Some people love to put others down.
The church is full of them.
For instance, here are some titles of recent online posts:
- ‘10 Serious Problems with (name of new Christian book)’
- ‘The Problem with (preachers name)’
- 'Christians Should Stop Reading (name of Christian blogger)’
- ‘Why (my favorite type of worship style) Is Better than (my least favorite type of worship style)'
I’ve left the specifics out, because this post is not about the merits of any book, preacher, blogger or worship style. But you know there are more like this. A lot more.
Celebrating the Church’s Creative People
Sure, there are reasons for Christians to disagree with each other. Face-to-face and online. Iron sharpens iron.
But today I want to do something else.
I want to celebrate the Christians who put themselves and their ideas out there. Even the ones I disagree with. Especially the ones I disagree with. You're usually the ones who push me deeper.
If you're creating something we've never heard or seen before, I celebrate you.
If you're putting your work, your opinion, and your art in a public forum, I celebrate you.
If you're preaching or writing a hard truth to people who may not be ready to hear it, I celebrate you.
If you're composing music, not knowing if anyone will ever appreciate it, I celebrate you.
If you're creating movies or videos to express an idea you just have to get off your chest, I celebrate you.
If you’re designing clothes, buildings, apps, devices, landscape, graphics or anything else, I celebrate you.
Whatever you’re doing to express the creativity God put in you, I resonate with your need to express it. And I celebrate your courage in putting it out there for public consumption – and inevitable criticism.
Better Critics Needed
The church needs more creative people. Fewer critics.
Well, maybe not fewer critics, but better critics.
Critics who don't just slam people, but who assess for the sake of making the creative people better.
Critics who will evaluate the end result without impugning motives.
Critics who start with an appreciation for the difficulty and courage that sits at the core of the creative process.
It's hard to be creative. It's hard make something beautiful, important or surprising from a blank page or unformed raw material. It's even harder to put your work into the world for others to enjoy or learn from, not knowing what kind of feedback you'll get.
Want more creativity in the church? Criticize with care. Criticize to elevate people, not to tear them down.
Every creative person wants to get better at it, so they’re not just willing, but eager to hear constructive criticism.
More Creatives Needed
If you’re one of the courageous, creative Christians, let this post be an encouragement to you.
Keep at it. Stay bold. Design, write, speak, compose, paint, act, build, play and sing with all your heart.
Proclaim the creativity of the creator with everything you have. Then listen to the critics who give you valuable feedback. Ignore the others.
We need you. The church needs you. The world needs you.
Every creative Christian has been criticized. From Bach and Handel, to Luther and Wesley, to Tolkien and Lewis, to Johnny Cash, Andrae Crouch and Darlene Zschech.
Sometimes with good reason. Sometimes not. Either way, we remember the creatives. We’ve forgotten the critics.
Be creative, be brave. And be memorable.
Copyright © 2016 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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