In my day job, I write and edit for a free online magazine called Sunday| Magazine. It’s all about the creative process of Sunday mornings. This month our cover story is from creative directors at those mega creative churches about what it takes to have effective creativity at your church.
Most of us aren’t at mega creative churches. So it’s easy to see comments from folks like Blaine Hogan (Willow Creek) and Whitney George (Church on the Move) and think there’s nothing we can learn for our context. But that sort of thinking comes from some commonly believed myths about creativity – especially as it applies to churches.
Let’s explore and explode these myths together:
1. Creativity is about music, acting, and art.
Creativity and artistic expression are related, but they aren’t the same thing. Creativity is the ability to see things from a different perspective and show that to others. Artistic expression is a form of creativity, but it doesn’t encapsulate the whole concept.
Jesus, in His parables, showed true creativity. He saw the Kingdom of Heaven from a different perspective and helped show that to us. A good story is the perfect manifestation of creativity. It doesn’t have to be “art”.
2. Creativity costs too much money.
While creative churches like Willow Creek and Church on the Move have pretty big budgets for technology, there are so many churches that do amazing things with little to no money.
Creativity isn’t about technology. It isn’t even about physical resources. It’s about making do with what you have. It’s about pushing through resistance and limitations like budget.
3. Creativity takes too much time.
Creativity does take extra thought. It does take a little bit of time. But so does anything worth doing.
When you invite a guest over to your house for dinner, you don’t just warm up some Hamburger Helper and serve it from the pan. You prepare a good recipe. You put the meal in a nice serving dish. You set the table. You clean up. You do something special because you want to make your guest feel welcomed and honored. Why wouldn’t we do the same thing for our guests on Sunday mornings?
4. We don’t have “creative” people in our church.
You might be surprised how many “creatives” you have sitting in your chairs each Sunday. Many times they keep quiet in church because they don’t want to rock the boat. But as soon as you start introducing creativity in your church, they come out of the wood works. They get excited. They volunteers early mornings and late nights to help make it all happen. I guarantee there are creative folks hiding in plain site. You just need to give them a chance to shine.
5. Creativity is only for young people.
A few years ago I got a compliment I’ll never forget. I had just finished leading worship. That morning we did a song that featured a trash can as the percussion element. I was worried people wouldn’t like it. But a small, elderly woman approached me. She gave me a huge hug and said how much she loved the creativity that morning.
I was so surprised.
But she wasn’t the only one. Throughout my time at the church we had so many older folks getting excited as we introduced creative elements.
Creativity doesn’t have to alienate people. If you put care and love into your planning, you can bring people along and bring them on board with the vision for creativity.
You church can be creative. It’s not that hard. It just takes trying.
This article is a guest post from Jonathan Malm, the creative effusion behind Sunday | Magazine.