A while back…ok, quite a while back I started writing a bit about using a creative team to plan worship services. (If you missed that article check it out here.) Well, here we are back in the saddle again.

This topic among discussions of creativity is probably one of the most important and yet, one of the most overlooked.

1.) Stop saying no to ideas that don’t fit your paradigm. How many times have you shot down and idea instinctively or had one of your ideas shot down in the same manner? This is one of the biggest road blocks to creativity.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating: If you keep doing what you’ve done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. If you want the best ideas to rise to the top, you have to allow all ideas to rise, not shut them down.

2.) Get out there and see ideas of what others are doing (especially people/churches who do things you don’t normally do. We need to be good at finding resources, ideas that other people have tried and succeeded at doing. We need to be good at sifting through lots of information, looking at a lot of manuscripts until we find the cream of the crop. It’s kind of like a thankless version of American Idol. We go through a lot of auditions to find the one star, the one that stands well above the rest, the one that will speak to the most people. Use your feed readers like google, or even subscribe to blogs like this one in your email program. Get used to sifting through lots of material until you find the one gem.

3.) Take a semi-calculated risk. Some of us think we take “calculated” risks, but in reality we don’t. We calculate them so much that any real risk has been removed from the equation. I know the arguments, there’s too much on the line, we might lose people, we might make people mad, people might stop giving their money and we won’t have a job, etc. In all likelihood the only reason any of us are in the positions that we are is because someone, somewhere along the way took a risk and it paid off.

We have to take some risks. The bigger our organizations get, the harder risks become to take and the more comfortable we get with the way things are. We stand to lose too much, so we keep things the way we are, we make the same decisions.

Take a risk, do something that hasn’t been done before. Think it through, but don’t kill it just because you’ve never done it before.

In order to be creative, we have to remove the filter through which we evaluate ideas. We can’t judge an idea based on what we think we know. We have to learn from other’s mistaks. We have to take risks.