campuses if they are working on a project, just to help troubleshoot or give ideas. We do a lot of crossover on our team as well, so you could even find our environments team setting up for a video shoot or even being in front of the camera for announcement videos. Variety is the spice of life for me!
Describe one thing you wish everyone knew about working in the creative ministry field and why it is important:
Your pride will hold you and your church back. This applies in the practical sense and the spiritual.
On a practical level, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every single event or opportunity you have. One year, we ordered some vinyl backdrops with a snowy winter scene for our Christmas install. Two years later, I pitched the idea of reusing them along with some prop fireplaces we had in storage. The momma of our house, Michelle Bezet, is so wonderful and I love her heart. She said (and I’m paraphrasing from my memory), “I LOVE the idea of reusing things! It makes me so happy when we are good stewards, and I love getting to see things come back again.” For some reason, that conversation gave our team the relief that it’s okay to reuse and re-work elements that were strong. If that closer for Woman Conference was killer good, then let’s use it for church conference. If our kids ministry did something really fun for their services, let’s take that and beef it up for Big Screen when we do a kids movie. That takes some setting aside of your pride when you’re a creative though. We think, “We don’t borrow and re-do things! We have to make something new and BETTER every time!” That’s a good way to burn yourself out in the real fast-paced world of ministry. Save yourself and some finances by looking in the past and re-working things that were meaningful to your church. We are now on our third go with the winter scene backdrops, and we have steel tubing crosses that are about to make their fourth appearance, and it’s still going to be special.
On a spiritual level, nothing new has been invented under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and nothing you have created is yours – it all comes from the Father (John 1:3). Another thing I love about our Pastors at New Life is that they have open hands with everything, and they have taught us to do the same. If something we have, or have done, or a system we implemented can help another church, we share it freely. There’s no room for competitiveness or territorial spirits, and we have to remember we are all part of one “big C” Church. I’ve gotten several emails lately that people have seen one of our newer buildings on Pinterest. (I have no clue how it’s even on there, ha!) But they ask me questions about where we got furniture, or what paint we use, or how did our wall graphics, and they are shocked when I send them documents that list and source everything we used. We are just images of the one who is truly the Creator. Don’t hold on to your ideas so tightly with both hands that there’s no room for the Lord to hand you something better. And if you have something that helps the Church, what right do you really have to hold onto it? Help the body!
Describe how you inspire your team:
We find inspiration just like everyone else. We save things on Pinterest and Instagram. We look at design blogs. We visit new places and look all around us. What I love most about our team though, is we will sit on an idea for years until it fits the right project or season. Sure, sometimes we do things just for fun or because we think it’s cool, but we are very selective about those occasions – like for a team night or a pre-service element.
I think the strongest way we get inspired is talking with each other. When we start working on a new project, we usually have a big team brainstorming session. Everyone on the team is invited, and sometimes, we bring guests in from other ministries, campuses or even other churches to sit in. During brainstorming, no one is allowed to say “no”. At that point anything is possible, and anyone can give ideas for any area of our team. Discussion, piggybacking, taking one idea and processing with each other how we scale it up or down – that gets our brains turning. Then, we do more research and always go way back through our saved boards from years ago to see what best communicates the vision for this particular instance. Our strongest designs come from group design. It yields the best product and it gives way more satisfaction than if I just came up with something and did it on my own. We are truly better together, and we’re pretty good at TEAM.
But, let’s be real, there are times we see something and think “we could so do that.” For instance, about 5 years ago, Little Rock got its first Anthropologie store. Who doesn’t get inspiration from Anthro? We saw they advertised for their first “winter workshop”, and we thought this was our chance to bring our A-game to help with their big winter displays. We rounded up all the girls on our team and showed up, only to sit at a table and cut polar bear candle tags for two hours. We’re good sports though, and used it as an opportunity to have fun and spend time together. Then, one of the girls went to the bathroom and happened to walk by the back room where the REAL winter workshop was taking place. Their designer was back there building a life-sized caribou out of paper mâché. So of course each of us took our turn going back there and spying. We decided we are totally capable of that, so for Christmas install that year, we built not one, but TWO white, seven-foot-tall moose out of chicken wire, paper towel material, and batting for the antlers. We did both in two weeks and named them/him “Bartholomoose.” If you ever visit our creative office, he will greet you from the stairwell where he shall forever live. But I promise Anthropologie is the only store we get all “anything you can do, I can do better with.”
