CreativityEngaging Culture

You Won’t Always Get Credit – But Keep on Creating

In 1947, Rev. Norman Hammer invented something remarkable:  A drive in church in Southern California.  Wait a minute – I thought Robert Schuller invented that.  Nope.  It was Norman Hammer – someone you’ve probably never heard of before today.  At the time, the 36 year old pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Hollywood drove past an outdoor movie theater and the radical thought hit him –
why not hold a church service right here in the drive in?

So on July 10, 1949, what’s believed to be the first drive in church service was born.  Years later at the old Orange Drive In, in 1955, Robert Schuller picked up on the idea and become famous.  Schuller eventually built the Crystal Cathedral and created a national television program.  Although today, they recently filed for bankruptcy with more than $43 million in debt.  But because of his early success, he became much more widely known than Hammer for his early drive-in movie theater services.

Pastor Norman Hammer never got the credit he deserved, but he was an innovator.  Say what you like, but he acted on a wild idea.  It proved to be more successful with Schuller, but Hammer was the guy that started it all.  Others may be better marketers than you, and they may take your idea and run with it.  But never let that stop you from being creative, and answering God’s call to step outside the “box.”

The idea is the thing.  And besides, God does the ultimate accounting….


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  1. Who cares who gets credit as long as the big picture gets completed! This is a good reminder of this scripture:

    “So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but only God Who makes it grow and become greater. He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor. For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God bestowed on me, like a skillful architect and master builder I laid the foundation, and now another man is building upon it….” I Cor. 3:7-10

  2. More on topic: I heard a quote some time ago:”It’s amazing what you can get done if you don’t care who gets credit.”

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