Creativity in worship is a buzz word of sorts of late—especially among worship leaders. We all want to lead worship ‘creatively’.
But most of the time, it only means that we want try out something new, something musically/vocally challenging, or something bigger and usually that something bombs the worship badly—the worse part is we often fail to notice the crash landing and try again next time!
While creativity is of course good, it needs to have the right substance and the right intent to actually foster participative worship—the kind that that keeps the focus on God and not the creative idea itself.
So how can we channel creativity rightly?
Here’s what I believe: The source of creativity is more important than creativity itself.
In one word?
I N S P I R A T I O N
Not the inspiration that comes out of watching YouTube videos and simply imitating what you see there—Christian or otherwise.
I mean the keeping-it-real, listened-and-discerned kind of inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit.
It’s that sudden flash of lightning that hits your gut when listening to a song and you just know the arrangement changes that would make it work with your congregation. Or that unplanned prayer that you normally wouldn’t think of but it just appears out of nowhere. Or that nagging feeling to linger in a song for awhile even to the point of dropping a song from your set-list.
I can go on with this, but you get the idea, right?
So how do we know it’s Holy Spirit inspiration?
Well, we don’t… at least not until we get into this habit of listening to Him all the time and do what we’re inspired to do and experience the tangible boost it gives to the worship. Else, it probably wasn’t inspired—that’s the acid test.
For good examples, check out this guest post by my blogging buddy Alastair Vance on inspired creativity in worship.
Is it possible to cultivate inspiration?
Yes, I do believe we can. Here are 3 good practices that can help:
Yielding is a continual, daily process of submitting to the Lord. It’s He who forms our heart, transforms our lives and leads us in ministry—so easy to lose sight of this truth especially when we are experienced worship leaders.
That’s why we need to constantly remind ourselves that without the Holy Spirit we are nothing but broken and empty vessels that need to keep turning back to Him.
Some of us prefer to hear the Lord’s voice only when we are selecting songs or when on stage—other times, we only want to do our thing.
And the Lord in His mercy even goes along with us so many times when we minister!
But a disciple trains to listen all the time. A consistent, daily prayer life and scripture reading/study are of paramount importance in this regard. So is learning to be comfortable with silence. The more we learn to listen, the more we will hear God and recognise His voice.
When we are familiar with the Lord’s voice, it becomes easy over time to be sure during moments of inspiration that it’s from the Holy Spirit.
Then we wouldn’t hesitate to obey and follow. And when we follow Him and not ourselves, the payoff is amazing—after all, He happens to be the most creative Person… ever!
The principle that I am advocating is creativity must not take over worship; rather worship must take over creativity.
When we are rooted in Holy Spirit inspiration, then the creativity that flows out would be anointed , real and facilitate rich worship and not just a cute Christian music show.