If I am completely honest with you, ministry can be monotonous at some times. The same can be said for weekly message preparation, but I don’t believe it always has to be. I’m of the mind being created in the image of God means He shares certain attributes with us, and one of my favorite attributes of God is His creativity. In essence we were created to be creative for His glory…I like that.
I have to keep this in mind when studying, preparing, and dreaming for messages or message series. There’s a lot involved in prepping for these things but I love the fact that I can dream big dreams because that’s how we are designed. My encouragement for student pastors would be to dream big when studying and developing a message or series.
Here are just a few helpful thoughts that have helped me along the way:
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GAIN INSPIRATION FROM OTHERS – There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being inspired by the works of others. There is; however, everything wrong with stealing from others. Some give full freedom to use whatever you want to, but that’s not a universal rule for everything you find online; but I do believe you can be inspired by someone else’s creativity. Let’s be honest, Pinterest is a great resource. If you’ve been avoiding Pinterest like the plague for fear of what men with mustaches might think of you, then it’s time to grow yourself a beard and join the movement. Go take a gander at my boards if you feel the urge.
READ SOMETHING THAT STIRS YOUR IMAGINATION – History, a biography, fiction…what stirs your imagination? I like to sit down next to a fire and read some good fiction. Right now I’m reading The Fiddler’s Gun by A.S. Peterson, but I also enjoy anything by Ted Dekker. It’s fun to get lost in a world that is not your own while living the life of another, even if it is only for a glimmer of time. The sole purpose of this is to remain creative. I’m good with reading books that are helpful for your line of work, but that can sometimes get stale and stunt creativity. It’s when I’m imagining that I find myself being more creative, so enjoy some books that bring about something new.
LISTEN TO NEW MUSIC – Sometimes it’s a good thing to try something new. I for one get a little tired of listening to the same thing all the time…unless it’s overwhelmingly good. I’m just saying try it, if you don’t like it move on, but sooner or later you will find someone else to add to your playlist. I really like listening to strong song writers like Ben Rector, Andrew Peterson, Aaron Ivey, and NEEDTOBREATHE, but sometimes I branch out and find something different that I don’t normally listen to like Justin Timberlake (I’m late to the party) or Bruno Mars (amazing voice, lyrics need a little toning down). I would also suggest getting Spotify and listening to some of their suggestions (then going out and buying some of that artists music). Spotify can be a great resource for trying something new.
HAVE A CHANGE OF SCENERY – Get up and get out of the office!! If you’re always looking at the same wall, same art, same desk, same books, it’s no wonder you’re creative genius is stumped! Get up and go somewhere. A park, a local coffee shop, your back yard, a movie (this serves two purposes); I don’t care where, but get up and go! You’re office can be a lonely, boring place sometimes…make it interesting!
CARRY AN “IDEA” NOTEBOOK WITH YOU – You never know when you’re going to be hit with the greatest idea ever! We all have one of those ideas that would be revolutionary, but we forget it within 10 minutes never to be thought of again. Sooner or later I’ll have one too, but I’m gonna write it down. I also like to draw out designs and write down quotes that would go great in a message or a series. I never know when I’m going to be inspired, so it’s good to have something to record that inspiration in.
KEEP THE GOSPEL AT THE CENTER – Don’t lose sight of this one. You can be the most creative person in the world (and you may even see fruit from your creativity), but it’s in vein if you forget the Gospel. Are you trying to show others how creative you are or are you showing others how creative God is! Let’s face it, there’s nothing more out of the box then God becoming flesh to save His creation and bring them back to Him. That’s the story we are telling…nothing more, nothing less, so do not believe the lie that you can make it more creative and pretty!
Stop saying you’re not creative! You’re the most creative person I know, so use it for God’s glory! Maybe these will help you…maybe they won’t…but at least give it a try! You have been created in the image of God…be creative!
What helps you be creative?