Nothing Into Something Video


My friend, Blaine Hogan of Willow Creek, produced this great video. I thought it was a good follow-up to my post last week on the Creation debate. Flour, holi powder, and the amazing David Ingram, helped to create this piece that Blaine’s team is quite proud of. Enjoy!


Dancer: David Ingram

Executive Producer: Paul Johnson

Writer, Director, Producer, Flour-thrower: Blaine Hogan, Bjorn Amundsen

Producer: Rhianna Godfrey

Music: Energico by AJ Hochhalter

DP: Bjorn Amundsen

Editor: Bjorn Amundsen

Sound Design: Ryan Pribyl

Voice Talent: Kabir Singh


Guest Post by Blaine Hogan: The Risk of Staying

The following is a guest blog by Blaine Hogan, Experience Engineer at Willow Creek Community Church where he creates contexts and spaces for people to experience God using video, multimedia, movement, and performance art.

A few months ago I got a call from a friend of mine asking if I’d consider applying for a creative leadership position at his church. The excitement of the opportunity was quickly overshadowed with a cloud questions.

Is this the right thing? Should we leave Chicago? What does my story have to say about all this?

I left home at 18 in search of risk and adventure. As such, I spent most of my life running around the country from one thing to the next. Some of it was circumstantial. Some you can chalk up to the “actor’s life.” But much of it was simply because I was afraid. Afraid that if I stayed anywhere too long people would find me out. And who wants that?

As Margaret and I contemplated the idea of leaving it became very clear we weren’t supposed to pursue the opportunity. At my most smug I triumphantly declared the reason for staying as: “I’m not done with this place!” And while some of that may be true, my smugness was wiped quickly from my face as the actual reality set in: this place isn’t done with me.

Something in me realized that staying would be far harder than going somewhere new where I could start over. Something in me realized that doing the harder thing would be the very best thing. Something in me realized I was to do a new thing that seemingly was not a new thing at all – stay.

Leaving is no longer the risky thing for me. The risky thing now is staying.

It is submitting to the painfully transforming process of community. It is doing a dumb thing at work and then having to show back up the next day to face those you’ve disappointed. It is telling the truth instead of protecting yourself. It is letting people love you in spite of your ugly and broken bits and then letting them gently guide you into the light. It is showing up to dinners instead of going home and feeling sorry for yourself. It is letting yourself go – in a good way.

For you the risky thing might be leaving. It might mean getting the hell out of dodge – and fast. But for others of you it might mean staying put…breathing…letting yourself go…and letting your community have its way with you.

Esther De Wall wrote about St. Benedict and his life as a monk. I’ll end with her words on staying put as she says it much better than I could:

“Instead of this bewildering and exhausting rushing from one thing to another, monastic stability means accepting this particular community, this place and these people, this and no other, as the way to God. The man or woman who voluntarily limits himself or herself to one building and a few acres of ground for the rest of life is saying that contentment and fulfillment do not consist in constant change, that true happiness cannot necessarily be found anywhere other than in the place and this time.” - Esther De Wall | Seeking God, The Way of St. Benedict

New Willow Creek Video


My friend, Blain Hogan, at Willow Creek sent me this video for a new series they’re doing. I like the simplicity and class of the video. I like the use of the white and black in the text. I like the abstract shots in the background. I like the chair at the end. What are your thoughts on the video? What are you working on at your church?

***(I apologize – the video was too wide to embed here)***

Digital Real Estate

You may have never heard the term (I haven’t and neither has Wikipedia), but I’d like to introduce you to it: digital real estate. It’s a term that I use often and think more people ought to be talking about.

To me, digital real estate is when you (as an individual) or your church or ministry claims your name on the web. A long time ago I went through all the social media and social networking sites and grabbed up the name “Greg Atkinson”. My blog is, my Twitter is @GregAtkinson, etc.

Get this: when Facebook started offering vanity names I was on vacation and missed grabbing my name by 2 days. On Facebook, my personal web address is, instead of Another Greg Atkinson beat me to it!

Do you have your name reserved on various websites? Have you claimed your church’s name? There can only be one Grace Community and one Hope _______ and one Calvary _______. Whatever your church’s or organization’s name is, it’s important to grab it before someone else does.

Hear me, I don’t mean this in a vicious, beat out another Grace Baptist way. I mean someone else (not a church) could grab that name and do horrible things with it – really misrepresenting you and your church. Earlier this week I was speaking at the Bug Conference in Birmingham and heard horror stories from Maurilio Amorim, owner and president of The A Group in Nashville.

That’s why you see (left) and Willow Creek (below) have already grabbed up their Twitter names, though they are not yet using them.

Did you know Rick Warren had 5000 followers before his first tweet? Someone on his staff (or him) grabbed the name and held it in-case Rick wanted to start twittering. Rick is now twittering and is quickly approaching 10,000 followers. His first tweet is below:

@RickWarren – 2 tweet or not 2 tweet? I fear the narcissistic possibility, but can’t pass up any tool to encourage you! Jumping in! .

And so he dove in. At the time of this writing, Rick has 14 tweets. The point is all the people you see above, including worship leader Matt Redman, grabbed their name – they, whether they realized it or not, practiced the rule of digital real estate and claimed their territory.

Maybe you, your pastor or your church isn’t into all this social media and social networking stuff. Who’s to say that you won’t be in a year or six months? Why not go ahead and grab your space now, so as to reserve it in-case you change your mind?