The stars shined as brightly as I can ever remember that particular night. A few years ago while camping with friends, as we lay flat on the ground gazing up at a crystal clear sky I made an observation: “The perspective you have at any given moment is different than any other perspective in the universe.” It’s true, even if someone is sitting right beside you, their view will ever so slightly differ from yours. It is the creative genius of a loving God.
God’s artistry amazes me. We call him Creator, because that’s what he does: he creates. He creates for the sake of creativity. He plants flowers on top of mountains that will never be seen by the human eye. He creates beautiful places in the depths of the sea where mankind will never explore. He speaks galaxies into existence that will never be discovered. God is a master artist, and if God is a creator, then creativity is important.
Whether it’s music, art, culture, film… creative expression speaks to the human soul. I am a musician and a writer; sometimes I get lost in expression (that’s what’s happening during long sermons). Creativity is important, but it is also challenging, particularly in ministry, and it’s an important challenge. We need creativity in our sermons, bible studies, children’s ministries, outreach strategies, worship experiences, ministry environment, and so much more. The solution to becoming more creative in your output is to become more creative in your input. The following are three easy ways to increase your creativity.
1.) Read More Books. Nothing can replace or shape you the way good literature can. Read books that inspire you, challenge you, entertain you, or that simply inform you. Good books fill your mind with ideas and concepts that will never come alive sitting in front of a computer or TV screen.
2.) Explore New Places. Traveling to new places and exploring different cultures will expand your creative vision. It doesn’t mean you have to leave the country. Try a new culturally authentic cuisine or restaurant, take a day trip to another state, hangout in a different city or a different part of your own city, visit a museum. Regardless of how you explore, exploring will stimulate creativity.
3.) Capture Ideas. When you have a creative idea, write it down or record it. Write it in a journal or keep paper and pen close by. Also, set aside time to simply think about things. If you don’t have times where you regularly reflect on life, you won’t be cultivating your creativity. Also, during times of meditation, take notes on your ideas and allow your thoughts to take shape.
If you want to be creative, strive to create, not imitate. Some people mistake creativity for borrowing someone else’s creativity. It’s okay to be inspired by others, but your creativity needs to belong to you, and that means there always needs to be time for processing ideas. You’ve been wonderfully created in the image of the most magnificent Creator. You are his workmanship… like clay in the hands of the potter. Now, it’s your turn to take the canvass that he’s set before you and paint a beautiful picture with your life.
(Sources: Lecture by James Emery White; Church Unique by Will Mancini)