22 April 2008 ~ 8 Comments

Cultural Creatives: Part 1

So, as I mentioned before, I’m currently out in Sacramento for our annual District Council.  Truth is, it’s mostly a bunch of business meeting…not that exciting.  On top of that, the truth is, the Assemblies is kinda a new world to Rachel and I, a new culture, so we don’t always feel like we fit in.  But the opportunity to get away with our lead pastor and his wife and spend some quality time with them is well worth the time and the trip.

In order to make it feel a little more useful, they throw in a couple of ministry related seminars as well.  I was able to attend two today.  First one, not so impressed.  Second one, different story.  I was kinda stoked to see that Earl Creps was doing several of the breakouts.  I’ve always enjoyed Earls insights in blog posts as well as his visit to CLC, and I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say in this particular gathering.  It didn’t disappoint.  (And Earl, I’m not just saying that cause I know your Google hunter thing will flag this and you will read this blog.  I mean it!  ;) )

The session was on "Reaching Cultural Creatives."  It really got some ideas and thoughts bouncing around in my dome.  So, allow me to unpack my notes here, and ask you a few questions over the next three days on your thoughts.  This is conversation time, so don’t be shy!

Most of his thoughts and material were birthed from a book called Cities and the Creative Class by Richard Florida, an urban planter.  A book I think I’m gonna have to read now.  Here were the main ideas about creatives and how it applied to the church.

Most of America can be split into three categories of the labor pool:

  1. Creative Class – approx. 39 million.  These are the people who are creating the future we will all live.  This is the guy who will create the "box" that comes after the iPod.  Whether they come to know Christ or not, these are the people who will be creating the culture.
  2. Engineering Sector – approx. 34 millions.  These are the people who will build the box that the creative creates.
  3. Service sector workers – approx. 56 million.  This is the majority of the labor force.  These are the people who will then service that box that comes after the iPod.

Different communities have different population densities of these classes if you will.
Naturally, there are things that attract creatives to the places that they gather in highest numbers.
Primarily, these people are looking for:

  • Talent – they are talented and want to be around other talented people like them.
  • Technology – how do things get done?  Desire for convenience.
  • Tolerance – let me do what I want as long as no one else is being hurt.

As far as places to go, our churches included, they are looking for:

  • Quality of an experience.
  • First level of your truth is the level of your tolerance.
  • Want to be somewhere with other creatives.
  • Want to have the opportunity to validate who they are and what their contribution is.

Finally, here are the traits to an "event" that would attract the creative:

  • Casual – I can come however I want to.
  • Convenient
  • Inclusive
  • Participatory
  • Can develop a support network very quickly – may be able to attend next in four meetings or something, so need to connect quickly.
  • Prefer coffee shops over sports stadiums – and usually the locally owned, free trade. "down with the man" coffee shop, not Starbucks.

So ultimately, to reach the cultural creative, it is not about building something new, better, and different.  Figure out the barriers to them being with you and tear those barriers down.

A little dry without the delivery, but you get the idea.  I found myself nodding a lot as Earl spoke and really resonating with the feelings and worldview of the "cultural creative."

So here’s my question for today (assuming you’ve managed to carve out the time to read this long).  It is actually quite elementary and almost backs up to before the talk. 

I wonder, does the church, as a whole, really see a high value in reaching this creative class?
What are the benefits to it?
Obviously, if the church wants to be creating culture, I think it is crucial.  And we give a lot of lip service to believing that.  But as I read through that stuff, our natural Christian sub-culture of today probably doesn’t really jive with the desires of the typical creative.  There are lots of barriers to break down.
Does the Church at large really buy into this idea of reaching this group?
Or, more importantly, how many of our churches are willing to pay the cost it will take and make the changes that will be needed to tear down those barriers?

What do you think?  What are the reasons to even go there?  Are we there?  How are you seeing it happen?  Or not happen?

Your turn…go!

This post is a contribution to Water Cooler Wednesday.  Stop on by and contribute yourself!

8 Responses to “Cultural Creatives: Part 1”