One of the questions I am asked most often in regards to creativity is where do the ideas come from…so here goes…
#1 - My quiet time
One of the things I heard someone say a long time ago is, “If you are going to speak then get a word from THE WORD.” THAT is some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Every creative meeting we have revolves around a main idea/text from Scripture. I think creative teams make huge mistakes when they try to revolve a message around a video idea.
Saying all of that—I keep some scratch paper on my desk at home so that, when God hits me with an idea, I can write it down and develop it later on.
#2 - The creative team
I meet every Tuesday at 10am with our creative team here at NewSpring to go over the message. Just the other day we worked through the message for September 30th and I would say we changed about 50% of it…and because of that meeting it will flow better AND creatively connect with everyone.
I learned a long time ago that I do NOT have the best ideas…and so when someone in that meeting shares an idea—I listen. For example—the idea where I came out on stage in a coffin several weeks ago—that was not my idea! A lady in our meeting said, “Why don’t you come out on stage in a coffin to set that point up?” Everyone in the room (except for me) immediately got excited!
One more thing about a team like this…I try to balance it with married people AND singles…men AND women. If everyone in the room is exactly where I am in life then I feel that we are going to really limit who we connect with through illustrations and such.
#3 - Listening to/watching other speakers.
I have had people ask me before, “Do you ever use someone else’s stuff?” My reply—HECK YES! If another pastor/leader shares something that is a home run then I will use it without apology. The pastor that thinks he has to be completely original in everything is probably robbing the people in his church of some awesome stuff AND is under constant pressure of feeling like he’s under the gun.
(Some pastors will swear they do not borrow other people’s stuff…but their office is full of commentaries…uh…dude, that would be other people’s stuff!!!)
#4 - Be a student of culture.
I think one of the areas the church has failed in is studying the culture in which we exist. Many will call being a student of the culture “worldly,” but if someone goes oversees and studies the culture that exists there then that same group of people will call the international traveler a missionary.
Basically…I am a missionary in the upstate of South Carolina…and I completely get the culture in which I live. However, I am still a student…I am all over the web, watching television and browsing bookstores to look at magazine covers AND to see which books are listed as best sellers. Trust me—the marketing researchers for magazine readers KNOW what people are wanting to see—so, in my mind, they paid for the research and I get to have the benefit.
#5 - Time off
Honestly, some of my best ideas come to me when I take some time off…vacations, long drives and so on…it is amazing how clearly I can hear from God when I take some time away.
That’s what works for me…hope that helps.