The past year has been a year of transition, challenge, and change for Torn Curtain Arts. We’ve been working to hone in, with laser focus, on what it is we do and who we want to serve. After a lot of discussion, prayer, planning, and word-smithing, we are so pleased to share with all of you our new mission statement:
Torn Curtain Arts exists to strengthen the creative soul of worship leaders in Denver.
I’ll unpack a little more of the “how” in a moment. Let me start by sharing a verse that helps explain the “why” behind our new mission:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MES)
I come back to this verse, in this particular translation, a lot. There is so much about the way this is worded that resonates with me:
Burned out on religion.
If I’m honest, these words would describe how I’ve felt for the majority of my ministry career. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve awakened on a Monday morning with what I call a “worship hangover.” Tired. Worn out. Wondering if standing up on a stage and singing songs in front of people at church, listening to sermons, shaking hands with and accepting compliments from people I barely know and doing it all over again next Sunday…is this all there is to “church”? Is this all there is to ministry? Am I just chasing weekends, working to advance an institution that operates more like a corporation than a movement that springs forth from a community of love and grace?
Finding myself in this space of doubt and frustration is almost always met with the words of Jesus’ invitation, words of comfort and peace:
Get away with me.
Walk with me.
Unforced rhythms of grace.
As I walk in community with other worship leaders and pastors and talk through our shared frustrations and joys, I know I’m not alone living in this tension. We are often tired and feel burned out, but Sundays just keep coming. And as worn out as we get, and as much doubt and discontentment as we experience, we know we are still called…called to follow Christ and serve the Church. So we grind on, we push through, and we try to come up for air as often as possible to hopefully experience the “unforced rhythms of grace” that we long for.
Unfortunately, those rhythms are much more irregular than we intend or wish they were. To compensate, we begin falling back into safety and stop taking creative risks. We stop connecting with others. We begin seeing our calling to lead as a task to be completed. The bare minimum and last-ditch-efforts start to feel like major accomplishments. Our relationship with our community and connection to God are less like the air we effortlessly breathe on a daily basis and more like desperate gasps before we’re overwhelmed by the ocean of ministry we’re drowning in.
Torn Curtain Arts exists for the worship leaders who live in this space, the ones who are tired, worn out, and burned out. The ones who feel out of place. The ones who know there is more to ministry than chasing weekends but lack the tools or the time to find that better way. We want to be a resource and a safe community for worship leaders to find space and clarity to strengthen their creative souls so that they can pursue their calling with wonder and abandon.
We intend to do this by creating communities of like-minded worship leaders and provide mentoring, training, and resources that will inspire and rejuvenate our creative souls. Throughout the year, we will be hosting meet-ups that will bring leaders together to discuss, commiserate, and remind one another that we’re not alone. We will be releasing a Lenten devotional based on the “Darkness” event that we produced last Easter, a spiritual practice designed to help everyone engage with the journey that led Christ to the cross. We’ll also be launching two new podcasts this summer as a resource to help worship leaders (or anyone who wants to listen) engage with worship in different ways.
Thank you so much for going on this new journey with us. If you believe that what we’re doing is worthwhile and beneficial to the Church, you can help us in two ways: 1) Spread the word! Tell other worship leaders you know about TCA—we’d love to meet them and engage in anyway we can. And, 2) donate to Torn Curtain. Creating resources and environments like this is only possible with your financial support! You can donate here, or consider providing ongoing support. Thank you in advance for your encouragement and generosity! We’re looking forward to all that God is going to do in 2019!