Collaborator or Competitor. Which one are you?

Have you ever noticed when someone gets a great opportunity our first instinct can be jealousy? It's easy to start asking, “How did they get that”?  or “What about me”?

It's easy to do and can even feel like a natural instinct. The "survival of the fittest", this desire to be the best. But what if we changed the way we looked at advancement and opportunity? What if there was a better or even greater reward in working together? What would this look like and how would we approach this?

It's in our nature to be competitive. It's a learned behaviour that often starts at a young age. Everything is a contest. From races, to exams, to receiving trophies, we are constantly watching people be rewarded. It can either push us to be better or simply draw back and choose to not even try. As we grow older, we take this with us into business and work environments. It develops attitudes and mindsets that can set us up for failure or success.

It is often said, “It's not what you know, it's who you know". Knowledge will get you a long way, but the right relationships and attitudes will get you even further.

Competition is a limited way of thinking. It places the self first and isolates us from others, often leaving us to work and create all on our own. It's overwhelming, exhausting and not nearly as rewarding. Collaboration is about surrounding yourself with others who have skill-sets and abilities that might be better or different than your own. It's about teamwork, rising together and ultimately about doing something that is beyond your own abilities.

We need to look at this two ways

  1. Who can you work and connect with that will help you advance in your goals?
  2. Who can you help get connected in order to open doors for others?

When you are truly collaborative, when one wins, everyone wins.

Here are some characteristics of those who value collaboration over competition.

Collaborative people invite others into opportunities. They see working together as a benefit to their growth and the development of their skill.

Competitive people push others away and try to do everything on their own.

Collaborative people are secure in their identify, gifts, and abilities and let their work speak for itself. They open up doors for others and are not threatened by the success or potential of another.

Competitive people need validation and are motivated by fear instead of goodwill.

Collaborative people lean on the strength of others. They ask questions, are excited to learn and involve others in the process.

Competitive people are closed to advice and opinions, exclude people in decision making and don't learn from the knowledge or wisdom from others.

Collaborative people share the wealth. They believe there is enough to go around and love to see others thrive and have a piece of the pie.

Competitive people try and out do others, have something to prove and want everything for themselves.

Collaborative people encourage others in their goals and dreams and try to highlight them to others. They put their friends on display and aren’t afraid to give recognition to others.

Competitive people are quick to tear down and make judgements. They take pride in the shortcomings of others.

Collaborative people stand up for others. They are moved when injustice is done to another and aren’t afraid to speak up.

Competitive people take pleasure when others get knocked down and use this as a chance to promote themselves.

Collaborative people are open and honest and have nothing to hide. They see transparency as a key to successful and strong, lasting relationships.

Competitive people are secretive, fearful to trust and don’t listen to the opinions and feedback of others.

There are many commodities in life. Finances and success in your goals are certainly on that list. However, the greatest commodity of all is the quality of people in your life and you can’t place a number on these. Being a competitor can leave you empty handed, alone and lacking in valuable, meaningful relationships. But being a collaborator can bring success and life long friendships leaving everyone with you on top.

How are you operating? Are you a collaborator or a competitor? Feel free to share this post with your friends and join in on the conversation.


5 Ways to Build Community Around You

It can be intimidating getting to know other people to develop authentic and meaningful friendships. We all have different personalities. For some it is really easy to be outgoing and put yourself in situations where you can make new friends. For others, this can be overwhelming and the thought of being in groups can cause significant social anxiety or stress. However, we are not meant to live life alone but rather in community. What does that even mean? Let’s not mistake community for large numbers. Community comes in many shapes and sizes. It could be a small circle of friends or a big network of multiple groups. Either way, we all need support and people to live life with. Often our opportunities are directly linked to who we are connected with. Our relationships provide support, growth and stability in our lives. 

Here are 5 ways to build community around you

  1. Acknowledge. We are all looking for the same thing. It is easy to judge a book by its cover and assume someone has no need for friends, new community or is would never be your friend. However, the core need in every human is belonging. People want to be accepted, valued and loved.  Reach out and never dismiss another based on their current situation or differing beliefs. You may be the answer to their own personal need or they could be the answer to your need.
  2. Cultivate Community. Nothing happens over night. Relationships need to be invested into with time and energy. Have you ever said the following, “ I went to that party or that church and no one even said hi to me”. Ask yourself if you initiated any conversation or talked to anyone around you? It is not always comfortable to enter conservation but you have to make an effort and invest into others. The quality of relationship you will have will be directly linked to how much effort you put in.
  3. Create Opportunities, We can all get caught in the cycle of busyness. Our days can be filled with so many to do tasks that we don’t make time for others. Be intentional about getting to know others. Make the effort, take time to attend events and gatherings. Invite someone along or activate conversations. Great community never happens on accident. It always happens on purpose. Be someone who creates opportunities not just for you to connect but others as well.
  4. Be Present. It is easy to engage online but when we meet up in person with others we tend to not be present in those moments. When having face-to-face encounters put down the phone, look someone in the eye and truly listen to what they are saying. Sincerity, authenticity and presence leads to meaningful relationships. 
  5. Follow up and Follow Through.  Have you ever said the phrase, “we should go for coffee.” And the months go by and you never had had coffee? Follow up and follow through with the things you say. Set appointments. Set reminders on your phone. Take good intentions and turn them into actions. Be proactive in making things happen and you will be amazed at how your world changes by the people you connect with around you.

How to apply this practically:

  1. Join a local Facebook group today.
  2. Initiate events or gatherings. Don’t wait for another to take the lead.
  3. Comment and engage with others online and in Facebook Groups.
  4. Be a source of positivity and encouragement for others. (No one likes a Debbie downer).
  5. Use #socality and your local hasgtag (#socalityseattle, #socalitydallas) when posting. Follow these online and find others around you. 
  6. Get others involved. You don’t need a lot of money to hang out. Find common spaces like the beach, parks or hikes where people can easily gather. Set a time and place and go from there. 

Socality NYC: A Day in Brooklyn

We took to the streets in NYC to host a Socality Community Event. We had over 150 people show up, most of them strangers to one another but by the end of the day many felt like family. We met at Birch Coffee in Manhattan and then hit it out across the Brooklyn Bridge making our way over to Dumbo Park. The afternoon would gather a variety of creatives and artists who over conversation and creating together would enter into newfound friendships.

After the event we went for dinner at the The Meatball Shop. This cool NYC eatery was an awesome to host our group and even gave us some free drinks and appetizers. Check them out. The food is SO good!

Through our conversations, one thing we had heard from many New Yorkers is that even in a city as large as New York, it can be very easy to be lonely, and to get lost in the crowds and feel disconnected. You may be surrounded by thousands of people but that doesn’t automatically equal community. Community and authentic relationships need to be cultivated around you. You have to invest into relationships, making time to get to know others around you. This means asking questions and spending time listening to the stories behind the person.

