4 Myths About Creativity and the Church

Jonathan Malm will be a featured speaker at the inaugural, all-online Flow Creative Arts Conference this April 14, 2016. He'll speak on what it means to "Find the Third Option" when it comes to using your creativity for God's glory. When he's not blogging, editing SundayMag, or writing guest posts like the one below, he's writing books and leaning into the creative Christian life. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter @jonathanmalm.

                   Jonathan Malm

                   Jonathan Malm

There’s been a big movement toward more creativity in the Church over the last few years. That gets me excited, because I love when churches can grab people’s attention.

Unfortunately, I think people have a few incorrect theories about creativity and its use in the church. Never fear. I’m clearing them up right here.

Here are four myths about creativity and the church.

Creativity Myth 1: Some people have it; others don’t.

I don’t know of a single child who thinks they aren’t creative. I’m sure you believed in your creativity when you were younger too. But somewhere along the line, either from a mean teacher or discouraging parent, you started believing you weren’t creative.

What changed? Not your creativity. It was just your perception of yourself.

I’m convinced we all have the capacity for creativity. We just have to intentionally tap into that aspect of our ability. Of course, in order to do that, we also have to have the right definition of creativity.

Myth 2: It involves making something beautiful.

My fine motor skills never quite developed like others' have. That means when I sit down to draw with my six-year-old niece, my wife isn’t sure what I drew and what my niece did.

Of course, for many, that would make them assume they aren’t creative. If I can’t draw something beautiful, surely I’m not creative. But creativity isn’t just about art. Creativity is really more about problem-solving. It’s about a different perspective on whatever’s in front of you.

When we look at that as creativity, anyone can be creative—even accountants or construction workers. We all can infuse a different perspective into our jobs.

Myth 3: It’s illusive.

Part of the reason we believe creativity is illusive is that we think it’s some sort of magical, mystical creature that chooses sovereignly to visit us. But if that were the case, we wouldn’t have those heroes who consistently—every single day, it seems—come up with great ideas.

Creativity isn’t a mystical spark. It’s a muscle. It’s a tool. It’s something you can choose to tap into and infuse into any situation.

Not only that, but as believers, we have the opportunity to ask for creativity whenever we need it. Creativity is about different perspectives—the same thing wisdom is all about. And the Bible says we can ask God for wisdom if we lack it. He’ll give it to us. We can ask God for creativity in a situation and he’ll hook us up. Awesome, huh?

4. Creativity in the church is about making it entertaining.

I hate to admit, but when I first started integrating creativity into my church, it was because I was bored with church. I thought making it creative would make it fun again. But creativity is not about making church entertaining or somehow relevant again. That’s not the point of church. And if your church feels irrelevant, it’s probably because you aren’t noticing real-life church. Changed lives are very relevant.

Creativity is about helping your church communicate its message more effectively. It’s about making the message bypass just the head and getting it straight into the heart. If you’re using it otherwise, it’ll fail you every time.

So those are the myths I’ve noticed invading the church’s use of creativity. What have you seen that we need to correct in our use of creativity?