So just recently I made this statement about the church and Theology. First, let’s unpack what Theology is in the case that you might not know.
Theology is the study of God.
In the religious world, words that end in ology mean “the study of”. So Soteriology means the study of Salvation. Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit. There is so much more than just the study of God or Theology.
Here’s my problem.
The Church has been known for far too long as a boring place where you learn about God.
The church of the 21st century wears a stigma to the church of the 19th.
Wait wait wait, put down that rock! I’m not insulting the church of the church of the 19th or 20th centuries at all because there were so many of that era who did exactly what they should have done to connect people to the cross of Jesus. Honestly, I am a product of that era of church.
They were creative! I grew up in church during the final days of the bus ministry movement, during the ’50s and ’60s, literally, tens of thousands of children were brought church, and sequentially, brought to Christ because someone had the audacity to think bigger and…creatively about connecting more people to Jesus. One of the churches I was a part of bussed in 5,000 kids every week to their location to give them the hope found in Christ! It worked…for a time. Bus ministries don’t tend to work anymore, for a lot of reasons which I’m not going into here.
From a preaching standpoint, what worked once may not anymore and things need to change with culture.
The one thing that is permanent is the Theological foundation on which we live. But what is different is the way in which people can connect to that foundation. It must change!
That’s where creativity comes in and my statement, “Creativity is as important as Theology”.
Your Theology can be perfectly on point but if it’s delivered in a way that bears no thought of creative character, it may as well have been spoken in a dark and empty room.
The largest exception to this is the Holy Spirit who can work far outside the confines of our ability but what I do believe is that the work of the Holy Spirit happens as much in our creative preparation as our prayerful presentation. (You know, pastor, those moments when you are walking up to the platform begging God to forgive you for being too busy about His work, to prepare something worth listening to!?)
The message of the cross is worth your creative effort.
Let me steal one statement from you that I know right now you are beginning to mutter under your breath: “I’m just not that creative!” I used to be that guy, that’s why I know you’re tempted with using that phrase and shutting me down right now.
No. What you are not is mindful and concerned about doing everything in your power to connect people to the lifesaving message of the gospel or whatever the content of your delivery may be. This is for more than just speaking the Word of God.
That may have been too harsh. Let me rub off the sharp edge of that statement.
Everyone is creative.
The difference is the time in which people spend asking hard questions of their big idea and pushing themselves to think through an angle that helps the Word of God come to life.
It does not matter how much people go home with. It matters that they went home with something worth changing their lives over. That! is a step in their walk with Christ. That! is what makes them come back next Sunday. And That! is what drives them to want to bring someone with them because they encountered the incredible nature of God presented in a way that actually made sense to them.
I have sat through so many talks that have resulted in nothing but a detest of the current moment because the speaker refused to listen to himself speak and come to the clear realization that “This doesn’t sound good to me so it’s not going to sound good to anyone else either.”
When was the experience where you so thoroughly enjoyed something that it was over before you were ready for it to be? What was the thing that made it that way?
All you need to do to gain that same ground on your own platform is to take time to think. In a later post I talk through crafting an incredible outline and we’ll walk through some questions that need to be asked to help you get where you need to go so that you too can be one of the creators.
That’s where creativity comes in and my statement, “Creativity is as important as Theology”. Your Theology can be perfectly on point but if it’s delivered in a way that bears no thought of