Whether you live in a small town or the largest city in the world, everyone is looking to be known. Take time to reach out with the knowledge that we are more alike than we are different. In the end, we are all looking for the same thing.

Watch our Video recap of our time in NYC. In other news we will be back NYC…next time bigger and better! Don’t forget to join your local Facebook group. You can find the NYC group and all the others here!


Why We Created Socality Camp

Socality launched in the beginning of 2014 around the idea that what we could do together would always be greater than what we could do on our own. Created to connect purposeful creatives from around the globe through social media and face to face interactions, we’ve seen people connect and discover creative community through 3 creative conferences, community events across North America, regional Facebook groups, and local hashtags. As we enter a new chapter in the Socality story, we’re excited for new ways to learn and connect with one another and Socality Camp is one of those ways.

What I didn’t expect on my personal creative journey was how connecting with other creatives would significantly change my life and career path. I went from taking photos with my iPhone to working with major international brands through my photography, speaking in front of thousands, and building meaningful relationships with people across the globe. All of this has been a product of learning from others, asking the right questions, and putting what I know into action.

Socality Camp has been created to provide these same opportunities to you in a concentrated atmosphere. We wanted to create a space where people could come and learn together and help push each other into their own success and opportunities. In life, so many opportunities are built on who you know. Socality Camp will give you the opportunity to build long-term relationships with others in an intimate setting and get connected into amazing opportunities. It will also put you in a beautiful location where you will have the ability to learn by doing.

We have brought together guests, creators and mavericks that are leading in the spheres of social media, entrepreneurship and creativity. Developing your creative process is an ongoing journey and we are all still learning everyday. I look forward to personally sharing with you and allowing you to download from the others at the camp.

If you are passionate about getting connected, building towards your own dreams and want to take the next step in your creative journey, then I encourage you to invest into yourself and register for Socality Camp today.

We can’t wait to meet you and see where this journey will take you!

Scott BakkenFounder, Socality


Using Hashtags to Build Community

Hashtags get a bad wrap and it’s mostly because people don’t understand what they are necessarily for. Socality has used hashtags to cultivate and create community and if used right, can advance not only your social media experiences but can actually connect you with incredible people.

We created #socality to allow like minded individuals to connect with others locally and globally. The word Socality has nothing to do with “Socal” but rather means ‘A social community all for eternity’. We believe in being connected for purpose and forever in our goals and mission. Socality is about us connecting and using our influence collectively for good.  If you want to be a apart of a movement , then use #socality!

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE #socality

Use #socality when posting on social media to identify yourself as part of the community and as someone using their art and life for good. We say it is like putting your hand up in the crowd. It is a way to say, “here I am”. 

When you follow it and find others it is you saying, “There you are” and discovering others. 

WHO SHOULD USE IT

Anyone can use #socality. however, we encourage people who are sincere in building authentic relationships to incorporate it in their social posting.  #socality people are sincere in their desire to to connect with others around them and work together for the betterment of community and humanity. They are artists, creatives, leaders, community builders and people passionate about making a difference with their life. 

HOW TO USE IT

Here are some tips on how to use #socality to build community around you!

  1. Add it to your posts. Adding #socality to your posts will help identify you as part of the community and someone who is using their art for good.
  2. Engage with others who use #socality. Follow along and like and comment on others who are using this. Cultivate relationships through engagement, starting conversations and building bridges.
  3. Use Local Hashtags. In addition to #socality, it is very common that people include their local hashtags from where they live such as #socalityseattle, #socalitycalgary #socalitydallas etc…. Use these to find others around you and identify as someone who lives in that community. When traveling, search local hashtags to find others to connect with. 

THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Finding your tribe is important. Often you can tell through images who you will connect with. Additionally, look for similar interactions between the people you know. Take time to cultivate these relationships but also be mindful when meeting up with people. It never hurts to be wise when building face to face in person encounters. Consider taking a friend and meeting in places of business like coffee shops etc.
  2. Don’t use the hashtag to spam others.  People want authenticity so make sure to use this hashtag for the right reasons and place it on content appropriate material. 

GO BUILD

Be a community builder and #socality ambassador by placing your best content forward and be someone who uses their art, caption and work to bring people together, encourage others and help others find authentic and meaningful relationships. 


Come And See | Day 6

By: Parker Green, Pastor of SALT Churches

Photo by: Justin Posey, Photographer

The most significant event in Christianity was the resurrection of Jesus. Without this nothing he said or did makes sense. Paul the Apostle would tell us to essentially pick up, go home, forget about it, if indeed the resurrection did take place; "we are of all men, most to be pitied".

Today we visited the site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem. But how does the western mind perceive the empty tomb? Usually at metaphorical distance, formal, maybe even factual; but effective in bringing God's promises to fulfillment in our everyday lives? That super-natural kind of everyday existence where at every turn the resurrection is available to us through the work of Christ?

It cannot be about willing or forcing this to take place. We've tried, and quickly found that our strengths become weaknesses when faced with the task of transformation. To be honest I think its about making room for it; giving room in our hearts and lives to The Resurrection and The Life.

It's the person of Jesus that makes all the difference. Not the principle.

Today's experience was never about the tomb. It was about the man that made the tomb famous by leaving it after being dead for 2 days. That's the kind of strength that can lay hold of the places in you that feel dead, and bring them to life.

After all, our narrative as followers of Jesus stays the same as his original followers: He's alive, and only a living person can transform your life.

So turn now from your old life, for the Kingdom of Heaven is now one of your options.

The door is open to life, the locks shattered by the king. 

He says simply as he said at the start, "come and see".


The Layers of the City | Day 5

Words by: Kohl Crecelius, CEO & Co-Founder of Krocket Kids Intl.

Photography by: Gareth Pon, Photographer

Jerusalem is an absolutely incredible city. Throughout our time here we have been able to experience a wide array of what this place has to offer. Visiting crowded holy sites, bustling markets, and little known restaurants have filled our days. Even more, we’ve had the pleasure of hearing from a number of speakers that have helped to shed light on the overwhelming complexities that exist in an area that is so important to so many people from a religious and geopolitical standpoint.

One of the things you learn while spending time in Jerusalem is that history isn’t pretty. Each new civilization that claimed authority over this region, brought with it conquest and destruction. New occupants would destroy existing structures and re-arrange the layout of the city in an attempt to prioritize their ideologies and make the city their own. The desecration of temples, walls, and houses became the literal foundation new civilizations and kingdoms were built on. Archaeological excavations have uncovered these layers and many of the stories they hold.

