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Towards a Church Culture of Creativity: Part 2 of 2

Churches can cultivate artistic creativity and originality in a number of ways. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Encourage artistic expression: One of the first steps to establishing a culture of artistic creativity is to encourage it. Churches can do this by showcasing original music, artwork, photography, video, dance, drama and other creative expressions. The more that local artists see their work being appreciated and valued by the community, the more likely they are to continue to create. This will also result in creatives feeling, to a greater extent, that there is a place in the local church for them as artists to serve through expression. Not all creative ministry opportunities are up front; some are behind the scenes in support roles. Such is the case with stage designers, audio operators, e-visual operators, video directors, videographers, sketch writers and graphic designers.

2. Provide opportunities for collaboration: Songwriting, like many forms of art, can be enhanced when creative minds come together. Local churches can provide opportunities for artists to collaborate with each other. This could involve setting up songwriting groups, inviting songwriters to perform together, or including collaborative projects as part of worship services. Local churches do not necessarily need to initiate collaboration. Rather, various types of creatives could be made aware of existing groups and programs in the community and encouraged to participate in these groups. Where there is a need for the establishment of such groups, churches can initiative collaborative opportunities and groups as a service to the community.

3. Provide resources for artists: Many artists are self-taught and don't have access to the resources they need to develop their skills. Churches can help by offering workshops, classes, and other resources that can help artists develop their craft. For singers and musicians, this could include classes on music theory, songwriting workshops, or even providing access to recording equipment. In the cases of smaller churches, and where inter-church collaboration is more challenging, the local church can provide financial assistance in helping creatives to attend workshops and conferences.

4. Provide opportunities for feedback and presentation: Songwriters, actors and dancers need opportunities to get feedback from others and to perform their work. Scriptwriters and playwrights benefit from read throughs of their scripts. Visual artists respond to calls. Churches can provide opportunities by sending out calls for artistic creation, hosting open mic nights, organizing concerts featuring local artists, and inviting artists to perform during church worship services, events and programs.

5. Celebrate creativity: It's important for churches to celebrate the creativity of their members. This could involve hosting an annual creative arts showcase, recognizing creative achievements during worship services, or simply showing support for local artists by attending their events.

By taking these steps, local churches can establish and foster a culture of artistic creativity that promotes the development of songwriting and other creative endeavours.

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