Our God is a creative God. He spoke the universe into existence and actually carries the ultimate title of Creator (Romans 1:25). Serving the Church through creative ministry has been a passion of mine for over a decade and I love connecting with others like me. As I’ve served in a Creative Pastor role, I’ve learned many lessons on what it means to minister to people through art and media.
Here are ten of my most valuable, game-changing tips for those serving the church in creative roles:
1. Just Because It’s Cool Doesn’t Mean It’s Right For Your Church
One of the biggest traps for church creatives is attempting to duplicate what other ministries are doing. I think it’s great to learn from others and be inspired by outside creativity. But, you are not Hillsong. You are not Life Church. You are not Elevation. Before you reproduce their ideas, make sure that they’re a good fit for your ministry. Start with who you are as a church and then seek small pieces of outside inspiration to combine with your church’s DNA.
2. Functionality Trumps Appearance
A common mistake for creatives is focusing all of your energy on how a project looks while neglecting the functionality of the design. For example – your sermon slides may look awesome, but if your font choice makes it difficult for your audience to follow along, you’ve failed. Your job is to create beautiful things, yes – but make sure they work. Don’t let your design preferences get in the way of ministry.
3. Creativity Is Best In Numbers
One of the biggest pitfalls in my early years in creative ministry was trying to do everything alone. The one-man-show approach will only take you so far in creativity. You’re much more likely to develop (and execute) great ideas by getting other people involved in your creative process. Each individual will bring unique personality and experience to the table that will go far beyond what you’d achieve alone.
4. Some of Your Best Ideas Will Come At Odd Times
Every creative longs for those “aha moments” when inspiration strikes and you’re suddenly aware of how to move forward. If you’ve been pulling your hair out and can’t come up with an idea, I suggest taking a break. Creativity will often strike as you lay down for bed, while you’re in the shower, or during your commute. Don’t beat yourself up if ideas don’t spark during office hours.
5. Be Open To Inspiration From Anywhere
I have no shame when it comes to finding inspiration in unconventional places. It’s very common for me to snap photos on my iPhone when I see creative designs in stores, restaurants, and churches. Some of your best ideas will be inspired by two or three random things you saw throughout the week. Start keeping a reference of the things that inspire you.
6. Let Your Constraints Inspire You
Creativity isn’t about having the best resources. It’s about how resourceful you can be with what God’s given you. You may have a vision to create a video that would normally require three cameras, but only have one camera in your arsenal. Instead of throwing in the towel, ask yourself how you can use the one camera you’ve been given to create something similar (or better). If you will use all of the tools that God’s given you to their full potential, I think you’ll be surprised at how much you can do.
7. Well Done Is Better Than Well Said
Creatives are all-stars at developing ideas, but often fall short when it comes to executing them. Out of the ten ideas that you’ve dreamed up for the next sermon series, choose one or two to carry out. This will keep your head out of the clouds and your hand to the plow. Ideas are only as good as your willingness to execute them. Why not get some volunteers involved to help you make your ideas happen?
8. Follow Your Leadership First, Creativity Second
When you’re serving in the local church, it’s important to remember that God has given your leadership a vision for that ministry. No matter how awesome your ideas are, if they don’t fit with that vision, they’re not going to work. I suggest meeting with your leadership regularly to find out the direction that God’s leading them. Staying on the same page as your Lead Pastor communicates respect and develops trust.
9. Don’t Lose God In Your Art
In the same way that it’s important to seek vision from your leadership, it’s critical that you follow the Creator’s direction in your projects. It’s really easy to get caught up in the work of ministry and totally forget to connect with God. Your relationship with Him should always come before your art, creativity, and media. The more that you can get God involved in your creative process, the better it will be.
10. The Goal Is More Important Than Your Role
For Sunday morning services, the overall goal is to lead people towards becoming fully devoted followers of Christ. Sometimes that process will involve your ideas and methods, but sometimes it won’t. It’s important to remember that it’s not about you. It’s not about your creativity. It’s about the goal. As long as people have connected with Jesus, it’s been a successful service.
Do you have any others that you’d add to the list?