Why Creative Ministry and What Is It?

Posted: February 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

I am beginning writing a new book and a course on creative ministry, and I thought I would share some in process excerpts with you as I go. This is unedited and will probably change quite a bit before it publishes.

The need for creativity in ministry

As I launch into this journey of creating a course on creative ministry, I should probably start with why I believe creative ministry is so important, but perhaps an even better place to begin is to answer a more basic question. What is creative ministry? While I am sure different people would define it in different ways, I define it as presenting and proclaiming the Gospel in ways that are different from the status quo. This is not simply difference for the sake of being different, but rather bringing all our gifts to the table to the glory of God for the sake of His Kingdom. I know that is a particularly broad definition and that is by design. The last thing I would want to do in a book and a class on creative ministry is to put artificial limits on your creativity. 

I also want to say that while the arts will come into play throughout this book, creative ministry is not just for artists (at least in the traditional sense) not does it necessarily have to include what most people think of when they think of the creative arts. More simply stated, you don’t have to be an artist to do creative ministry and one of the most creative elements of creative ministry is for leaders to figure out ways to get others to bring their gifts to the table in service to the Lord as a matter of fact a creative church leader is actually the one who stared me on this journey.  

I am a visual artist and have been one for most of my life, long before I was a Christian and certainly before I ever entertained the idea of creative ministry, I was an artist. When I came into the church at age 22, I really believed that my artistic work and my faith life were pretty separate. I had some reason for thinking this was the case. I had been a freelance artist for a licensee of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When that work ended, I began to apply for illustration work with a number of publishers. One coloring book publisher decided to give me a try out. Before they commissioned people to illustrate their “for market” books, they would have the artist create one of their public service give away books. The book they assigned me was on gang violence and the editor asked me to tone back my style… for a book on gang violence. Yes, my work was “edgy.” It all changed when my pastor asked me to paint a backdrop for Vacation Bible School. That one project launched my life on a different path and today I am a church pastor and traveling speed painting preacher. That pastor wasn’t an artist per se, but his creativity in ministry changed my life. Whether you are an artist or not, you can do creative ministry and we need you to.

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