A lot of people are talking about creativity in church work right now, find and itâ€™s raising some tensions in me (and maybe in you too?). Weâ€™ve been haggled on both ends of the creativity spectrum over the years. On the one hand weâ€™ve bought into the rationale that says, â€œGod hasnâ€™t called you to be creative – Heâ€™s called you to be effective.â€ Therefore, copy & paste at will. And on the other hand we resonate with the thinking that says â€œAll ministry is local.â€ Therefore, creative contextualization is the only way to impact a locality. Itâ€™s a tough balance to strike, really. And if you add the complexity that multi-site churches bring to the table, this can be a serious monkey on our backs as leaders.
To get some clarity on this issue for myself, Iâ€™ve spent some time wrestling with the purpose behind it all. Why be creative anyway? Why does â€œcreativityâ€ even matter in the church?
A THEOLOGICAL REASON
Zooming out a little, we can look at the big picture by seeing Godâ€™s own character and activity since the beginning of time. We call God our â€œCreator.â€ And the Bible says He created humans â€œin His imageâ€ (to be like Him in character – Genesis 1:26). So logically we can deduce that if we are not â€œcreatingâ€ at some level, we are not in alignment with God’s basic design for our existence. You see this in the task God gave the first humans to assign names to all the animals. Yet He did not give them a list of names. They were to make them up! (Not sure Iâ€™d want that job). And while itâ€™s true that on the 7th day God rested from His work, in a way He has never stopped creating since. In fact, even the universe is known to be in a continuous state of expansion. New things are being created every day.
How do we apply that to ministry?
Well, for starters, we can be sure that creativity is OK in the church. It is not a waste of time or money, and it is not simply a means to an end. It is a perfectly valid expression of our worship to God, and also an important reflection of our identity as image-bearers of the Creator.
A PRACTICAL REASON
Thankfully thereâ€™s also a practical reason for creativity, and hereâ€™s what I believe it is:
Creativity Creates Anticipation.
Especially when applied to something as repetitive as church services. Think about it, we do the same thing 52 times a year. Granted, Major League Baseball has us beat in the number of gatherings per year. But weâ€™re not necessarily trying to compete on that point.
If youâ€™re like me, youâ€™re already asking the next question: Why does anticipation matter? And hereâ€™s where the lights come on for me. Anticipation matters because we are the delivery system for the most important message in the history of mankind, the Gospel. And if we bore people with the Gospel, we are guilty of the greatest crime humanity has ever experienced. Anticipation creates attention, and if thereâ€™s one thing God wants people paying attention to, itâ€™s the Good News.
Soâ€¦what are we going to do about it?
Share your thoughts, and stay tuned for the next in this series of posts on creativity.