Passion and Creativity - Part 3 (Creativity)

This week I've been writing about a breaklout session I led at ForgeCon'11, the title of which was "How to Build Passion and Creativity in a Small Team With Limited Resources." After giving some background, I posted on the passion part yesterday. Today, we'll go over some tips for building creativity:


  • Trust your team
  • Trust your pastor
  • Be trustworthy
I wrote a little about this yesterday, but it really comes into play here. You cannot have a creative environment if there is no trust. Pastors need to trust their creative teams. Sometimes our own pastor has a hard time visualizing things that we want to do, but he usually lets us do them anyway, because he trusts us. Likewise, I have full trust in telling him what we are up to, or what we think, or what we are planning. At the same time, the team will trust the leaders, even if they are not seeing the whole picture. And the leaders will trust each team member to "pull off" the crazy things we are asking them, or to allow them to put their own spin on things.

 This past Lenten season, we came up with an idea for the Good Friday service which was really outside the box from anything we had ever done. I had a very clear picture of it in my mind, and I beleive Daniel did, too, but no one else did. I could see the doubt on my pastor's face in trying to walk him through it. He has a very analytical mind, but that didn't serve him in this case. But he trusted us to do it. The head of our media team doubted some of the things we wanted to do, but went along with it. Some of the team doubted we could do what we were planning, but we tried anyway. In the end, it was an amazing service, and it was all built on trust.

Keep ideas flowing. Foster an environment where members feel free to voice ideas. And keep soliciting them.

There are no bad ideas, ever, just ones that may not be right for a given moment. Or worse, ones that are never given voice.

Start small - a small victory is still a victory. Do one thing, one service, one element. Keep everyone asking for more.

Yes, you have to ARRANGE

Your band is not (insert band name here). Don't try to be. Try and be you.
It's better to sound 100% like you than 90% like someone else.
Strip it down. Find the core of it. Build it around your team.

Every song in your repertoire, at some point, spoke to someone. Find out what that is. Maybe it's a lyric, a hook, even a riff. Strip it down to that, laeve that intact, then rebuild it the way you want it. You're not going to sound like New Breed unless you have twenty people and a brass section. Don't try. Take that song and build it around the instrumentation you have, the voices you have. This takes effort. This takes planning. Do it anyway. Play the song on an acoustic guitar or a piano and find the heart of it, and then work from there.

Fellowship leads to trust, which leads to openness. Spend time together. Share meals. Social activites. Hang out. Jam. Whatever.

Change things up "just because."

  • Acoustic sets/one instrument sets/hand percussion  
  • "Ethnic arrangements"  
  • Worship team swaps 
  • Rearrange the environment

Do things differently sometimes. Tired of the way you play a song? Play it differently. Move the band to a different part of the room. Change your instrumentation. Get your drummer off the kit and onto a cajon or a djembe. Put down the electric and grab the acoustic. Sit everyone but the bass and piano. Do something a capella. There are so many different ways to approach a song - just try some.

Get ideas from any source you can

Listen to a lot of music. A worship leader needs a deep appriciation for music.
Network with other worship leaders, via email, forums, and in person.
Get a twitter. Search #WorshipSet and #sundaysetlist. Follow blogs of worship leaders, especially for recaps.  
Steal blatently. If you hear something you like, try it!

Make it yours. OWN IT!


  1. great series bro!
    I just had a convo with my team on much of what you have here.
    I do think there are bad ideas though. ha ha!!
    and you know I love to change it up!


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