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Me? Creative? Nah…

How can you develop your creative flair in a bid to reach children with the gospel?

Me? Creative? Nah… Is that our response to the question, “are you creative?” Well, that’s not what it says in the Bible.

We have an incredibly creative God who made us in His own likeness and so, we must naturally be creative too. I suppose the obvious question that follows is, but in what way?”. Once we have explored this, we can then see how we can use this to serve and witness to others.

So, if you are yet to discover how you are creative, how do you find this out? Well, from my experience, there are a number of ways this can happen:

  • Necessity: The moment your phone pings with the dreaded words I can’t make it…can you cover for me?” Then it is down to you to step up, taking on something you are unlikely to be 100 per cent confident with but the service must go on. Then suddenly (much to your surprise and relief), it turns out you are actually quite good at it.
  • Experiment: You try something new and it works really well.
  • Inspiration: You go to a training conference, see something new demonstrated and are inspired to use it, learning the skills required to do it well.

The thing is, we never actually stop learning. We should always be open to trying new ideas and doing things in a new way. I have been so excited and encouraged, sharing our experiences of using different creative ways to share the gospel. Whether this is using puppetry, storytelling, illusions or drama, the most important thing is that we are always true to the Bible and have that deep-rooted desire and passion to see people’s lives being changed through God working in us.

One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that I rarely use just one creative method or another. When I use puppets, I am often telling a story; I am also dramatising the message and so need to draw on a wide range of skills and experience.

So, how do you develop your existing skills and learn new ones which you can use in your ministry? At One Way UK we have been producing resources and training people to discover and develop their creativity for over 25 years, not only with puppets but through storytelling, drama, illusions, ballooning and many other different ways. Our own creative productions team now design and build many of our puppets here in the UK and are constantly working to create new resources for you to use.

Our main training conference of the year is the Puppet and Creative Ministry Festival held at Rugby College, Warwickshire, on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 November. This festival is for everyone, both children and adults alike, who want to learn how to share the gospel of Christ using their creative skills. There are more than 80 exciting workshops to choose from, three hours of main stage performances, and an enormous range of creative ministry resources on display for you to look at and try.

There will be lots of practical, hands-on workshops, but there is so much more available than just puppetry. The festival also features sessions on storytelling (Bob Hartman), gospel illusions (Mark Shortland), drama (Play It By Ear), comedy (Tony Vino), amazing science object lessons, ventriloquism, script writing, working with children and adults with learning difficulties and special educational needs (SEN), leadership skills, toddler groups, schools work, outreach, worship, all-age services, props and staging, and sound and lighting. There really is something for everyone.

Our passion is to see you return home inspired and equipped with skills and resources to use in your services, Messy Church, Open the Book, outreach and work in the schools and community. If you need any further resources or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. All the details about our festival are on our website, and you can book your place there, too. We would love to see you there and help you discover new ways to be creative.

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About the author

Ian Jones has more than 30 years' experience working with children through holiday clubs, mid-week groups, and special events. Alongside this, he is the founder of his church puppet team, where for the past 21 years they have travelled all over the UK and abroad. Ian's heart lies in reaching out to children and he is passionate about inspiring others to use their creativity to share the gospel, too. He is the managing director of One Way UK Creative Ministries.

See more from Ian Jones

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