The way that Jack White speaks about creating music and songs is how I often feel about creating teachings and sermons.
Sometimes the heavens open up and things seem to just create themselves, but other times you put your head down and grind and hope that something good is going to come out of this.
When I think about preaching, I think about it as a performance art. When I proclaim the gospel of Jesus, I feel like I join a long line of (as the saying goes) poets, prophets and preachers who proclaimed with all sorts of creativity – yet all did so with constriction – from within, and from outside themselves.
Deadlines and structure are needed for creativity. If you give yourself all the time in the world, you’ll never build it, you’ll just keep designing it. If you have all the budget in the world you can buy cool, and fake it. When you don’t have all the resources in the world, we find out if you are authentic.
In authenticity, we find creativity. So, then, everyone is naturally creative. Especially preachers, but they must develop a box. Not a box for the presentation, but a box for the creation. Most seminaries teach pastors to prepare in the box and to present in the box, which does not develop creativity or authenticity. What needs to happen is structured development in creation in order to see growth of creativity in presentation.
I pray for many more preachers with revolutionary voices – who cry out with urgency and creativity. Who discipline themselves for the sake of others and honor the message by their commitment to authenticity and creativity.