I used to really believe that being creative in church was about creating the most intense video, the sweetest graphics, and the most high-five worthy worship experiences.
Over the last few years I have come to realize how incredibly wrong I was.
I wasn?t creating to tell a better story or communicate the gospel in new ways. I was creating to be cool.[quote]I wasn?t creating to tell a better story or communicate the gospel in new ways. I was creating to be cool.[/quote]
But before you point your finger at me and tell me how selfish and ungodly I was, I want you to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself the million-dollar question.
Why am I creating?
Believe it or not, there are a whole lot of us creatives who are creating things week in and week out at our churches for the wrong reasons.
So what are some of the wrong reasons to be creative?
- You or your church want to be famous
- You want to impress people
- You create just because you can
If you, your church, or your pastor are creating for any of these reasons, it’s possible that creativity itself has become your god. I?ll admit, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in the idea of putting your church on the Outreach Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches list or get a feature article written about you in Church Production Magazine, but getting there because of how great you are and not because of how great He is will never truly satisfy.
At this point I feel the need to ask you to stop and hear my heart.
There is nothing wrong with being good at what you do. You should always strive to use the gifts God has given you to be the best creative you can be. The challenge lies in discovering the why behind what you are doing. Being honest with yourself can bring up some really big elephants in the room (believe me… I?ve been there)
So if you’re thinking you’ve let creativity become an idol and are wondering how to get back on track, here are three of the right reasons to be creative in your ministry.
- You want to make God look good
- You believe people’s lives will be changed through the stories you tell
- You’re focused on what others get from your art, not the praise you receive
I?m passionate about creativity, because my God is the ultimate creative genius. I believe the Bible is the single most creative book ever written. I am convinced that God has not put us here to be boring robots, regurgitating the same stuff every time we open our mouths, put our pens to paper, or open Photoshop. God longs for us to take and tell His incredible story of love in ways that connect with people who are far from Him. Our job is not simply to create art, but to create art with a purpose. To make a difference in the world through the stories we tell.[quote]Our job is not simply to create art, but to create art with a purpose.[/quote]
If using a fog machine in your worship service connects someone who has never set foot in a church and smells like they just got kicked out of a bar to the love of Jesus, do it. If creating the sickest looking animated bumper video for your new sermon series helps a new believer see how giving financially to the local church makes a difference, do it. Whatever you create, however you innovate, be proud of your art and use it to further His kingdom, not yours.[quote]Whatever you create, however you innovate, be proud of your art and use it to further His kingdom, not yours.[/quote]
If you are anything like me and you’ve felt that creative idol sneaking up on you from time to time, take a step back and ask why. The question may be simple, but the answers will usually shock you back to reality.
Be creative, follow Jesus? lead, and experience the difference.
3 replies on “The False God of Creativity”
Great article and a reminder to me as a leader to always ask the question…”What is my motive?” Is it to see approval, affirmation, attention or is it because I want to God to have the limelight and do what only he can do? 🙂
Wow, wow, and wow! Thank you so much for sharing this article. I definitely have a LOT to think about and consider.
Josh, thanks for a great article. There is a big difference in creating art for our sake, and creating it for God’s glory. Really good thoughts.