Why You Need to Know the Rules So You Can Break Them

Posted by Stephen Brewster on April 17, 2017.

Author: Stephen Brewster

Rules! We get a little freaked out by them usually, right? Often when we think about rules, we think about boundaries and things that bind us or keep us from chasing our creative energy. The truth is, rules live all around us. There are even creative rules. Don’t mix these colors, don’t write the song that way, don’t use that exposure…rules…ugh!

It is so important we know the rules. If we don’t know them, we can’t navigate them, obey them, or even better, break them! I mean, honestly, as artists we really have never fit and kind of knew we had a rebellious side in us, right?

What are the rules on your project? Are you clear on the rules? If not, ask questions, don’t make assumptions. Get super clear. Rules sometimes are awesome to help us understand the boundaries of the canvas on which we are creating. Imagine painting a picture without clarity on where the canvas ended? Your best work may end up on a wall and get painted over!

After we learn the rules, we probably need to challenge them a little bit. What made this a rule? Why is this rule still important? Does this rule help us accomplish what God has called us to create? Challenging the rules challenges the status quo, which is where innovation gets room to breathe and grow! Times change. Situations adjust and rules need to follow suit. It is not possible to birth new art under old rules. Respect the rules and the rule makers, but challenge the why and the validity of how we got to the rule. Secure leaders are not afraid to be challenged if the rule no longer helps us accomplish our goal.

It is not possible to birth new art under old rules.

Then there are times when we just have to blatantly break the rules! Not the ones that are to help us, but the ones that are keeping us from creating amazing stuff and blowing people’s expectations out of the water. Rules like: all worship has to be on stage, or lyrics can only been seen this way, or we can only use Facebook for this kind of communication.

As a creative leader, it is so important you are asking yourself questions. They keep you curious and challenging all the time.

  • How would this normally be done? How can we do it differently?
  • What is keeping us from creating our best work?
  • Why would we not do this?
  • Can we attempt that?
  • Does this still connect?
  • If this failed, what would be the cost?
  • If we could not fail, what would we do?
  • What do people expect? How can we surpass that expectation?
  • In what way can we challenge what people think about this?
  • What is the applicable point of this?
  • If this had to be done for the first time ever, how would I do it?

God made you different. He made you to be creative and to challenge the norms of the life we live. You see the world differently; you experience it from a different angle than the rest of the world. That is what makes you special. Lean into that. Ask all the questions and remember that, in the end, you are called and gifted to do this…it’s your ministry. Now go make history!

About the Author

Stephen Brewster | T w
Creative Arts Pastor at Cross Point Community Church. Passionate about creativity, leadership, church and how those live together. Dad and husband.

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