Mission Highlight: Thank you Yiqian for sharing with us about the specific challenges and opportunities for those of us in the creative industry. For those of you who missed it, here is what she shared:
"Good morning! My name is Yiqian, and I’ve been attending Christ Church since last fall. I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you, and looking forward to meeting more in the coming weeks. Today for our Mission Highlight segment, I’ll be sharing with you the particular challenges and opportunities we face while working in the creative sector in San Francisco.
San Francisco has a history of embracing the creatives. Back in the mid 60s, the Haight-Ashbury district was a haven for writers, artists, and musicians. They were attracted by cheap rent and an inclusive community. Today, we can’t claim cheap rent as one of the things that draws creatives here, but the city is still an inspiring place to be. On a practical level, just like people in other industries, we too face the high cost of living, the saturated market, and question whether what we do is sustainable here.
In our profession, our work is both public and private. Public because it’s out there for everyone to judge, and private because we often work alone and don’t have a team to collaborate with or colleagues to bounce ideas off. And at times, that can feel really lonely and discouraging.
As a photographer, I know I start to doubt my vision and abilities when I compare my work with others. And that’s when I need to remind myself that as a Christian artist, my gifts, my time, my business, my clients all come from God. He’s the one that put me on this path, so I need to trust his leading. Ultimately, he should be my source of inspiration.
When I’m able to view my work as His calling, then the challenges I face become opportunities for me to exercise my faith. Rather than comparing myself with others, I should build a community by encouraging other likeminded artists. On Instagram, a lot of photographers have started to use a hashtag called #communityovercompetition. I love that, and I think it perfectly captures our job as Christian artists. We should be building each other up.
For me personally, the best part of my job as a photographer is meeting those clients and finding out their stories. Getting to spend a few hours at a session with strangers means by the end of it, you are no longer strangers!
The longer I’m in the business, the more I realize how much this business is about people. Whether it’s with other photographers or clients, I’m building relationships. And isn’t that what we are called to do? Impacting people. What an opportunity we have as creatives to use our work to reflect Christ while touching lives. I think our hope is that our work speaks to you: through our writing, seeing our photographs, the art we produce, the music you hear, you see humanity and a wonderfully creative God as the source of our inspiration."
Then Jon-Paul asked all the Creatives in our congregation to stand, and prayed a commissioning prayer over us, sending us out in Christ's name to do the work he called us to do, as we reflect God's creativity with his overflowing of joy so that others may be touched and see God's glory, for his kingdom. Let's all continue to pray about what it means to be sent out by God to our respective fields and callings and ask for God to guide us daily in it.