COVID, Crisis and Creativity

by John Beeson

If you were to list your top three most creative people, who would be on that list? Maybe Vincent van Gogh? Walt Disney? JK Rowling? Thomas Edison? Leonardo DaVinci? Marie Curie?

What would the world be without creatives in our midst? Creativity takes the mundane and makes it special. Creativity solves seemingly intractable problems. Creativity causes smiles, surprise, and thinking.

There was a time that Christians were those on the cutting edge of creativity. Take a look at a medieval cathedral and you can’t help but be impressed. Dig a little deeper at the imbedded symbolism and mathematic artistry in its design and your jaw will drop.

Today’s church doesn’t have a great reputation for its creativity. That is partially its fault (the offerings of Christian movie makers and mainstream visual artists, for instance, have been, for the most part, weak in their creative merits). This is not as it should be. Christians’ thinking ought to be characterized not by its safety, nor by its sentimentality, nor by its predictability.

Whoever tops your list of the most creative people in history is dramatically eclipsed by God. In the beginning, the source of all creativity was. And there was nothing else. And then, with a word, God formed electrons and stars and Loriciferans (look them up!) and Venus Flytraps and Baobab trees and Filbert Weevils and platypuses, and sunsets.

Undoubtedly, part of the way in which we image our creator is in our creativity. While God creates ex nihilo, we create from God’s creation and within the parameters of his order. And it delights him when we do so.

The church is often at her best in crisis. And I believe that the church has been at her creative best in the midst of this COVID-19 outbreak. On a micro level, I’ve sat back and marveled at how the creativity that has spilled out of our team. I honestly can’t keep up with the ways our team has pivoted on a dime and spun out great ideas, from do-it-at-home Easter activity packages, to zoom games to launching a Free Little Pantry, to our Sunday School teachers reading stories to their kids, to virtual communion, to breakout zoom face-to-face meetings where we can make personal connections with online worshipers, to interactive student ministry contests with pizza delivered as a prize.

I’ve had the opportunity to be on dozens of zoom calls and webinars with other church leaders over the past couple of months. The creative ideas the church is coming up with make me smile. Some churches are doing their entire worship service via zoom, others have done worship and prayer services from their cars in hospital parking lots, Christian business owners are pivoting their businesses to meet medical equipment needs, others are hosting Easter parades in cars, others are hosting drive-in or drive-through church.

I pray that this is the beginning of a new creative era of the church. Let’s reflect who God has made us to be: those whose creativity reflects our marvelous Creator.

Where have you seen creativity since the COVID-19 pandemic started? Used by permission of the author.

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