Blogging, like music or painting or other art forms needs a certain amount of creativity in order to be successful. I say that because I look at Christian blogging as a ministry and not just a business or way to make some extra money. The world doesn’t need a bunch of copycat websites all saying the same thing in the same way. It needs you, as a living epistle of Jesus, expressing how Jesus lives and works in you. Because of this, and because of the temptation to just do what other people are doing is why I am encouraging you to step out of the box and learn how to cultivate creativity in your Christian blog.
As I wrote in my last article on Christian blogging concerning dealing with blog envy, I have recently been going around looking at what other Christian bloggers were doing. Sometimes that can be a good thing and sometimes that can be something that is not quite so good. In this case, I came away from that journey feeling quite good about what we are doing here at Taber’s Truths and how we are seriously following the plan that God has for this website and expressing that plan in very creative ways. The only caveat to that feeling was when I came across a website that was obviously taking our topics and making them their own. They were not copying our material and syndicating it and giving credit where credit was due, they were just taking our topics and then rewriting what had been written and calling it their own.
Now I realize that mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery and it makes me feel good that they think what we are doing is worth emulating, however I also rebel against that type of mentality because it has no spark of creativity in it. If I may use a pastoral example, it is like having your pastor listen or read the latest sermon by somebody else and then repeating it to you and calling it their own. It was not what God spoke to them to give to you, it was what God spoke to somebody else and they were just repeating it. It violates a principle of ministry. God has to work out what He wants to say in you before He can use it to work through you. So this article I hope, will encourage all of you to allow God to work through you in unique and creative ways and that the end result will be a bunch of empowered and creative Christian bloggers who are being used to the fullest extent that God can use them.
We Serve A Creative God.
I have been in 49 of our 50 States. I have seen every type of mountain, lake, sea shore and prairie. I have seen the rain forests and the desert, the flatlands and the highlands. There is one thing that I have never seen. I have never seen a duplicate creation. You cannot say that if you have seen one ocean you have seen them all. You cannot say that the Rockies look like the Cascades or that the Mississippi river looks like the Columbia river. God’s creation is always unique!
That goes for you as well. You were created unique.
Not only are you unique and God has made you special, but that same creative God that made our world unique and made you unique, lives on the inside of you! That means that the same creativity that was used in the creation of this world and in your own creation is there waiting to be used in what you do.
That is why just copying or parroting what other people are doing is the antithesis of what God really wants to do with you and me. He wants to use me, not my rendition of what He is doing with Billy Graham or some other preacher or Pastor.
How do you cultivate your own creativity?
The first thing you do is that you learn who God has created you to be. This comes by evaluating what you are passionate about and what you have learned through your life experiences.
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Now I have heard many people say that this scripture means that as long as we are delighting in the Lord then He will give us what our heart wants. I personally do not read this scripture that way. I see it as saying that when we are delighting in the Lord then He will place within us His desires into our heart. So, as you are sold out for God and delighting in His purposes for your life, then your heart will reflect His passions that He wants you to pursue. So what are you passionate about? What is it that you just love to do for Him? When you figure that out, then you have figured out half of the equation. The second half is to look at your life and the things you have gone through, including the hard things, and evaluate how God has molded you into the person you are by those things.
In my own life I have always been a big tent Christianity type of person. That started off when I was convicted at an early point in my Christian life about my own pride in my Charismatic experience. He made me realize that He is and does use people who do not believe exactly like me. Now that has boundaries of course. There are basic tenets of Christianity that all of us have to believe and follow, but within those tenets are millions of ways to live them out. What He started in my life 30 years ago is being lived out in this website today. By the use of Contributing Authors, we have people and perspectives that come from all types of backgrounds and denominations within Evangelical Christianity. Can you see how God has used my passion and my experiences to make something totally unique and creative?
Obstacles to creativity
There can be many obstacles that block creativity in a person. I have experienced many of these in my own life over the years. A few of them that I have had to deal with are things like….
- Not believing that God would use me. Many times we have what I call the grasshopper syndrome. We view ourselves in a light that thinks that we are nobody and that we have nothing to offer anyone. This is not true. As much as you might not be a big name or a great theologian, you still have Jesus living on the inside of you and it is Jesus that works through you to accomplish anything. When you think that God won’t use you, you are actually saying that God won’t use Jesus in you.
- Taking shortcuts. There have been many times that I have used shortcuts in my life. I have tried to use successful methods of other people to cause myself to be successful. Whether it is copying what another person is doing as a blogger, or another preacher is doing in their preaching, or another church group is doing successfully, it is always a shortcut. God cannot use you until He has first worked it in you. Taking a shortcut will only delay this process.
- Not knowing where you are going. I have always found that when I don’t have a goal, or an objective that I just go through the motions, but when I have a goal and a place I want to reach that I get really creative in figuring out how to do it. The old adage rings true here. “When there is a will, there is a way.” Understand what you are trying to accomplish. For this website, I have the goal of becoming the website that is looked upon as the source people go to when they are looking for something that has to do with Evangelical Christianity. Now that is a big vision and a tall order. However it is spurring on more and more creativity as we go.
So I would just like to encourage all of you. If you have been trying to be a clone, stop it. Be yourself. Allow God to use you in the manner that He created you to be used. Learn to be unique. Learn to be creative. Learn to let Him work in you what it is that He wants to give to others through you. You will have more lasting fruit and long term success if you do.