“What derails or stifles creativity in your community and how do you overcome it?”

Creativity. New ideas. Fresh expressions of worship. These are just a few regular expectations when we sit around a table facing our friends and colleagues, hoping to plan an upcoming Sunday service.

Last month in EQ[U]IP we asked you, “What derails or stifles creativity in your community and how do you overcome it?” Here is a little of what we heard …

The pressure to always be “on”—the demand to be creative week in and week out—can have a stifling effect on the community. You told us you overcome this by talking about it as a team to try to keep your expectations realistic.

Some of you told us that this pressure is often self-imposed. We heard that you have learned to be okay with not always having a new idea. You recognize that there are times when it feels like you are in a desert. That’s a part of reality. So, you keep feeding your mind, heart and soul. God is always faithful. He always provides. So you practice patience.

One person told us that sometimes in an effort to “not stifle creativity” they are given the freedom to do anything. They told us that this freedom can actually feel limiting. When this is the case, they self-impose limits: “I’ll pick one color, one type of music, or focus on one of the five senses.” They said these guidelines, these boundaries, provide a direction and the fount of creativity begins flowing.

Sometimes a person or person(s) in the room can stifle creativity. We’ve all experienced that. The person who doesn’t get the idea of brainstorming. The person who’s sharp or careless with their words about others’ ideas. The individual who keeps saying, “We don’t do things that way.” What are those people doing around the table? We are serious about that—what are they doing around the table? Finding the right people, building a team that works well together, respects and values each other is essential. Set clear expectations and guidelines for meetings and processes. Talk about how best to work together. Some people are most creative in a group and others do their best dreaming when they are alone. Figure out a way to bring out the best of all those involved. Talk about how to give and receive feedback.

We would love to know what the rest of you are thinking. How do you overcome obstacles to creativity?

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