The first story in the Bible is about the creation of the world. Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is a creator. God is creative. God creates. The first thing God chooses to tell us about himself is he creates. And he is very good at it. He goes on creating for a few days and the last thing he made was us – IN HIS OWN IMAGE. We are made in the image of a creative God. We are creative beings too. When God says “Let us make man in our image” what do we know about him if we are reading chronologically? All that there is is God creating. When he says that, all we know about him is that he is mysterious and creative. Like it or not, you are creative.
Now when I hear someone say “Im not creative.” I say, “Yes you are.” You were made in the image of a creative God and you are a creative being. Don’t enable yourself to create something lame or wimpy or stale by saying you aren’t creative. You were made better than that. God looked back on his creation and said … “it is good.” I LOVE THAT. God has such a creative heart. He is rating what he made. He is looking at what he made and saying, “This is good.” O MY GOODNESS. God creates things and judges their value. HE IS HIS OWN CREATIVE CRITIC. God is amazing too because he is honest about his art. “IT IS GOOD.”
I want the things I create to be on the same scale. How can I create something each week that is good? God spent a week creating the universe, I get to spend a week creating youth group. Here are four ways I have learned to be creative and to make a youth group that reflects God’s creativity.
1. Steal ideas
You are creative, you are also a pirate. Steal ideas. Get a good list of blogs both insanely practical and wildly unpractical – learn and take things people have already done. Then create your own blog and present your ideas to the world so they can see the creative genius you are. Call people and ask what ideas you can steal from them. Also, get an eye patch, so people know you are a pirate.
2. Be “On” all the time.
Everything you see is an idea waiting to happen. Every song on the radio / television program / youtube video / t-shirt / bumper sticker is an idea waiting to be created in your wonderfully creative brain.
- How can I utilize hip hop? How can I use European house music? How can I make the intimate acoustic moments as epic as the Bon Iver record?
- How can I create a moment like I feel watching this episode of Mad Men?
- Why is watching this youtube video of a person embarrassing themselves so enthralling?
- And even more practical – I love that logo on that shirt – “Hey sir, what is that font?” I am going to steal that logo. Be constantly creative. Be a constantly creative pirate.
Train your mind to always be on the lookout for ideas. Make your mind a factory for taking ideas and making them bring God glory.
3. Be Brave.
No more baby food games. No more! You are too brave to just do baby food games. You are too brave to teach that same sermon again! Do something unique! Teach in the dark! Type your sermon on Microsoft word in complete silence live on stage! Have the students choose between four different testimonies in 4 different rooms to hear! Do a tandem sermon with a friend! With a video! Give your sermon from the roof using a megaphone! Be brave. Be a brave constant creative pirate.
4. Sell your idea.
Sell it. You believe in it – its your message / game / worship idea. Its amazing! Even if it isn’t. Even if it is half baked and possibly terrible – if YOU believe in it, if YOU sell it, the crowd will love it. They are taking all their cues from you. Verbal AND ESPECIALLY non-verbal. If you announce a game and then stand in the back – THEY ALL NOTICE. If your prayer shows you think tonight was a failure, they will too. Example – in high school I found a deer tail, we named it “the weasel”. Every summer for Junior High Camp I bring it and tie a string to it and walk around with it as a pet. I make it say things during announcements and harass kids with it by hitting them in the face / hair. It is literally a piece of skin covered in hair. It is SO gross. The hair is turning gray. It is DISGUSTING. Yet, at the end of the week last year kids were lining up to take pictures with the weasel. Sell your idea. You are a brave, constant, creative salesman pirate.
“And you saw your youth group night, and behold it was exceedingly good.” – Me.