“What is the good news for the group of people you are reaching?”
In April of this year our staff went to the Exponential Conference for church planting in Orlando, FL, and one of the speakers brought up this question. She talked about the need to learn the language of people and communicate the good news [gospel] of Jesus to them in a way that they will understand in their hearts. Of course, my mind immediately went to what the good news is for those we’re reaching through the Creativity Group at Everyday Church.
The “good” news is a value judgment, so how do we value creativity as a society?
We value creativity as personal expression. Talking to other improvisors, I often ask people why they do it, and the answer I hear often is: “I need a creative outlet.” In other words, they are not able to express fully who they are as a person in their work and daily life. I think that the creative process indeed has a vital role in helping us unearth who we truly are. The person who says, “I have to act. I have to organize. I have to write code.” There is something inside of them that must be expressed for them to be a whole person. The only problem with this is the finiteness of humanity. We are able to express ourselves, but only to the extent of our own lives. And even if by some chance our creative endeavors endure well beyond our lives, life itself will ultimately end with no eternal meaning. The creative process is therefore limited.
The good news of Jesus magnifies this idea to eternal proportions! It says that creativity is something that God himself put into us when he created us. It is part of the image of God. Look at Genesis 1:27:
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Let me highlight that verse in a different way:
So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Jesus himself was a creative person. His ministry was filled with illustrations, stories, teachings, and miracles exploding with creativity. We are not just a fleeting people with fleeting creative desires. God has given us each creative potential that he wants us to discover and express. The creative process is part of discovering who God created us to be. And in the end we don’t care so much about what creativity says about us as much as what it says about the eternal creator. This is what we call giving glory to God, the ultimate creator.
We also value creativity as a means to an end. We are able to make money through creativity. It improves our systems, our thinking, and our society. We become more efficient. We’re able to more fully understand abstract ideas as well as one another. We’re able to find new ways of living together (hopefully for the good of all). Finding one’s value in creativity can backfire when it is contingent upon producing something that is judged by others. Now it is not just about expression, but about what we get out of it based on what others think, whether it is money, love, recognition, significance, etc. In doing so, creativity looses its beauty, and becomes limited as only a means to an end.
Again, the good news of Jesus magnifies this to eternal proportions. Creating is something that God has commanded us to do. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. – Genesis 1:28. This requires great creativity. The good news says that creativity is not only a means to an end, but that it will continue throughout eternity. Not only that, but the Jesus says that we are valued far beyond our creative potential. Jesus himself lived the perfect life we could never live, died the death we should have died, and gives us a new life that we don’t deserve. We are therefore free to create, knowing where our true value lies. It is not a means to our being recognized, happy, validated, or fulfilled. We have eternal worth outside of our creative potential. Therefore we are free to be creative to even greater potential!
In the end, the good news of Jesus frees us from the judgment of ourselves and others. He gives us an eternal perspective, and blesses us to create in his image, the ultimate creator.