Youth Ministry and Creativity.

Greetings friends!

By way of an intro, I'm going to do a little bit of shameless self-promotion. Recently, I've been involved in a new worship band called Echoes & Angels. It's all happened kind of fast, the way God brought us all together, and the way things have been falling into place, but it's been a really rewarding time so far, and we're only in our second week of existence! If you have a couple of free minutes after reading this, check out our website at

I find myself in a new position with this band, as the worship leader (which is familiar territory) and main songwriter (now we're in the deep end!). In other words, my creativity is relied upon by the other three guys in the band, not to mention anyone who has us out for a worship gig (which, if you're interested, let us know!) A lot of my writer friends (mostly from the novel/book world) tell me that the best thing you can do is write a little something every day, and I figured this idea transposed itself nicely into songwriting. So every day, I pick up a guitar and try to write something. 90% of the time it's absolutely crappy, not worth anything at all! But that 10% is worth the effort!

I started thinking about all this tonight as I was working on a couple of messages that I have to deliver in the next couple of weeks. My sermons from Sunday mornings have been pretty good lately, I've felt great about them. But honestly (and may this be an apology to any of my youth who are reading right now!) I've felt like my Veritas messages have been lacking. To borrow a phrase from the ever-inspiring West Wing, there's no blood flowing to it. They just feel like empty words. And again, to any of the kids who may have stumbled upon this, I'm going to be working on it!

I hate to think that it might have something to do with the fact that I value speaking in "church" more than I do youth group, but the truth is, I tend to spend a little bit more time on those messages than I do on Veritas. When I'm really struggling for a Sunday morning message, I tend to try to find inspiration somewhere (Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, a witty blog post), whereas I might not be as willing to seek such inspiration for a Wednesday night message. This is both sad and wrong.

But the trick is, we need to be inspired. It can come from all kinds of weird places. One of my weirdest places of inspiration is Smashing Magazine, which is designed for print and web designers. I don't know why, but usually I find a little nugget of inspiration there. It might even just be the feeling of wanting to be a inspired artist that draws something creative out of me. Who knows.

But my question to the few of us who have responsibilities in both arenas (regular worship services and youth group gatherings) is where do we find inspiration? How do we make sure our youth group messages are every bit as sharp as our Sunday morning offerings?

Leave some comments below to weigh in!