|You are creative||Statements that can stop creative thinking|
|The power of prayer||Creative thinking procedure (CTP) phases|
|Why does a church need creative thinking members||Knowledge increases creative power|
|A few factors that indicate that a change is needed||How to overcome the dreaded “mental block”|
|Conditions / situations that increase the potential of||Apply the creative thinking procedure|
|Conditions that restrict creative abilities||Questions and comments you have|
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You Are Creative
Do you have doubts about you being able to be creative? It seems that many people have this doubt. Do not be discouraged. Each person has the ability to be creative, but being creative requires the desire to want to find new and/or different ideas. To think creatively week after week does not happen by accident.
The question is, “How do I energize my creative abilities?”
Creative thinking is a state of mind that can be developed. A person is creative when he uses his mental power to obtain a vision of something he wants that is unique or different and then use his mental and physical abilities to bring the vision into existence.
It takes time, effort, and courage to be creative. Being creative guarantees that you will experience failures. Thomas Edison once said that he knew 1,800 ways to not build a light bulb. If you are not willing to allow changes or failures in your life, you will not be able to be a creative person.
Keeping your creative abilities energized requires you to be aware of what influences your ability to be creative and guard against the influences that can restrict your ability to be creative.
Do not settle for the first answer. Always look for three or four answers. Sometimes combining two of the answers can give you a “super” answer. An idea can be far ahead of other people's thinking. There are times when other people will need to have time to contemplate your idea before they can accept it.
A creative person will from time to time be in conflict with existing leaders and/or prevailing opinions about what is proper and acceptable. This is part of the price a creative person will pay.
Yes, other people can affect your ability to be creative, but your attitudes have a big influence on your ability to be creative. You can be limiting yourself when other people are willing to give your ideas an opportunity to work
The Power Of Prayer
Chapters one and two of Genesis is a record of God creating the universe which includes the heavens, earth, man, animals, etc. This included man which was made in the image of God. Look at how creative God is. Doesn’t it make you wonder about how creative you can be with God’s help? A Christian that does not use the power of prayer is not a wise person. God is the ultimate powerful creative partner. Allowing God to work through you is truly activating your creative abilities.
For you to allow God to work through you requires you to want to be utilized by God. You must be sensitive to God’s directions and willing to do the things you believe God wants you to do. Sometimes you may be unsure of or uncomfortable with doing the things you believe that God wants you to do. With God’s help, you can do things that will amaze you. because you are not limited by you personal abilities.
Facets of an activated prayer life.
- Expect God to give you answers.
- Share with God your concerns and desires.
- Ask God to give you His answers.
- Listen for God’s answers.
- Do what God tells you to do.
- Thank God for responding to your concerns and desires.
How activated is your prayer life?
Why Does A Church Need Creative Thinking Members
The societies and cultures in which churches serve God are continually changing. Communicating the Word of God to people in changing societies is a BIG challenge. To meet this challenge requires people that are not satisfied with the status quo and are willing to look for and try new ways to tell people about God and Jesus.
A church is by nature a conservative organization and is resistant to changes. An indication that something needs to be changed is when the result of an activity is not what was desired. Many people are comfortable with doing things tomorrow the same way that they did things yesterday. This can be an acceptable approach if yesterday’s ways yielded the desired results. Often the desired results are not achieved, but the approach is not changed.
It takes courage to change, because change often means that it is not known if the change will work. Some church members are not able to handle the unknown element of a change. They want to know for sure that it will work before trying it.
Creative people look for ways to improve what is being done. It is easier for God to direct a mind that is looking for ideas than he can direct a mind that is satisfied with the status quo or is afraid to make a change.
A creative approach would be for each church member to identify an area in the church that he believes needs to be changed. He would apply his creative abilities and efforts to improving the selected church area. Just think of what could be done for God through your church if each church member has this attitude.
A Few Factors That Indicate That A Change Is Needed
- Church membership is decreasing.
- The Sunday School is not growing.
- Few visitors attend church services and activities.
- Visitors attend a few times and do not come back.
- Church membership is not participating in church activities and services as regularly
as they once did.
- Community population is increasing, but the church membership is not increasing.
- New church members attend for a while and then stop attending the church.
How can creative thinking be applied to each of the above factors?
Conditions / Situations That Increase The Potential Of Being A Creative Thinker
You believe that the desired result is important, and you will be successful. This faith will help keep you going when you are discouraged and/or need to do something that you may not want to do.
Make up your mind to do what is required and invest the appropriate time, effort, and money.
Do not be afraid to challenge rules, traditions, assumptions, and "sacred cows" associated with the situation. Ask "dumb" and "what if" questions.
Learn how to think without being hindered by preconceived ideas and logical evaluation of your thoughts.
Develop the ability to identify new ideas by "day dreaming."
Learn as much about the situation as you can and pay attention to the small things (details).
Do what you can to allow yourself to “walk a mile” in the other person's shoes so you can understand why he has the views he does.
Explore ideas with several people.
Identify people that are creative and spend time with them.
Put curiosity in your life. Examples: Try new food, go to new places, participate in new activities, and read books about new interests.
Conditions That Restrict Creative Abilities
Your opinions, bias, ideas, thoughts, attitudes, personality, etc. may be what is restricting your creative thinking abilities.
If you think you cannot do it, it is a good bet that you will not do it. Your opinion of whether or not you can accomplish what you want to do does influence the effort you will invest.
