Does the Church Need to be Creative?

I got an email from a friend the other day asking these questions:

“What does the church really need? What do people need to know in order to be creative? Do they even need to be taught to be creative?”

Hmmm. That got me thinking. That’s a tough question…”what does the church need?” I’m not sure that’s up to us to decide or figure out or know. But, let’s pretend for a minute that it is. Do they need to be taught to be creative? Do they even need to be creative? Those are questions that, honestly, I go back and forth on a lot.

Sometimes I think we put too much emphasis & pressure on “being creative” and forget that we’re called to love God and love people first and foremost. I wonder if we shifted our focus we’d find that “creativity” flows naturally.

If being “creative is what we need…and something we need to do “better”…I think we’d do ourselves a favor if we stopped trying to learn from each other so much and instead walked out of our church bubble, sat still, and observed the world. Personally, I get burned out on the topic of “creativity” – how to do it, how to do it better, what not to do, how to increase it, etc. I’m not sure that we can add to the ability to create that God has already put in each of us. Perhaps we can learn to unlock it? And maybe that’s what the church needs…to learn how to surrender fear, get over ourselves, and unlock the creativity that is in us. And I think a large part of the answer to “unlocking” is simpler than we think: stop imitating. Instead of looking to the church next door or the latest pop culture craze for creative inspiration why don’t we try reading Scripture and taking a minute to stop and look at the life and experiences God has placed us in the middle of.

And then I return to the idea that “being creative” isn’t really what the church needs in the first place.

Those are my random, in process, disjointed thoughts on those questions. I’d love to hear yours! Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?

With courage, Katie

6 comments

  1. On Saturday night, I was invited to Veracity's "A Night of Film" – a film festival in L.A. I sat with Christian short-film creators, who do NOT create short-films for the church (like I do). I was blown away at their creativity and quality. And I quickly became horrified at how much more I need to look outside of my current industry.

    I walked outside of my church bubble, and into the world. As a result, I left motivated and inspired.

    At the end of the day, creativity is not something I need to learn. It's something I need to do.

  2. I started writing a comment for this one, but I quickly realized it was going to become a full-length article. So I dumped my comment into Evernote to write up a full blog about later.

    But in short, I think the church should be a leader in actual creativity. Not just a leader in creative copyright infringement (or hoping that the rule of parody applies to the newest camp t-shirt or sermon bumper), but a leader in actually creating new things and new works of art like it used to.

    I'm pretty sure the creation of the world was pretty creative. Jesus used creative stories to make his point to people.

    I don't think the church "needs" to be creative. But it also shouldn't not be creative. Nor does it have to be creative. I think being creative is some way comes naturally when a church really embraces the Divine and searches for ways to express its beliefs.

    Or maybe my thoughts are more rambling and disjointed than your original post?

  3. You know, I think creativity is linked to God doing a "new thing" in our midst.

    Art helps us suspend, think, see things from a different perspective, be delighted, be reminded, feel, see the bigger picture, mobilize, unify…

    We need art/creativity to help us interpret life and the divine. I don't think everyone has this gift, but we need it in the body to make us strong. BUT – we all need God to do a new thing in our lives as we become more like Jesus.

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