Article Art by Andrew Miller

Secrets of Creative Leaders

Posted by Jonathan Malm on January 01, 2013.

Author: Jonathan Malm

We polled creative leaders from some of the most creative churches in the US. We wanted to ask them their secrets to effective creativity – especially as it applies to their churches. Read through these, wrestle with them, and let them challenge the way approach the creative process at your church.

Stephen Brewster

Creative Arts Pastor at Cross Point Church

The secret to effective creativity exists in a few places: knowing where to push, making sure the art connects, then pushing into great art. First, we have to know where and when to push the boundaries. Where do we take chances that can expand the horizon of our teams and organizations?

Second, we have to work diligently – making sure that our art is connecting to our communicator. That will help act as a rudder to keep us from losing touch with the audience. I’m learning now that great art doesn’t matter if it’s too early or too progressive for the end user.

Great art doesn’t matter if it’s too early or too progressive for the end user.

Finally, good is a trap. Good keeps us from our best and that keeps us from greatness. It takes a lot of work to make good stuff, but it takes a little extra to make things great – to push in, work hard, and not settle for good enough when great is begging to be explored.

It takes a lot of work to make good stuff, but it takes a little extra to make things great.

Kelvin Co

Creative Media Pastor at The Oaks Fellowship

Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraints.” That Biblical truth applies to creatives too. What’s your church’s creative vision? What drives and guides the creative projects at your church? Do the creative endeavors and tasks seem disjointed and chaotic (granted, the creative process is always somewhat messy)? Is there a principle or value that serves as a bridge between leadership and the creative team regarding creativity in your ministry? What does your creative team rally behind with each project or assignment?

At The Oaks, our creative vision is that all creative elements exist “to support and enhance the relationship between the pastor and the congregation”. Considering how wide the creative scope can be, sometimes a particular area needs its own statement to tie it in to the overall vision. For example, our web strategy is: “Our website is the trusted hub of information and ministry resource.” For service programming and production: “The entire service is the message.” If you don’t have have a creative vision for your church, find one.

If you don’t have have a creative vision for your church, find one.
God, the master Creator, wants to speak into the creative process of the church. Ask God to reveal it to you. He will. He’s good like that.

Jason Dyba

Creative Director at LongHollow Baptist Church

It’s misleading when we hail creativity as this abstract, uncanny ability to discover a singular, brilliant moment. Who could sustain such pressure to achieve that over and over again? Instead, I’ve begun to consider that creativity is really just the ability to see a maximum amount of options. Famous painters didn’t discover new colors; renowned composers didn’t invent new notes. Don’t spend your days looking for a great boat — spend them looking for a great harbor.

Don’t spend your days looking for a great boat — spend them looking for a great harbor.

Blaine Hogan

Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church

Creativity is not a noun, it is much more like an adverb (bear with me, I wasn’t an English major).

We don’t make creativity, we think creatively.

We don’t make creativity, we think creatively.

Because we often have this mindset, or hear mandates like, “We need more creativity this Christmas,” we end up looking at it all the wrong way. So instead of asking ourselves what story we’re telling first, we tend to ask questions about which new technological, fancy, art gadget we should buy.

When I hear that we need more creativity, I imagine the person is talking about more art, dance, or films. But what I hope they’re asking for is a new way of thinking.

New thinking. Fresh thinking. Deep, reflective thinking. Heart-wrenching honesty – these are the secrets to effective creativity. But none of these can be reduced to things that must be made. These are things we must become.

We must become new, fresh, deep, reflective thinkers, who aren’t afraid of being heart-wrenchingly honest.

When we become better people, we make better things. If we want more effective creativity, we need to be better humans, people, and Christians first.

If we want more effective creativity, we need to be better humans, people, and Christians first.

Heredes Ribeiro

Executive Pastor at Potential Church

Effective creativity in the church involves breaking patterns.
Heredes Ribeiro

About the Author

Jonathan Malm | F T w
Jonathan is a creative entrepreneur and writer. He is the author of "Created for More," a 30-day devotional to help you develop a more creative mind. You’ll find him in San Antonio, Texas, roasting his own coffee beans and enjoying life with his Argentine wife, Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathanmalm.

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