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Am I Creative vs. I Am Creative

January 27, 2017 — by Randall Coy

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Have you ever wondered if you're a "creative type"? Here are 5 ways that you can shift your thinking and channel your inner Creator.

creative

I was recently talking to a good friend when he stated very matter-of-factly, “I wish I was creative, but I just don’t have a single ounce of creativity in my whole body.” It really bothered me to hear him say that, and as I thought about it a bit more, I realized that a lot of people I know have made similar statements. After awhile, I understood why it bothered me so much – because it’s not true.

I strongly believe that every one of us is creative, and to prove the point I’m going to take us back to the beginning…the very beginning, as in Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Let’s focus on the first five words: “In the beginning, God created…” The first thing we learn about God is that He is creative– not just creative in the sense of painting pretty pictures, but creative in the sense of designing perfection and delicate balances of life. Shortly after in Verse 27, the Bible states, “So God created man in his own image…”

This is a huge statement. Have you ever really thought about what that means? For this conversation, the takeaway is this:

GOD IS CREATIVE = WE ARE CREATIVE

What exactly is Creativity? This is not a simple question to answer by saying creativity is A, B, and C. To truly understand what it is, we have to understand what it’s not.

CREATIVITY IS NOT APOLOGETIC. Here’s a great quote from a gentleman named Marty Neumeier: “Great ideas are never polite. They never say they’re sorry.” If we’re worried about what other people think or what they’re going to say, we’re building limits to our creativity before we even begin. We can’t be truly creative while trapped inside a box with a lid. Remove those limits, give all ideas generated a voice, and see where they take you.

CREATIVITY IS NOT SAFE. The status quo, typical, same-old approach is safe, but when has truly inspired creativity come from the status quo and doing the same thing over again? Creativity doesn’t always play by the rules. We need to understand this and be willing to take a risk. Set aside your fear and step up to be creatively rebellious. This is the path to new ideas.

CREATIVITY IS NOT EASY. It takes a lot of effort and at times several failures to resolve a creative task. Have you seen the scenes in a movie when a writer keeps ripping the page off his notepad and tossing it into the trash? Eventually, the trashcan is overflowing and there is crumpled-up sheets of paper all over the floor. That, at times, is a good picture of the Creative Process. Do not be discouraged, and keep charging ahead with new ideas. Eventually, one will surface that will move things forward.

CREATIVITY IS NOT FOR A SELECT FEW. I believe everyone is born creative. When a child learns to form sentences, the child is being creative. Have you ever met a child that didn’t like to color? Yes, some don’t color within the lines, but I doubt Jackson Pollack or Picasso did either. Think of creativity as a muscle. Every single human on the planet has muscles – some more than others. Why? They exercise their muscles and develop them. Creativity is the same way. The more we exercise our creative muscles, the more creative we can become, but keep in mind there will always be others that are “stronger” than you are.

CREATIVITY LOOKS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE. I think we tend to believe we’re not creative if we can’t paint a masterpiece, draw a building, sketch a portrait, or write a song. Yes, those things require creativity, but those aren’t the only creative avenues. I can’t tell you what your creativity looks like, but I’m pretty sure all of you reading this can write down an idea that popped into your head. At its most basic, creativity is giving an idea a voice. Writing something down to remember later on is a creative act.

If you bought into the lie that you have no creativity whatsoever and you’re creativity is “out of shape,” the following are some steps you can take to start developing those muscles again. You can start by hanging out with people you find to be creative. Talk with them; pick their brain. Read more. Write more. Carry a sketchbook and draw. It doesn’t matter if you’re drawing stick people. Drawing helps us to see the details that are all around us and will help you to intentionally start to view the world differently. Be sure to notice the green of a mallard’s head. Start seeing the rabbit-shaped clouds again. Hear the ballads of the birds outside your window in the morning. This is how it begins, and it won’t be long until you find creativity’s fuel.

INSPIRATION.

Once found, there’s no wrong answer on how you use it. Just know that God put it there for a reason, and take action. That action of giving your idea/inspiration a voice is one avenue of your creativity. Own it.