What has been one of the most frustrating parts of creative arts/creative ministry for you or your team? How did you overcome it?
There will always be more to do than time allows and the size of your team can accomplish. You’ve got to get over that and not have a pity party every time you feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter how many people you have, and hiring doesn’t solve a lack of systems and priority protocols. When I became part of NLC Creative in 2011 there were 7 of us and we were launching our 5th Campus. We now have close to thirty on our team (full time, part time, and lay Staff). We just launched our 18th Campus in January, and guess what… Our to-do lists are still overflowing. Our directors have worked very hard to create a tier system for our projects, and we communicate frequently with our lead team to prioritize where our time goes. That allows us to focus. It’s super important to know your pastors and communicate well with them, because you could spend forty hours on something you think is important, but they may tell you it’s not as important as that project you back-burnered — then you’re scrambling when they hand you a task on the fly. Spending time on systems will help you more than anything, after seeking the anointing of God First, obviously!
What keeps you going in creative ministry?
The WHY — and that always takes us to our first core value. We believe in the value of a soul. Every soul. Each soul. Creative ministry helps set the table for the spirit of God to work in people’s hearts. Now, let me be clear. God moves whether we have lights or Christmas decor or not, but he also is so faithful to use these earthly things as an opportunity to invite someone into a family. Making a Christmas Install possible for seventeen churches to execute is a grueling task full of administration and google docs, but when we find out over 570 people walked into the church to help light a tree, it fires us right back up.
Describe how you and your team builds a creative atmosphere:
We have a whole document of leadership expectations and we talk through it multiple times a year with our team. We care more about bringing in LEADERS than what your skills are. We want to build teams across all of our campuses more than anything! As far as an atmosphere goes, our office, affectionately known as #CRTVCLOUD has all the elements we love! Community-driven open work flow, a giant table, creative layout and design (it was a storage space that we tree-housed ourselves into) and plenty of coffee to go around.
Describe how your creative team works:
Our central Creative team helps oversee the following areas for all of our church locations — communications, marketing, graphics, video, photography, social media, website, environments and production. We have a team of directors that oversee the different teams, and some people are able to work within multiple teams (production and social media, etc). We initiate and oversee all major events and series for the church in addition to setting the standards for branding, look and feel, and most importantly, building volunteer teams.
Then, we encourage every campus to build heir own creative team similar to our own structure. We give them a list of volunteer positions to cover all of the areas our team covers. We want every campus to have someone who covers social media, oversees environments projects or leads their weekend production team. We then build relationships and communicate with their volunteer team leaders to maintain consistency and share vision. This has become the most effective way for us to get things done on this scale within our staff limitations, but it also allows others to serve with their gifts in the community of their own city and campus.
What is your vision for the creative church and creative ministry?
I believe the church should be at the forefront of creativity. We are images of God who created the heavens and the earth. Not only that, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us. That means we have infinite ability to create things that impact, inspire and move the hearts of man — we only need to be connected to the source with open hands and hearts. So, as of now people look to famous stores and awards shows for inspiration, but I believe that life-giving churches who are passionate about seeking the anointing of God and pursuing the lost with everything we have could one day be viewed with awe and wonder by the whole world. Our church believes that “Excellence honors God and inspires people” but also that “The anointing of God is vital to everything we do.” As long as we are on our face before God with open hands, I believe we can innovate and push the envelope in the creative world, and do it with the right motives.
Two Moon Design + Craft
Jamie is a wife, new mom, and entrepreneur. She owns a design and build business called Two Moon Design + Craft, and serves on the Creative team at New Life Church. She and her husband Barrett live in Conway, Arkansas with their 8 month-old son and two pups.