Finding new ways of doing ministry with creativity and optimism

Written by Kerry Provost

I have always been the quickest to declare I’m not a creative person. I have worn this statement like a badge of honour, as if to say, “I’m not creative because I’m logical, I’m rational.”

But truth be told, I’ve been envious of visionaries who come up with big, influential ideas. I’ve become too familiar with the boundaries of the box I have created for myself.

My box is much like a security blanket. The walls wrap around me and clearly define how far I can go. They secure my place and define my work.

But I have recently started to consider that these same walls are also very limiting. No longer are they walls that provide definition and direction, but rather they are barriers, blocking me from doing the work I feel called to do.

A friend recently reminded me we do not serve a God of a wasted year. This is a good reminder that the world is not on pause and we have not been called to stop or become stagnant in the work we are doing.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

When Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, His decision wasn’t driven by the possibility or impossibility to do something in the most normal or obvious way.

His decision was driven by His compassion for the people and His desire to continue discipling them rather than sending them home.

He was not limited by boundaries, but instead by His power—which happens to be limitless.

The common theme here is God can achieve the impossible. Moses drew water from a stone, David killed a giant, Esther saved her native people, and Jesus was born of a virgin.

If He can do all of this, He can find a way to reach kids with the gospel and equip churches, leaders, and families for children and youth discipleship.

Not I, but He.

So as my box seems to be closing in around me, I think it’s time to get creative. If this is where you are at as well, consider the following ideas and then try turning my “we” statements—which relate to the Awana ministry I work for—into “your” statements relating to the ministry you serve.

Identify the problem and determine that the way you’ve been doing something isn’t the only way.

Our problem is we rely heavily on churches being open to receive kids. They are now closed, and leaders are unable to run their traditional programs and therefore their Awana ministries.

Compassion was at the core of how Jesus responded when He fed the crowd. What is at the core of your service? You might need to let go of something to go back to your mission.

Our mission at Awana is to reach kids with the gospel and equip church leaders and families for discipleship. Our values point to ministry, not programming.

Don’t look for the right answer, look for alternatives.

Accept every idea. Let the brainstorming begin!

Stop telling yourself what won’t work, and start focusing on what will work.

Awana leaders can continue to reach kids with the gospel, and our team can find ways to equip leaders and families.

  • We can provide books to families at home.
    • We can divide kids by age group so they can meet safely on alternating weeks or a second night of the week.
    • We can have parents host smaller groups in their communities and maybe even have a leader join them for support.
    • We can include parents in our training sessions.
    • We can divide families among our leaders and set times for regular check-ins and encouragement.
    • We can host theme nights on Zoom.

Now make your own list. Empower your ministry to move forward. If you set your mind on doing what you’ve always done, you may find yourself doing nothing at all.

Let me challenge you, and myself, with a new way to think about creativity. You may not have a craft, but you were designed to be creative.

In this current chaos, I challenge you to break through the walls of your own box and turn your adversity into an advantage. Remember, you have at your side the Jesus who fed 5,000 from just a few loaves and fish.