There is nothing quite as demotivating as mundane predictability. Routine in certain parts of life is essential but when it comes to corporate gatherings predictability can be debilitating.
Even contemporary Churches can slide their way into their own form of liturgy and style that the frequent worshipper has memorised. If people can tell in advance what is going to take place the potential of a wandering mind is increased. Ironically, the key to creativity is system and planning. Any creative element designed to strengthen the message of the day needs advance warning to implement.
Having recently moved to a 5-6 week planning process, the advantages of planning more than a month ahead are obvious. Themes are set, sermons outlined and creative elements are engaged without fuss or stress. Simple examples include:
· Pouring 2 litres of oil over a bearded volunteer, backed by an appropriate song as part of a response to a sermon on being refreshed by God.
· During a series of messages entitled “Masterpiece” a renowned artist from the Church developed a piece of art immediately before and after worship over 3 weeks. It was later sold with the profit being given to missions work.
· At a commissioning event for leaders, staff and intercessors formed a prayer tunnel for volunteers to be prayed through before people were anointed with oil and had communion.
The most creative idea was implemented at a staff retreat. People were divided up into teams and their job was to construct a flat-pack bike in 30 minutes. We messed up a number of the parts from the 12 bikes that were being constructed and tools were limited.
About half way into the process we removed the team leaders and took them to another room to inform them that we had a bus with 12 kids from tougher homes that had just arrived. The leaders were to be their buddies through the process. We had partnered with a local primary school and the principal had provided a bio on each child at our request.
Prior to the kids entering the room the staff were told what was about to happen. When the children entered the room they were individually celebrated and given their bike, helmet and backpack.
The most dangerous part of the exercise was allowing the children to have 10 minutes riding time at the end of the event. The bikes were later checked by professionals before being distributed to the children’s homes.
One staff member told me that he would remember that day for the rest of his life.
Our challenge is to look far enough forward so that creativity can be released. Get beyond the mundane of the daily demands and think creatively about the future ministry.
Crossway Baptist Church
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