I went to art school. Yes, I spent 4 years (or 7 but who is counting) learning about art. And often the teachers would give us underlings projects that had huge boundaries around them. We would be tasked with painting a self portrait, but only be allowed one color. Or maybe our project was to create a sculpture, but only be allowed to use one source material (i.e. nails, or Cheetos). Having boundaries on our creative process actually forced us to be more creative. To actually hone in on our unique voice in the art we created.
Often times, as humans, our creativity can be hindered by too many options. We see an endless array of source materials at our disposal and become overwhelmed by them. Without some boundaries our creative work can become unfocused and ultimately less impactful.
Recently I was reading a book by Erwin McManus called The Artisan Soul and he pointed out a verse that has been rattling around in my mind ever since I read it.
“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” –Hebrews 11:3 ESV-
“…so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” The source material for creation was nothing, and in turn everything. It was set off by God’s words. God is the only one completely unhindered in his wild creativity. Out of the imagination of God all of creation found its being.[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Out of the imagination of God all of creation found its being.[/pullquote]
In the church world “creativity” can carry a lot of baggage. It’s an intangible, so it becomes wide open for interpretation. Are we being creative in our services? Is our approach to communicating the heart and purposes of God creative?
Ultimately, for you and I to be creative we simply need to see the community and resources in front of us as the source material God has given us to create art. These are your boundaries. It should be unique, because God created you uniquely. It should resonate with your church, because that is the community and context in which God has placed you in. And this is risky.
There is a moment for all of us that we show someone something that we created and risk them hating or belittling it. But it is this fear that must be overcome if we are to pursue the creative. If you find that you are never challenged—and honestly a little intimidated—in pursuing something new and unique, you probably aren’t exercising your creative muscle.
God is a creative God. He is wild and unhindered in his imagination. And you and I were created in his image. He is a creator, therefore we are creators. The creative process is dangerous and full of risk, but it’s worth it.