Now, it's important to note that the complexities that find their home in this region of the world don't only exist vertically in the layers of earth below the city, but horizontally amidst the people as well. The modern day climate of Israel is one of palpable tension. We spent one morning with a gentleman by the name of Dr. Danny Tirza. He was the main figure responsible for the plan and construction of the current wall that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank. (You can learn more about Dany in a recent Forbes article that features him HERE)

The wall itself is constructed from concrete walls that reach nearly 30 feet high, as well as a network of smaller chain-link fences that stretch for miles. The first thing that stands out when you view the wall is that only about 5% of it is made up of the tall concrete barriers whereas the rest is made up of the network of chain-link (a fact you would be hardpressed to find in communication by today’s global media).  

There are dangerous and competing narratives about the purpose this wall serves, and due to the fact that I am far from an expert on the issues I wanted to focus on two hopeful facts that stood out to me from this portion of our trip:

  1. In the end, the decision to build the wall was made after a barrage of attacks on people in Jerusalem that left hundreds of innocent people dead. Since the construction of this wall, the Israel Defence Forces continues to catch people headed towards Jerusalem with explosives, thus hundreds, if not thousands, of lives have been saved as a result.

  2. The wall was constructed in a way that makes it removable if and when the leaders of the Israel and surrounding regions can come to peace agreements.

On every level, this trip has been completely eye-opening. Amidst all of the new learning, the most important thing that I'll be taking away is clear: CONTEXT. I don’t leave with clarity on all my questions, and in many cases more questions were raised. I am not able to see pathways to clear solutions for the layers of issues that pervade the Middle East. However, I am leaving with a better understanding, a more complete awareness, and a heightened sensitivity for the challenges that face Israel and this region of our world.  

My hope for all of us who were on this trip is that we can take this context and information to engage in the issues more fully and lean into productive conversations and solutions.
 


Beautiful Resilience | Day 4

Words by: Joel Bear, Photographer

Photography by: Michael Matti, Photographer

Israel is marching forward. The Arab world is marching backwards. It’s not about a wall, a border or fence but coming to terms with Israel’s right to exists.
— Khaled Abu Toameh, Israeli Arab Journalist
Socality Israel - Day 6 - MichaelMatti-1.jpg

Dignity is the cry from both sides, the cry for the right to be heard. From the outside perspective of the news there's a solution to everything they see in the Middle East yet, from the voice of the people there's a constant problem longing to be solved. Some long to solve it, others deter the problem by perfection, yet it's both sides that need a savior.

Today we spent the day learning about the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives by venturing in Bethlehem, the Dead Sea and St. George's Monastery. All three have this in common, they are holding on to life.

The morning started off by hearing from Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab journalist living in Israel, speak about 'the situation' as he calls the conflict surrounding Israel. "Israel is marching forward. The Arab world is marching backwards. It's not about a wall, a border or fence but coming to terms with Israel's right to exists." With this there are two Palestinians perspectives on the Israeli occupation. The 'radicals' who believes that Israel doesn't exist and shouldn't exist and the 'moderate' camp, stating you must give us 100 percent of Israel and only 100 percent. One camp doesn't want to make peace, the other can't make peace.

With that view we stepped in the the bus and headed to Bethlehem, a city that has expectation. We met with Christian pastor Dr. Naim Khoury who teaches in a mostly Muslim city. He opened his talk sharing: "To be blessed you really need to bless my people Israel... as a Christian my life didn't belong to me, if I live I live, if I die I die"

"Only God, only God can keep his promises to us....It is God and only God who can prosper. God be the glory and God is able."

"You can't hate the Arabs and love the Jews nor hate the Jews and love the Arabs." When you love Arabs and bring them to the Lord, you help the Jews."

As he's speaking this, we sat in the church in which he has placed speaker on the steeple, to share the Sunday message that reaches out over the city of Bethlehem, a Muslim city. The Muslim religion sends their prayers out over the city over speakers five times a day and this brave pastor shares the love of Jesus to those who want his demise.

Our third perspective was that of a Palestinian refugee.  With incredible love in his eyes he opened his talk with the statement: "You have two options as a refugee either to side with the problem or to be the few and strive to be the solution."

There are humans on both sides of the wall. There are victims on the other side of the wall. Bombs know no race. There are many perspectives about the refugee crisis but to hear his heart of bringing change through love and education was inspiring.

As we left, our mind dwelling on all three perspectives, Jews, Muslims and Christian's, the defining fact was the love for the people. Do you believe that this person has dignity? Is this person a human? Such conflict, yet such love.

One government caring for both sides existence and the other government looking for ones extinction.

As we stepped into the Dead Sea one can only think of the bleakness of the situation, but as I looked around at the growth and vegetation of Israel, there was resonance and resilience that was beautiful, a love that was overwhelming and a passion for peace that was inspiring. 


Loving our neighbor and the stranger | Day 3

Words by: Elena Baxter, Co-Founder of Conscious Magazine

Photography by: Ben Prescott and Zack Melhus, Photographers

We woke our tired bodies to seek the Israeli dawn. Not even the stars had yet retired as our small army of image bearers marched to climb the dusty hills of the Negev Desert. There are few wonders that can compare to a desert sunrise: she brought peace and promise of new mercies. We found the light, embraced the new morning, and were onward to Jerusalem. 

The Mahne Yehuda Market was mayhem, but it was honest and echoed generations of history and culture with the occasional nuance coffee shop. The excitement for the beginning of Shabbat was like hot neon racing through the tight quarters. We were amazed to find that in just hours, the market would empty out to just a quiet stone street without a trace of the former.

The Western Wall was a quick and powerful pause. It is a place of remembrance for Jewish people from the destruction they experienced. We became Israel in prayer and celebration. And we experienced the place of hope that is Israel. Shabbat dinner hosted by Nattie and Michelle of Shabbat of a Lifetime was miraculous. Collectively, we embraced the traditions as we revealed a little more of who we are to one another. Our hosts' unconditional hospitality taught us that we are to show love to our neighbor and to the stranger. We sang and broke bread, and then we toasted, and then we toasted some more and entered into rest together.


From Galilee to the Wilderness | Day 2

by: Jamie Out

Sweaty, covered from head to toe in fine desert dust, and the biggest smiles on our faces; the best ways to arrive to your bedouin style camp tucked away by a long since dormant volcanic crater.

On day two as we headed south towards Jerusalem, leaving the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the scenery changed dramatically from green vineyards and olive groves, to desolate rock fields and moonlike landscapes. The weather changed too. The spring weather in Israel was more relatable to our hottest summer days back home in Vancouver.

The first stop on our itinerary was to Ein Avdat, a nature reserve located in a the heart of the Israeli desert and Zin Wilderness. As the sun beat down overhead, we packed our camera gear, water bottles, and sun screen and walked the mile long trail snapping photos along the way. The highlights were certainly the views of the expansive canyon that looked like a scene from a Star Wars movie and the small Ibex that skirted across the steep hillside cliffs.

