Why Creativity Matters in the Church

The local church has an opportunity to be uniquely local, to contextualize the gospel and address exactly what our community is struggling with.  

This is precisely why am excited to share a guest post with you today by Gabe Kolstad, "Why Creativity Matters in the Church".


Enter Gabe. 

A lot of people are talking about creativity in church work right now, and it’s raising some tensions in me (and maybe in you too?). We’ve been haggled on both ends of the creativity spectrum over the years. On the one hand we’ve bought into the rationale that says, “God hasn’t called you to be creative – He’s called you to be effective.” Therefore, copy & paste at will. And on the other hand we resonate with the thinking that says “All ministry is local.” Therefore, creative contextualization is the only way to impact a locality. It’s a tough balance to strike, really. And if you add the complexity that multi-site churches bring to the table, this can be a serious monkey on our backs as leaders.

To get some clarity on this issue for myself, I’ve spent some time wrestling with the purpose behind it all. Why be creative anyway? Why does “creativity” even matter in the church?

Zooming out a little, we can look at the big picture by seeing God’s own character and activity since the beginning of time. We call God our “Creator.” And the Bible says He created humans “in His image” (to be like Him in character – Genesis 1:26). So logically we can deduce that if we are not “creating” at some level, we are not in alignment with God’s basic design for our existence. You see this in the task God gave the first humans to assign names to all the animals. Yet He did not give them a list of names. They were to make them up! (Not sure I’d want that job). And while it’s true that on the 7th day God rested from His work, in a way He has never stopped creating since. In fact, even the universe is known to be in a continuous state of expansion. New things are being created every day.

How do we apply that to ministry?

Well, for starters, we can be sure that creativity is OK in the church. It is not a waste of time or money, and it is not simply a means to an end. It is a perfectly valid expression of our worship to God, and also an important reflection of our identity as image-bearers of the Creator.

Thankfully there’s also a practical reason for creativity, and here’s what I believe it is:

Creativity Creates Anticipation.

Especially when applied to something as repetitive as church services. Think about it, we do the same thing 52 times a year. Granted, Major League Baseball has us beat in the number of gatherings per year. But we’re not necessarily trying to compete on that point.

Creativity creates anticipation.
— Gabe Kolstad

If you’re like me, you’re already asking the next question: Why does anticipation matter? And here’s where the lights come on for me. Anticipation matters because we are the delivery system for the most important message in the history of mankind, the Gospel. And if we bore people with the Gospel, we are guilty of the greatest crime humanity has ever experienced. Anticipation creates attention, and if there’s one thing God wants people paying attention to, it’s the Good News.

So…what are we going to do about it?

This post originally appear on Gabe's blog,


Gabe is the Lead Pastor at Westside Community Church in Beaverton, Oregon where he serves with his best friends. He has had the privilege of leading Westside through a number of exciting changes, including growth, expansion, and relocation. You can learn more about the story of Westside in the recent book “Hope For Stuck Churches,” available on Amazon. Gabe is a Certified Trainer with Church Leader Insights and a multi-time Advanced Coaching Alumni with Nelson Searcy. He loves seeing leaders discover their potential, grow, and make a lasting difference.

Gabe is married married to his Jr. High Sweetheart, Melissa, and they have 3 children: Dawson, Caitlin, and Caleb. They love great food, traveling and finding new adventures together.

Gabe's articles and posts can be found at,, and


8 Exercises That Will Make Your Creativity Stronger

Guest post by Stephen Brewster, Creative Arts Pastor, Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN



Creativity is a muscle. When we work it out, it gets stronger and when we fail to exercise it, we get weaker. The act of creating takes sweat and effort. A series of studies done on some of the most creative “geniuses” in history has identified a few trends common in extremely creative people that innovate and create ideas to influence change in their fields.

Here are eight exercises that can make us creatively stronger:

1. Think Visibly – Don’t just rest on language. Allow space, pictures, diagrams, and technology to enhance how we see communicate and articulate. Find ways to tell stories via pictures instead of words. Images will change how people relate to our art and will change the way stories are told.

2. Don’t just talk, produce – We won’t always create masterpieces. However, masterpieces will never exist if we don’t create. Creativity takes reps, and lots of them. We always see the highlight reels of creative teams, but we don’t see the number of attempts, the failed ideas, the edited content, the stuff that never sees the light of day. Great creative elements and ideas are the result of lots of failed, dorky, bad, and poorly executed attempts to create something good.

3. Create Connections -- Some of our most creative ideas come from combining things that don’t naturally live together. Creating connections between opposites is a fantastic exercise for enhancing our creativity. Work to connect unconnected items in an effort to get creatively better.

4. Change the Lens – Don’t be afraid to tear a problem or situation apart. Sometimes deconstructing a situation and rebuilding it can help us identify solutions. Changing perspectives can help us find solutions not always visible at first look. This process takes work and often takes some patience, but when done correctly will uncover ideas and results that can make lasting impacts.

5. Suspend Reality – We live in a real world, but creativity thrives in imagination and possibility. When we’re able to suspend reality and cut off the voices that try to rationalize our creativity, we’ll find new creative roads to travel. Without reality, we see new possibilities.

6. Dream in Metaphors – Metaphors are ways to articulate story in more accessible ways. People may not remember data, but they remember stories. When we share our ideas in metaphors, we learn to be more creative and more complete in creating our thought processes.

7. Get Back Up – Failure provides the opportunity to try again. When we try again, we have a chance to be more audacious, more creative, and more gritty with how we create. Leveraging fear and failure makes us better than we could dream possible. Failing also allows us to ask questions and remove data that doesn’t work from the equation.

8. Press Pause – Create and work hard…then press pause. Step away. Give creativity room to breathe. Then come back. The chance to get away from our creative process, idea, or project will allow us to come back and see it in a new light. It will give us the chance to identify areas or elements we may have missed. Pressing pause is the least attractive option because it forces us to beat deadlines and create margin. But, when it does, it makes us so much better.

Do you employ any of these exercises in your life? Are there any other exercises you might add to this list?


About the Author


Stephen Brewster (@B_REWSTER) serves as the Creative Arts Pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. He's spent the past 15 years in professional creative environments including church, music business, marketing, management, artist development, creative team leading and art directing. See more from Stephen on