As I stop and evaluate my own habits and talk with pastors, creatives and volunteers who serve the Church, I have come to the growing awareness that there is an unspoken myth creeping into the North American church culture that creativity is the most important thing. That resources equate results and that technology trumps transformation. Of course no one would openly admit that to be true within their specific ministry, but as I take a moment to examine my own patterns and carefully listen to the concerns, longings and goals of others, it has become more and more apparent that this myth is beginning to take root within the Christian creative community and is growing stronger.
There is no question that God, the Creator, has created us in His image, and as a result each one of us carry the ability to create, design, think, strategize, problem solve, build and transform what was into what could be. This gift has allowed the church to leverage the unchanging truth of God’s Word in such a way that connects to today’s constantly changing culture. It builds bridges over the deepest of waters, reconnecting the hope of mankind to the heart of God.
The challenge comes, however, when we place more weight in leveraging our creativity than we do in embracing our Creator.
Like many of you, I am a part of a church community that leverages creativity and technology every week to reveal the character and person of Christ to a seeking audience. As a creative team, we spend countless hours each week discussing, planning, creating, designing, building and strategizing our craft in such a way that presents the Gospel seamlessly and effectively to thousands each week – and the results have been great! We have seen hundreds of people within our community find faith in Jesus for the first time and begin to live their lives for Him. When asked what drew them to our church, the majority of them refer to the level of excellence in our weekend experience, authentic speaking and relevant topics. Which is awesome!
However, it is this unspoken misconception that begins to creep into our minds; that this success we are experiencing is really a direct result of our own creativity and hard work, and in order to maintain and sustain this continued growth, we must continue to invest and work furiously at increasing our own creativity and talent (or by collecting more through others’). This misconception finds ourselves comparing our people, resources and technology to other churches, because we are convinced that in order to maintain this growth, we need more. Better. Newer. Different. The danger is that this type of approach is never satisfied with more, better, newer or different because our focus is on the wrong thing. Our intentions my be right, designing unforgettable opportunities for people to experience God, but this myth is actually pulling us further and further from our desired goal.
Soon, our passion and joy is replaced with burnout and fatigue, and we are left with this longing in our soul, “When did I loose my way?” “When did this begin to feel like a burden?” “When is this going to change?”
Have you ever been there?
Do you know that feeling?
That lack of focus?
That sense of spiritual, emotional and creative fatigue?
This frustration isn’t unique to me or you. It’s a real issue that each christian leader, creative team and artist must wrestle with and face daily in order to lead and create for His sake. If our role as a Christian Creative is to leverage creativity to reveal Christ – then we need to know Christ intimately and find our rest in Him. Now I’m not suggesting that we stop learning, growing and investing into our craft, but it’s crucial that we understand that creativity is a gift from God to reveal God in order for others to find faith in God. It was never given to us to replace God.Creativity is a gift from God to reveal God in order for others to find faith in God. Click To Tweet
So how do we bust this myth, regain our focus and reprioritize our creative efforts in a way that is life-giving and Christ-focused? Here are four quick thoughts to consider.
1. Keep leaning into God
Unfortunately for most, this spiritual discipline is one of the first to get cut when life gets a little rough or too busy. Rather than daily leaning into God, we put Him on the shelf to get back to at a later date. John 15 tells us that Jesus is the vine; we are the branches. If we remain in Him and Him in us, we will bear much fruit and that apart from Him we can do nothing. The more we lean into God, the more He can produce in us and through us.
2. Keep Jesus at the centre of all you do
I know this sounds a little simple; obvious even. But I have come to learn that this doesn’t happen by default, but is the result of direct, deliberate and daily habits. It’s about keeping a clear focus on the WHY behind every piece you create, story you tell or song you sing. Matthew 5:13-15 tell us that like salt and light, we have a single job to do, to make Jesus famous and point as many people as we can to Him.
3. Keep an open hand
By keeping a closed hand, all I have is what I have. But by keeping an open hand, I’ve positioned myself to have whatever God desires for me to have. James 1:17 reminds us that all good things come from God. This doesn’t just mean “stuff”. It means knowledge, insights, creativity, wisdom and understanding. By keeping an open hand, I’m allowing the Creator of creativity to freely give me what I need in the seasons I need it, for His glory to be revealed.
4. Keep trusting God with the results
As followers of Jesus our job is simply to walk in faith and obedience, to do, create and to go and lead what God impresses on our hearts. The results of our faith and obedience are left in His hands. This is the unique marriage between our natural and His supernatural. This awareness is incredibly life-giving and allows us to focus on what only we can do, and trust God with what only He can do.
So together, let’s bust this myth that creativity is the most important thing and use creativity to reveal the Creator and build bridges for our communities to find relationship in Him.