As I plan various worship experiences throughout the week, I often face the issue of how to include creativity in a worship service. As I searched for insight on how other churches incorporate creative elements into their services, I found an interview with CJ Mahaney, in which he said something that has rocked my world:
“What you win people with, you win people to. We are not trying to win people with creativity, we are not trying to win people to creativity, we are trying to win people with the content of the gospel. . . . Our role is not to come up with the next creative idea, it is to find our way again, and again, and again to the content of the gospel.”
So rather than delving into creativity in worship (which I’m sure will be a future post), I think we should take some time finding our way to the content of the gospel. As ministers of the gospel (Colossians 1:21-23), we need to remind ourselves and those around us of the Gospel in our lives (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Rather than asking “how can I make this service engaging and creative?” we must first ask ourselves: “how can every person in this congregation leave this place having experienced the breath and touch of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), know the love and justice of the Father (Psalm 89:14), and understand the sacrifice that was made for them on the cross by Jesus Christ (John 19)?” Without this foundation, there is frankly no point to having engaging music, fun games, or cool video content (Mark 7:5-8).
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)
God is creative—He created us, and He created incredibly intricate plans for our lives. We are made in His image, and we desire to create. He rejoices in our creative offerings to Him (Zephaniah 3:14-17), but we must continually remember that, ultimately, creativity doesn’t save people. JESUS saves people.