How much creativity are you required to bring to your job everyday? Whatever your job is I would encourage everyone to think outside the box and bring creativity to your life. However, when you decide you need creativity you automatically put yourself in a box. Stimulating creativity is tough. I have felt the tension and I am sure you have as well. Here are some techniques to change your normal workflow. In several of my techniques I use an example of a church evaluating their kids ministry.
1. Gather the right people
Being creative on your own has its place, but often times it is beneficial and simply more fun to collaborate with others. Notice I said the right people. Bring together the right team to help you push through a project or problem. I am thankful to work with super skilled folks at Lifeway Kids, who serve as excellent co-collaborators. Find those people in your life especially at your work and ask them to help you tackle something.
2. Generate Ideas
My favorite technique for generating ideas, especially with a group of people is the Post-It method. However you can have people just call out their ideas and you write them down for everyone to see. The whole purpose of this activity is to gather all the ideas. At this point no idea is too crazy and everything can be considered. In my example of the evaluation of the kids ministry area I used green Post Its to write things that were Good to Go and pink Post Its to write things for imProving.
3. Create Borders
Here you are defining both sides of the equation. For example some people create borders by creating pro and con lists. Or maybe you are talking about the culture of your kids ministry and you talk about what is in and what is outside the context of your culture. Borders can assist you in generating ideas and honing in on selecting ideas.
4. Sketching and Model Making
I love using my white board for work. It helps me think while I draw out relationships. Here are two hypothetical sketches above. Remember sketch means loosely drawn, so it does not take an artist to sketch or make a model, clearly. First I made an improvement timeline. I took the pink stickies and placed them on a loose timeline from January to December. This way I can show when I want to work on these projects in relation to big moments in kids ministry like VBS and camp in the summer. The other one is really a sketch. It can be used in a meeting to discuss what the arrows have to be for us to get our goal of more volunteers. The arrows are the action steps.
5. Metaphoric Structure
This is one of my favorites to do with almost anything. Metaphoric structure is where you take something and liken it to something entirely different. Take your kids ministry for example, what if it were a restaurant. Who would be the chef, who are your guests, what is on your menu, and what kind of restaurant do you own? Similarly intriguing what if your kids ministry was an airplane, what about a toy trunk, or a profession. These metaphoric structures help you revisit what is familiar to you in a completely different way. It creates a narrative, which helps you tell the story of your kids ministry as though you don’t know what is about to happen.
Here you find 5 tools for your toolbox. At the end of the day, just get creative. Solving problems is fun. Have fun with your work and play a little. It could be the catalyst your ministry needs.