I just finished reading the Old Testament a couple of weeks ago. I try and read through it every year which now puts me back in Genesis. I’ve read Genesis many times, but when reading the very first verse, I was stopped by a word I hadn’t really considered before; created. The verse says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Before, I’ve focused on the fact that before anything was, God existed or that he is the author of all we see. But I hadn’t really thought about the fact that God “created”.
I think part of the reason this word jumped out at me is because, in my experience, we rarely use it in the Christian community. When hearing of compliments to other Christians, I usually hear how “joyful”, “humble”, “unselfish”, or “forgiving” someone is. To be honest, these sound like much more godly or “spiritual” words. I don’t hear a lot of “hey Jim, you were really creative at that ministry meeting tonight; God’s doing a great work in your life”.
The odd thing about this is that I hear people being complimented for creativity all the time in my job with the City of Bellevue, WA. People are applauded for their innovation, thinking outside the box and creative suggestions. Which begs the question, why does the church not use this word much?
I think one reason might be that we tend to think it’s a business or organizational word. Like I said above; it’s used a lot in the business and professional world. I also wonder if the church looks at itself and doesn’t see much creativity. I know there are many churches that do pursue creativity, but I also see a lot that just stick with the tried and true.
But if we look at the implications of this first verse in Genesis, it means the following things:
- Creativity was God’s idea, not man’s
- Being creative reflects the character and work of God
- Since we are designed in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), we are designed to be creative
For me, these implications really redeem the concept of creativity and shows that not only is the church about sharing the great news of Jesus with the world, but doing it in an innovative and creative way. And now more than ever, I think the world is hungering for a creative way to understand the truth of the gospel. As Christians, we never modify the message, but we must begin to embrace new ways of communicating and packaging the gospel. We must ask God to inspire us to show us new ways of doing ministry, new ideas or new structures. Through time, language, technology and culture change; the church must be the first to creatively use these changes to help people understand God’s fierce and shattering love. Will you join me in the quest to redeem creativity?
– John Lindow, Associate Pastor