Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

3 Keys For Creative Brainstorming

3 Keys For Creative Brainstorming

This is a guest post by Pastor Scott Holthaus. Pastor Scott serves as the Associate Pastor of Worship at Redemption Bible Church and at one time entertained the idea of becoming a magician. Follow him on Twitter. 

Creativity is an elusive craft. It doesn't matter if you're writing a sermon, or a song; creating a painting or a poem. Creating can feel like trying to manage a mist.

The path taken to the finished product is unique each time and can have more ups and downs than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This makes it a daunting task. Sitting in front of a blank canvas/page (or whatever your medium is) can feel like a crushing weight. But creating something is also exciting and carries tremendous rewards.

The most sensitive part of creativity is often the inception of what becomes the final idea. This is why creative brainstorming is so important. In the past few months I have come across three keys for creative brainstorming that have been helpful in the process of generating ideas.

1. Say It.

In the beginning, the only bad idea is the one you don't express. In his book Hatch, C. McNair Wilson shares how it only takes one idea to start the fire of creativity:  

“That little idea you’re holding inside your head because 'it won’t work' or 'nobody will like it' might be just the key that unlocks doors to wonderful new places. Your 'little' whim can ignite a fire in the imagination of the entire team." 

Don’t hold back, ignore what others might think, and throw out your ideas like Buddy the Elf in a snowball fight. Say it.

2. Don't Block.

Blocking is what Wilson describes as someone shutting down an idea "with a negative reaction or criticism." The quickest way to close down the ideas we're after is to have a culture where seemingly “silly” or out of the box ideas are mocked. 

I’m not arguing for executing every idea that’s offered up. There should be a time of critical thinking where you narrow down the ideas and decide a course of action. However, that should come after your creative brainstorming.

3. Keep Going.

The best ideas usually arrive shortly after the worst. I was recently a part of two different meetings where the idea that we went with came after a time of silence in the room as we mulled over our not so great ideas. The temptation is to stop when it feels like you’ve hit a dead end, but this is the most important moment to push through. The best ideas are on the other side.

Creating anything has its fair share of both awesome and awful components. It's both a burden and a blessing. I hope that these three keys can help as you seek to steward the task of creating.

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