Church Worship

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Ministry Matters; Creativity and Spontaneity

  • Marty Nystrom Contributing Writer
  • 2003 19 Nov
Ministry Matters; Creativity and Spontaneity

You and I were created to be creative. I know that because "in the beginning God created" ( Genesis 1:1) and "so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him (Genesis 1:27, emphasis added). Part of the image of God in man is expressed as man creates.

Part of my life's purpose is to help you re-kindle the creativity in you. To extent, society has ripped you off by telling you that unless you're a pro, you have no business trying to be creative. But by design you are creative, and your creativity plays a key role in your relationship with the Lord.

The Jews in the Old Testament were creative. Not having television, VCRs or sporting events, they weren't used to being passive spectators. They were active and creative, and their creativity was often expressed in songs and dance.

Our culture is much more packaged and prone to conformity. We buy our octavos, learn our alto or soprano parts, and then perform according to the standard. While there's nothing wrong with that, God also wants to make room for the creative and spontaneous. Those two elements will allow songs to be birthed in your personal and corporate worship times that will help maintain a fresh hunger for God in you life and ministry.

You can be creative, if you learn to deal with the two biggest enemies of your creativity: the tradition and fear of man. I think that your enemy, Satan, knows the power in the creativity God has put in you, and probably tried to hinder that power early in your life.

One hindrance could have come by trying to follow the tradition of man. Paul encouraged the church to "admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" (Colossians 3:16). We need psalms and hymns, which are more common and structured, but we also need "spiritual songs" (pneumatikos ode in Greek).

David Blomgren defines these spiritual songs as "songs of praise of a spontaneous or unpremeditated nature, sung under the impetus of the Holy Spirit." They are songs that are Spirit-breathed, expressing an honest and accurate declaration of God's goodness or your need for Him. It's not psalms, or hymns, or spiritual songs; it's to be all three as you seek to express your worship of God.

The other hindrance is the fear of man. As I teach, I have people turn to one another and say, "I'm not afraid of you." You must decide that you will be less concerned with what others think of you as you express your creativity in a spontaneous way. I'm not talking about disorder in public meetings, for Paul gave strict guidelines in that area. But I am appealing for you to make room in your meetings (and in you own private devotional times) for people to express what's in their heart in an open and honest way.

There are things you can do in rehearsals with your choir or worship team that will help develop gifts and skills to facilitate spontaneity and creativity. Some basic music theory can help, and then there are some creative exercises that I have found to be useful.

But first and foremost, you must decide to make room for the spontaneity and creativity that is part of everyone's makeup. God desires that these things find expression, and it's up to you to discover how that can best happen in your world. Who knows, maybe there's a classic song hibernating in your heart that the Church is waiting to hear.

Integrity Worship Ministries" is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. This separately operated organization was created to answer the constant requests received by Integrity Music from around the world to help enable worship. It is a cross-denominational, Christ-based organization designed to meet the needs of Christ's Body through education and training [Integrity Worship Institute '], relief and development, international outreach and the creation of indigenous worship resources. Its mission is to "help people worldwide experience the manifest presence of God and develop a worship lifestyle."