By Kathy McGowan, Congregational Life Staff
“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”
- Charles Dickens
At the heart of congregational life is creation. It is helpful to view ourselves as co-creators instead of problem solvers. Creating something has an energy to it that is different than that of tackling a problem or constructing a solution. As leaders we work with others to bring life to our projects (even if it is re-writing policies and procedures). At our best we are making environments that unleash creativity. The process itself gives a sense of purpose and joy.
I have been blessed to be a part of some amazing creative processes in my life. It is not always fun. I have learned over the years that it is okay to get stuck. It is okay to disagree. Some of the most creative ideas happen just after being really blocked or in big disagreement. Being able to stay at it and wrestle with this stuff in critical. It is through the struggle that the best ideas come. You must let wild ideas fly in order to get out of the “stuckness." It is out of this wildness and abandonment that we tap into the places in ourselves where wonder lies. We can find gems that really help us move forward if we let ourselves get a bit crazy in our thinking. This outside the box thinking only happens if we can keep our judgment at bay.
One of the beautiful things about congregational life is that we are never alone. It really helps if we can bring a sense of play to the work. As new people enter into the process we can look at them as new “playmates” in our collaborative sandbox. When people are filled with trust for one another, and trust the process to which they are involved, unexpected things happen that make the experience rich. It is magical. I long for those moments. It is in these moments where I feel the most connected to life.
These times affirm things that I hold dear:
Love and openness hold the keys to the universe
I am part of a magical universe
We all have access to it the sacred
Our congregations are our sandboxes; our fertile ground. These are beautiful places to create. Find joy and playfulness in the process.