Five Tools to Help Your Church’s Creative Process
January 19, 2018
by Kevin Daughtry

Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.

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The Journal

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Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.

Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.

At Yellowbox, we truly believe that we’re all made by God to be creative. And that might mean different things for different people, as there are two types of creativity—technical creativity and artistic creativity.

Technical creativity is what you need to critically solve problems and come up with new ideas, while artistic creativity is how you express yourself through art, design, music and other things. They’re both necessary and keep us innovating, thinking forward for the Kingdom.

But both technical and artistic creativity can be trained, developed and embraced. Time to dream big for your church, organization and community. Use these processes and tools to truly find a creative process that pushes you forward.

The Journal

You should always carry a notebook. Honestly, always. And if it’s not a actual, paper notebook—then grab your iPhone and get to typing.

Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.

It’s not just to have things written down. Keeping a journal requires us to write down ideas, goals, feelings and motivations. And the simple process of writing something down can’t be overstated: it will change the way you approach your ambitions. Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.

A journal is also permanent proof of the progress that you’ve made. The success, the wins, the triumphs and miracles can all be quickly forgotten in the midst of the day-to-day grind. And when things are forgotten, it’s easy to lose passion. With anything in life, there will be times when you’re discouraged and perhaps depressed. Things won’t always be going your way. But it’s encouraging to to look back in your journal and be reminded of what you’ve accomplished.

The Vision Meeting

Do you have a vision? Of course you do, but do you focus on it? Is it top of mind for you and your team? A well-articulated vision statement can change the game for an organization or church team. It’s an idea of what the future can hold if the Lord blesses your endeavor and things go well.

Take time every quarter to sit down with your team.

The vision is that glimpse of hope that God places inside of us. It gives us a sense of purpose. It creates a yearning to grow and improve. A team’s vision is the what-if moment that serves as the basis for every decision, every dream and every risk that your team takes.

Take time every quarter to sit down with your team and lay out the vision that the Lord’s placed on your heart. That might mean that you and the team head to the hill country for the day, It might mean that you’re grabbing fajitas for lunch next Tuesday. It might be a three-day retreat that involves camping in the national forest. The point is, this is a moment to reiterate what you’ve been saying and get your people on the same page moving forward.

As a result, you’ll have a captive audience to dream with. You can have those brainstorming moments to say, “what if we did this?” And those dreams and ambitions set the stage for the next quarter of the year.

How can you make those things a reality?

The Step-Back Period

Take a step back. This is the phase that’s after the ideas, after the moment of inspiration and the dreaming with your team. This is also the phase that’s before you kick off and start making things happen.

This is the most heart-breaking part of creativity. Seeing our ideas die.

This is after the idea. It’s after you’ve put an initial effort into the project. Now it’s time to step back and ask if it’s an actual, viable idea. This is the time that we hate: the time to be realistic.

Sometimes ideas are dangerous. And creative people have the hardest time dealing with the Step-Back Period, because we’re optimists! We naturally think that all of our ideas are good. And we think that those ideas are good, but they aren’t. Or they’re ideas that other people have already had and aren’t as original as we first perceived.

And this is hard. To say out loud with your team that maybe things need a different perspective. That an idea is simply mediocre, and that it needs to be pushed to something better. That our ideas aren’t good enough to come to life, or aren’t possible in a time period, or need to wait for more resources. This is the most heart-breaking part of creativity. Seeing our ideas die.

But it’s necessary to be better. Take a step back.

The Plan

You’ve made it past the Step-Back Period. Congratulations! Now it’s time to not just talk about your ideas, but to find the next step, the small ways to begin turning them into reality.

Nothing is more frustrating than looking back and realizing that your brilliant idea was lost simply because you got “too busy.” And it happens to all of us — in any capacity or role. By making a list of next steps, you ensure that you do the very next thing that keeps the ball rolling, and by accomplishing that, nothing gets left behind. This is the most important part of the process.

So do it. Take the initiative and start working on bringing something to life. By creating, you have something to work off of. You’ve started the process and now it’s less likely to die. You can go get feedback, and tweak and work until you’ve created something for yourself.

The sooner you bring an idea to life, the sooner you can come back to it with a new frame of mind. Then you can get to work updating it until you and your team can be proud of it.

The Lookback

Are you moving in the right direction? It’s impossible to know if you aren’t taking time to review progress and move forward stronger. By sitting down and looking at measurable key indicators of success, you’ll know how to be better in the future.

Critical evaluation is worthwhile because it keeps you honest about your efforts. It points out the flaws in your plans, and inspires you to keep going even if you aren’t seeing the results that you wanted.

If you found this article informative and helpful, please share! And don’t forget to keep a lookout for incoming resources for churches and ministries from Yellowbox Creative.

Do you need help:

(1) Launching a church plant?

(2) Designing your church series?

(3) Nurturing a creative community?

At Yellowbox, we empower churches and ministries with the tools, coaching and resources they need to reach real people. With that creative support, church outreach is no longer intrusive — it becomes a catalyst for community.