Creativity Takes Patience, Silence, Time, and …

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Creativity lately. I know that many of you are a part of creative teams at your churches and you all have your own process for how come to your end result. I’ve been wanting to write what I know about how to utilize creativity in the local church, and have had trouble narrowing down the ideas, so I just decided to start writing and work it out along the way.

First, let’s start by defining what a Creative Team is (and isn’t). I’ve been doing a lot of research on other creative teams out there, and what I’ve found is that there are two types of creative teams – at least the term gets used in these two ways quite regularly. In the first it is used to describe a team of people who do the creative stuff. They’re the dancers, singers, actors, etc. This is NOT the type of creative team I will be discussing. The type of creative team I will be talking about is the group of people who meet to brainstorm creative ideas about a sermon or sermon series and creative worship elements that will enhance the point of the sermon or sermon series.

With that out of the way, I want to talk about one of the biggest hindrances to the success of a creative team – Patience. I haven’t talked with a ton of people who have been doing this, but one of the common threads in these discussions seems to be that the ideas just don’t seem to come. It seems, in our culture, we can’t be satisified unless we get the resolution we’re looking for immediately. It’s this desire that forces us to settle for the lesser creative ideas and not plow through to find the absolute best ones.

It’s like that at times – plowing. The old school kind, you know using horses or mules, etc. Coming to the best idea can be a lot of hard work and take a lot of time.

So, in your meetings, do everything you can to excercise patience. Wait. Don’t get in a hurry (if you can help it).

Also, don’t be afraid of the silence. People need time to think. You need time to think. Most people (men and women) can’t think their best if someone is always talking. Stop talking. Encourage the silence. This is the hard part, ask others to be silent. If you have someone on your team who jeopardizes the conversation, talk the him/her in private and ask them to try to allow more time for others to talk.

Along with patience and silence you need time. It’s different than patience. You need to have enough notice on what the sermon or sermon series is going to be that you don’t have to be rushed to come up with something. You’ll never get the good stuff that way. This will be something that you’ll have to work with your Senior Pastor on. It might be a hard conversation, but it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re not far enough out in advance, you’ll always be behind the eight ball, only able to do what you can accomplish at the last minute. You’ll also be frustrated. You’ll come up with really good ideas, where if you had just a couple more weeks you could pull off the really good idea, but because the weekend is only days away you’re forced to do what you can not what you could.

One last though is that your patience and time may need to span multiple meetings. (If you’re planning far enough out) you don’t need to feel like you have to come up with the final idea at this week’s meeting. One of the best creative ideas a team I was working with came as the result of four weeks worth of meetings. It won’t always take a long time, but it might. You need to give yourself the time for it to take time. You need to give yourself permission to not make a decision right away. Let it simmer in your brains for a week or two. Then after the whole team has had time to process the idea, make a decision as a team on what the best idea is.

That’s it for the first round. There’s plenty more to come, stay tuned!