As we boarded back onto the bus, the air conditioning was a welcomed friend. Fortunately, we were about to get a lot more wind blowing through our hair as we drove up to Ramon Crater and were greeted by fifteen 4wd razors ready to transport us through the desert.

You could almost hear the anticipation and adrenaline beginning to flow as engine after engine roared to life and we drove off in single file along a twisting dirt track. The dust immediately began flying in our faces, but it didn’t stop the smiles from growing on our faces. As we got more comfortable with our vehicles, the gas pedals were pushed a little closer to the floor and the turns got a little tighter. It was the most fun I’ve had on four wheels. We stopped at some breathtaking viewpoints along the way which shared similarities to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Although I could have stayed the rest of the evening ripping around the desert, it was time to head to our camp site for the night.

We arrived to camp just as the sun was setting. Many of us ran off to photograph the last light dipping below the mountains and found ourselves in awe again of the beauty around us. Dinner was served in a comfortable open air tent and we talked late into the night around the fire. As I drifted off to sleep in my tent I reflected on the amazing day and opportunity that I was given to be here on this trip. We’ve only been here for two days, but it has already been incredibly impactful, not only with the places we’ve visited, but with the people who have come together to make it so unforgettable.


For such a time as this | Day 1

by: Rachael Baxter, Co-Founder of Conscious Magazine

Photos by: Joel Bear, Photographer

For such a time as this. God bless Israel

We awoke to a sunrise draping the Sea of Galilee. 35 creators and innovators traveled far and wide with a purpose to create community and radiate love towards the people of Israel.

MT. OF THE BEATITUDES

Day 1 started with a walk through the Mt. of Beatitudes. As we settled into our standing spot above the Sea of Galilee, overlooking the four-mile long Plain of Gennesaret, we were reminded that the New Testament records Jesus was in this area. There we were, sharing the ground where Jesus walked, taking in the hazy views above the sea, listening to the nature sounds from birds chirping with unique trills to bees buzzing around the flowers. We have followed in His footsteps and this was our moment in history.

While mesmerized by the views, we steadied our hearts as Pastor Parker Green read the Sermon on the Mount told in Matthew 5:3-11.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Matt 5:3-11 KJV)

Pastor Parker shared how this very sermon announced the kingdom of heaven. And the Kingdom of heaven says to us, “despite class, education, appearance and the like, there is a seat at the table for all.” Amen. He continued with, “the Sermon on the Mount speaks to the deepest human need and fear: love and rejection, but as Jesus says, you are blessed if you are rejected.”

We finished with a prayer on the mount: “Thank you for your Son. Thank you for your Son…Help us to be present.”

CAPERNAUM

Next, we were on our way to Capernaum, a place between stone and history. As you walk through the gates you are welcomed by the words, “Capernum, the town of Jesus”. And as you continue forward, you are a witness to the layers of destruction and ruins dating back to a 3rd century synagogue. We joined Raj, co-founder of Israel Collective, in the ruins of a synagogue, where he read John 6:32-33 “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”, He said, "Guys, Jesus said this in this very spot."

Our day continued on as we traveled to a Christian and Refugee village and met with Shadi, Founder and Chariman of IACA. Shadi is on a mission to save the Aramaic language and help integrate Christians into the Israeli society. We shared a beautiful moment when we recited the Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language.

SYRIAN BORDER

We were joined by Eliott who studied political and military sociology and is a military analyst specializing in counterterrorism.

As we stood facing the horizon of the Syrian Border, Elliott shared of the deep conflict and human tragedy taking place among the small country. In the middle of this beautiful land is civil, religious and ethnic war. However, we feel at peace. Collectively, our perspectives are changed. Pray for Israel. 

SEA OF GALILEE

Our day ended with a sail on the Sea of Galilee, a heart-shaped lake set among hills in northern Israel, it is one of the lowest-lying bodies of water on earth.

It was a celebratory evening surrounded by the deep blue hues of the water and the darkening blend of the blue-lit sky. There we were, chasing the last drop of light as the sun slowly set itself behind the mountains, setting the stage for a dreamy evening underneath Tiberias’ star packed sky.

The beauty of the Sea of Galilee is a scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history. 


Socality Leadership Summit 2017

Last year Socality was honoured to host its first ever Leadership Summit in Israel with 35 leaders, creators and innovators. This acted as a gathering week for these minds and creators to connect, dream and offer insight into social community innovation today. We partnered with Israel Collective who hosted us and allowed us to create a unique itinerary to our needs while at the same time showing us Israel and educating us around the history as well as the current geopological climate.

We are excited to return with another incredible group of leaders, creatives, and social entrepreneurs who are passionate about bringing change within their local communities. This trip will serve as another gathering week as we come together and discuss developing leadership in our communities for impact.

From May 1-10 we are excited be to sharing live daily recaps as seen through the lens of some of our guests. We hope that these offer insight and inspiration to you around the sights and sounds of Israel, the culture that is and was, and the modern lessons we can all learn from such a historical place.  Below is a list of our guests. Feel free to give them a follow and watch the story unfold through their eyes.


A World of Social Inclusion- Pope Francis speaks about discovering others in this social age.

by: Scott Bakken

Pope Francis has taken to this digital age to share a very relevant message. Typically, the Pope only address people via the Church so to use a contemporary platform such as TED is not only exciting to see, but also completely encouraging that modern forms of communication are being used to communicate such important messages.

Watch the talk from TED2017 here.

As I watched and listened, I was specifically touched by his second point. The Pope states,

How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us. How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the "culture of waste," which doesn't concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.

This modern day is advancing so quickly. We are living in two spheres, earth and the social media stratosphere. When we are at home, out in public, or wherever we are, we are less present in these physical spaces than we are on our social spaces. We are buried in Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, and we only come up for air for seconds before we descend into the abyss of never ending content.

The real question is why are we doing this? It could be that we are looking for human connection and validation. Notifications engage our endorphins and we are invigorated by likes and social engagement. However, the Pope reminds us in his profound message that as much as we are all looking to be found, so is everyone around us. We all have the same need; to be loved, to be heard and to matter.

The social sphere is here to stay and it is a powerful tool and an incredible way to connect. If we have learned anything from the past, it is that while nothing may be wrong with the system, we need to learn how to balance these worlds and use them to bring people together with a purpose. This will be our greatest challenge, but if we succeed it will be our greatest victory.

Pope Francis goes on to say

In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The "you" is always a real presence, a person to take care of.

May we understand the power of our creativity to tell each others' stories and to realize that everyone has a face and a name. When you come up for air from the social world, look another in the eyes, put down the phone, and truly see the 'others' around you. 


