Creative environments, learning activities and games create an amazing atmosphere for many thriving youth ministries. Creativity helps to build a great culture around your Gospel-centered teaching. Creative experiences can anchor spiritual transformation and are powerful team builders.
But what do you do if you’re not creative? Or if you are creative but are in a season of not-so-good ideas?
Luckily there are some practices you can embrace that will help you overcome any creative deficits you may have. Here are just a few ways you can add greater creativity to your youth ministry.
Be Inspired by Other Youth Ministers
There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel (unless that sort of thing floats your boat). There are super creative people out there doing awesome stuff. If you’re not creatively inclined, looking at other people for inspiration is a great way to bring an element of creativity into your youth ministry. If you are creative, looking to others for “seed” ideas is one of the most common creative practices out there.
So how does this work? Where can you find people doing creative things to be inspired by? Pinterest is an amazing source of creativity. Searching for “youth ministry room” brings up a ton of ideas. But there are plenty of other sources of inspiration on Pinterest as well. Explore it. Find things that inspire you and figure out how to incorporate them in your ministry. Joining a youth ministry group on Facebook is another way to link in with people doing creative things. And you’d be surprised what creative examples turn up when you Google “youth ministry ideas.”
Be Inspired by Non-Youth Ministry Examples of Creativity
One of the things I love to see is youth ministers taking elements of culture or design that have nothing to do with youth ministry and utilizing it in a ministry atmosphere. I see this a lot with some of the excellent games Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel play on their respective late night shows. I’ve seen a ton of youth ministers adapting these games to play with their students (the whisper game being one of the more hilarious ones).
The trick here is keeping your eyes open. Even non-creative people can train themselves to look at the world with a specific filter: “What do I see around me that would work in youth ministry?” Once you get in the habit of thinking this way, you’ll be amazed at what results.
Leverage the Amazing Creative Capacity of Your Students
As I observe teenagers, one of the characteristics that rises to the top is the fact that they are organic content creators. They think in terms of content curation and production. They curate content on Pinterest, and by what they like or repost on Instagram. They create content almost without thinking about it: movies, photos, Instagram posts, Snapchats, Vines and so on. They are experts in creativity.
What if you empowered and equipped your students to drive your creative efforts? Hand them over the responsibility of creating creative environments. Let them be a part of your lesson planning so that they can add creative elements that support and enhance your themes. Allow them to plan games and ice-breakers. Turn over your announcements to a team of students who can use video or other graphics to enhance them.
The added bonus here is, of course, an amazing increase in student ownership, which is always a plus.
Not everyone is creative. But the great news is that you don’t have to be. You can follow these guidelines to bring creativity into your youth ministry.