BuildDesignEnvision

Cookie Cutter Church

February 27, 2014 — by Randall Coy

Cookie Cutter Church

I drove through a neighborhood the other day. It was filled with modest, well-kept ranch homes, manicured lawns, and cul-de-sacs scattered around to slow traffic. It was a nice neighborhood – a very comfortable, traditional neighborhood. Though it was well kept and manicured, I soon realized every single house was the same! It was the same floor plan built dozens of times, but one had some brick at the front door. The floor plan was reversed on the house across the street, and the one down the street had shingle siding in lieu of brick. It was a cookie-cutter neighborhood where the same house is built repeatedly with speed to minimize up front cost to the Developer while maximizing profits at the end. There are literally thousands upon thousands of developed neighborhoods like this around the country. As I drove away disappointed at how the dollar can drive people to do things that are “good enough” rather than “great”, my mind wandered to the Church, how we have historically done things, and how we’re currently doing things. I wonder if, much like this neighborhood I drove through, we have become a cookie-cutter version of what God truly wants us to be?

 

In Matthew Chapter 22, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. Funny, He didn’t recite one or all of the ten given to Moses or state that His people must meet on the Sabbath, sing three songs, give an offering, and listen to 30 minutes of teaching. To break down His answer to the simplest of terms, He answered to first love God, and then to love people. (Matthew 22: 36-40)

 

When I think about this commandment to love people, I’m always reminded of God’s unquenchable love for us. He loves all of us regardless of our political affiliation, what kind of music we listen to, whether we’re “Dog People” or “Cat People”, or whether we’re Duck Dynasty fans or not. He loves the Sinner and the Saint. He loves us all so much that he sent his own Son to become a sacrifice for all who would believe. That’s an incredible love. Those of you who are parents, do you love me enough to do that? Do you love that person on the other side of the Atlantic enough? It’s a love that my mind can’t quite comprehend, yet that doesn’t make it any less real.

 

Here’s the beautiful thing: He knows us all individually. He knows our name and the most intimate details of our lives! (Psalms 139:2-4) He knows what in this world gives me joy, and He knows the same about you. If He knows all of that about all of us, He loves us all uniquely. I’m not saying he loves some more than others. He sent His Son for ALL, and loves us all equally, but the way He illustrates and shows His love for me is going to be different than it is for you, which is different from the person across town, which is different from the person across the Atlantic.

 

It makes sense, right? The Bible refers to Him as the Father over and over equating Him to a parental figure and parental love, which is a concept we can understand. Those of you with children love them all equally, yet differently, don’t you? That is exactly what I’m referring to in speaking of God’s love for us.

 

Understanding this about God’s love, what would a Church Plant look like if Jesus planted one today in the United States? Would he focus on a brick building with three crosses that face the corner? Would he make sure he followed tradition and kept a typical order of service beginning with music followed by prayer, take an offering, and deliver a 30-minute message?

 

…or…

 

Would he focus on ministering to that particular community in exactly the way they needed? Would He make sure the building offered the exact amenities needed? Would he focus on meeting them where they are and feeding them uniquely as they require? What if He decided to plant another Church four states away? Would He copy exactly what He did at the first location, or once again focus on meeting them where they are and ministering to them uniquely?

 

For me, the answer is easy. Look no further than when Jesus went out of His way into a part of town that a man of His heritage would not go, and met a Samaritan woman. (John, Chapter 4) Why did He do this? He went there because that was where SHE WAS, and His love for her was so great that it far outweighed the challenges faced in going there.

 

So how about it, Church? Are we going where the community is, or sitting back and waiting on the community to come to us? Are we more worried about which three songs will be sung on Sunday, or prayerfully working to ensure that the service on Sunday is exactly what the community needs at that point in time whether there are three songs or not?

 

The Church is a beautiful mosaic of people and cultures that should be focused on positively impacting the communities they’re in. The Church is not a private club, but an ever-growing family. What would happen if we dropped all of the traditional expectations and truly became God’s hands and feet in our individual cities? What would Church become? What is the unique character of your Church Community and how can God use that for maximum impact? What would it look like to love the inhabitants of your City the way that Jesus loves them? While the order of service on Sunday morning is extremely important and the worship experience is not to be taken lightly, I believe these are questions we should also be prayerfully considering and courageously acting upon. We, you and I, are His hands and feet, and when God moves into the neighborhood, things change.