By Derric Bonnot of Fellowship Creative
A few years ago my wife and I found ourselves in the middle of one of the greatest worship events I have ever witnessed. We watched and listened as thousands inspired poured out their devotion. It wasn’t at a Hillsong Concert, or a Tomlin concert, or a Christian Conference. It was a tour by none other than music artist, Kanye West. What we saw was incredible worship, but incredibly wrong object. What has Kanye given people to evoke such a response? Is it truth? Encouragement? Wisdom? No. What he provides can be summed up in one word: Creativity.
But I started thinking about it. Shouldn’t the Church be the most creative entity on the face of the planet? After all, we’re made in the image of our Creative Creator and we have the most important message in the world to pour our creativity into. Look at how Jesus taught with stories and illustrations and word-pictures. What was he using? CREATIVITY! Yet sadly, the Church gets our creative left-overs, if it gets anything. Kanye West should be looking to the Church for cues on creativity, not the other way around.
I think most people reading this would agree. But maybe you feel helpless or uncertain of how to shift the tides in your church culture. I have been privileged to grow up in one of the most creative churches, Fellowship Church, and have studied under one of the most creative leaders in the world, Pastor Ed Young. Here are some things I have learned that have laid the foundation for a culture that values and exercises creativity week in and week out.
- Own Your Identity
If you think you’re not creative, then you’re confused about who you are and in whose image were you made. You ARE unique, you ARE one of a kind, and you ARE creative. You must first believe this and help others to believe the same about themselves. Own this statement: “We are the most creative people on the face of the planet.” Believe and unleash this truth.
- Cast the Vision
You have to get others to see this reality and to believe it. You simply can’t cast the vision for the creative Church enough.
- Don’t Play Scared
Creativity comes with risks, and you’re not going to have a perfect record. But don’t let fear of failure keep you from being or doing something different. You’re going to fail, but you can fail moving forward.
- Ask “What If?” and “Why Not?”
Rather than always accepting what is, (i.e. “It is what it is!”) be a “What if?” person. “What if we did this or tried that?” And ask, “Why not?!” We begin planning our Weekend Experiences always asking big – and sometime daunting – “What if?” questions. We try to always start there. And we focus on a “Why not?” spirit. Then we get down to practicality later, which, for the record, requires just as much creativity.
- Be Willing to Change
The quickest way to break a creative rut is to change something. Keep things fresh and be open to new ideas that lead you outside of your comfort zone. Remember the spin cycle of creative success: change, conflict, growth. To get to it (growth), you’ve got to go through it (conflict).
- You’ve Got Eyes, Plagiarize
Look at what others are doing, especially those that are doing a great job in a specific area. Then, copy those ideas, put them through your creative filter, and make them better!
- Be An Encourager
There is vulnerability in creativity as we step out. There are no dumb ideas. Are you encouraging others to believe they’re creative? Or are you making them feel like their creative-stupid?
- Create a Climate of Critique
This may seem like an oxymoron, especially right after the last point on encouragement, but how do you get better and set the bar higher in your creativity? Constructive criticism. At Fellowship Church, we constructively critique everything. The goal is not to tear people down; it’s meant to build them up. You must be confident enough to receive critique and loving enough to share it.
- Ask Questions
Learn from others. What are they doing to refresh their creative mind? Where are they looking for ideas? What are they doing and what are they not doing? Ask the right people the right questions and you’ll find the right answers!
- Remember, There is No “I” In Team
If you want to build a creative culture you have to invite others to the party, let others have an opportunity to make a mark, give others opportunities to feel the pressure and even fail. Your idea doesn’t always have to be the idea that wins.
I once bought into the lie that if I was going to impact the world as an artist then it would have to use my creativity outside the Church, not in and through it. Like so many others, I spent the majority of my time and energy pouring into other outlets. Then one day, I invited someone to our Church who doesn’t believe in Jesus or have a relationship with him and I began quickly thinking about what we were doing that weekend and hoping it would be good. Then it hit me: we’re always ready for people like that, because it’s people like that who might be giving Jesus one last shot. That should keep us up at night and inspire our creativity! And I thought about how many countless lives, mine included, that I’ve seen changed at our church over the years. I couldn’t even count on one hand lives that I knew who had been truly transformed in all these other outlets where I was pouring my creativity into.
That’s why Fellowship Creative exists, because we believe the Church should be the most creative entity on the face of the planet. And we not only want to create a culture in our church that values and exercises that, but we want to inspire other churches and leaders to do the same. As Christ followers, we have the truth people need, we have the encouragement people need, we have the wisdom people need. We cannot neglect the most powerful vehicle for delivering these essentials: Creativity!
Filled with congregational worship songs that are authentic and powerful, Fellowship Creative’s new release is available now. Get it on iTunes.