Socality Seattle | Community Excursion

April 1st was no joke in Seattle. We had over 150 creatives that showed up for some good hangs and connect with each other while hiking up Rattlesnake Ridge in North Bend, WA. Led by our local community members, Tanner (@tannerwendell) and Maria Stewart (@mariawendellstewart) this whole group gathered despite the rain. Thanks to our friends at Moment Lens who bought tons of pizza so all those hungry kids could be fed after the big hike.

Socality continues to create gatherings paces for people to connect on common ground. In this day and age of social media, so often people can feel more isolate than ever. We are joined to our devices but not to each other, yet we were made for human interaction. These community events are bringing people together for face-to-face encounters while allowing time and opportunity to create together and capture these moments.

Check out the video recap filmed by Kyle Kotajarvi (@kylekotajarvi). How awesome is it to see all the people coming together. Thanks to our co-hosts @charlottlelittlewolf, @joellefriend, @kylekotajarvi, @zmelhus, @hannah.aspen @zach_reed @jermzlee.

If you are looking for your local community, click the button below to find your local Facebook Group by region.


Planetshakers Conference Highlight

We were excited to take part in the 20th anniversary of Planetshakers Conference. This conference was started by Russell Evans with a passion to see young people changing their world and 20 years later the movement is going strong and growing faster than ever.

For Socality, this was an amazing opportunity to connect with the Australian community and meet many of the creative and innovative people who are doing significant work in their local communities.  Whether it was connecting around our photos walls and interactive booth or having deep conversations in and around the venue, we had a blast overseeing community engagement and sharing the stories of those in attendance.

Our Founder, Scott Bakken was invited to share about Socality, its’ origin, purpose, and mission from the stage with thousands in attendance. Along with our time at the conference, it was great to partner with Daystar TV for interviews and panels sessions that will be broadcasted to over 108 million homes in the USA alone. It’s exciting that building community for purpose is a message that is resonating with others and we are so thankful for the opportunity to get it out there through such great partners.

The live conference sessions were broadcasted out through Daystar and these were filled with energy, excitement, and passion from a crowd of world changers.

Downtime provided a few great opportunities to explore the sights and sounds of Melbourne. This world-class city has been ranked as the #1 most livable city and is filled with coffee shops, artisan baking, cafes, and cutting edge fashion. The streets are alive with creativity and this is evident in everything from the architecture to the the ever-changing graffiti walls in the alleyways. If you want to be inspired to create, Melbourne is a top destination. Just hours away, you can escape to the beauty of the Great Ocean Road and awe-inspiring landmarks like the 12 Apostles.

Overall, we are so thankful for our time in Australia and to see the Socality community growing. One of our core beliefs is that we value collaboration over competition. So much of ones success is directly linked to the people you are connected with and we are thankful to Pastor Russell and Sam Evans and our new family at Planetshakers and Daystar for helping grow this global Socality family.

Take a look through the gallery below for a number of images of highlights and people from our time at Planetshakers.


Transformation through Community Impact | Planetshakers

Impacting the community around you is a key characteristic of a successful movement or idea. We were able to sit down with Neil Smith and chat about Planetshakers and the impact they've had in the community locally and around the world. Read more below.

1. Beyond your church walls, how does Planetshakers engage and impact in the community

Planetshakers is active in many spheres of the community, especially contributing to areas of risk and need in the city. This includes planetUNI, our University Ministry that helps with integrating and settling international students, and PlanetBoom, our Youth Ministry that impacts teenagers through schools program and community outreaches. We also have Empower, the community arm of Planetshakers, and one of its focuses at the moment is assisting with settling Syrian refugees into local community.

Outside of Australia, Planetshakers is currently working in Papua New Guinea to bring sustainable change to one of our nearest neighbouring countries. This campaign is called “Believe 2017”, and will take place in August this year. Our strategy is to target the five spheres of leadership, business, education, health and church. We believe in speaking into the mindset of the nation by running leadership training and development. We believe in sustainable planning, employment and development in the realm of business. We believe in developing capacity in the nation through education. We believe making a transformational difference in people’s lives relating to health and hygiene. We believe in developing a church that is a committed to a transformational community approach. We believe that in focussing on these five spheres, we will unlock Papua New Guinea’s greatest strength and asset - her people.

2. What are some initiatives you have supported over the years and can you highlight a few stories?

In 2012, Planetshakers was a part of Carols in Docklands, an outdoor Christmas event. It was a free concert featuring chart-topping artists. We had in excess of 10,000 in attendance.

Speaking of Christmas, every year around December, we also do a gift-giving service in our church, where our congregation bring thousands of gifts to put under our Christmas tree. These gifts get distributed to solo parents, children of prisoners and other families who may not be able to afford gifts themselves.

We also support community causes through our offerings. In 2009, during the Victorian Bushfires, we took up a special offering in our services to aid families affected by the bushfire disaster. And every year, we take up an offering for Solo Parents to help bring joy and provision in the festive season.

3. What local communities does Planetshakers currently have significant presence in?

We have a significant presence at the moment in schools, universities, refugees and other marginalised communities. We run high schools programs in many schools in Victoria, sending our specialist schools team to run motivational and life-skills programs. We have a club on campus in most of the major universities in the state - Melbourne University, Monash, RMIT, Deakin. We run English classes for refugees as well as help them with food and provisions through our “Bag of Blessing” program. In every sphere we touch, we have a multicultural reach; one of the hallmarks of Planetshakers is that we are a “church for all”.

4. How do you see the work of Planetshakers translating/ impacting on a global scale?

I see Planetshakers beginning to step into discipling nations. We are now 20 years into our journey as a movement and 13 years old as a church. More than ever before, we are using all that we have learnt to build into nations. The Kingdom principles we have learnt established in our house can be applied to politics (leadership), business, education, health and, of course, the local church in any community. And God is opening doors for us to speak into nations and have global impact.

5. How do you see the church expanding beyond its own walls in years to come?

Over the years, we are blessed to be able to say that our expansion has been consistent and strong. Our strength has been built over time and we have expanded in capacity through doing the same thing over and over again. In the years to come, we will continue to build in our areas of influence and add to our existing initiatives as we see need and opportunity. The open doors we have encountered in Papua New Guinea is one such example and we expect that in the near future, the global body of Christ will be entering into a greater realm of discipling nations.


Niel Smith is the International Director of Planetshakers.

Follow Niel on Twitter

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The Heart of Leadership | Russell Evans

We had the pleasure to sit down with Russell Evans founder of the Planetshakers movement and talk about leadership, the state of our generation and advice for young leaders.

1. What has been your inspiration for Planetshakers throughout the years?

RE: My inspiration for Planetshakers has really been all about people encountering Jesus. If I roll back everything, it’s the encounters that I have with God that motivate me to create platforms or places for others to encounter God. Whether it’s a Christian in a worship moment, or if the Holy Spirit leads us in a certain way through a message or an altar call, or a moment in a service, or a personal moment. Because those defining encounters literally change people’s lives.

