The Shepherds’ Conference: On Creativity

For the final seminar of the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference I attended Dan Dumas’ lecture entitled “Creativity With Out Compromise: How to be Innovative Without Being Seeker Sensitive.” I really enjoyed it and found it to be extremely practical below are my notes from that seminar.

First, We Must Understand that Our Natural Tendency is to Drift Toward One of Two Extremes:

  1. Extreme Creativity Devoid of Content
  2. Excellent Content Devoid of Creativity

Second, Submissive Creativity Always Places the Priority on Scripture

Third, Intentional Creativity is Necessary to Build a Church

Fourth, Your Motivation (To Be Creative) Should be Practical Obedience to the Command to “Love the Lord your God . . . and Love Your Neighbor as Your Self”

Fifth, Your Philosophy of Ministry Determines Creativity

  1. A High View of God
  2. A High View of the Scriptures
  3. A High View of the Church
  4. A High View of Strong Spiritual Leadership
  5. A High View of Worship”

Five things that Kill Creativity:

  1. The Comfortable Status Quo Places a Death Grip on Ingeneuity
  2. We Forget the Nature of God; He is the Creator
  3. We Cling to Tradition Over Revelation
  4. We are Lazy and Undisciplined in our Ministry (Because Creativity is Hard)
  5. We Have a Fear of Man, Namely our Congregations that Hate Change

“Be Creative or Shrivel up and Die” Ten Steps that Foster Creativity

1. Pray and Search the Scriptures Like Crazy: If we are going to be creative then it must be Biblical

2. Place High Expectations on People to Pursue Excellence: Learn to sweat the small stuff. Do not lower the bar. Every aspect of your ministry matters, nothing is insignificant.

3. Clarify that Ministry in the Flesh is Neither Expedient nor Profitable: Creativity must not be a means of artificially inflating ministry.

4. Create an Enjoyable Culture of Change (Constant Scrutiny is the Mark of Creative People)

5. Reject Mediocrity as an Acceptable Way of Ministry (At the Same Time Do Not Become a Sinful Perfectionist): This pairs well with point two above.

6. Refuse to Be Creative in a Vaccume: Churches everywhere may be facing your same situation learn from and with them.

7. Steps to Becoming Creative

a. Intentionally Go Away Alone

–Think Deliberately: Intentionally think creatively.

–Think Distance: Plan for the future. If your ministry is going to change are you prepared to see it through?

–Think Solitude: You need to be undistracted and focus, so unplug and disconnect.

–Think Service: Creativity is not for the sake of novelty it is aimed at better serving others.

–Think Outside the Box

–Think Big

–Think Critical

–Think Ahead

–Think Details: The minutiae matters.

–Think Journaling: Don’t just think write and rewrite and rethink.

–Think Communication: How, when, where, and to whom will you share this.

–Think Patience: Change often takes time you must prepare for this.

b. Intentionally Go Away Together to be Creative

–Be Honest: Be frank, stop beating around the bush and accomplish something.

–Be Smart

–Be Open: Welcome criticism of your ministry from other ministers.

–Be Strategic (SWOT=Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

–Be Humble: Do not become defensive when criticized

–Be Effective: Go away as a group and intentionally address change, do not waste your pastoral retreat on stupid stuff

8. Do Not Confuse Stewardship With Cheapness

9. Do Not Take the Easy Way Out

10. Instruct, Model, Overcommunicate: Let others know what will be changed. Be a model for change. Overcommunicate change, individuals quickly form opinions and twist your words do not give them this opportunity.

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