Len-speaking-2014

 

Invite Me to Speak At Your Next Event 

My wheelhouse is a passion for fostering personal and congregational creativity, for guiding great ideas to actual innovation and change, and for helping the church communicate the gospel more effectively through a sustainable culture of visual storytelling, worship development, and marketing.

I believe there’s a common spiritual root to many of the problems facing church and culture today: a lack of creativity. 

Innovation that leads to growth and vitality can happen in a variety of settings: strategic thinking, leadership, worship and arts, communication, mission, discipleship, and more. But the foundation is the same.  A key to vitality is to move yourself and others from consumption, where we are conformed to patterns of decline, to creativity, where we are transformed by our God-given impulse and calling to make things new.

I’d be honored to help you spark congregational creative energy. Click the button below to inquire about an event or keep reading for more details:

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The following three talks, each based on my book Think Like a Five Year Old, can live separately, as a keynote and subsequent workshops, or as a sequence, say for a retreat setting. They are ideally suited in the sequence in which they’re listed.

Think Like a Five Year Old 

Supposedly, since we’re made in the image of God the Creator, we have creativity in us. This may be theologically true, but most of us don’t know it to be so. In fact, the vast majority of us don’t consider ourselves to be creative at all. Maybe that’s why recent workplace surveys say most of us want to quit our work. Learn the story of creativity: what happened, how to reclaim the art God designed for you to make, and unlock real innovation right where you live.

Techniques for Cultivating Your Creativity

Creativity and its application, innovation, begins with personal habits we form. In this workshop, learn creativity as a spiritual discipline: how to overcome the tyranny of the blank page, how to tame your schedule – and your mind – to leverage good ideas, best practices, and more.

Innovation is Creativity That Ships

Innovation is where the creative rubber meets the road. Often, our problem isn’t lack of ideas, but an inability to realize them. All great innovations are applied creativity, which is frequently mischaracterized as the uncreative work of project development. In this workshop, learn how to refine your raw creative ore into complete projects. This is the workshop for improving your capacity to get things done.


I also speak on a variety of topics related to creativity and communication in church life, such as:

10 Practices I Wish Every Church Leader Understood About Creative Arts and Communication

I’ve been practicing the craft of creativity, visual arts, and communications in church life since 1995. Here are the core creativity questions pastors and church leaders perennially deal with and answers I have discovered in the work of daily ministry.

Taking Flight: Best Practices for More Creative Worship

I’ve been practicing, studying and teaching about creativity in worship since 1995. Here is the best of what I have learned, including a vision for innovation in worship, how to build a design process that works, tips for planning and development, and how to overcome the obstacles that frequently keep teams from taking flight together. Based partially on my book Taking Flight With Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work.

Five Brand Secrets to Communicating a Compelling Vision

People don’t give time and money to pay your light bill, but to see lives changed. While we may cognitively understand this, we disagree in practice, because we communicate the process, not the vision for what might be. People don’t care about your process. This workshop focuses on the idea of your brand as a promise and five secrets to developing campaigns and leveraging technology that focuses on your shared dreams and aspirational possibilities.

(For Church Leaders) How to Make Your Church or Organization More Creative

While many are talking about the power of story, few are creating a good corporate environment for successful storytelling to flourish. Instead, while leaders want more creative and dynamic environments, and storytellers and artists want a place to practice their craft, often the two groups can’t seem to work together. In fact, many leaders diminish creativity in their staff without ever knowing it. This session explores secrets to unlocking creative potential. How can you create an environment for creatives to flourish?

(For Communicators) Seven Secrets to Help People Remember Your Big Idea

Marketing is a hassle. You’ve got your cool creative idea produced and it sure would be a heck of a lot easier if people would automatically flock to it. Of course, this doesn’t happen. You’ve got to get the word out. To some extent, other people can help you do this, but when it comes down to it, the number one champion for your big idea is you. The first step is to admit your ownership. Say to yourself: I am responsible for marketing my own big idea. There, that wasn’t so bad. The rest is cake. Just follow these seven strategic approaches.

(For Worship Leaders) Ten Common Questions About Using Screens in Worship

Whether novice or seasoned veteran, these are the basic questions that everyone needs to know in order to use screens more effectively in worship. Consider this a crash course on screen use in your church. Based on my books The Wired Church and The Wired Church 2, and two decades of experience working in the trenches of church communication.

(For Marketers) Jesus Marketer: How to Craft a Message That Changes Hearts and Lives

Many of us think of marketing as a necessary evil that comes after the more noble and meaningful work of creating the big idea. We like to pretend that how we present our idea doesn’t matter. And yet our efforts often float away without reaching those who so desperately need it. The package matters. Lucky for us, Jesus had a marketing strategy. The question is, in addition to communicating about Jesus, what if we began to communicate like Jesus?

Think Like a Five Year Old Len Wilson

My calling is to use creativity and effective communication to share Jesus Christ and advance God’s kingdom. I have been practicing my craft since 1993, and in 1996 I began to write and teach others to do the same. Along the way I have honed a philosophy and strategy for what I do and have developed a variety of hard skills for improving creativity and sparking innovation.

I have spent the bulk of my career in the local church, joining with colleagues to develop creative and storytelling congregational cultures, the kind of places that artists want to join. My theological education and field experience, coupled with my ongoing research and writing on creativity, uniquely positions me to speak on creativity and the life of following Jesus. My wheelhouse is a passion for fostering personal and community creativity, for turning dreams and ideas into real innovation and change, and, tactically, for helping your church communicate the gospel more effectively through art and design.

