“We are a creative church.”
“We need to be more creative.”
“We need to increase the creative team’s budget.”
“How can we make this more creative?”
“This space doesn’t let me be creative.”
Those of us that have been in church ministry for a while have heard a couple or all of those statements.
It’s for good reason we talk a lot about creativity. I believe God is a creative God. We don’t have to look very far to see all that He’s created with His words and His hands. He’s the expert creative team leader.
That being said, creativity only goes so far in the Church. Sure, creativity helps people encounter God in new ways and helps them focus their attention and energy on Him. But it can’t transform them on its own. A well done set, a new LED curtain, or a well-shot video has never transformed someone from the inside out.[quote]A well done set, a new LED curtain, or a well-shot video has never transformed someone from the inside out.[/quote]
It takes more. It takes creativity, but there are things that are more important.
1. A Welcoming Spirit
There’s long been a little bit of a stereotype around the local church that we aren’t welcoming. It is often assumed that the local church is a closed-off group that is hard to break through. How opposite of Jesus is that? Jesus welcomed thousands to His teaching and fed them lunch. Jesus invited all to come to Him. He was desirable for outsiders. They crowded Him and went to great lengths to see Him. The local church has to be more welcoming.
2. Being Community Driven
We are created to live in community. It’s essential for our spiritual growth. No matter our personality, no matter how we’re wired, we need real community to live and walk in. For churches and church leaders, it’s essential we spend time, money, and energy creating opportunities for people to develop community. As the Millennial generation becomes more part of the local church, it’s important as well. This generation desires (possibly more than any ever) to live in tight community.[quote]This generation desires, possibly more than any ever, to live in tight community.[/quote]
3. Having A Gospel Focus
The Church is developed around the Gospel. When we think about the fact that the Son of God could have set up any organization, company, or club while on earth but chose the Church to carry out His work, it should cause a sense of angst. We are called to center around the Good News and the Gospel message. The second we forget the Gospel for the sake of creativity or anything else is the second we fail our Savior. The Gospel changes people…for eternity.
4. Remaining Discipleship-Minded
Jesus called us to “go and make disciples.” For many of us, creativity has helped with the go part. It’s helped people meet Jesus for the first time. There’s more to it, though. As a local church, we have to spend our time and energy thinking of processes and ways to move people to deeper levels in their relationship with Jesus. It’s not just about getting them into heaven. It’s about the glorious process of discipleship and sanctification.
5. Producing Authentic Worship
Gone are the days of creative worship being enough. The smoke, the lights, the bass… it’s all well and good. But if we miss authenticity in our worship, we’ve missed the boat. By authenticity, I don’t mean we slow it down and add a raspy tone. I mean we open ourselves to the possibility that God may do unique, new, and real things in the lives of people and our leaders as they draw near. Authentic means we place more emphasis on encountering God than rehearsing prayers. We have to be authentic and trust God to use it to change people.[quote]If we miss authenticity in our worship, we’ve missed the boat.[/quote]
Don’t misunderstand; creativity remains an important part of the church. It always has and always will. Creativity, however, is not the most important part of the church. It requires creativity working with these other elements to reach the world. After all, Jesus demonstrated that very thing…
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (John 9:6-7 NIV)
What creativity, compassion, and commitment to reaching people!