When I was 15, I had a defining encounter. When I was 17, I had a defining encounter. When I was 27, I had a defining encounter. I had encounters along the way, but there are moments in life that change or build the destiny of your life. It’s those defining encounters. So that’s what motivates me. It’s all about winning the world. It’s not about Christians having a nice little time where they just get blessed, but out of their encounter with God they go and make an impact to see the world come to know Jesus.

That’s what motivates me - seeing the world know Christ, and seeing Christian’s encounter Christ and then bring Christ to the world.

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2. In the past 20 years, what changes have you seen amongst the generations then and now?

RE: I think that really, we face the same issues all the time. They just get magnified in each generation. We have probably the most nurtured generation that planet earth has ever seen right now. Gen X was probably a more cynical generation that the millennial generation. Millennials want to change the world and be a part of something, while Gen X were a lot more cynical and often said “show me that it works”. They were a by product of the boomer generation, who were very idealistic, but a lot of those ideals never worked. So the Gen X’s were the people who were hurt by that. Whether that was through family breakdowns or whatever. This made them anti-authoritarian. The millennials are not as much anti-authority, but are more about making a difference in the world. However, they are also more nurtured than any other generation so the work ethic in the millenials is not as strong as it was in Gen X.

So the challenge in this generation is that the millennials are a lot more accepting than Gen X, and absolutes aren’t as defined. So we now have a generation that doesn’t have absolutes, and discipling Christian values in a generation that doesn’t have absolutes is probably the biggest challenge that the church is facing today.

How do you disciple a generation that is so accepting? And it’s a good thing that they are accepting, but where is truth in a generation that doesn’t understand where truth is. Because truth in this generation is simply acceptance of everyone. So I think that is the biggest challenge for this generation.

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3. What is your observation of today’s culture, good and bad?

RE: Similar to the last question - good is that we are a lot more accepting. Which is similar to Jesus, because Jesus loved everybody. But you see true love, has to speak truth. The Bible says that “The Truth will set you free”. So if I really love somebody, I will tell them the truth. So acceptance of everything isn’t really loving people unconditionally. If I love someone unconditionally, then I will tell them truth.

We have a culture that says “love everybody”, but that is really a masked message to tell people to do whatever they want to do. And that isn’t true love. True love is telling the truth, and the truth is based on the Word of God.

We need to tell the truth of God’s Word. Not in judgement, but in love. And accept everybody, but in that acceptance, disciple them into truth. And I think that is the greatest challenge that we face today.

4. What are attributes you look for in leaders?

RE: I look for two things in leaders. The first is a soft heart. A soft heart is a teachable spirit. You can teach people talent, but you can’t teach them a soft heart. It’s somebody who wants to learn. I’ve seen a lot of people over the years who have so much gifting, but because they haven’t had a soft heart, and haven’t been teachable, their talent only gets them to a certain level.

I always tell our leaders that they should have soft hearts and strong minds. Not a hard heart and soft head. We need to get our minds strong in the word of God, get our thinking strong pulling down every accusation. You have to have a strong mind to keep your heart soft.

The second is the ability to reproduce. The Bible says to “be fruitful and multiply” and that we will “know people by their fruit”. There’s a lot of experts in the world today who have an opinion on everything, but I always ask “what have they done?”. Because what they’ve done is what they have an authority in, not what they have an opinion on. Because it’s what we have authority in that we actually have an anointing in to reproduce.

So 1) Do they have a soft heart; and 2) Do they have the ability to reproduce.

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5. Can you offer your best leadership advice to an emerging generation?

RE: Look at the life of Joseph. Joseph’s dream came about because he interpreted the dream of other people. Joseph had a dream, and at the time it was interpreted as prideful and arrogant by his brothers. When he served in Potiphar’s house he interpreted the dream of Potiphar’s, but he was rejected in that house. But he kept interpreting dreams. In the prison, he kept interpreting dreams. What put him in the position of prime minister of Egypt? It was that he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. So interpreting the dreams of all of the people that he was under actually put him in a position to realise his dream.

What makes people great is interpreting the dreams of the people that God has called them to follow. That’s what makes great leaders. To be a great leader, you have to be a great follower.

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6. What do the next 20 years hold for Planetshakers?

RE: What the next 20 years holds for Planetshakers is the same as what the last 20 years has held. Years of radical obedience. Because if you want radical results, you need radical obedience. Planetshakers success has not been based on based on Russell Evans’ talent, or Sam Evans’ talent, or anyone’s talent; it’s been based on obeying what God says.

The Bible says He guides our steps. There are times that God has told me things that have looked like reversals, but actually they’ve been set ups. I once heard somebody say “God’s reversals are sometimes God’s rehearsals so that He can set you up for something big”. All we have to do is obey God, and He will open up doors. We don’t have to pursue our own endeavours. He will open doors.

So I just keep obeying Him, and obeying Him, and obeying Him. Every step of the way. When He said “start a conference” we did, and it became a worldwide movement. He said “start a church” we did, and now we have 14,000 people in Melbourne, we have campuses in Cape Town, Austin, Geneva, and other places starting. He said “do praise and worship” and we did, and I had no idea what would happen out of that.

So we’ll just keep following Him. And if we keep following Him, He will guide us into success. If I follow me, all that we lead into is failure. So we’ll keep following Him. And if He guides our steps, He gets the glory. And it’s all about making Jesus famous.


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Russell Evans | Founder of Planetshakers

One of the leading international communicators of this generation, Russell Evans comes from a rich multi-generational ministry heritage. In February 2004, Russell, along with wife, Sam, founded the 13,000 member Planetshakers Church. He has the rare capacity to relate equally to both younger and older generations of people due to his rich heritage and experience along with a passion for fresh music and empowerment of emerging leaders. He has committed his life to “empower generations to win generations.”

Follow Russell on Instagram | Twitter

Connect with Planetshakers Instagram | Facebook | Website


World Perspective Day: Seeing the World Through Someone Else’s Eyes

We had the chance to connect with Angela Popplewell from 100cameras to learn more about her, her organization 100cameras, and the global "World Perspective Day" initiative. 

Watch This short video explaining the heart and vision behind World Perspective Day.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where is home, what got you interested in visual communication, story, and the non-profit sphere?

I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida and stayed in town to attend Florida State University because, well in all candidness, it had been my 8th grade dream to be a baton twirler on the university’s highly competitive team. I truly loved Tallahassee and everything it taught me. Many parts of me had wished that I could grow old there, but my life up to that point had embraced me in such a way that I knew I needed to move forward and encounter new experiences. And so I bought a one-way ticket to NYC about a month after graduation, and ten years later with an incredible amount of life-lesson-experiences and only-in-NY moments, Brooklyn is now considered home with my amazing husband and one year old son, Teddy.

