From the beginning of time, we were made in the image of a creative God (Gen 1:26). We were created to be both joyful worshippers of the creator, and co-creators with Him. That image has been broken and marred by sin as we sought to create in our own image, and thus became separated from the ultimate source of all creativity. Now in Christ, God’s masterpiece can be restored—we are a new creations in Christ with a creative calling (2 Cor 5:17).New Creation in Christ
Becoming a new creation in Christ, is not only about our personal salvation and the eternal life we experience in Christ. We are also called to be a unique part of God’s even bigger story--the remaking of creation.
God’s bigger story is all about restoring God creative masterpiece and bringing a new heavens and a new earth into being (Isaiah 65:17-25). We are called to be co-workers in God’s new creation project of recreating the world. That project will not be fully realised until Christ returns; but already in our present time, we are called to proclaim, demonstrate and work towards God’s new creation in our lives, our communities and the world.
Humanity’s calling to be co-creators with God began in a garden (Gen 1, 2). It was corrupted as we became separated from God by sin (Gen 3) It was restored in the new life we find in Christ (2 Cor 5:17, Rm 8:18-21). It finds its ultimate expression in a heavenly city descending to earth, which we can understand as God’s church (Rev 21:9-22:5). We are all on a prayer-fuelled mission to bring heaven to earth, and restore justice, beauty and worship in God’s kingdom (Mt 6:9-10). We thus have a creative calling to restore justice, beauty and worship in all dimensions of life in a wonder-filled partnership with God.Our Creative No Limits Vision
2021 is the fourth and ultimate year of our “No Limits” vision. That vision has provoked us to look beyond our self-imposed limitations and seek to embrace a larger creative vision of what we can accomplish together in God. It has four different focus areas which have helped us form a practical strategy for breaking through limits creatively. Each year, over the past three years, we have emphasised one of these focus areas.
1) We began in 2018 with an upward focus on ENCOUNTER. The purpose was to create renewed opportunities to encounter God’s grace presence and power. We sought to begin breaking limits by seeking God and his presence, grace and power.
2) We continued in 2019 with an inward focus on church life which we called DEVELOP. The purpose was to motivate and equip us to develop disciples who make disciples. We were reminded that the greatest contribution we can make to the Kingdom of God may not be something we do but someone we develop. Developing disciples breaks limits.
3) In 2020 we had an outward focus on INFLUENCE. The purpose was to motivate and equip us for our missional purpose to expanding the Influence of the kingdom of God. In the limitations of lockdowns and pandemics we realised that God’s kingdom is unshakeable; and his power, love and influence are unstoppable. We can continue to be God’s people and expand the influence of the Kingdom of God despite the limitations.
4) For 2021 our vision focus and yearly theme is CREATE. It is the year to move onward into our no limits future. This is the year to create, innovate and multiply.2021 – The Year TO BE Creative
Our strategic purpose this year is to encourage and equip our church to be creative, and to innovate and multiply as we serve God and his mission of transforming lives and remaking the world.
We are all made in the image of God so we all have a capacity to be creative and bring new things into being. We can all innovate—that is take new ideas and build on them by putting them into practice in different ways and different contexts. As we do, our prayer is every ministry and life group and church member will discover creative initiatives, birthed in God, that break through limitations to bear fruit and multiply again and again.
In addition to encouraging creativity and innovation in every ministry and life group, we also have some exciting creative projects we will be implementing together as a church. These are church wide initiatives that have the unlimited potential to grow and multiply. They include:1) Missional Communities:
The creation of six or more innovative missional communities beginning in 2021.2) A New Church Multiplication Ministry.
A new ministry that will provide support for our new missional communities and help pioneer 2-3 new congregations.3) Our Online Church Service.
Developing an innovative approach to online church services that builds community online as one church in many locations.4) Online LifeTracks.
New online platforms and digital content for LifeTracks 1 to 5.
We have also set up a vision fund that provides people with the opportunity to give directly towards these project. See our Vision Fund
web page for details.
Through such creativity and innovation we believe we will be able to further overcome our limitations, adapt positively to our ever changing world, and create a missional movement of Christ followers that continually grows and multiplies.
Together we can break through and have a creative impact for the Kingdom of God.Life Group Discussion Questions
1) “We are all made in the image of a creative God to be co-creators with him.” How does this phrase challenge your thinking about your own creativity?
2) What do you think the prophetic picture of God creating a new heavens and a new earth says to us today as the church? (See Isaiah 65:17-25 and Rev 21:9-22:5)
3) Read 1 Cor 5:17 in a number of translations. What do you think it mean to be a new creation and to be part of God’s new creation project?
4) What new things do you think God wants to do in and through you this year
- As a Life Group; and
- As a CityLife congregation.
5) Which of the four creative projects we are implementing as a church this year most appeals to you and why?
6) What do you think the difference is between creativity and innovation?
7) How can we foster and release creativity and innovation in our lives and ministries?Further Reading on Creativity, Theology and the Arts
If you are interested in exploring God’s purposes in creation and the relevance of creativity to all spheres of life here are some excellent reading resources for further exploration.
• Erwin McManus. The Artisan Soul: Crafting your Life into a Work of Art. Harper Collins. 2014.
• W. David O. Taylor and Jeremy Begbie. Glimpses of the New Creation: Worship and the Formative Power of the Arts. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2019.
• Francis A Schaeffer. Art and the Bible. Westmont, IL: IVP Books, 2009.
• Tom Wright. Surprised by Hope. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2007.
• Scot McKnight. The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.