I have written ten books. The most recent, Think Like a Five Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder and Create Great Things, comes out through Abingdon Press on June 2, 2015. Click here to learn more about it.

In addition to my writing, I currently lead a team of creatives and communicators at Peachtree, the largest Presbyterian congregation in the USA.

My beautiful wife Shar and I have been married for 23 years. We have four children in school, which makes for a busy and fulfilling life stage.

Learn more about me, read a longer bio, and view my ministry and educational background at the link.

Get a taste of my speaking style with these brief segments, recorded at an event for pastors called Prodigal Worship, in April, 2010, with friend and former speaking partner Jason Moore.

On how most churches treat screens in worship

Here I describe the typical story that happens when churches introduce screens in worship.


On using visual imagery to create meaning and retention

Here I talk about the power of visual metaphors to increase meaning and retention.


On the shift from text to image

Here I describe how the way the church communicates is stuck in the 1940s.


On creativity and Jesus’ teaching style

Here I talk about what Mark 4 teaches us about creativity and Jesus’ teaching style.


If you contact me to speak at your event, expect that:

  1. I will be courteous and professional.
  2. I will consult with you about how your event’s needs best align with my knowledge and experience.
  3. I will propose content that helps fulfill your vision.
  4. I will make everything official by mutual agreement.
  5. I will announce and promote your event on my blog and social media channels.
  6. I will bring a professionally prepared, dynamically delivered presentation to your event.

Len’s work at Midnight Oil was my first glimmer of hope that I could change how churches communicate.
 – Michael Buckingham, Creative Director, Victory World Outreach and Owner, Holy Cow Creative

Few authors have foreseen the future of language. Len captures not only the prophetic union of technology and worship, but the first glimpse at a new way of thinking. Without a grasp of this new language, I can not see how the church can survive. That’s how important Len’s work is.
 – Thomas Hohstadt, Conductor, Fulbright Scholar

Len is a master wordsmith and communicator.
– Will Willimon, Author

Len’s writing and insights for the church go far beyond media; they extend to how we effectively communicate the Gospel to generation that has largely dismissed what the church has to say.
 – Jordon Cooper, Founding member, resonate.ca

Len is an artist and thought leader.
 – Gary Molander, Author, Pastor, Owner at Floodgate Productions

Len’s vision for the effective use of media in worship has transformed worship experiences in numerous congregations around the country.
 – Warren Pattison, First United Methodist Church, Lakeland, FL

Len is a creative master.
– Grant Hagiya, Bishop, United Methodist Church

Len Wilson is an incredible speaker and a gifted minister of the Gospel. He is able to effectively communicate his vision for using media to reach people for the Kingdom of God!
 – Phil Graves, Web/Graphic Designer at All Saints Media

The first time I heard Len speak on his passion, I knew he was the real deal. Len speaks from the heart and works hard to help church volunteers and staff create an atmosphere for worship.
 – Darell Jordan, Software Support Specialist, Hewlett-Packard

As Senior Leadership Editor at Abingdon Press, Len brought heft and breadth to our acquisitions.
 – Neil Alexander, President and Publisher, United Methodist Publishing House

Len possesses a rarely-seen combination of creativity and attention to detail which together make his work both strikingly original and highly correct.
 – Rebecca Burgoyne, Director, Publishing Operations, United Methodist Publishing House

Len took over a fledgling ministry at Ginghamsburg Church and developed it into a nationally recognized program of innovation and effectiveness by producing some of the most effective tools for communicating deep theological concepts in ways that informed, inspired, and entertained.
– Mike Gibbs, Missions Pastor, Ginghamsburg Church

Len literally wrote the book on the development and use of engaging multimedia communications in worship.
 – Steve Fridsma, architect, Grand Rapids MI

Len is the most creative person I’ve ever been around. He makes everyone around him better.
 – John Allen, Senior Pastor, Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church, Flower Mound, Tx

Len’s insight, design sense, and communication skills are limitless.
 – Myca Alford, Strategic Marketing Manager, United Methodist Communications

Len consistently brings creativity, professionalism and a high level of expertise to the creation and effective use of media, creating a “digital stained glass window” that enhances worship in powerful ways. Len also has a clear understanding of the value and mechanics of team building, and the significance of spiritual relationships in the worship design process.
 – Claudia Lavy, Vice President, Deepening Your Effectiveness, Inc.

 

I published my first short story at age 14 and my first church leadership book, The Wired Church, at age 28. I have been lead or solo writer for nine books to pastors, church leaders, communicators, and worship leaders. In addition, I have written 40 journal and magazine articles, maintained a blog since 2007, and occasionally contribute to other blogs.

My tenth book, Think Like a Five Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder and Create Great Things, is a mass market trade Christian book on creativity. It officially releases on June 2, 2015. Learn more about my books here.

I have been honored to conduct over 200 keynote addresses and workshops in venues of all sizes. Highlights include:

  • 44 US states and 4 Canadian provinces
  • Disney Creativity Conference (2 times)
  • World Association for Christian Communication
  • Festival of Homiletics
  • ShowBiz Expo
  • Break Forth Canada
  • NAB: National Association of Broadcasters (3 times)
  • NRB: National Religious Broadcasters
  • Worship Leader National Conference (3 times)
  • Ginghamsburg Change Conference (4 times)
  • Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute (5 times)

 

LenWilson-2014-Photo-low-res

Len Wilson low-res file (Right-click above photo to download)

Len Wilson Short and Long Bios (PDF, Click to download)

LenWilson-2014-Photo-high-res (JPG, 5 MB, Click to download)

 

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