I honestly believe we were all created in the image of God. Within that image we see God as the awesome and wonderful Creator; God has also given us the ability to think; He has even given us great freedom; He has also give us the ability to create . I also believe God cannot be contained or put into a box. I believe God can go beyond each of our reasoning or imagination.
I am personally a very creative, it does frustrate me when some try to harness creativity especially when it is done with all intentions to bring glory and honor to God. I also know many of the men I respect, that I am inspired by or who have influence in my life are also creative. Some of thse men are amazing musician and even say modern psalmists i.e. Bono or David Crowder; some are incredible writers i.e. Rick Warren or Erwin McManus; some are used within the community of faith as awesome pastors Mark Driscoll or Ed Young. I see such amazing amount of creativity in many awesome godly men.
It is amazing and it totally blows my mind how God uses us and takes everything we offer Him and does incredible things through our lives. No God does not have to use anyone of us...but He chooses to use us. I am personally eternally grateful for that.
With all that said I stumbled across this article written by an amaizng artist Matt Redman I love what he said in it about creativity. I have personally chosen not to allow those who criticize to harness my creativity in ministry, especially in reaching a culture that is seeking. I also will not permit people to cause me to get off the calling for which God has called me to do as well as given me the vision for.
However, we formulate God in our mind, than we take away the Godness of God. God cannot be formulated or even contained in our minds, He is supernatural and we are natural. A part of that the supernatural aspect is the creativity that He places within me and others. This article makes me want to be a more creative facedown worshipper. Here is the article...enjoy it...comment on it.
The Adventurous Pursuit of Creativity
We worship the God of all creation. Everywhere we look, from the tiniest atom to the grandest galaxy, we find evidence of an extravagant and exuberant creator God. Scientists and artists alike marvel at the dazzling design of creation. Whether we peer through a microscope at the detailed design of a butterfly wing, or through a telescope at the star-filled canvas a night sky, we find the stamp of the Creator´s artistry.
We human beings are made in such a way that our ears can hear around 300,000 different tones, and our eyes distinguish between 8 million colour differences. God has designed us to recognize and value His astounding creativity. More than that, He has formed us to be creative ourselves. As worshippers of the Creator God, and as those made in His image, one of the best ways we express what´s going on "inside" is through outward displays of creativity.
Creativity is essential when it comes to our congregational worship. Firstly, it´s a sign of "life". A healthy church will be bursting with new songs, new sounds and new sights. They are explosions of the heart - souls so caught up in the glories of God, that they cannot help but respond in imaginative and artistic ways. Creativity in its purest form is a reflex - a flash of inspiration coming forth from the artist who has glimpsed the splendour of the Divine. Putting that into the context of a church worship service, creativity does not come from a desire to be musically clever, or do something new just because "variety is the spice of life". Instead, it´s an imaginative and heartfelt response to the received revelation of God. As we see more and more of the goodness, greatness and majesty of God, we find ourselves imaginatively responding with creative expressions of joy, thanksgiving and reverence.
As well as being a response to God, creativity is also a reflection of Him. God reveals and expresses Himself creatively, and we find ourselves responding in a creative way. Yet as we do so, we also reflect Him to those around. The whole of creation tells of the glory of God:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
And in the same way, our artistic expression through songs, sounds and sights, are to be reflections of Him. Of course, they will always be just the faintest whisper and the subtlest echoes of His true worth, and yet they are an important part of our proclamation of God. I recently traveled to Australia for the annual Hillsong worship conference, and encountered one of the most creative congregational worship expressions I have ever seen. The band brought innovative and interesting musical arrangements to the fresh worship songs. But it went far beyond the music. There was colour everywhere - lighting and visuals all conceived in an original and tasteful way. There was movement everywhere too - teams of dancers, and over a hundred singers, who at times all moved in unison. Most visually stunning of all were the huge fireworks which lit up the whole place at appropriate moments during the worship songs. In a sense, it was a display of the Lord´s splendour - a call to worship, reminding us of the wonders of our God. It was a banner held high, to the lost and the found, which spoke of the greatness of the God we were worshipping.
