Developing your Creativity for Ministry

"The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them". Prov. 18:15 (LB)

Albert Einstein once said, "Significant problems that we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." In order to solve problems in ministry, you must learn to think in a new way.

In the old Soviet Union the leaders eventually realized that simply trying harder to make the Communist system work - didn't work! They needed a whole new paradigm.

On a personal level, I've noticed that when people are stuck in life, it's usually because they're still framing their problem with a set of assumptions that no longer apply. Or they're using the same problem solving techniques that they used in the past, but those techniques no longer work.

You MUST develop your creativity - specifically your creative problem solving skills - in order to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.

Creativity is the key to figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B, particularly when you've never done it or when it's never been done before by anyone. It's the act of generating new ideas.

Without creativity, you run the risk of becoming obsolete in our rapidly changing culture.

Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing mysterious about being creative. The basic principle of creativity is simply combining two or more known ideas in a new way to create a new idea. This is a skill you can train yourself to do.

It starts with awareness:

The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them. Prov. 18:15 (LB)

Here are the five steps I use in the creative process:

1. State the problem clearly. What is wrong? Be as precise as you can. Vague problems are more difficult to solve. Where does the problem originate?

2. Set a specific goal. What is it that we really want to have happen?

3. Generate as many ideas as possible. The more ideas you have, the better. Force yourself to list 10 options. Brainstorm. Have fun. Be outrageous. Challenge the rules. Be off the wall. Use your intuition. Ask a lot of questions. Forget realism and practicality for the moment. Try crazy associations: How is this problem like an elephant?

4. Narrow your list down to the one best idea.

5. Take action! Do it now. Go for it. Many of the most successful people made it with just one outstanding idea.

Be encouraged!


This article is used by permission from From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry.