Walt Disney and Easter

Justin Kollmeyer's picture

Ed Young, Christian pastor, author, and speaker, writes in his book The Creative Leader:

“Following his stint in World War I, Walt Disney stepped into the American entertainment business with dreams of becoming a cartoonist and animator. Despite setback after setback, Disney persisted with his vision to produce groundbreaking entertainment through the creative medium of animation.

“After years of perseverance, he was the first animator to produce a ‘talkie’ cartoon feature or a Technicolor release of a movie cartoon. Disney turned down deals to work for big-name entertainment firms because they would involve sacrificing his vision, his pursuit of excellence, his attention to meticulous detail, and his creative rights. He recognized that film studio committees would stifle the creative process and vowed early on that he would not work for anyone else, insisting instead that he would maintain control of his own work.

“Disney embodies the creative ideal. He worked harder than his competition, fought diligently for his dreams, aggressively protected his work, and would not let anyone dissuade him from his vision. He was constantly thinking of ways to stay ahead of the trend, He inspired creative potential in others around him and continues to inspire many today. Above all, he never, ever gave up. Eventually, his vision propelled the Disney Corporation into a multi-billion-dollar entertainment company. There is nothing easy about being creative. Walt Disney worked hard, giving his life to animating talking animals on celluloid to make people laugh. One question, though, begs to be asked: How much harder should we work at giving our lives to building the creative church, a spiritual enterprise that connects people to the living Lord?

“It is not easy to stay ahead of the cultural curve in reaching people for Christ. But the nature of our calling compels us, our creative potential demands it, and hungry people cry out for it. We can and should do no less as Christian leaders. We should work no less vigorously, pay no less attention to detail, be no less inspiring, and dream no less than Walt Disney himself.

“His greatest claim to fame in my opinion is not the world-wide enterprise, but that he was an ordinary man with the guts and foresight to forge ahead with his creative vision and achieve it – against all odds.”

I heard Ed Young speak and bought this book when I attended the National Pastors Conference on Visionary Leadership in Phoenix a few years ago. I share this one little “Case Study in Creative Leadership” from the book to say this: we Christians, all of us together, have a “vision.” We, you and I, pastors and lay people, have a “vision” – and our “vision” is that everyone in the world would be connected to the One Eternal God through His Son Jesus Christ. And we get our “vision” from Jesus Himself, who “commissioned” us to do this right before He ascended into heaven forty days after His resurrection. We call that “The Great Commission.” It might also be appropriately called “The Great Vision.”

Ed asks the question, “How much harder should we work at giving our lives to building a creative church, a spiritual enterprise that connects people to the living Lord than Walt Disney worked at his vision?” The correct answer: much, much harder than Walt Disney. Because, as good as Walt’s vision and product were and are, ours is better. Ours is more important. Ours is a matter of death and life.

This is “Holy Week” in our churches. We “go all out.” We travel again with Jesus as He enters Jerusalem to “Hosannas” and palm branches. We sit with Him in the upper room and hear His words of New Covenant in the bread and wine, now His Body and Blood, of Holy Communion. We stand reverent as we see Him giving His life as a ransom for all sin when He dies on the cross. And we will rejoice as we again behold Him as our risen Savior and Lord.

All of the churches in the greater Fayette community invite everyone, especially you who have not yet experienced these life-changing events, to come and join us for all of these marvelous experiences.

Here’s the truth: without Jesus, our lives are “lost.” Without Jesus, our families are “lost”. Without Jesus, our world is “lost.” But with the crucified and risen Jesus as the central figure in our lives, we are “alive and well.” And that’s what Easter is all about.

_______________

Kollmeyer is Sr. Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Hwy. 314 between Lowe’s and The Pavilion in Fayetteville. On Easter Sunday there will be a “Sunrise Service” outdoors at 7:30 . The “Contemporary Easter Service” at 9:15 features dynamic worship with celebration music led by the Praise Band. This service is less formal and also provides a “Kids’ Own Church” for a break-out during the sermon. The “Traditional Easter Service” at 11:15 features the beauty and majesty of the pipe organ and choir and the singing of the great hymns of Easter. “Give us a try!” www.princeofpeacefayette.com or 770-461-3403.