Stay Inside Your Box

“Think outside the box. ALWAYS think outside the box.”

That’s what almost every single creative person I know has told me.

And if I were honest, it’s done me more harm than good.


As a Worship & Creative Arts director for the local church, my job is to make music, art, and technology blend into a gospel-centered presentation. And as we all know, these three elements within the church are constantly changing.

Therefore, we seem to think we have to change.

Which means new, fresh, exciting ideas.

But the problem that I currently am involved in is this – I’m on a creative plateau. I have no new ideas. What I do have, is 12 unfinished projects I am currently working on.

I’ve decided to put them all on hold.

Here’s the reason why: I’m not producing excellent, polished projects. I’m thinking too much. I’m doing too much. And the stuff I am producing is in my opinion, a little less than mediocre.

As a result, the one open project I have is becoming extraordinary. It’s speaking to my church culture. And I’m proud of my work.

As a worship leader, a pastor, a creative artist, or just a person who is looking to achieve more, there are three different things you can do to make your old, dusty ideas into solid gold.

Stop dumbing down your ideas. Pick one idea you’ve had in the past…maybe even one that you have accomplished. Make it better. Maximize, maximize, maximize. Your ideas start out as a oasis in a desert- and by the time you unleash this new project, it’s already part of the desert. Add more water. Plant more seeds. Grow your oasis into a tropical island, and then invite everyone to it.

Stop trading effectiveness for busyness. New project. New idea. New brainstorming session. New. New. New. In a society that is always moving, always working, and never ending, creative artists often feel like they have to live up to this status quo. Such is not the case. Work slow, work hard, work smart, and do not unleash your project until it’s the best work you’ve ever done.

Never leave your culture box. I have this thing I call a “culture box.”It’s the box where my church body lives –  what they see as relevant, what they worship to, and what they consider effective. I have to speak to that – otherwise, they won’t listen. Your creative box should be limited to your church’s culture box. Never leave it.

New ideas are never bad. As a matter of fact, they are healthy. But you don’t have to do them all right now. Cherish the projects that you have open, even if you are losing momentum or gusto. Select wisely, move forward with relevance, and unleash the project with confidence.

Every moment is a gift. Every thought is a gift. Every opportunity is a gift.

Don’t waste it.

Use what you have, and make it amazing.