Do not compare your abilities to abilities of other people that you consider to be more creative than you. The more you work at being creative, the better you will become.
Stressful situations in addition to being mentally and physically tired can cause a reduction of creative thoughts.
Your understanding of what determines a success and a failure will influence your efforts.
Fear of change, afraid to make a mistake or fail, and not willing to take a risk will put the brakes on creative thinking.
You allow failure to occur, because you are not willing to do what you know should be done.
Not understanding the situation restricts the ability to think creatively.
You believe there is only one solution for each problem/situation.
Tight deadlines and waiting until the last minute freezes the ability to think creatively.
Striving to fit into accepted procedures, standards, ideas, and opinions does not promote creative thinking.
Personal belief of what is acceptable or not acceptable can restrict your development of new ideas.
You are comfortable with the situation.
The status quo is acceptable.
Statements That Can Stop Creative Thinking
What other people say about your ideas can, if you are not careful, cause you to stop your creative thinking. Of course, you may have to change your approach to presenting your ideas to people when they have given you a “stopping” type of comment about your ideas. There are times that you may have to be creative in determining how you will present your ideas to people. Sometimes you have to use the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer when dealing with people.
Do not let people that make the following types of statements stop you from believing in your ideas. From your personal experience, you can identify additional statements that can stop or slow down a person from attempting to be creative.
That is a good idea, but . . .
We have never done it that way.
We tried it one time, and it did not work.
People don't like change.
We do not have the money.
That is not part of your responsibility.
That is old fashion.
The pastor will not go along with it.
The deacons or church will not approve it.
You are crazy!
Creative Thinking Procedure (CTP) Phases
1. Include prayer in all of the phases of the CTP. Praying and listening for answers to your prayers are critical to the CTP when serving God is part of the desired results. Do not forget to thank God for listening to you and giving you answers.
2. Identify the results you want to accomplish.
3. Make a list of any words, actions, attitudes, feelings, experiences, traditions, physical items, etc. that come to mind when you think about the situation and the wanted results. Do not evaluate what you add to the list by trying to determine if it is logical, feasible, acceptable, unacceptable, good, bad, silly, etc. Group together the items in the list that are similar. Study the items in each grouping to identify new insights and ideas.
4. Identify beliefs, values, customs, other people’s opinion, etc. that can influence what you consider to be acceptable. This list can limit your creativity when evaluating the list of items developed in Phase 3.
5. Look at the situation from as many viewpoints as possible. Pay attention to the viewpoints with which you do not agree. Sometimes seriously looking at the situation from other points of view will enable you to obtain a complete new perspective.
6. Write down as many possible solutions as you can think of that make sense and will probably work. Write down several solutions that you think are too ridiculous to even be considered but will be funny or entertaining if they would work. On purpose, look for a solution that you have not experienced or at least the people involved with the situation have not experienced.
Additional solutions can be defined if you take two or more solutions and combined them by merging portions from each solution. This may seem weird, but interesting solutions can be developed from this approach. Give it a try.
7. Evaluate the potential solutions and select the solution that has the potential for the best results.
Caution should be exercised when evaluating the potential solutions. Be suspicious of the easy to implement solutions. Make sure the solution(s) have the potential to provide the needed results? Do not fall into the trap that solutions that are hard to implement and/or require extra resources to implement are eliminated because of the required extra effort and/or resources.
It is possible that several potential solutions can be selected and implemented in a defined sequence. Some solutions can build on other solutions.
8. Implement the selected solution.
9. Evaluate the success of the implementation of the solution. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts, or start over to improve the results. Seldom does the result meet all expectations on the first attempt.
Knowledge Increases Creative Power
Solutions come from your knowledge base. The more knowledge you have about the subject and other topics, the more “stuff” you have to work with to identify solutions.
Do not forget to apply concepts and techniques in one area of your life to another area of your life even thought they may not be related. Example: You are a salesperson and a Sunday School teacher. Look at how things you do as a salesperson can be applied to how you teach and lead the Sunday School class.
How To Overcome The Dreaded "Mental Block"
There are times that you will put forth a lot of effort and not be able to find a good idea. You may even feel that you cannot think. When this occurs, you are experiencing a “mental block.” This is normal. All creative thinkers have to contend with the mental block.
To overcome a mental block, take a break and participate in an activity that will relax your mind. Activities that involve laughter and play will often rekindle the creative mind. After the break, the mind will often be more receptive to finding new ideas.
Apply The Creative Thinking Procedure
Finding possible solutions to a situation may or may not be easy to achieve. Just finding a solution may not be what you need to do. You may need to find the best solution.
You may feel awkward the first few times that you use the Creative Thinking Procedure. Confidence will increase as you practice using your creative skills. Do not allow yourself to become discouraged. It is not being creative. You must put forth the required time and effort.
Apply the Creative Thinking Procedure to all aspects of your life. People often think about being creative at their work. Being creative at home can add excitement and enjoyment to what often becomes predictable everyday activities such as: meals, parent/child relationship, wife/husband relationship, family activities, etc.
Questions And Comments You Have
If you have any questions or comments, please contact:
Dale Lee, M.Div., M.R.E.
Lee Clowning Ministry, PO Box 7797, Richmond, VA 23231
[Energizing My Creative Abilities© module is adapted from the same named seminar from the Recovering Sinners™ series of the Learn More 2 Do More Project. Handout identification code (C-02/97) ]
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