Stop Saying You’re Not Creative!

Many times when I’m teaching a class about putting together a puppet performance I ask the question, “How many of you would say that you don’t have a creative bone in your body?”  It’s always a little sad to see the response as usually about half of the class raises their hands.  Some folks may find me a bit harsh, but usually the first thing out of my mouth at that point is, “Ha!”  “Who told you that!?!?”  “It’s not true!”

There’s a simple verse in the Bible that proves that kind of thinking is wrong.  God put it right up in the front of the Bible so we wouldn’t have trouble finding it.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27

Now I’m no Bible scholar but I think I can break down this verse and analyze it.  It says that God created man in his own image, so not only does it tell us that we were made like God, but that He did the making.  So He is creative, and we are like Him.  If it didn’t get into your skull the first time, the author of Genesis goes into Yoda-speak and says it again backwards, “In the image of God he created him.”  God is a creative being…He made us in His image…therefore, WE are creative beings.  That voice that convinces you to raise your hand when I asked who isn’t creative…well just to let you know, he never created anything.  He only destroys.

That nasty little voice in the back of your head may be starting up again.  Only the people with the big ministries are creative.  Only the people who write the curriculums are creative.  Wrong again!  I thank God for the people who publish resources, who write music, who create the curriculums!  I thank God that I’ve been able to be one of them for the last 16 years!  By all means use these resources, but that doesn’t mean you get to turn your creativity switch off.    God wants us to tap into the creativity of others, but I believe He intends that to be a springboard for our own creativity.

I’ve been to many children’s ministry conferences where I’ve been talking with folks and heard them say something like, “I went to so-and-so’s class today and we’re going to do our children’s church just like he does.”  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to learn from others, but if God wanted your church to do children’s ministry just like so-and-so does, then so-and-so would have your job.

I just finished re-reading Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love.”  The first time I read it I highlighted something which obviously didn’t sink in enough the first time because it floored me again when I read it the second time.  It said, “We have a God who is a Creator, not a duplicator.”

There’s no such thing as a perfect program.  There’s no such thing as a curriculum that is ready to go right out of the box.  Any lesson, any story, any puppet show, any VBS, any magic trick is incomplete until you inject it with the creativity of the person presenting it.

So…how do you become more creative?  If I knew the answer to that question I wouldn’t be trying to figure out what to write for my next sentence.  That sounds like a joke, but just writing a simple article is a challenge.  That’s because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.  We want everything we put out there to be the best.  That’s a good goal, but if the really good ideas are going to get out of that mass between your ears called a brain, then the not-as-good ones are going to need to come out as well.  Famous Warner Brothers animation director Chuck Jones tells a story that is similar to this in his book “Chuck Amuck.”  In the book he tells the story of when one of his art instructors greeted the class on the first day by saying, “All of you here have one hundred thousand bad drawings in you.  The sooner you get rid of them, the better it will be for everyone.”  One of the keys to creativity is allowing your ideas to come out, both the good and the bad.

But that still doesn’t answer how we start thinking more creatively.  Honestly, it’s going to be different for every person, but in the next few posts we’ll try and look at a few things that may help with the creative process.

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2 Responses to “Stop Saying You’re Not Creative!”

  1. Barbara Willard Says:

    Thank you so very much for the inspiration! I hear the same comment all the time from people about not being creative when I teach. I always say, “Are you one of God’s creations? Are you created in His image? There is potential for great creativity in everyone. You just have to stop being afraid to use it!” It’s hard for me to sleep sometimes because my mind races through all the things I could create. I write everything down. It’s easier to process it! Thank you again for writing such a creative blog about being creative even when one doesn’t feel creative…you get the idea…

  2. The Children’s Ministry Blog Patrol (May 2010) « Dad in the Middle Says:

    […] Part 1 […]

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