Creative Church

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Outdoor Advent Calendar

Advent calendars aren’t just for chocolate! For Advent one year, we jumped into the Advent Conspiracy¬†and explored what it looked like to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. Our church is located at a busy intersection that sees thousands and thousands of cars a day. So we decided to capitalize on that with an outdoor Advent calendar.

(Aside: Don’t neglect your outdoor space, creative church! It’s a great way to get noticed, be playful, and use your collective voice for the Kingdom of God. Push yourselves to think beyond the church sign. In fact, outdoor art is a great way to get away from the church sign debate if that is an issue in your congregation.)

We used doors (got them from the local Habitat ReStore). One for each week. We attached a plywood panel to the back of each door, painted our desired image/message on the plywood, and opened 1 door each Sunday. There’s no end or limit to what you paint or say, what style of art you use, or who can help create this. In fact, one of our members came to help on painting day, and it just so happened that her brother was in town and he was actually a graffiti artist! Come on, Holy Spirit!


Things to think about ahead of time:

How to get your doors to stand up: lots of options like a frame, a support, anchors…

Type of paint to use on the material of your doors, and a sealant since they will be outdoors for a month or so.


What to do with the doors after Christmas. There are SO MANY uses for cool doors in worship, prayer rooms, youth rooms, hallway message boards…

Come, Follow Me…

Old hymnals? Make them new again.

Lots of churches have old hymnals lying around. Nobody really wants them but everyone feels a little guilty throwing them out. Maybe they aren’t as useful for Sunday mornings anymore, but old hymnbooks are still full of beauty. Theological truths, historical connections, familiar songs that trigger old memories and feelings… plus, the pages themselves can become a canvas!

You can watercolor paint right onto the pages and still see the music beneath it! My daughter (pictured) and I used this as a nightly devotional for a while. Our goal was to paint a page together every day, and while we painted, we talked about the words in the song or sang it if we new it. My then 1 year old son even joined us sometimes. Anyone can paint with watercolors!

This makes a great retreat activity too! Have folks pick a hymn that is meaningful to them, let them make it beautiful anyway they choose, share it and send it home with them. Sunday School or Afterschool children enjoy this activity as well. Just be prepared- hymn lyrics can inspire some big theological questions from kids.

(If this connects with you or someone in your congregation, make sure you check out the world of Bible Journaling. Amazing!)

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