Staying Dynamic In Children's Ministry: #1 Creative Space

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by Torley)

A few days ago I put up a post about saying something is new and innovative when it really isn’t. I thought I would follow up that post with this series called Staying Dynamic in Children’s Ministry. I like the word dynamic better than innovative because dynamic refers to something that continually interacts, changes and progresses. That’s exactly what I believe children’s ministry must do: interact with the culture and context it is in, change as needed to best minister to that context and move forward.

In no particular order, I will talk about eight things that I think are needed for a children’s ministry to remain dynamic.

1. Creative Space

Creativity isn’t something that just happens. Creativity is active not passive. Since creativity is active, then space needs to be made for creativity. I know what you’re saying. “Sunday comes every week, and summer activities are just around the corner! Don’t even get me started on Easter and Mothers’ Day!!! In between, I have to recruit and train volunteers, gather and adapt curriculum, and spend time with my family.”

I know it’s hard, but if you want to stay dynamic, then you have to make space to be creative.

You might be thinking, “Creative? What do you mean be creative?”

Make space to create something… it doesn’t even have to be work realated! Write an essay or story, paint a picture, doodle, plant a garden, create some cool graphics, photograph something. Do something to work out those creative muscles God gave you. “I’m not creative,” you might say. Nonsense! We are all creative. God created us in His image, and part of that image is creativity. You don’t have to create masterpieces. You just have to create.

You don’t have to set aside a lot of time for creativity. I try to give myself a couple hours a week to do something creative. I’m not always successful in carving out that time, but more often than not I try to give myself some time for creativity.

If we don’t set aside time to create, then we diminish our ability to do so. Creativity is like a muscle. It has to be used and exercised. You must work it out regularly. If you haven’t been allowing yourself time to create, it will be hard to do so at first. Maybe start with a pen and a blank sheet of paper. Start by doodling or writing random thoughts. Allow those doodles or random thoughts to take shape into a picture or narrative. It doesn’t have to look good or flow well. My doodles will never make their way into any art galleries… or on my fridge 🙂 See what you come up with. Try different types of creative things. The point is not to produce something. The point is to create.

As you allow yourself time to create, you will find yourself being more creative with thoughts and situations related to children’s ministry. You will be able to take situations, tasks, curriculum and turn them into something new. You will be more willing to take risks and see beyond what children’s ministry is right now to what it can be.

How many of you already set aside time to be creative? When do you do it? What do you do to work out those creative muscles? How has it helped you remain dynamic?

You can check out the other parts to this series:
#2. Cross-Train
#3. Question Everything
#4. Be Involved in Your Community
#5. Futurecast
#6. When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Grape Juice!
#7. It’s Not About You
#8. The Holy Spirit is Your Friend

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15 thoughts on “Staying Dynamic In Children's Ministry: #1 Creative Space

  1. […] Staying Dynamic In Children’s Ministry: #1 Creative Sapce […]

  2. […] can check out other parts to this series: #1. Creative Space #2. Cross-Train AKPC_IDS += "3529,";Popularity: unranked [?]SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Staying […]

  3. Andy Johnson says:

    Henry,
    One thing I find very helpful is to take a prayer and planning retreat. It could be two or three days at a retreat center or a 9-6pm day somewhere local. It's best to take it around October or November to plan for the coming year, but this year I'll be taking mine in January.

    I'll spend a good deal of time in prayer for the ministry, for kids, for families, and for volunteers. Then I'll look at various aspects of ministry and brainstorm how those can be better. Not only do I look at calendaring (which was usually done anyway by October), but I'll look at how I'm developing leaders, how I'm reaching out to the community, how curriculum is working, and ask myself a lot of questions.

    I've found this type of set aside time to be extremely prosperous in terms of my creative development.

    • Henry Zonio says:

      Andy, thanks for that. I agree that a prayer and planning retreat is a great idea. Seeking spiritual guidance, evaluating and asking questions are crucial in staying dynamic. (In fact, connecting with God and listening to the Holy Spirit is one of the points later in this series.)

      Is there any kind of creative activity that you do, though, that is not directly connected to your work? It might just be me, but I find it invaluable to simply engage in creating something that is not directly connected with work on a regular basis in order to keep those creative muscles toned.

  4. […] Staying Dynamic In Children’s Ministry: #1 Creative Space […]

  5. […] Call for Book Blogging Project on Think Orange by Reggie Joiner!Staying Dynamic In Children's Ministry: #1 Creative SpaceNegative Screen Image on My MacToo Small To Ignore Group Blogging ProjectInnovative and New in […]

  6. […] children’s ministry. That post was followed by a series on being dynamic, which started with this post. Recently, I ran across this article from the Harvard Business Review (one of the people I follow […]

  7. […] December, I wrote a post about innovation in children’s ministry. I then followed that up witha series on being dynamic in children’s ministry. Those posts were my response to the love affair that we have with wanting models and programs and […]

  8. […] natives so I guess I’m okay) •    Start exploring your creativity (you have to read Henry Zonio’s article on creativity – it’s a great start) •    Explore ways for kids to create their own content […]

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