2 Reasons Creativity Is Essential in the Church

“If we bore people with the gospel, we are guilty of one of the greatest crimes humanity has ever experienced.”

A lot of people are talking about creativity in the church right now, and it’s raising some tensions in me (and maybe in you, too?). Many of us have considered both ends of the creativity spectrum over the years.

On the one hand, we’ve bought into the rationale that says, “God hasn’t called you to be creative—he’s called you to be effective.” Therefore, copy & paste at will. And on the other hand, we resonate with the thinking that says, “All ministry is local.” Therefore, creative contextualization is the only way to impact a locality.

It’s a tough balance to strike, really. And if you add the complexity that multisite churches bring to the table, this can be a serious monkey on our backs as leaders.

Related: Why the gospel needs generous creativity »

To get some clarity on this issue for myself, I’ve spent some time wrestling with the purpose behind it all. Why be creative, anyway? Why does “creativity” even matter in the church?

A Theological Reason

Zooming out a little, we can look at the big picture by seeing God’s own character and activity since the beginning of time. We call God our “Creator.” And the Bible says God created humans “in his image”—to be like him in character (Gen. 1:26).

So logically, we can deduce that if we are not “creating” on some level, we are not in alignment with God’s basic design for our existence. You see this in the task God gave the first humans to assign names to all the animals. He did not give them a list of names. He asked them to make them up! (Not sure I’d want that job).

And while it’s true that on the seventh day God rested from his work, in a way he has not stopped creating since. In fact, even the universe is known to be in a continuous state of expansion. New things are being created every day.

How do we apply that to ministry?

Well, for starters, we can be sure that creativity is OK in the church. It is not a waste of time or money, and it is not simply a means to an end. It is a perfectly valid expression of our worship of God, and also an important reflection of our identity as image bearers of the Creator.

A Practical Reason

Thankfully, there’s also a practical reason for creativity, and here’s what I believe it is: Creativity creates anticipation.

This is especially true when applied to something as repetitive as church services. Think about it. We do the same thing 52 times a year. Only the NBA and MLB have us beat in that category.

If you’re like me, you’re already asking the next question: Why does anticipation matter? And here’s where the lights come on for me. Anticipation matters because we are the delivery system for the most important message in the history of mankind: the gospel. And if we bore people with the gospel, we are guilty of one of the greatest crimes humanity has ever experienced. Anticipation creates attention, and if there’s one thing God wants people paying attention to, it’s the good news.

So … what are we going to do about it?

Gabe Kolstad is the lead pastor of Westside Community Church in Beaverton, Oregon, a certified trainer with Church Leader Insights and an advanced coaching expert with Nelson Searcy. This article was originally published on GabeKolstad.com.