Message by Shelley Ligtermoet

Life Group Discussion Study by Julian Ham

To be a disciple of Christ is to be a learner (mathētḗs). But Jesus calls us to be more than simply students in a classroom. We are to join Him and participate in the work He is doing. In John 15, Jesus says that He considers His disciples to be more than servants, since a servant merely carries out a duty without knowledge of the master plan. Jesus invites us in, calls us His friends and appoints us to be fruitful.

Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Paul writes about building upon the foundation laid down by Jesus and working in partnership with other believers. There is permission to bring whatever we might have to offer and build upon the foundation of Christ for the glory of God and His Kingdom. The work itself, while judged on its merit, does not stand on its own. Building effectively comes through the way we co-labour with Christ and collaborate with one another so that it might all fit together in God’s master plan.

We are created to be in community, and creativity is certainly best when done with one another. JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis were both involved with a group called The Inklings, where they shared ideas and writings for the sake of encouraging and strengthening their work. As we create in this world, it takes regular communion with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to renew our minds and refresh the lens through which we view the world.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

While creativity is at its best with others, it’s also much harder! When we’re in the presence of others, we feel the challenges of venturing out into new territory, and we worry about how others might judge us. If we are concerned about conforming or measuring up to others' successes, we won't perform the risk-taking and trailblazing inherent in creativity. 1 Corinthians 12 should encourage us to resist comparisons and celebrate the diversity of our gifts. It should also urge us to place more emphasis on relationships. Body parts don’t make up a body until they become interwoven with one another. It's the same for collaboration — when we create in proximity with one another, but without relationship, our insecurities arise. It takes courage to leave the land of certain outcomes and the comfort of what we know to try a new approach or share a wild sounding idea. But when our self-worth isn't on the line, we are far more willing to be courageous and risk sharing our raw talents and gifts.

We can learn how to make better time and space for creative collaboration with one another. Being creative involves several processes that interweave within each other. The first is generative. The second is evaluative. Generally speaking, we’re very good at evaluation, which is certainly an essential part of the creative process. But we can often get ahead of ourselves. At the right time and in the right way, critical appraisal is essential. At the wrong point, it can kill an emerging idea. It’s uncomfortable sitting with unformed ideas, especially in the presence of others. But new ideas shouldn't be attacked by our logical brain until they've had time to grow, to become clearer and sturdier. If we develop patience in this way, we will create healthier environments for collaboration.

Jesus calls us to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) as we go throughout life. This is the greatest creative contribution we can make. Working with others in deep relationships provides wonderful opportunities to sew into their lives and develop them to be more like Christ. Let’s keep learning to quiet any false sense of urgency, stop comparing ourselves, celebrate our different strengths, and draw out the greatness in others as we work together with Christ.

Discussion Questions
1. In what ways do you collaborate with others?
2. Do you generally hold the disposition of a learner, or do you find yourself always wanting to have an answer for everything? 
3. Do you find yourself trying to work independently, or do you go to God and others for help?
4. What’s a new idea you’ve had?  Have you invited others into the process to make it happen?
5. Is there someone in your life who could use your help to flesh out an idea they’ve shared with you?
6. Think about the people in your life that you share any influence over. Spend a moment to ask God if there is anyone that you could put more effort into reaching out to more regularly.

Thank You, Jesus, for the way You call to co-labour with You and collaborate with others. Help us not create in our own wisdom or understanding, but keep learning to partner with You and others. Please help us to keep letting go of our fears and insecurities when it comes to creativity. And help us see how we can make spaces for others to share their ideas and innovations openly. 

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