Whenever I hear someone refer to themselves as a “creative” it makes me wince. It probably shouldn’t, I know, but it does.

It’s an adjective,” I whisper to myself, not a noun”. Maybe that makes me sound square and stiff and old, but I work with a lot of them. Young creative types, that is. You know, photographers and graphic designers and more spoken word” artists than you could emphatically shake. A Stick. At. In the past six months, these young creative types I’ve met have mostly been the men and women who’ve joined the school of creative evangelism, known as the Speak Life Foundry”.

It’s a training scheme I lead alongside Glen Scrivener and the rest of the Speak Life team. As we study and train together, we dive deep into the scriptures to get our theology for life and mission, and in those same refreshing waters of the Bible, we think through a theology of creativity and storytelling. We develop film projects and personal portfolios, and every now and again someone uses creative” as a noun and I silently pray, Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

For anyone wanting to take the discipleship of others seriously, it’s essential to draw a circle around exactly what we’re trying to achieve. Without it we’re never quite sure what success looks like. This is especially true when you have a heightened awareness of creative abilities and gifts. The range of potential successes” is huge. Are we looking to improve their technical skills? Or boost their social media clout? Or get them jobs on professional (and better funded) film projects? Or into full-time pastoral ministry? Or even help them stop using creative” as a noun?


I’m convinced that one of the most profound statements in scripture about making disciples is the conclusion to Colossians 1, where the apostle Paul gives us the aim of his ministry: that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28b) It suggests that Paul sees himself standing alongside those he serves as they appear before the Father. They’re to be presented like a bride on her wedding day.

"The method of discipleship is the work of evangelism."

But if that’s the aim, what’s the method? What’s Paul’s great discipleship ministry strategy? It’s evangelism. Paul says, Him we proclaim” (literally from the verb to evangelise”) in the first part of the verse. The method of discipleship is the work of evangelism. That’s how people are made perfect in Christ. We proclaim Christ. This involves warning” and teaching with all wisdom”, so we can grasp the depth and extent of Christ’s work, and our place in Him”.

I’m convinced this applies to our creativity too. Because the young creative types, you know, the photographers and graphic designers and spoken word artists, are not creative by accident. Instead their work expresses part of what it means to be made in the image of God. In fact, we’re all creative at this most fundamental level. We’re all creative in the sense that we have been made in the image of the Creator.

We are creative creatures, and our creativity is expressed in work and play – and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t do at least one of those. As a side note, we’re really curators” because we combine together things that have already been made. We find things and we play with them and break them apart a bit and then, when we put them back together, we find that we’ve created” something new”.

In Colossians, Paul shows us Christ as the true Creator and the true image of the invisible God. He proclaims Christ to us that we might put on the new self, renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:10). That new self is a creative work. Broken apart and put back together in the gospel. So we’re not just creative people, we’re new creations.

Would you pray for us and others working to disciple young people in their creativity and evangelism? Pray that we would proclaim Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

And pray that I’d be more gracious about people calling themselves creatives.

If you are interested in applying for the Foundry or know someone who would be, why not check it out or pass on the information. Applications are now open www​.speak​life​foundry​.com