One thing I hear a lot from new children’s ministry volunteers is, “I’m not that creative.” I used to argue with people who said this. Like a responsible children’s ministry leader, I’d tell them what I believed, that God made us all creative beings, that creativity can be expressed in infinite ways. I even took some by the hand and demonstrated my creative process. That rarely helped.
Then one day, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Listen closer.” When my newest volunteer told me, “I’m not that creative,” it didn’t mean, “I’m not that creative.” She really meant something else. Sometimes the volunteer was trying to say, “I’m not comfortable expressing my creativity” or “I don’t think my ideas are good enough.” Now when I hear that statement, I ask questions. Here’s an example of a recent conversation:
Ann: “I’d like to offer some ideas but I am not that creative.”
Me: “When you say, not that creative, what do you mean?”
Ann: “I don’t want to teach the bible wrong. I’m afraid to get creative.”
Then the conversation continues and most of the time I get a bigger picture of what the volunteer is actually trying to say. On those occasions I usually offer suggestions on how to become more creative. In my opinion, creativity is like a muscle. With much use comes strength! How can we expect to get better at something if we’re not willing to practice? I recommend these tips for becoming more creative in ministry:
Do it every day. Expressing creativity is like learning to play an instrument. You might blast a few wrong notes in the beginning but you have to be willing to play again. Practice, practice, practice! Every day express your creativity. That could mean buying a few coloring books (they have those for grown ups now), painting a picture or working on a foam project. It could be as simple as rearranging a children’s church display or a Sunday School center. Whatever creativity means to you, do it daily! Even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Read lots of lesson plans. Browse the creative ideas from other teachers. Even on our website you can read thousands of free lesson plans. Make note of creative ideas that you like.
Hang out with creatives. Remember the old adage, birds of a feather flock together? Spend time with creative people. You don’t have to compete, just watch and learn. Observe their processes and if you feel confident enough, ask for tips.
Study how Jesus taught. Jesus was a master at teaching creative lessons. He used object lessons, props and he was highly creative! Read a parable each day and meditate on them.
Ask God to release a new surge of creativity into your life. Promise Him that you will not squander what He gives you. Be faithful to release it!
You can become more creative in your ministry and in your life! Now is the time! Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church. Some more tips for creative teaching from our website: