Discovering Eureka


Will you do what it takes?

By: Annalise Larson, Senior Communication Studies Major at Azusa Pacific University

Eureka is a greek interjection used to celebrate a discovery. This word is attributed to Archimedes, who ran through the streets of Syracuse naked, yelling “eureka!” once he first understood the volume of water one day in the bath.

Have you ever been in a meeting and thought, “What if we did things this way?” We’ve all been there. We’ve all thought about new and innovative ways of doing things that would improve our group’s life and performance. Well, what is holding you back from sharing your creative ideas?

Creativity is an ongoing process and one that is necessary within groups. Unfortunately, many people are held back by the binding lies that are loaded within the word “creative.”

First, I will explain two lies that could be holding back your group.  Then, I will position you and your group to discover your own eureka.

Lie #1: Creativity Only Belongs to a Few

At some point in our lives, we have all bought into the idea that creativity looks something like this equation:

Artistic or Musical Ability + A Rare and Blessed Individual = Creativity

Creativity does not require you to do what your worship leader can do or to be able to design the church bulletin. Be careful to not mistake creativity for artistic expression. Creativity is a thought process that is not unique to the blessed few. You are just as adequate to participate in this thought process as the guy standing on stage with a guitar every Sunday.

By allowing innovative communication to be apart of your group life, you will soon learn that conversations can revolve around creativity. For example, set aside time during your group meetings to allow for brainstorming and time to share with the group your thoughts and views on what could be different.

Lie #2: Creativity Is Only for Desperate Situations

Many people think intentional creative practices should only be used when they are desperate and need to find an alternative way of doing something.

To diminish this lie, understand that there is always room for improvement. Just because something works, that does not mean that it cannot be improved. For instance, maybe you find your church small group planning the next upcoming holiday party. And yes, maybe it is the most attended event of the year. However, creatively approaching your group task will allow for new ideas to emerge that could potentially create an even better way of accomplishing that holiday party.

When you allow yourself to think outside of the ordinary way of doing things you are “putting old things into new combinations and new things into old ones.”*

By simply opening up the conversation for brainstorming and new idea sharing, you will allow your group members to participate in a creative process. This will noticeably change not only your group life, but also enhance your church as a whole.

Here are a few ways that you and your church group can discover your own eureka:

  1. Speak up. If you have been scheming a new process, idea, or approach, say it.  Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back.
  2. Try new things. Give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, you will just find yourself at the creative chalkboard once again.
  3. Brainstorm. Attempt to constantly think with a creative mindset and encourage your group members to do the same and you will surprise yourself.

Do these things and just maybe you will discover your own eureka.

Join the Conversation

What do you do to create eureka in your groups and teams?

*From Karl Weick’s The Social Psychology of Organizing, 1979, p. 252.

P.S. My new ebook BURST is now available on Amazon Kindle and Apple Bookstore. Of course, it’s also available for free when you sign up for email updates. But, if you don’t want to give that to me, you can buy it now and read it on your iPad or Kindle (or Kindle app on other devices).

If you’ve read it, I’d be honored if you’d go to Amazon or Apple Bookstore and leave a brief review of the ebook there and let others know about it via TwitterFacebook, or by forwarding this email.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

photo by: Sean MacEntee

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