“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1v1 & 27
Our God is a creative God! His creativity is all around us! Further to this, as humans we are created in His image, and as a result, we are creative! Everybody has some form of significant creative potential. If you don’t think you do, perhaps it is because you haven’t found your creative niche yet! The natural creativity of children is amazing! However, quite frequently significant persons bury creativity under layers of conditioning and negativity. Some of the greatest culprits are teachers, parents and peers, but there is hope because the conditioning process can be reversed. It is a process with a high cost factor, because creativity is essentially a life style. It has to pervade every area of your experience. None more so than in your area of service as a Christian Disciple!
Examples of Biblical creativity
Jesus used creativity in his teaching! He took every day people and objects, creating lessons out of them. Think of some of your favourite parables and see the creativity behind them! As for the Psalms, they are filled with creative language in order to praise God, seeking penance before God and expressing a desire to know God better! Similarly some of the symbolic language of the Bible is very creative. Take for example the genealogy of Matthew 1. To us it may well be tedious and insignificant, but to its initial audience of a small group of Jewish believers, it includes enormous significance and creative symbolism! The way Matthew constructed the genealogy highlights many things, one of which was his highlighting of Abraham, David and of course, Jesus! We know to the Jewish mind, numbers were not just mathematically significant but also held great symbolism! The number seven represents perfection. Each of the 3 stages in the genealogy of Matthew 1 contains 14 stages making a total of 42 times perfection! So what Matthew was saying that Jesus was a great deal more than perfect! Now if you were not a first century Jew, you would not at first see creative symbolism!
Why the importance of creativity?
- Creativity perpetuates the learning process. As long as you live you should be learning, and remember that Christian Discipleship is essentially a call to perpetual learning.
- Creativity is essential to meet the growing demands of a changing society. Package thinkers are out of business for an impact tomorrow. If we do not prepare those that we lead to change, they will not be a change element in our next generation.
- Creativity is important to both affect & infect your communication with a characteristic freshness & vitality. We are commanded to communicate the truth. A communicative individual is always a creative individual.
- Creativity develops your leadership style.
- Creativity will overhaul your lifestyle. Most Christian Disciples seem to only exist and not live! If a person is living in the past or in the future, they cannot be enjoying the present.
What are the principles of creativity?
- Creativity is largely a matter of effort. The mind is like a muscle and grows with use.
- Quantity is essential to quality in the creative process. Scientific evidence suggests that it is only a maximum of 6% of ideas that are good. You have to get more ideas to get some winning ideas.
- Results of which are good, bad or indifferent are welcome. Don’t pass judgment at the outset of the creativity process; you have go to withhold it.
- Incubation generates illumination. Put your ideas on the back burner. Put time between thinking of ideas. Then don’t be surprised when a moment of inspiration of how to complete it arrives!
- Group effort stimulates creativity if you learn how to listen.
How to activate creativity?
- Experience provides fuel for ideation, which is the formation of ideas.
- Problem solving. Get your drive going in the right direction.
- Involvement in hobbies & fine arts. Photographic sites like http://www.Flickr.com are great places to see creativity in process and get tips on how to improve! There are oodles of websites out there for almost every conceivable hobby!
- Reading. Creativity thrives on reading the only problem is passivity. Read it until you can tell somebody else. We tend to read the stuff with which we agree which only serves to reinforce our own prejudices and presuppositions. Read things that you know you won’t necessarily agree with, and expand your reading and thinking!
- Writing. Keep a journal, a blog or a website! It’s easier than you may well think! Write down questions, examples and your meditations.
- Spend time with creative people. Think with those you are leading. You think your ideas are so good because you have never tested them against someone diametrically opposed to yours.
- Creativity can be used in the church. Just take for example worship services. Is worship just singing songs? Or can other means be used in order to worship, such as responsive prayers and bible readings? What about dancing as part of creative worship? What about creative outreach or evangelism? Try something new! By being creative, the church can be culturally relevant whilst still remaining biblically faithful to God.
For more to think about please do read Genesis 1 and ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. Knowing I am in the image of a creative God, how am I developing my own creativity for His service?
Q2. How can creativity be used during Church worship services?
Q3. Remembering some of the parables Jesus taught, what sort of things did He use creatively and how can I in some way emulate His creativity in my ministry?