You plan events, teaching, and leadership gatherings with creativity — but how creative are you at home?
At the end of busy days and weeks, it’s easy to bring home what we have left in the tank — next to nothing. Our families shouldn’t get our leftovers, but they often do. The good news is there are some simple things you can do to live and love creatively at home.
Creativity in the home won’t happen accidentally. It begins with structure. While that sounds counterintuitive, once you have established structure, creativity can flow naturally. Chaos only leads to a lot of missed opportunities, but structure creates space to truly create and seize huge moments with your family. Finding workable structure also can unleash your family to creatively live out the gospel together.
Through structure, our family has found these seven things helpful in fostering creativity in our home.
1. Name the sacrifices you are making as a planter or planter’s wife
It’s easier to name the monster under the bed, instead of just thinking there is one. If you don’t take time to truly examine the sacrifices you are making and talk through them, the growing tension will leave you drained and frustrated. There are some great things about ministry, so take time to name them. In church planting circles, we talk a lot about calling and vision, and not enough about sacrifice.
2. Plan out your weekly structure
If you don’t plan your week, your week will plan you. Some parts of planting require adaptation, but not all. Don’t believe the lie that church planting has to be chaotic. I have watched too many planters live chaotic lives, and let their families get scheduled out. I have four kids, so I work to plan out my individual time with all of them. I take my oldest out almost every week to grab a coffee, read a proverb, and shoot the breeze. I also take my boys out once a week for “bagels and Bibles.” If we don’t proactively plan those moments, they won’t magically happen. When I haven’t planned out my week, I find myself saying yes to ministry all the time, which leaves little space to spend quality time with my family.
3. Practice Sabbath
I am a stickler for this. God made the Sabbath for man, not man for the Sabbath. This is a gift to us! We need this space in our lives in order to love our family, lead our congregation, and creatively engage the lost. Sabbath is where creativity regenerates. I’m not talking about collapsing in exhaustion at the end of a week. Working from rest is different from resting from work. Friday is my day. God prepares me to date my wife, be intentional with my kids, and preach deeper on Sunday. You’ll stumble through Sabbath for a while — that’s OK. Start practicing it now. It will only get harder to reset later down the road.
4. Vacation well
Get away when you can. When you physically get out of town, you’ll get clarity about your leadership. Money is the typical church planter excuse for skipping vacations, but here are four hacks:
- Call a Christian camp. They will usually put uppastors for free.
- Use a friend’s house while they are out of town.
- Airbnb for a night. Even if it’s only in the next town over, it’s an adventure.
- Ask a ministry supporter to help you get away.
Build these days into your calendar. It won’t happen if you don’t. There is never a great time to get away, and you will always come up with an excuse if you don’t schedule it. But as soon as you get away, you’ll realize how much you needed it.
5. Practice hospitality together
This has been a big one for our family. It’s crucial for our kids to serve with us. It rubs off on them and becomes tangible. Whether we are baking cookies for neighbors or hosting cook outs, this is one the entire family can participate in. And we have fun while doing it. For us, we have moved from being a back-yard family to a front-yard family. We have a picnic table in the front yard, where moments with neighbors meld into conversations. I talk more about this and share ideas in my book, Staying is the new Going.
6. Make a plan for getting off of your devices
We talk about limiting screen time for kids, but we need to limit ours too. Our families are getting hijacked by our devices. They render us emotionally unavailable. We need to create new experiences, not just watch others create them through social media. There are days when I walk in the house, give my wife my phone, and ask her to hide it. I don’t trust myself. Then I go wrestle with my kids and talk about highs and lows at the dinner table.
7. Create a fun family mantra
Our mantra is simple: We do stuff. We don’t just want to be a family that talks about stuff, but a family that actually does stuff. We’ve branded it all over the house. It shapes family culture, keeps us serving others, reminds us to keep our word, and readies us to create new experiences. Spend time shaping these words, and watch these words shape your family.
Having kids is exhausting. It’s also an opportunity we need to steward. Discipleship starts in the home, and Scripture is clear that it’s our priority. Loving and leading with creativity at home can be a beautiful foundation for leading the congregations that have been entrusted to our care. Get creative and have fun. There’s more than one way to do it.
Published April 3, 2018