The Role of Creativity and Imagination in Worship

Excerpt from Worship Leader Magazine

ABOUT THE THEME| The Role of Creativity and Imagination in Worship

One aspect of creativity is the heart’s deep affinity with story and image. When a story is offered up via a profound rendering of truth and/or beauty, our response, whether emotional, physical, spiritual or intellectual can potentially be formed into faithfulness. Rather than engendering mere excitement or encouragement, these creative encounters reclaim our fallen imaginations.

Creativity in this setting is less about innovation and clever presentations, and more about entering in. Worship leadership is at its best when the “entering in” and “welcoming” provide formation and create community. This means that our worship is less about being stirred up and more about a profound re-ordering of our very being. Creativity in this setting becomes a re-imagining that enlivens the Gospel story we often think we fully know, into something far more expansive and breathtaking. As Zac Hicks has insightfully noted, “… the worship leader possesses the tools–is even called by God–to be a graciously invited agent in the process of God’s reclamation of our fallen imaginations.”

How do we accept that invitation and become agents of transformation? How do we resonate with what God is doing, inhabit Biblical imagination, and both receive and fuel the kind of creativity that has substance and reality? How can we be fully present, and yet not in the way? How can we serve as apprentices to Creator God: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit?

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Glenn Packiam (Doctor of Theology and Ministry, Durham) is the associate senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is the songwriter of more than fifty worship songs, including “Your Name” and “Mystery of Faith,” and the author of several books, including Blessed Broken Given: How Your Story Becomes Sacred in the Hands of Jesus and Discover the Mystery of Faith: How Worship Shapes Believing. He is also a visiting fellow at St. John’s College at Durham University and an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary.
Packiam preaches at conferences for pastors and worship leaders and has spoken at Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University, Biola University, Asbury Seminary, Calvin College, and Trinity School for Ministry. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Holly, and their four children.