What attracted me most to joining the founding team of 100cameras was the community development empowerment piece and the opportunity to teach the importance of storytelling by giving kids the opportunity to do so worldwide. Prior to starting this model, I had worked in the community development sector in a few countries in my late teenage years and experienced the great hope for what can happen when an individual is empowered to create something that provides for themselves and others. Furthermore, I had experienced over and over again how almost anyone I met just wanted to tell me their story – to share their narratives, filled with pieces about their families, their long days of work (or why they couldn’t get work), their likes and dislikes, where they’ve been, and where they wanted to go. Every story was important and it felt as though they were sharing it with me in hopes that I would share it with someone else. It gripped me to realize that those living within a community we would often label “marginalized” or as “living in poverty” have always had these stories to tell, and they have always had voices to share them – they just perhaps haven’t had the platform to be heard outside of their concentric circles or to participate in the global narrative. This realization forever changed me. To be a part of helping teach kids young that they can provide important needs such as medical, educational, or lifeline supplies by sharing their stories through photography will always be one of the greatest honors of my life.

What were the origins and inspiration behind #WorldPerspectiveDay?

The entire mission of 100cameras is founded upon the power of perspective. We empower kids around the world with the opportunity to learn that their stories matter and to help explore their narratives in the larger context of a global world. We teach our students how to share their perspectives through photography and then sell their images, empowering them to provide much needed educational, lifeline, and medical supplies for themselves and other community members. We have completed projects across the globe and have recently launched our Snapshot Project platform that equips photographers worldwide to implement their own project with a community they care about.

World Perspective Day was inspired directly from our students as they have become our teachers in so many ways.

You see, the students we work with have all survived traumatic injustices, yet, they still seem to embrace life through the wonderment and awe that is seemingly found only through a kid's lens.

Through both writing and teaching our unique photojournalism course, our souls have been forever changed and awakened by watching kids not only embrace learning how to share their perspectives but dive into the depths of processing who they are because of all they've learned from their past and expressing their hope for who they want to be in their future.

Our students have taught us to recognize that the context of our narrative is woven into a larger thread. And that when we can each allow our perspectives to choose hope in our interactions instead of being gripped by the fears that can overwhelm or divide us, we can reach our full potential as an individual and as a human race.

We have been humbled as these students continually teach us how to embrace that their narrative isn't defined by their current circumstances or how others may define them. Instead, they choose to recognize and accept that they are a part of a larger context and their role in the bigger picture is integral. They accept that their perspective may be unique and different -- and that is not only okay, it is necessary and outstanding. This gives them great freedom to lean into the thought -- the hope -- that they can be a part of the greater good at large.

We believe in the great hope for what can happen when an individual is empowered to create something that provides hope for themselves and others. Over and over again, almost everyone we have met traveling and in the field has just wanted to tell us their story – to share their narratives, filled with pieces about their families, their long days of work (or why they couldn’t get work), their likes and dislikes, where they’d been, and where they wanted to go. Each story we have ever heard along the way in our individual journeys is important. It has felt as though the storytellers were sharing it with us in hopes that we would share it with someone else.

It gripped us early on to realize that each person on earth has always had a story to tell, and they have always had voices to share them – they just perhaps haven’t had the platform to be heard outside of their concentric circles or to participate in the global narrative.

Our team has committed to being merely a band of participants that join alongside others by bringing an opportunity to share their perspectives alongside a community of individuals. This has awakened us. This model of empowerment has not only changed our students' lives, but ours as well.

How can we all get involved on March 30?

Photography is a universal language. An image captures thoughts, emotions, and needs when words often times need assistance. With all the platforms available today online, there are many powerful and creative outlets to share an image that expresses your everyday life.

World Perspective Day seeks to be an online event that encourages people from all walks of life to see the world through another person's eyes. Using the hashtag #WorldPerspectiveDay, this moment in time will celebrate how different and how similar we are -- to honor, embrace, and foster understanding across borders. This inaugural event seeks to build a day that celebrates what it means to be human.

The images showcased online through the hashtag will become a stunning, collective narrative that portrays the diversity, complexity, and journey of the human race. The World Perspective Day platform seeks to capture a rounded worldview that embodies how each perspective can experience hope, hardship, disappointment, joy, hurt, excitement, frustration, or anger, etc through images. This day seeks to empower the beauty and strength that lies therein the eyes and hearts found behind each lens.

It will take a whole world to create this day. To join, just follow these 3 steps:

1. Post an image that represents your perspective and how you view the world.

  • Post your image(s) to Instagram, Facebook, VSCO, Twitter or another social media platform you love.
  • Write a caption that describes why that narrative means something of personal relevance and expression in your life.

2. On March 30th, tag with #WorldPerspectiveDay to join the global narrative.

  • Tagged images will automatically feed into this website’s online gallery.
  • Share online and offline with your community, and invite them to join you.

3. Then, follow the hashtag to see life through someone else’s eyes.

  • We ask each participant to commit time after World Perspective Day to scroll through the hashtag to explore posts from across the world. We ask everyone to be open to allowing the content shared to become a tool to help educate, listen, respect, and celebrate all the individual threads that compose the collective narrative.

You also lead a great organization called 100cameras that's doing some really exciting things with kids and photography, what's next for you and your team there?

100cameras is a non-profit organization based in New York City that teaches kids around the world that their stories matter and helps them explore their narratives in the larger context of a global world. We teach our students how to share their perspectives through photography and then sell their images, empowering them to provide much needed educational, lifeline, and medical supplies for themselves and other community members.

We have completed projects across the globe and have recently launched our Snapshot Project & Workshop platforms that equip photographers worldwide to implement their own project with a community they care about. Learn more at www.100cameras.org!

Follow on our social channels to hear announcement for our next big project in the Middle East along with info for our upcoming gala event in NYC this spring. And just in general for beautiful and inspiring images taken by our students worldwide.

Where online can we find you, 100cameras, and follow along on #WorldPerspectiveDay?

Find us at www.100cameras.org and @100cameras on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Learn more about World Perspective Day and the amazing launch partners at www.worldperspectiveday.com and follow the hashtag #WorldPerspectiveDay across all social channels.

You can find me and my musings on life, community, 100cameras, adventures & city living, and lots of photos of Teddy at @angelafrancine on Twitter and Instagram


Socality Redding | Excursion

The Socality Community in California met up Saturday, March 25 in Redding for an awesome day of community and connection. Over 100 creatives met at Heritage Coffee Roasters who provided everyone with free coffee! Once we were caffeinated up, Socality Community Leader Justin Posey shared with everyone the heartbeat and mission of Socality. It’s really about people finding community with purpose!!

