Content Creator

Creativity is at the Heart of Digital Discipleship

Isn’t it amazing that the first time we meet God, He’s creating.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.

Standing at the beginning of our planet’s history, God speaks life into existence through His own creative process.

It feels significant that this is one of the first characteristics of God we’re introduced to.

When you think of Digital Discipleship, does creativity spring to mind?

It may be that “bits” and “bytes” are more easily associated. It may even feel that there’s little room for creativity and traditional arts, like painting and music.

However, creativity is at the heart of Digital Discipleship.

Digital Discipleship is built on the foundation of creativity. Without acts of creativity, there would be nothing to share, nothing to like, nothing to post and nothing to promote.

Digital Discipleship functions as an ecosystem of content creators, distributors, engagers and curators. Most online interactions begin with some form of content creation, whether written, spoken, painted, sung or coded.

Digital Discipleship aims to nurture “faithful creativity” as a core value of our organisation, carrying on the value of the “Manifest Creative Arts Festival, which ran from 2011 – 2015 at Avondale’s Lake Macquarie campus.

This value resonates with our mission to “create, inspire, encourage and resource disciples of Jesus Christ to share His love through their creativity and innovation in the digital space.

We do this in the recognition that the Digital Discipleship ecosystem works only when content creators are valued and allowed to contribute to the process.

For this reason, at the 2019 Digital Discipleship Conference, we are including a Song Writing Workshop, that will cover the topics of:

Song Writing Workshop Topics

Fundamentals of Songwriting​ – The process, tools and resources necessary to write a song

Songwriters Think Tank – Songwriters can engage in the creative process by sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other.

Creating a Work-of-Art – Songwriters will compose their songs with the help of or in collaboration with others (if they desire). This is where seasoned musicians can share their expertise, and rookies can share their innovative ideas.

Supporting and Including the Creatives

How can we support the creatives in our churches and our organisations? And equally important, how can we incorporate creativity into our strategic processes?

First we must acknowledge the giftedness of the creatives amongst us.  Though it may not be readily apparent how the church can use their talent, they should be valued at the same level as we value our pastors, musicians, Sabbath School teachers and deacons.

By doing this, we give everyone the opportunity to place their gifts and talents upon the altar in service to God.

One of the ways we can do this is to engage the creatives in our church and ask them how they would like to minister in the context of the church’s mission.

Share with them the objectives of your particular church or ministry for the year and ask them how they can contribute to accomplishing those objectives.

They might surprise you with their unique outlooks and their ideas on how to best reach out and minister to the community.  And if you think their creativity will only reach as far as your church bulletin or website, I’m sure they will overdeliver on your expectations if you let them.

Include Creatives In Your Strategic Processes

On the flip side, imagine how demotivating it might be for a creative to be brought into a project at its final stage being told they are needed to create the poster, design a logo or plan the music, when they haven’t been involved throughout the project’s planning phase.

Creativity is a process and it will be most effective when it’s integrated and doesn’t sit as a stand alone project that the “creative people” in the church are doing.

Try to engage and get the creatives on board with your ideas and projects as early as possible to achieve the best outcome for your project and allow them to feel like their contribution was meaningful.

The creative process shouldn’t take place somewhere down the line, after administrators have thought of an initiative and developed the strategic indicators of success.

That isn’t the “perfect time” to bring in the graphic designer to quickly draw something up so you can start advertising.

Including creatives means allowing them to support the objectives of the church by giving them a seat at the table when key decisions are being made.

The Value of Creatives

Creativity should be baked into the entire strategic process. In fact, it’s good to have creatives at the table because

  1. They’re often in touch with culture
  2. They have a keen awareness of the people they’re creating for and how they will relate to the work
  3. They understand messaging
  4. They are often able to cut through the noise of the online space
  5. They understand various perceptions of beauty and how projects may be received
  6. They have a different insight on the world
  7. They may have a different spiritual perspective that can enhance your understanding of another aspect of God’s character

Are you creating space for the creatives at your church?  How can you help create the space for them to lay their talents on the altar in service to God?  How might they enhance your church or ministry’s digital discipleship efforts?