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5 Ways to Foster Creativity In Your Church

Creative

Artwork by church creative Kyle Reed.

I get the feeling that churches like left-brained people more. I don’t think it’s intentional, but we tend to gravitate toward people who have teaching and organizational gifts rather than creative gifts. Organizers help us structure the church for numerical growth in logical ways and typically like rules and traditions a little more than the left-brained crowd, so they’re less scary and less threatening to our comfort zones.

Personally, I think the church is missing out on something rather valuable and precious when we pass over creative-types. The gospel is a narrative, a story told through different means at different times. Abraham saw it in the stars and David portrayed it with a home for the ark. The apostles saw the gospel in flesh before them as Jesus. Michelangelo painted it on the ceiling of a church and C. S. Lewis allegorized it with a lion, a witch, and a wardrobe.

God is quite creative in His telling of His own story, and He certainly calls us to reflect His creativity as well. I love a good, well-organized sermon as much as anyone, but we need to foster creativity and celebrate the diversity of ways the story can be told if the church will be all that God wants it to be as His chief storytelling agent in the world today.

So how to do you foster creativity in your church?

1. Focus on empowering, not controlling people.

I wrote about the concept of empowering people to do world-changing things recently, and in that article I offered a reminder that people are not a means of getting ministry done. People are the ministry. Helping someone to try out a ministry, or try something new in ministry, is a win when it fits with the overall vision and values of the church.

2. Help people discover their unique SHAPE.

Not everyone is a painter, singer, speaker, or seamstress. Everyone has a unique make-up of spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences. God uses all of these factors in ministry, and when combined, our SHAPE is what makes us unique. The church works best when people are serving according to their God-given SHAPE. At Grace Hills, we do this by trial and error, asking people to “try out” an area of ministry once or twice to see if it’s a fit. We also plan on conducting personal SHAPE interviews once we have our Ministry Matters class up and going.

3. Celebrate great story-telling.

When someone creatively tells a story well, celebrate it. Congratulate and thank them and highlight their work so that the church understands how much we value the labor of love that produces creative things.

4. Provide resources for creative story-tellers.

When we moved to northwest Arkansas to plant Grace Hills, one of my earliest purchases was a Canon XA10 HD camcorder so that we could stream video online. Just yesterday I received a text from someone on our creative team asking if we could sell the Canon and use the money to buy a less expensive camera that would be better for the job. What? Better than what I picked out? My answer was yes, whatever it takes to empower our creative team with the best tools we can afford… within reason. We also hope to utilize some extra office space for a Mac equipped with professional video-editing tools.

5. Allow creatives to reach other creatives.

The funny thing about musicians and artists is that they tend to find each other. I wouldn’t know where to find a great guitarist, but God led me to Neil Greenhaw who has drawn other creative individuals to work in proximity to him. He loves them and empowers them, which excites me.

Thousands of years ago, artificers and craftsmen were recruited for the building of the tabernacle. Later they built a whole temple. Today they’re building churches – not just the brick and mortar buildings, but the people who make up the body of Christ.

Get creative for the gospel’s sake.

Megalithe 1.0 – A Great New WordPress Theme for Bloggers

MegalitheInto photography and photo-blogging? Have a portfolio of visual works to show off? You’re going to love the new, mobile-responsive WordPress theme just released by StudioPress – Megalithe 1.0.

The Megalithe child theme includes the following features: 10 color styles, 6 layout options, custom background, custom header, featured images, fixed width, mobile responsive, theme options, threaded comments.

So if you have your web hosting and a WordPress-powered blog set up, consider giving Megalithe 1.0 a shot.

Here’s a full screenshot, but you need to navigate it and shrink the browser window to see the full effect of its beautifully-implemented responsive design features…

Megalithe — Premium Genesis Child Theme

Welcome to the New Grace Hills Church Website

We’ve just finished re-designing GraceHillsChurch.com from top to bottom. Check out this screenshot (or click it to visit the real thing) and then read more below…

Grace Hills Church Website

(Note that we have a separate design for mobile users – you’ll only see this if you’re on a desktop browser or if you scroll to the bottom of the mobile version and switch to the desktop version.)


By the way, have you "liked" Grace Hills Church on Facebook yet?


Why the Redesign?

Primarily, for better communication. Our former design looked okay, but its information architecture wasn’t the best. It was difficult to know what was important. Since most of the information on it tended to look the same, everything seemed to blend together. With the new design, we can more easily feature the pages of our site that lead the visitor through a progression of commitments.

We also re-designed because it was time for a new look. Our brand has changed a little bit. We emphasize having a messy ministry, but our site wasn’t very messy to match, so this new “grungy” look with its fresh greens better captures our church’s personality.

The Design Details

It’s built on WordPress. I’ve been a WordPress developer for several years now and I’m an enthusiastic promoter of the platform as an excellent resource for churches (I even founded and later sold a site all about using WordPress for ministry). There are other great platforms out there, but I’m sold on WordPress for church websites for several reasons:

  • It’s open source, which tends to reflect the values of our church’s culture.
  • It’s free. You simply have to have a place to host the website (aff).
  • It’s agile. As the social web changes, we can quickly adapt with it.
  • It’s easy to use, even for people with no web design experience.

The design is based on the Moses Theme, by Mint Themes, but we’ve already gutted some of the theme’s core files, added and subtracted from the stylesheet, and have plans of converting the theme to a responsive design.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback, and I’d also greatly appreciate it if you’d like Grace Hills on Facebook, which would really help us spread the word about our ministry in northwest Arkansas.

Visual Inspiration and Great Links for Creative Leaders

Being creative is a reflection upon our Creator. To be more creative, observe beautiful things made by creative people. Every day, I read posts from around the web that showcase some amazing creative talent. Each is a link, so click the picture for more. Enjoy…

25 Awesome Business Cards

25 Awesome Business Cards


Interactive: The New Wave of Infographics

Interactive: The New Wave of Infographics


The Top 25 WordPress Themes of 2011

The Top 25 WordPress Themes of 2011


Grace Hills Church T-Shirts

Grace Hills Church T-Shirts


The 10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

The 10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration


30 Fresh & Creative Custom Business Card Design Inspirations

30 Fresh & Creative Custom Business Card Design Inspirations


Showcase of Logo Designs With Detailed Graphics

Showcase of Logo Designs With Detailed Graphics


20 Fabulous New Websites For Your Design Inspiration

20 Fabulous New Websites For Your Design Inspiration


30 Awesome Pictures of Eagles

30 Awesome Pictures of Eagles


20+ Incredible Multi Exposure Photographs

20+ Incredible Multi Exposure Photographs


15 Unbelievable Solar System Pictures

15 Unbelievable Solar System Pictures


50+ Amazing & Beautiful Photos from Tokyo, Japan

50+ Amazing & Beautiful Photos from Tokyo, Japan

Check Out the Midnight WordPress Theme

If you’re into building church websites or blogs with WordPress (like I am), and you’re pretty handy with customizing WordPress themes, you may want to check out the newest premium WordPress theme from StudioPress: Midnight Theme.

Here’s a screenshot…

StudioPress Midnight Theme

Before you buy it, do understand that I think the “simplicity” of premium theme frameworks is often overstated. I always feel bad when people buy a theme I recommend and then struggle to customize it. It is best to use premium themes only as a starting place, and only if you have a basic working knowledge of html, css, and WordPress as a content management system.

Check It Out