Why You Should Be Liberal When it Comes to Creativity



I’m sure this doesn’t happen in your church.

Not in your church.

But in my church where I used to lead worship, more than half of our congregation arrived late. Sometimes 10-15 minutes late.

That meant there was hardly anyone in the service when we began the worship set. It even meant most people missed the majority of the worship in our church service. I’m sure your church is nothing like that. Right?

Because of this fact. I was always tempted to avoid putting my best song, best creative element, or even my call to worship at the beginning of the service. I didn’t want to do something absolutely epic and only have a fraction of the people experience it. That seemed like a waste to me.

So I held back. I put very little thought into the first few songs and saved all my energy for the end of my set.

But I noticed an interesting thing when I started doing this. This “reserved creativity” began to permeate my whole worship set. By holding back my creative energy until later in the set, I found I often phoned in the whole thing. I started planning really formulaic and predictable worship sets.

One day it struck me that this was happening, and I wasn’t happy with it. I realized I had to try something different. I was penalizing those who arrived on time or early. And I was handicapping my own creativity.

So I changed my approach. I began putting creativity back into the beginning of the worship service. I put some of my best energy into it.

Soon enough, I noticed the creative level of the whole service coming back up. Services became awesome again. The worship music was impacting and deep.

You see; I had the false belief that creativity is a well that can run dry. I was afraid to give my best ideas at the beginning because I didn’t want to run out of good ideas for the end of the service.

But I’ve realized that creativity is more like a water pump. If you don’t prime the pump…if you don’t keep a steady flow of creativity running…you’ll find nothing comes out when you need it most. I’ve found there’s more creativity at the bottom of the well, even when you think you’ve used it all up.

James 1:5 tells us that if we need wisdom, God gives it to us liberally. Wisdom is simply a form of creativity. It’s seeing the world through the right perspective to inform your decisions.

I want to encourage you to put your very best into everything you do. Don’t reserve your best for the end of the service. Don’t save your coolest elements for Christmas or Easter. Put your all into everything you do, and when you’re feeling empty, ask for more.

I’ve found that when you’re generous with your creative ideas, they’re often there without even having to ask for them.

I’d love to hear about your church. Do you have problems with people arriving late? Have you found yourself holding back your best creativity from the beginning of the service?


Jonathan Malm is a creative entrepreneur and writer. He is the author of Created for More, a 30-day devotional to help you develop a more creative mind. You’ll find him in San Antonio, Texas, roasting his own coffee beans and enjoying life with his Argentine wife, Carolina.