We have been conditioned to celebrate mountaintop moments and smash successes. We’ve also been duped into believing that our work is measured in wins and losses; as if it all boils down to our great victories and our major misses.

It appears that our only options are to become a #1 New York Times bestseller or a pajama-clad shmuck writing in the basement. You can either be an award winning filmmaker or a hopeless dreamer adding to the noise on YouTube. The next progressive business leader or a mindless cog in a cubicle.

Although it is our highs and lows that often reveal our character, we continually forget about the slow, hard work of everyday faithfulness that builds our character. Although Jesus compares God to a vine, we discount the importance of simply staying connected to our source of life.

This is a preview of the Creative Theology 2.0 ecourse. I’vs just opened a pay-what-you-can ticket so price is NOT A BARRIER for you to learn more about how to align their life and work with the Gospel.

Eventbrite - Creative Theology eCourse 2.0

Final post on identity and value…

We are like a nation in exile

In Exodus 5, Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh requesting that he release the Israelites from their slavery to present their offerings to God. Pharaoh responded negatively, as he saw their request as a result of being lazy.

Taking time off work to offer up their hard earned goods to God was, by economic standards, wasteful. The people’s worth was entirely wrapped up in their work. Their value was quantified in bricks. A slave was simply worth the bricks he could produce.

It is in this context, where for 400 plus years the Israelite nation was worth only what they could produce, that God commands rest.

To a people whose lives were centered around productivity, God commanded that they take time out to pause. To recharge. To rest.

Sabbath tends to make us uncomfortable for the same reasons Pharaoh found it repulsive. Much like Pharaoh, our society sees taking time out to pause as wasteful, lazy even.

We have commitments, deadlines, soccer practice, dance recitals, church services, and dinner parties. We have all these things which make us feel like we’re worth something. Our value, then, is often determined by how much we can get done…

This is a preview of the Creative Theology 2.0 ecourse. I’d love to have you join those who have already registered to learn more about how to align their life and work with the Gospel.

Eventbrite - Creative Theology eCourse 2.0

A few more thoughts on identity and value:

Understanding the importance and significance of our work is one side of the coin…

The other side is not allowing ourselves to be defined by our work.
You are not your art, even though you are all tied up into it in weird sorts of ways, and a part of you is exposed when you create something for the world to see.

You are not your failures, even when they deeply impact you and those around you. And you are also not your past. Every day is an opportunity to turn the page on a chapter in your life and move forward in creating a body of work with your life you’ll be proud of.

You are not your successes, even when those around you begin to feel and think differently about you because of them. Celebrate successes, and then carry on. Refuse to define your worth and value by how or what you produce. Eventually you’ll fail, and in that moment, you’ll need to understand that you are not your failures.

This is an excerpt from the first lesson in the Creative Theology 2.0 ecourse.
Register now for only $10!

Identity & Value

Sam Mahlstadt —  August 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

One of the most daunting challenges facing artists is navigating the tension between taking their work seriously and being defined by their work.

Although I say artists, I really mean anyone. We all create, and we are all creating a body of work with our lives. So while artists feel this more acutely than most, we can all learn from this concept: we all must understand the significance of your work without being defined by it.

And for Jesus followers…

You see for those of us who believe that God is in the act of setting all things right and mending our hearts as he mends the entire cosmos, our work here is a part of his grand renewal. The body of work we are creating with our lives serves as a signpost to a kingdom that is breaking forth in this world and to a reality where all things are being made new. Needless to say, then, our work is important. And it carries eternal significance…

This is an excerpt from the first lesson in the Creative Theology 2.0 ecourse.

Sign up here for only $10!

As I’ve been writing about issues of faith and creativity the past few years, I have seen reoccuring themes and struggles among artists, creative directors, pastors, and lay-people as they wrestle with what it means to live and create art, and a life, that honors God.

Within worship services, at day jobs, and in our communities, these themes reemerge over and over again.

For this reason, I created an ecourse to give some theologically grounded, highly practical next steps to overcoming common struggles felt both by those creating work within the church, and those who are faithfully navigating their daily work in pursuit of honoring God.

A group made up of worship leaders, artists, business people, nonprofit leaders, and an entire creative arts church staff went through the course last year. I learned some things, got feedback, and made the course better. This 2.0 course has similar content, but is more focused, deeper, and more immediately applicable. Here’s what’s in store:

We will discuss what it means to join God in his good work. I will be sharing a few concepts such as how to creaft your life (and art) in response to the Creator, how the burden of creation may seem inevitable but how it can be conquered, and what it means to take our place in the restorative work of God.

The course will run for 2 weeks, and the content will be delivered via email daily (10 total).

Here’s some of the content we’ll cover within the course:

  • Creating a body of work with your life
  • Living in response to God’s work all around you
  • How working in bursts creates much needed margin
  • Cultivating creative talent
  • Curating artwork and a life well lived
  • Producing deep work and resisting the urge to phone it in 
  • Joining in the work of the gospel

Registration secures you a spot in an exclusive online community that will receive resources and an opportunity to connect throughout the year. All attendees will also receive an eBook version of Creative TheologySee what people are saying about the book here.

The course is for:

  • Pastors
  • Creative Directors
  • Those who are referred to as “creatives” or refer to themselves as an artist
  • Musicians
  • Worship Leaders
  • Writers
  • Those interested in exploring the intersection between faith and creativity

The course is not for:

  • Those with all the answers
  • Those who can fit faith, creativity, and work into three different compartments

Secure your spot today!


Q: I’m not on staff at a church, should I attend?

A: Absolutely! There will be some content specific to those who work in the church, but the concepts are not exclusive to church work.

Q: When does the course start?

A: The first email of the course will be in your inbox on Monday morning, September 1st. 

Q: Are there group discounts?

A: Yes. Email Smahlstadt at gmail dot com

If you have unanswered questions send them to smahlstadt at gmail dot com

If this is you, register to secure your spot here!