Sometimes ideas come easy, and sometimes you really have to work hard to find them. Inspiration can hit you in the weirdest places. Being a creative in a church environment can be a challenge. Sunday?s always coming. And no matter what time of year or what sermon series your church is in, it?s your job to be ready to transform simple concepts into clear and creative ideas.
Every now and then we are going to hit a creative wall. No matter how many brilliant ideas you’ve had in the past, you?ll need that extra spark of inspiration at some point. When those times come, I’ve found it best to get out of the office and my regular routine.?Studies have shown time and time again that changing your environment stimulates creativity.[quote]Changing your environment stimulates creativity.[/quote]
Here are a few of the best places you can go when the creative well runs dry.
1. Coffee Shop
Ahh, the coffee shop. A church staff member?s best friend. Some work at coffee shops because they don’t have an office, and some work there just because they can. Regardless, coffee shops are a great go-to.
2. The road
Before I had kids, I owned a 1967 Ford Mustang GT with a Boss 302 engine. Talk about inspiration. I can remember simply getting out and driving for fun. I would crank up the music and enjoy the open road. Some of my best ideas came in that car. I felt free and excited when I drove, and it allowed me to think freely and without pressure. The next time you are struggling to be creative, hop in your car and hit those country roads!
3. The shower
Why does everyone sing in the shower? Because they think they can. They feel isolated and free to do whatever. The shower offers a place of comfort and a feeling of peace for most of us. Take advantage of that. If you’re like me and don’t really do candlelight bubble baths, the shower might be the best place to come up with your next great idea.
4. Social media
I know this isn’t exactly a place, but it’s still somewhere you can go. I don’t recommend wasting hours scrolling through your Facebook timeline very often, but for inspiration I make an exception. I love to type a topic into my Twitter search to see what others are saying. Most of the time I will find great quotes and interesting perspectives. Be careful to not get lost.
There is actual science that shows our brains work better near water. Being near water enhances our focus and awareness. It also makes us feel calm and at ease. I’m lucky enough to have a family cabin on a lake a couple of hours away. Every time I need to clear my head or work on a big project I pack up and get to the water. It works every time.[quote]Being near water enhances our focus and awareness.[/quote]
6. Lunch in the park
One of the advantages of working at a church is our schedule. For me, that means I get to go home and eat lunch with my wife and kids. But when I’m struggling with creativity, I love to pack my lunch, a pen, and paper and head to my local park. There is something about sitting in the open waiting for inspiration that is inviting. I never leave without an idea.
7. The mall
Head over to your local mall and grab your lunch or coffee at the food court. The great thing about the mall is its diversity. It doesn’t really matter where you come from, almost everyone goes to the mall at some point. Watch how people interact with each other and listen to how they talk. It not only can spark some innovation, it can also teach you a lot about the culture we live in.
8. On an airplane
If you travel for work or for pleasure, an airplane can be the perfect place to get work done. If you are cheap like me and don’t pay for that in-air Wi-Fi, you can truly get focused. There are no Twitter alerts on your phone and no useless websites to read. It’s just you and that blank screen. I’ve created a few of my favorite sermon graphics while on a plane.
9. The library
The library is a free place to hang out and get unlimited inspiration. You can find books that teach you how to do new things or books that teach you new ideas. My local library has booths where I can sit and plug in my computer. There is just something inspiring about going to look for a book and not just using Google.[quote]There is something inspiring about going to look for a book and not just using Google.[/quote]
10. The Bible
Again, I’m aware this is not an actual place. I am willing to come to blows with anyone who argues that the Bible is not the most creative book ever written. If you really want to get that creative spark, I highly recommend you get away and get in the Bible. The objects and ideas God uses to tell stories and reveal truth are sure to bring on the innovation.
Inspiration can come at any time, but there are times when we need it to come on cue. Getting out of your boring office space can be a great way to get the ideas flowing. Hopefully these spots will help you create your own places of innovation.