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How to Stay Creative in Ministry

The good thing about busy work is how it helps you feel productive. Budgets, forms and emails are all tangible tasks with tangible results. You might hate doing them; however, when you clear that pile of paperwork off your desk or your inbox is empty, you feel good. To get through the busy work, you just need to focus.

Then there are those times when youth ministers need to be purely creative. There are messages to be written, curriculum to be designed and problems to be solved that demand your creativity. Unlike busy work, it’s hard to stay focused on creativity because it requires so much more of our emotions and energy. To stay creative is a challenge.

To consistently think outside the box is not only a challenge but a skill. To keep the ideas flowing and to overcome potential roadblocks, you need to be consistently:

  • CAPTURING IDEAS: Whether it’s writing them down in a notepad or putting them in your Evernote folder, you need to be capturing every thought or idea that runs through your mind. Even if you do not know how you are going to use it, put it down. Then take some time each week to review those ideas to determine how you might use them. Staying creative means creating a bank of ideas to resort to later on.
  • EXPLORING STORIES: Readers are learners. Doesn’t matter if you what you are reading is fiction, an autobiography or a classic read. Exploring stories written by others will open you to new perspectives and thoughts. It will give you examples and analogies you can draw from later. While it doesn’t really matter what genres you are exploring, it’s important to mix it up so you can continuously challenge yourself and learn from new paradigms.
  • FUELING YOUR PASSIONS: When I hit a writer’s block, I love to go out for a run or cook. There is something mindless yet rewarding about those two passions of mine. If you are stuck on an idea or need a new one, go to the things that bring you joy. It’s a way of connecting with God that frees you from the burden of a creative cramp. A true passion is something that allows you to take a step back from the craziness around you, clear out the junk and focus on the idea in front of you.
  • SITTING IN SILENCE: It’s so important, yet silence is something many people fear. If you sit in silence one of two things will happen. First: You might discover you are tired and need rest. If that’s the case, go and sleep because an obstacle to creativity is a lack of rest. Second: You might begin to hear God’s soft whisper. The reason you need silence is so you can hear God’s promptings. He will guide you and direct you. You just need to slow down to listen.

While there is no exact science to getting your creativity flowing, there are definitely habits you can develop to keep them moving. Make your creative time a planned part of your schedule, but at the same time give yourself some flexibility. It will stink when your mind can’t go farther, but trust God will see you through.

How do you stay creative?  

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Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met his wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, he was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.