Allowing for Creativity
I will start out by saying that I feel a little odd writing about creativity. It’s not because I am anti-creativity or because I hate art, music, and all things hipster. The reason that I feel somewhat odd is because I don’t consider myself to be a very creative person. I am not an artist in any way or by any stretch of the imagination. I wish I could take awesome photos and photoshop them and stuff, but I leave that stuff to the professionals. I wish I could draw or paint, but I have no talent whatsoever. The closest thing I got to an accomplished piece of art was when my school decided to take a piece we had done in art class and see if they could sell it to our parents. My parents bought a magnet version of my orange, spikey blue haired, person that I constructed out of cut up pieces of paper and glue. That piece of 4th grade art stayed on our fridge for years, and my uncle bought a coffee mug version if I remember correctly. The fact is, I always have envied people with artist ability. During that 4th grade art project I remember envying Zach because he was the kid in our grade who could draw. I wanted to be him or at least draw like him!
Now, while I try to get my thoughts off of my childhood dreams of being the art class standout, I want to push all of you readers to create an environment that inspires creativity for you. It’s amazing how companies like Facebook are doing this (Check out their new headquarters). Facebook’s new campus is loaded with lots of comfy open spaces for collaboration, lots of chalkboard paint on the walls, clear conference room walls so everyone can see what’s going on, and a factory looking unfinished ceiling to remind their employees that their job is never done. The fact is, Facebook is trying to foster an atmosphere of creativity. Google has what is called 20% time where their employees have free time to work on any side projects that they may be passionate about. Many Google Doodles comes out of this time! Companies who are at the cutting edge of our time are pushing creative environments, because when creativity is allowe people feel more open to try new things without the fear of failure.
This post is not going to give you the answers for fostering creativity, because I honestly don’t know what will work for you. Every church is different, and your church may do a fantastic job of fostering a creative mentality. I do want to give you five things that I have around me each day that helps me hash things out and help with my creative process.
- White Boards – I now have 3 white boards in my office! Yesterday I went on the hunt to find a the third one because I was running out of space. I have a large 4 month white board calendar, a small regular whiteboard, and the new addition of my large regular white board. The reason I love them so much is because I can use all sorts of different colors, it’s clean, and it’s an easy surface to write, erase, write, erase, and write again. Some people use chalkboard paint or chalkboards for this, but I think it’s too messy so I stick to white boards. If you want a giant white board, you have to check out Idea Paint.
- Dry Erase Markers – I guess this goes hand-in-hand with white boards, but I have tons of dry erase markers. I like having different colors for different things. I also like having both the big fat markers and the skinny finer tipped ones. Having different kinds allows me to make things stand out, and it helps my ADD mind focus.
- Paper and Pens – Everyone should have this laying around but I always start out on paper. When I’m writing a sermon or planning an event, I always start out by writing it down first. Yes, it pretty much always ends up getting typed out, but there is just something about brainstorming on a piece of paper. I have also picked up this habit from my dad where I outline things a million times. I will circle things draw boxes around them and retrace lines over and over. It helps me process I guess.
- Toys – This may seem counter productive but I love having toys around the office. I have a basketball hoop connected to my office door, I have a nerf gun on my bookshelf, and I have a skyball sitting on my desk. I don’t just do that to be the “cool pastor,” but rather because they help me think. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat and tossed that skyball against the wall.
- Good Coffee – I cannot begin to stress to you the importance of GOOD coffee in youth ministry. I am now living in the north where Dunkin Donuts reigns supreme, but I just can’t do it! I will spend the extra money for Starbucks! However, coffee helps me think. Honestly, I tweet more, write more, and read more when I’m sitting in a coffee shop. Coffee is God’s nectar, and it is extrememly helpful for my creative process. Again, I will thank my dad for his influence in that (drinking coffee when you’re 4 leads to addiction).
Posted on January 2, 2012, in Christian Living and tagged Art, Brainstorm, Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Creativity, Family Ministry, Leadership, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.