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Every Youth Worker Should Teach Creativity

By Doug Franklin March 1, 2016

Most students are not creative. They obsess with getting everything right, so they mimic. Mimics don’t create; they repeat. They don’t explore, think, wonder, or risk.

When I was a kid, my dad sent me to a day camp called The Island. It was on an actual island at a local park in the middle of a lagoon. Every day we were challenged to create something. We built rafts and we made box cameras to photograph cool stuff. We learned to be creative. Yet the Island probably would not exist today due to parents’ safety concerns. So where do students go today to learn creativity? How can students learn to express themselves in a technological world?

I know you might think this is not a youth ministry issue—after all, you’ve never been asked to help students be creative. However, if we don’t help students create and express themselves, they will never learn to be vulnerable and they won’t know how to respond to a hurting world. We need to encourage students to pursue music and art, powerful tools to reach people for Christ. Creativity can be instilled in students, but it will take more than giving them instruments or paintbrushes. We need to do the following:

1) Make Space for Response
Too often we tell students what to think and believe. Then we say, “Go into the world and live our values.” Students start strong but quickly forget what they were told to believe because they never knew why they believed it in the first place. Allow students to discover the truth in God’s Word. Give them space to respond to his leading in their life. Allow them to make applications that are important to them. Resist making the applications for them.

“How can students learn to express themselves in a technological world?”

2) Student-driven Learning
At LeaderTreks we never lead a Bible study or preach at students. We give students time to study a passage of Scripture, and then we facilitate them teaching the passage to each other. This allows for student-driven learning; students get to talk about what matters to them and what they are learning. They can express themselves and show that they can learn from reading Scripture on their own.

3) Provide Options in Learning
Students don’t always learn from your favorite teaching methods. Don’t just stand up in front of them and give them your best 20 minutes of Bible teaching. Find new and creative ways to tell the story, and help students find themselves in the story. Have students experience the sounds and tastes from the story. By adding creativity to your teaching methods, students will be able to grow more creative in how they learn.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More