18 Mar Creativity becomes flesh
God is a Creative God. Creativity is part of who God is. The fifth word in the Bible is ‘created’ – “In the beginning God created … (Gen.1:1)” God started the creative ball rolling and it has been rolling ever since. Think of creation – God created the entire universe out of nothing. He formed all original things (like an inventor or manufacturer). What an incredible designer he is! There is nothing bland, boring or predictable about God’s world.
Think of things such as:
- Colour – we have three primary colours with up to 10 million different hues that a human eye can see.
- Texture – rough, smooth and everything in between.
- Shape and form – so many varieties.
- Movement – wind, water, animals (bird, cheetah, elephant, snake)
- Sound – a thunderstorm, the crashing of the waves of the ocean or the sound of a bird
- Seasons – winter, spring, summer, autumn.
- Human personality – unique finger prints for 6 billion people, no boring predictable clones!
Think about redemption. God has made salvation available to us apart from our ability to earn it. He has sent Jesus to pay the
price for our sin and now offers us salvation (being right with him) as a free gift for which we can do nothing to earn. What an amazing and creative plan!
Let’s look at Eph 2:8-10. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of
God – not by works, so that noone can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God
prepared in advance for us to do. NIV This passage of Scripture shows us the creativity of God (in creation and redemption) and how he has called us to be like him in the works that we do. We are God’s “workmanship” (his masterpiece) – literally a work of art (Greek poiema).
Jesus modelled creativity Jesus never taught anything without using a parable (Matt.13:34). Jesus was the most creative leader and teacher who has ever walked the planet. He spoke from hillsides, boats and beaches. He drew in the sand, used a Roman coin, cursed a fig tree, and picked up a piece of bread. He divided fish, turned over tables, and put a child on his knee – all to illustrate important lessons.
Jesus delivered his life-changing message in dynamic and creative ways. A point gets to the head while a picture gets to the heart.
Many people remember stories and illustrations more than points. An estimated 72% of Jesus’ words were focused on application
– putting his teaching in to practice in daily life.
He understood about visual and multi-sensory learners – 2000 years ago. He constantly used visuals and never used the same
approach twice. Everything he did was unique. He was a master communicator and the master of creativity. Jesus did this in his teaching through creative stories and examples. God is not boring and therefore we need to present the truth of the gospel and the
Christian life as one of joy and positive expectation (“hope”) even in the midst of the routines of daily living. If we are not attracting a crowd, then we need to rethink how we are doing ministry. The message we have never changes, but the methods we use need to be constantly updated to be relevant to each generation and group of people we are endeavouring to reach.
The Spirit empowers us to be creative We are to be imitators of God. We are created in his image and likeness (Gen.1:27). We are
to be like him. This means we are designed to be creative too! You have a unique contribution to make. When we look at who God is and what he has done, we have a good reason to be creative – to sing, to write, to paint, or whatever – to express our love and adoration for him. See what you’re doing as a ‘work of art’ – displaying God’s glory.
In his book, The Creative Leader, Ed Young says, “The entertainment industry is filled with actors, musicians, and entertainers of all varieties who capture the imagination of all ages with their creative gifts, meeting the deep-seated need that people have for creativity, adventure, and excitement in their lives – a need the church should be filling through the creative power of the Holy Spirit.”
He goes on to say, “Some people don’t have much to say but they sure know how to say it while the Church has everything to say but often doesn’t know how to say it. That’s why creativity should grace everything that touches our leadership and our ministry.”
Let’s unleash our creative potential and use it to communicate the most compelling message ever given to humanity. Creativity is
not an option for the church; it is a biblical mandate that flows from the very character of God.
Here are a few thoughts on some ways we can foster greater creativity:
1. Make time for thinking creatively Set aside regular time for “brainstorming” – by yourself and, better still, with other people and
especially with any teams you are a part of. Think creatively. Research should be everybody’s preoccupation and innovation is
everybody’s game “The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive. Great Groups offer a new model in which the leader is an equal among Titans. In a truly creative collaboration, work is pleasure, and the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause.” [Warren Bennis]
2. Ask good questions Regularly ask yourself, “What’s working well and why?” and “What’s not working and why?”
3. Generate lots of new ideas
“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” [Thomas Edison] “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” [Thomas Edison]
4. Listen and learn
Be a strategic listener. Expose yourself to different viewpoints and learning and ideas. Look for future trends, people’s needs and new ideas – everywhere!
5. Think outside the box Create an atmosphere within your team that says, “Let’s find a better way” and that encourages “thinking outside the box.” Always be looking for a new idea that will improve or expand your ministry.
Admit where things are no longer working and make appropriate changes. Don’t get stuck with a mentality that says, “That’s the
way we’ve always done it.” When something seems impossible, find a way! Read the story recorded in Mark 2:1-5 for a good example. What annoys you? Frustration is a catalyst to innovation!
6. Don’t be afraid of failure Take a risk! Conduct an experiment! Try it! Maybe we need to “celebrate” failure rather than just “tolerate it.” “Success is on the far side of failure.” [Thomas Watson Snr.] “The things we fear most in organizations — fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — are the primary sources of creativity.” [Margaret J. Wheatley]
7. Have fun! We need to take God more seriously and ourselves less seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy the journey.