Everyone jumped in their cars and headed to Castle Lake only to be surprised by excess snow on the roads that caused some people to get stuck while others hiked to the top. While the weather didn’t exactly cooperate, its moments like these that last in our memory forever.

Overall, the day was a huge success and we are already planning the next gathering. You can follow  #socalityredding to see some of the photos and watch our recap video below!


Deconstructing Songwriting with Joth, Andy and BJ of Planethshakers

We recently sat down with three members of the Planetshakers band to talk about songwriting, the creative process and writing tips. Joth Hunt, BJ Pridham, and Andy Harrison walk us through specific direction from each of their own experiences. We hope this encourages emerging songwriters in this community!

1. When writing a song, can you deconstruct your process?

Joth Hunt: The process of writing a song happens in many ways for me. But one thing that is so important for me is that I am feeling it. Music has a great ability to move people. If the song I am writing is not in a place that it moves me, then I keep searching for another lyric or melody or chord till it gets to that place.

Joth Hunt

Joth Hunt

BJ Pridham: If you've boiled songwriting down to a process I'd say it's time to get back in the prayer closet. I don't think I can boil it down to specifics. I play a piano and tell God I love Him.  It's simply me and Jesus and I don't want to complicate it more than that.

Andy Harrison: For me, there isn’t really much of a process. Songs have come in a variety of ways and times. Some of them have come driving in the car - a melody “falls” into my mind and some words seem to come with them. Once I allow my mind to flow with it - I may pick up on a particular theme or flavour and begin to think of further lyrics that fit that. On these occasions songs seem to flow pretty easily.  Other times I will just get one particular phrase or section and when I try and pursue the rest of the song nothing seems to flow. Sometimes those sections just need time to develop and I will get the other parts of the song later on.  Whatever the case - once I feel like I have the song nearly complete I will show it to our team and we will see if it translates to them immediately without much explanation. If they are feeling too, then we pursue it as a team, do a demo and put some flesh on the skeleton.

 

2. How do you define a successful song?

Joth Hunt: When the song achieves the purpose for which it was written. All of our songs are written to bring God glory. So that is success. It doesn't matter how many people sing them or how many albums we sell. If God is getting the glory then that = success.

BJ Pridham: I don't really know to be honest. All I do is make myself available to Holy Spirit, put the songs together and submit them to my senior pastors. They are the best gauge on anointing and relevance for the season the church is in.

BJ Pridham

BJ Pridham

Andy Harrison: How we judge the success of a song depends on the context for which we are writing. My context within Planetshakers is to lead people corporately into an encounter with God and release what God is saying to our church and the church globally. A successful song for me is one that communicates those things simply and carries the touch of God on it when it is sung/played.

 

3. Give emerging songwriters your best 3 tips?

Joth: We end up saying the same things a lot in our songs, but try and find a NEW way of saying the same thing. try using, Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Rhyme-zone in your writing process.

Write unto the Lord for no other reason than you want to love on Him and praise Him.

BJ: Do the best with what you have. Chase the anointing by staying dependent God for everything. Submit everything you do to your pastors.

Andy: 1. Get planted in a local church and begin writing out of what God is doing there and doing in your life. 2. Encounter God regularly. We express out of our inspiration - so let our inspiration be our real-life experiences with God. 3. Write “for someone” - don’t just let your song be a personal expression - but let them be an expression on behalf of people. These are the songs people relate to and connect with - when they feel like they have put into words and song what they didn’t know how to express themselves.

Andy Harrison

Andy Harrison

4. For independent writers, how can they get their songs noticed/ published?

Joth: Doing a good demo / recording is very important. It's about how your song is packaged. Spend the time and money and getting it sounding the best it can!

BJ: I've never really chased that so I don't really know? I'm born to serve Gods people (the church) with song whether the songs get noticed by a label or not. It's not the motivating factor.  Peoples transformation in the presence of God is. I guess if you were looking for a creative outlet there's so many avenues these days with social media and youtube etc.

Joth, Andy and Sam in the studio.

Joth, Andy and Sam in the studio.

5. Do you have any personal stories about a song that you didn’t think would work but went on to have significant impact?

Joth: For me I would have to say Nothing Is Impossible. Ps Russell (founder of Planetshakers) was speaking one weekend about faith and he wanted a song for the weekend. So I sat down and came up with the song in about 20 min, literally! I had no idea this song would be sung all around the world touching many people and helping them lift their faith to believe for the "impossible".

BJ: Haha all of them. Quite literally... all of them.

Andy: To be honest, most songs I thought wouldn’t work didn’t for a reason - the melody, the lyrics, the phrasing etc… it’s important to identify what didn’t work so you can learn from it. I have more stories about songs or parts of songs that I thought were more just personal things until someone else heard it and recognized the touch of God on it.

BJ and I wrote a song called Made To Worship and it all came about because I was showing him some song ideas one morning that I wanted to pursue. He gave me some feedback and I was going to keep working on them but nothing particularly caught either of our attention. As I was about to leave, I jumped back on the keys and sung him the first few lines of what became the first verse and pre-chorus of the song. It was a last minute thought because it was an underdeveloped idea that just came from a moment of worship the night before. Immediately when I played it - he got excited and realized there was something on it. He changed a few chords on the spot and then said something along the lines of, “let me work on this… there’s something here…” and a few hours later we had the song. One idea sparked something in him/resonated with him and led to the full expression.

Register for Planershakers Conference Today!


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Joth Hunt | Lead Vocalist and Lead Guitarist

I grew up in a very musical family. It was what I wanted to do with my life. Music. I started playing Piano, drums and guitar at the age of 7. I understood from a very early age that God had given the gift of music and I wanted to use that gift for him. As a young boy going to Planetshakers conferences I started to dream how God could use my gift to touch the earth. Starting to learn how to record music at the age of 14, i fell in love with producing music. Now here I am producing the Planetshakers albums. The dreams God put in my heart are coming to pass.

Follow Joth | Instagram | Twitter

 
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BJ Pridham | Lead Vocalist

I’m honored to be the Worship Pastor of Planetshakers Church, based in Melbourne, Australia. Blessed with a music team of a few hundred strong across four local campuses, I’m passionate about seeing people step into their God-given calling by stewarding their gifts and serving the house of God. Having the privilege to write a number of Planetshakers songs, it’s my greatest desire that people would have their own personal encounter with God and experience His presence and goodness on a deeper level.

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Andy Harrison | Drummer

Born in Hobart Tasmania, I grew up with a passion for drumming, starting lessons at 6 years of age and drumming in my local church band soon after. As a teenager I attended Planetshakers Conferences and it was here that I significantly encountered God – receiving a call for ministry. In 2006 I moved to Planetshakers Church, Melbourne to study at Bible College and serve in the youth and music teams. I am now the Planetshakers Drummer and Youth Pastor and have a passion and heart for worship and to see the next generation encounter Jesus.

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