Creativity and Jubilee Culture
Last time we looked at how creativity is an innate part of our human makeup. This time Bernice shows how creativity is a large part of the culture at Jubilee.
What do we mean by culture?
Culture for Jubilee is about the kind of church we want to be. Culture sets out boundaries that enable us to answer: what kind of church do we want to be? What kind of church would you want to be a part of?
Everywhere you look you find culture. You have your own family culture or way of doing things. Different groups of people have their own culture or ways of doing things, which you pick up as you get to know them and as you try to ‘fit-in’ and become a part of that group of people.
Culture has to be cultivated. And over the past 10 years we have worked hard at Jubilee to cultivate a culture of courage, authenticity, honour, passion and family. You will find reference to our culture in almost every Sunday morning message.
So how does this fit with creativity?
We have many talented creative people in the church. They would be instantly recognised by their art or craft. But creativity is more than art and craft as we saw last time. We are made in the image of God – the great Creator. ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’ (Genesis 1:27) So if we are made in the image of the Creator, we are all creative. It does not mean we all wield a paintbrush!
Being creative is not separate from our identity in Christ. Neither is it a separate stream that runs parallel to the culture of the church.
Courage & Authenticity
Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, writes: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
The painter Henri Matisse famously said, ‘Creativity takes courage’. It takes courage to step out, to write the first word, to put down the first brush stroke. It takes courage to bring a prophetic word or song on a Sunday morning or in Lifegroup. Courage is being fearful but doing it anyway.
Being courageous also means being authentic. Showing what God has said to us privately as a public creative act can be daunting. But God wants us to dig deep and share our authentic thoughts and feelings without shame. Jubilee is a place where what we share is recognised as honest and applauded whether we get it right or wrong.
Which brings us to honour. Jubilee is a church where everyone is respected. Where listening is as valued as talking. It’s a place where a person’s God-given uniqueness is not seen as a threat but is treasured. Where creativity is honoured as much as teaching or preaching. When we ask for feedback on our creativity, we know that people will give us honest comments which build us up not bring us down. Not that they will say something is well done when it patently isn’t, but they will honour the effort and bring loving constructive criticism. Each individual’s contribution is honoured.
As a church we are passionate about God. And He inspires our creativity. It’s hard to be creative without passion. We may not all jump up and down and exude excitement. Many creative people are actually introverts so you might need to get them talking before you hear or see the passion.
On our website, Jubilee Church is described as ‘a supernatural super-family tied by something thicker than blood. Forgiving mistakes, celebrating victories.’ Often creatives will talk about finding their tribe. The Jubilee family is a creative tribe where the artist and the crafter are welcomed and encouraged. You might be thinking ‘well, of course!’ But the church in general hasn’t always welcomed creative people and to be honest this is still the case in some areas today. But here at Jubilee, creativity is seen as a positive development and we are encouraged to find our place, to create with courage, authenticity and passion.
In 2012, our friend Ginny Burgin brought a prophetic word for Jubilee: ‘I’ve felt before when I’ve been here that there’s a real thrust of creativity that’s going out from this church that touches people in the community, and that the people in the community are so touched by that they’re brought in through it.’ Ginny’s words are frequently for a time in the future and it is now that we are beginning to see this word happening amongst us. We are encouraging the creative gifts and talents within the church so that they can take this to their friends and into the wider community.