|An Interview: Jordan Cooper
Questions presented by Fred Peatross
Thursday, June 6, 2002
Jordon Cooper lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada where he preaches and pastors the Lakeland Community Church. Jordan's talents, and his flair for the creative, have provided him the unique opportunity to lead and direct churches in the area of internet communications. Jordan also spends time studing the best practices of churches, future trends, and he enjoys exploring cool ideas.
Jordon was educated at Aldersgate College, Central Pentecostal College, and the University of Saskatchewan. He reads approximately 150 books a year which, Jordan states, "...probably makes me a nerd." In his spare time he enjoys playing sports, politics, and working on his house and yard. Jordon states that the one cool thing he and his wife have added to their landscaping efforts is the legendary, "postmodern hedge" (it's non-linear and cliched all in one).
1) I really appreciated the article "Creativity in The Local Church." Just superb Jordon! Can you expound on this theme and stretch us just a little?
We value a lot of things in churches, carpeting, keeping the building nice, a tight sermon and good sound but we don't value really creative ideas. There seems to be an awareness that we need to be creative but in the end, we fall back to the safe and known. I think that is a huge problem for churches everywhere. We are afraid to step out. I think this happens for several reasons but the calling of pastorate seems to attract some very conservative leaders and they are often very afraid of new ideas. Lack of creativity isn't a modern or postmodern thing and just because you have a shaved head doesn't mean you aren't afraid of the new. We are afraid to risk and the more we have the more we have to lose (which is why the larger and the bigger churches often stagnate and die a slow and painful death). We need to learn to risk again.
2) Creativity breeds expectation. How do you keep your passion alive when your expectations don't materialize?
I brush failure off and blame it on my team (I'm kidding). Actually when you know you are taking a risk beforehand, failure is just part of it. It is something that you don't want to see happen but if it does, you often can learn from it. I have very high expectations but I also realize that creativity and learning is a process. The other thing is to look at history. Babe Ruth owns the strikeout record. Winston Churchill's political career was a mess until the Second World War and then deteriorated afterwards again. I have failed before and will fail again. You can't have success without some set backs along the way. If you do, your sights are set a little low.
3) Does the word "creativity" evoke a positive or negative response in your congregation? Why? If creativity evokes a positive response; was it that way when you first arrived or did you help them develop it?
I don't think there is a church out there that does not value creativity. Maybe there is but I have never heard of one. People may resist certain things that are creative but the fact that they are new isn't the issue. Trust is important to creativity. I give people I trust more freedom to be creative. Many times people try something and people don't like it because of a lack of relationship with others.
4) What's the difference between creativity and weird?
Good question but I really don't know, can never tell. I think it is in the eyes of the beholder. Some people I know are wonderful Christians, they love God, and others but anything outside of their really small circle of comfort is threatening and weird. For others, they can see creativity in anything.
5) What's the relationship between creative and renewal?
I don't think they exist apart. For myself, when spiritual life is hurting, I am not creative. I find my ideas then being the same size as what I am capable of when my spirit soars, so does the ideas that I have. Renewal feeds creativity and they both come from God.
6) When the epitaph is written on your ministry, what do you want it to read?
I like to think that I am carrying the ministry on of those who ministered to me. I want to keep investing in others so they carry on my ministry but also those who have gone before me. If people insist to write one I hope they see the power of grace in my life demonstrated towards other if that doesn't work out, I hope they put on a cool Simpsons quote.
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