Creativity is at the core of digital ministry. We take the message of the Gospel and spread it using technology. That is not always an easy task. What can we do to produce creative solutions? Here are four ways to boost your creativity and help your church's mission.
I would like to start with the inspiration for this article. It was Dan Saffer's talk on creativity at the Midwest UX 2015 conference. He had many great points that made an amazing keynote speech. Yet I will not simply repeat what he said. I want to make it relevant to the problems a church communications person has to solve.
The good thing is that designing is not creating something from nothing. Artists do that. You are designing a solution to a problem. We have an even easier situation in that we also know the problem. Go and make disciples of Jesus. With that out of the way, we can delve into some great ways to jumpstart your creativity.
Start with a Ritual
We all have times of the day when we are most productive. Set aside those times, and give your mind an easy way to slip into that creative mode. Make a cup of tea or coffee. Put on some relaxing music. Go for a short walk. Meditate on a Bible verse. Take time to pray. Any combination of these should help you prepare for a segment of creative work. Experiment with this ritual, ensure God is part of it, then make it a habit.
Have a Side Project
The daily grind of posting to social media and updating your website will wear you down. How do you solve some new and fresh problems? For many creatives, this means freelance work. You will hear problems others are facing. How you solve them may apply to your daily work at your church. Yet hobbies such as photography, music, or painting would be equally rewarding. For me, this blog was my side project. Without it, my career would have certainly stalled. Pray about where God can use your talents besides your job. Then allow those other areas to inspire greatness in your daily work.
Take a Screen Sabbath
Time away from technology may be a perfect way to clear your mind. I understand that some of us are on call in case of emergencies. Yet I suggest a regular break from looking at screens. This of course includes traditional computers as well as mobile devices. If possible, take a short trip and leave your phone out of the mix. One of my favorite screen sabbaths is to go for a walk outside. Let your mind wander and take note of the many small things around you. See the symmetry of a spider web. Bend down and smell a flower. Or study the architecture of the houses in your neighborhood. Observe the world that God has made and consider how we have adapted to it.
Read a Book
The best advice in that walk was encouragement to read. When you are first starting out with creating digital experiences, read books about that. These instructional books will teach you the basics. But they will not inspire you. Once you are established, move onto other genres of literature. In the talk, fiction was the suggested topic. While I agree this is a good idea, do not forget about scripture. Many of my articles were born from God's Word. If you are pressed for time, you can listen to the Bible. I like the Daily Audio Bible community; but there are others you might enjoy more.
First, take a break from the everyday rush and give your mind a break. If you are in charge of a team, offer to give them a break to do the same. You may have to stagger these sabbaticals, but the returns are worth it. By pressing pause you allow God to speak into your life. Just be sure to pray for that before you jump into it. Ask Him to fill you up with inspiration. The god that spoke the world into being certainly has a few ideas He can share with you. So switch gears and let Him do just that.
Note: Thanks to Dan Saffer for a great talk that started a fantastic conference!
Photo courtesy of Jeff Dutton