Now obviously we don´t get chance to create this sort of display every time we gather to worship. And yet, why in the church do we so often see a lack of creative expression? As worshippers and lead worshippers of the Living God, we are called to the adventurous pursuit of creativity. In times past, the church has led the way in the whole of society in many forms of art and music. Look through history and you´ll find that many of the great artists and poets were simply giving creative expression to their walk before God. A few hundred years ago, many looked to the church to lead the way through music as they saw that the "ecclesiastical style" was the most pioneering and exciting sound around. And we must pray for the same in this day and age, for the arts are fantastic pointers to the glory of God. It´s time to become more adventurous in our pursuit of creativity in worship. Through visual art, through musical sounds, through poetry, and through movement, how can we point people to the glory of our God? We can start with the simple things - paintings, banners and backdrops which, rather than remaining the same for months upon end, change every few weeks, as a way of awakening us to the splendour of God. Songs arranged in fresh musical styles, with a variety of instruments, or vocal groups. Perhaps a string arrangement, if you never before have used strings in worship, but have able players. It can start with the simple things.
Creativity is sometimes a mindset we must develop, especially if we have fallen into a "this is the way we do things" trap. I recently returned from a conference where on consecutive nights the worship band were joined by a gospel choir, a group of hand percussionists, and a DJ. Each evening we journeyed before the throne of God with a slightly different musical flavour. And each one of these creative expressions unlocked a freshness in our time of worshipping through music.
One of the reasons we sometimes encounter a lack of creativity in the church is that we have not created the right environment for it. Creative expression thrives under certain conditions, and dies under others. In an environment of harsh criticism of artistic experimentation, or no room for risk-taking, the creative flow will soon perish. Too often in the church we live under these conditions, and all too quickly clamp down on any new forms of expression. Of course, creative types must learn to be submit to authority, and to love the people of God in such a way that they will always seek to bring in new expressions in a pastoral and humble way. As C.S. Lewis reminded us, Jesus´ charge to Peter was "feed my sheep", not "try experiments on my rats". That being said, there must be space to experiment, and room to grow in the arts. All too often, the blunt and practical tendencies of a pastor clashes with the sensitive and reactionary personality type of an artist, and creative expression is squeezed out. In truth, the world often uses the arts as rebellion, and pastors are rightly concerned that this tendency does not creep into the church. Yet, it is time to redeem the stolen goods, for the very best use of creativity is to praise and proclaim the Living God. We must make room for our artists to lead us in this. If you can´t be creative in the church, where can you be creative?
One thing we must note, is that creativity is not always about new and innovative expressions. It can be equally powerful to re-present something "old" - a song, a sound or any art form from our church heritage. And, as the biblical saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, and an "old" thing may in fact become to us a "new thing" again. Introducing a five hundred year old hymn may be just as creative as introducing a five day old song which has just been written. Both can be an expression of creativity, and both can unlock freshness in our congregational worship.
The worshipping church should be leading the way in all things creative. After all, it makes sense that those most in touch with the Creator should have more insights into the creative than others. Besides, in the church we have more to sing about than the rest of this world. We have more reason to celebrate, more inspiration to dance, and more grounds for all kinds of artistic expression. For we have seen the glory of the One and the Only. And this revelation leads us to explosive and imaginative heart responses.
And there is one final reason too why the church of God should be the standard bearer for creativity. We are those in whom the Holy Spirit lives, and He will inspire and equip us to respond to the Father in colourful, imaginative ways. A.W. Tozer puts it best:
"If the Holy Spirit should come again upon us as in earlier times, visiting church congregations with the sweet but fiery breath of Pentecost, we would be greater Christians and holier souls. Beyond that, we would also be greater poets and greater artists and greater lovers of God and His universe."
Let us never give up the adventurous pursuit of creativity in worship.
by Matt Redman.
This article is taken from www.heartofworship.com