“Creativity begins at the moment we don’t know what we are doing.” – Simon Sinek 

If that quote doesn’t sum up 2020, I don’t know what does. This year has given us lots of opportunities to be creative in ministry, and it’s encouraged me to dig deeper into the process of creative thinking and creative problem-solving. I started listening to The Creative Thinker’s Toolkit course on Audible. Even though I’m only a few lectures in, I’ve really enjoyed the challenges and encouragement to think creatively and build up my creative thinking muscles.

Like other skills, creativity can be taught, refined, and strengthened. The more we practice it, the more creative we can be.

The creative problem-solving process involves 4 key steps:

  1. Clarify – What is the problem you are trying to solve? If creativity is providing value in a new way, what kind of value can you bring to families in this season of quarantines and social distancing?
  2. Ideate – Brainstorm! As you list ideas, defer judgment until later and just go for quantity. How many ideas can you come up with to reach the families in your ministry? You might even want to do a brain dump at this step! (Psst – On Friday, I’ll share the brainstorming list my church staff came up with when trying to figure out how to do ministry in a social-distanced world!)
  3. Develop – Narrow down your favorite ideas from Step 2 and start working through the details. What needs to happen to bring those ideas to life? Write down the steps to get there. If you picked a specific fall event, what needs to happen to make that event a reality? What will that event look like? What resources will you need?
  4. Implement – Take your detailed plan(s) from step 3 and put them into action. Assign dates and people to your tasks, and jump right in!

Just like other skills, we may have a preference or a more natural strength in one of these steps in the creative process over the others. For me, I’m a strong developer. I love taking an idea and running with it to plan out the steps and details to make it a reality. But I’m not always the greatest clarifyer. That’s why it’s important to build our teams and our staffs with people who excel where we are weak.

Here’s a shared Google Doc that my church staff used to brainstorm creative ideas for social-distanced ministry for the semester ahead. Use it as a starting point, and get creative!


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