Creativity comes in bursts for me. To be honest I have a love-hate relationship with being creative. I love when it comes and hate when it doesn’t. Whether it’s writing a sermon, thinking differently about my youth group, creating a welcoming space, or really whatever creativity plays a key role in having an awesome youth group. As I sit here and write I can see the look on my students’ faces when what we are doing has been done before “like a million times.” When I think about where creativity comes from I can recognize three categories.
- Prayer- So typical of a pastor to say pray more I know, but really… pray more. Even as I write this I am in touch with the areas of my own life and leadership that need the attention of prayer. Prayer is the best place to garner creativity. Creativity requires energy. When I am tired I tend to be worthless in the area of creativity. With that in mind God is the best place to receive energy. God is full of life and therefore full of energy. When we meet with God we meet with the one who has the power to speak life. Therefore prayer becomes essential for staying creative. I hope that is as obvious to you as it seems to be in my mind. So, retreats, Sabbath practicing, fasting, and consistent times of prayer become essential for staying creative.
- Relationships- There are people who feed my creative side and there are people who zap it. I could list with relative ease the people that help me think. These people have become essential for staying creative. I tend to lean on leaders in the youth group and students I trust to find creative inspiration. However, there are times when that’s not enough. It is at this point that I turn towards trusted friends in my life to help me think, sometime they aren’t even Christians…scandalous I know.
- Resources- There is the old adage that leaders are readers. I have found this to be very true in the area of creativity. Recently I have started to look at Fuller Youth Institute stuff for inspiration. I am reading a book called “Growing Young” that discusses big picture ideas of how to approach ministry to young people in our churches. I try to be consistently reading something. Whether its scripture, books, audio books, podcasts, etc…I find that I need to be in touch with outside resources in order to stay creative.
To end this little resource I want to add a plug for sleep. I just had a son. Actually I had a son two years ago, but it seems like yesterday. My son is wonderfully gifted in many areas, but sleep is not one of those areas. So regularly I roll into the office sleep deprived. I have noticed that when I am sleep deprived I don’t have enough energy to be creative. So as best you can, sleep more. Thanks for reading. I’m interested in your responses.