Dealing With Constraints

Dealing With Constraints

September 6, 2013 by

Most art aficionados consider Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” to be one of the most, if not the most, famous painting he ever created. I doubt that Picasso walked up to the canvas for the first time and started to complain that it had defined edges and boundaries. My guess would be that he looked at the canvas and saw through his fear to the opportunity to create something amazing.

Opportunity in Disguise
Every day we get the same opportunity.  We walk into our jobs at our churches or organizations and we look at our canvases. My hunch is most of us get discouraged by the edges or boundaries we have rather than looking at them and seeing the opportunity that’s hiding inside of them waiting to be unleashed. Sure, we’d all love to have unlimited resources—more staff, bigger budgets, no rules. But that’s not real… anywhere.

The truth is constraints can actually propel us to some of our best work. Without constraints, we don’t know our borders, where the edges of our canvases are, or where we should stop or stretch when it comes to communication and creativity. Without constraints, we’d struggle to clearly identify the healthy boundaries of our opportunities that help us make our work connect and our messages communicate.

Encourage Innovation
Constraints can be extremely helpful. When we know where the boundaries are, we’re able to do our best work inside of them. As we do great work inside of our boundaries, we start to stretch them a little and uncover the places, times and campaigns where taking a risk moves our boundaries out just a little bit farther. When we lack “resources,” we get the opportunity to start being innovative.

Empower Volunteers
Constraints afford us the opportunity to empower volunteers. This becomes really special as it provides us the gift of sharing ministry rather than hoarding it. It’s amazing what you can learn from a volunteer and how much better our churches will become when we include more people in our process.

Embrace Constraints
Learning to embrace our constraints is a lot more about how we approach our work, our passion and attitude than it is about not having what it takes to do our jobs. Ronald Reagan once made the comment:

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”

There’s an amazing freedom in embracing our constraints because it allows us to start dreaming; to refocus our attention and energy on the right things as opposed to being obsessed with negative thoughts. You get to control you. You get to control how you approach your work and your opportunity. Your church needs you and your amazing ideas on how to communicate and share the amazing hope of Christ. You will be amazed how much better you are at what you do when you start looking at your opportunities rather than dwelling on your constraints.

Post By:

Stephen Brewster

I have the honor of serving as the creative arts pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tenn., and have spent the past 15 years in professional creative environments including church, music business, marketing, management, artist development, creative team leading and art directing. I live in Franklin, Tenn., with my wife Jackie and our four amazing kids, and you can follow me on Twitter at @B_rewster.
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