I bet you never thought you’d see me suggesting there is a time to not be creative, but for the church, I’m not suggesting it, I’m saying it outright. There are times, or perhaps places, where we’re not allowed to be creative. When it comes to methods we can be creative as all get out. If it doesn’t involve sin, the sky’s the limit. On the other hand the message of the Bible itself is never subject to creativity. You may deliver the message any righteous way it will reach the people God puts before you, but you may not change the message, even a little bit.
The problem is, sometimes in the church we get this backwards. Ask any pastor of a congregation that’s a little too set in its ways what happened the time when he changed the way “we’ve always done it.” Chances are it didn’t go well. We Christians tend to like our routine. Make us uncomfortable with a new method and we’re liable to rebel. But hear this and hear it well, if that’s your attitude, you’re off mission. We are not in this world to be comfortable. We’re in this world to reach people for the Gospel. That means taking the message to them in a way that they can understand and receive. That requires creativity. Someone once asked me what kind of worship music I preferred. My answer was, “I hate disco.” They looked at me a little strangely as if I had lost my mind, until I replied, “I really like contemporary worship music, but if I thought I could reach my community by becoming the disco church, buy me a white leisure suit and some platform shoes cause we’re going disco.” The methods are flexible, be as creative as you need to be to do the Lord’s work.
The other problem is, in this politically correct society, there is a real temptation to change the message to reach the culture. We want to make the message acceptable to the culture. This can never happen. Culture is powerless to change the message. Oh we can try, but if we do it’s no longer the Word of God and we preach a false gospel. The Word of God has power to change culture precisely because it is the Word of God. If we try to be creative with the Word itself, we remove its power to change lives. We do this and then we wonder why nothing changes. Since Genesis 3 people have been trying to question and change what God said and all it ever brought was disaster. We need to keep the message pure and unadulterated. Remember Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power ofGod for the salvation ofeveryone who believes…” (NIV)
Be creative with the methods but the message never changes, it is everything it needs to be all by itself.
From Dave’s upcoming manifesto, God and the Creative Process, coming soon from AMOKBooks!