Do you consider yourself a Creative, that is, a church communicator, church graphic designer, stage director, worship leader, or creative pastor? Do you struggle with what that process looks like? You're not alone.
Creative Potential: Principles for Unleashing Your God-Given Calling, a new book by Luke McElroy, aims to offer five creative principles to assist your creative passions in becoming realities. Creator of the SALT Conference and many other creative ventures, McElroy is no stranger to ‘creative walls.'
Half memoir and half creative how-to book, Creative Potential plugs away at helping us in five key areas:
Principle #1 – Recognize Your Value
Scripture tells us that we are the most unique things that God ever designed. Rare and highly treasured,” McElroy says in chapter seven entitled, ‘Unique: Recognizing Our Value.'
McElroy argues that because we are each a unique creation we can't covet sameness. We must embrace our inherent value and become an image-bearer of the God who made us and accept this uncomfortable fact that there is no one exactly like us. We have been created by our Creator to create. This is only done when we rest in the confidence that we have value and each of us is uniquely gifted.
Principle #2 – Avoid Perfection
Our culture wants us to believe the lie that excellence is only achieved when you are the best that exists. This is a lie because this definition of excellence is oxymoronic and not possible,” states McElroy in chapter nine entitled, ‘Excellence: Perfect is a Myth.'
Perhaps my favorite chapter in this book, McElroy slogs through the myth of perfectionism and how this often prevents the Creative from tapping into their creative superpowers. The pressure is on in every direction to be perfect and -spoiler alert- it's just not possible. It is Satan's lie to keep us separated from the unique calling God has placed on our lives.
McElroy speaks into the busyness of our culture and how when we slow down, make time to think, time to get away, something happens. We are able to gain perspective, find peace, and create.
Principle #3 – Strive for Excellence
Keep pursuing God before pursuing the action of the calling. He is the source of all knowledge, insight, and expertise. The key is becoming the best we were made to be is in the being of Christ, not the pursuit of perfection to the world,” says McElroy in chapter 10 entitled, ‘Becoming Excellent.'
Excellence differs from perfectionism in a few different ways. McElroy sites several examples of famous people who first saught their calling in who they were as Christ-followers, and what resulted was excellence because they were tuned into their calling first, and the product of their hard work in this was excellence. Many of us struggle with trying to be excellent in too many different areas to which McElroy says:
If we want to become excellent, we must stop trying to be all things. Doing less in all areas will allow us to become more in that one area.”
Preach it. I see this in myself, in churches, in church leaders everywhere. We are all trying to do too much. Perhaps the key is in discerning from God what areas, during the season we're in, to focus on. With His guidance and calling, we can pursue today's mission in full with the distractions of lesser calls that can be postponed until God calls us to those things.
Principle #4 – Become Collaborative
When we let others into our creative process, they refine and push us to new versions of ourselves,” says McElroy in chapter 11 entitled, ‘Collaboration: We > Me.'
In this chapter, McElroy sites Trinitarian creativity in the foundation of the universe. If it took God in Three to create the world as we know it, we have in the Trinity a wonderful example of what group creative power looks like. Not only is it difficult for one person in a group to take credit, the end result is completely different than what it would have been if only one person was responsible.
McElroy goes on to talk about the ways ideas are born and how they are fully developed by working with a team. While lone rangers sometimes have trouble letting their good ideas be executed on by a group, in most cases, collaboration in a group takes one individual's good idea and turns it into something greater.
Principle #5 – Become Contagious
Contagious creativity can move people to think differently, help people see Jesus more clearly, and begin the transformational process of one's life for eternity,” states McElroy in chapter 13 entitled, ‘Contagiousness: Going Viral.'
When we choose the right things to be passionate about, we apply our creativity and tap into the ways God has made us, contagiousness is inevitable. Our creativity tells a story and this story will resonate with others. We will see the Holy Spirit begin to work in and through us. It's amazing what can happen when all these creative passions come together for the glory of God's Kingdom. Watch out, you'll be blown away.