Looking back on my childhood I should have been able to pinpoint my profession. There was always something I was building or taking apart. I usually took apart some toy that I had wanted – dismantling it to make some kind of non-functioning imaginary device.
A small jewelry box, the tops to mechanical pencils, and colored thread became the workings of a stun gun/repelling mechanism/scanning device. That provided at least a days worth of entertainment before I was off inventing something else like a mad scientist.
Children seem to have unending imaginary capacity.
I just read an article about a five year old that invented a tooth brush/tooth paste dispenser because he had problems putting toothpaste on the tooth brush without making a huge mess. Let’s face it, tooth paste was a struggle as a kid (or a lot of fun- depending on how you look at it). This kid made a connection. He had a problem and creatively found a solution.
Sometimes those childhood adventures don’t feel too far behind me because every day is a new problem with a creative solution.
What engages you?
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
So does everyone lose that childhood creativity when they grow up?
Not necessarily. People convert that creativity into something a little different, a little more polished, but it’s still there. There are creative math geniuses, creative accountants, and creative techs. It’s all about problem solving in what engages you personally and professionally.
What challenges you?
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs
My favorite part of that quote is “after a while”. It implies there is a process – whether it’s learning, staring at something until it makes sense, or messing it up and putting it back together. There is a challenge to overcome!
As children we learned to connect things together. It was part of our formative process. Paper was meant to make airplanes, markers were meant to make a mess, and when we cried, we usually received what we wanted. No one had to tell us these things, they just happened.
I love returning to that mentality: The messier the better. Make it complicated to make it simpler.
The processes of connection and artistry have to be part of how you work no matter what you do.
What inspires you?
Some of you have the ability to come up with creative solutions of how to route video through entire buildings. Others of you can come up with effective solutions to replace an entire PA with room limitations and budget needs in mind. Still, others can design the next stage set with no time, trouble, or effort. Each of us have unique solutions to problems that other people cannot see.
My creativity and problem solving comes at some of the worst times…usually when I can’t write anything down because I am driving, in the shower, don’t have time to actually work on it, etc. Connect those moments and find out when and what inspires you. Always have a way to record those moments when inspiration hits. Whether that’s with a notebook, voice memos, post-its, or Evernote, write it down! If I get something in my head when I can’t write it down, I’ll usually repeat it over and over to myself until I can record it. My favorite forms are my dot grid sketch pad and the notes app on my iPhone/iPad/laptop.
What overwhelms you?
What if you come up with a creative block? (Let’s face it, we all have those at one time or another.) Maybe you have a problem that isn’t in your wheelhouse. Can you identify someone else that might be able to lean into the solution or take over masterminding some creative process that you might not be able to see?
Creativity shouldn’t be overwhelming, it should be freeing. Children never seem to be overwhelmed with being creative, they just do it. So let it flow, even if it doesn’t make sense. Come on….when did some of the stuff you built out of Legos ever make sense?
Luke 18:17 “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Christ knew that being child-like was important for faith. We get to satisfy that child-like urge to create, problem solve, and make connections that impact hundreds and thousands of lives in a huge way. Our responsibility as a technical artist, communicator, or creative in a worship setting is to create meaningful environments where someone can connect with God in a unique way.
How can we use our own child-like creativity to engage a child-like faith in others?