Do you consider yourself a creative person? Some of us do, and some don’t. Nevertheless, we cannot deny that our Creator God stamped His creativity on each of us when He made us in His image. Whether or not you are tapped into your creative side, you can take steps to release creativity to minister to others. Bob Stromberg knows the process well and shares with us how he uses his creativity in ministry and in inspiring others to honor God artistically.
Who is Bob Stromberg? Bob has used his humor and creativity to entertain audiences for 40 years. All his work is family-friendly and ministers encouragement to his listeners. He cowrote and costarred in the comedy show Triple Espresso, which ran in 75 cities over the course of 13 years, a success that Bob says only God could pull off. Bob continues to speak to church groups, business meetings, and large audiences with his signature physical comedy and fun stories. He isn’t ready to pass the baton yet, he says, because he didn’t even know he had one.
Ever since Bob was a child, he has been in tune with the connection between experience and emotion. Comedy always came easy for him as a way to express himself. Over the forty years of his career, Bob has gained confidence and a sense of satisfaction in his skill, but he also knows what it’s like to run into walls audiences erect to keep themselves from his message. Sensitive to each situation, Bob approaches his work with prayer, both for the audience to receive something and for God to receive his gratitude. Having a broad range of experience, Bob encourages others to embrace the creativity God has instilled in them and teaches them how to release it.
“Comedy is the best wall-buster that there is. When I’m asked to speak, I could just begin going into a Scriptural text, which would be fine, but people still have a wall up between us. Where, if I can make them laugh first, it’s a process of earning the right to listen to me, the walls come down and people are ready to listen.” —Bob
“Creativity is not finding the one right answer. Creativity is considering many, many right answers and choosing one that might be suitable, that might work well. A lot of our creative spirit gets educated right out of us in middle school.” —Bob
“We were made to do two things: we were made to create, and we were made to redeem. That’s what our Lord did, and that’s what we are to do because we are made in His image.” —Leary
Practice the fundamentals of creativity. As with any skill, creativity is something you can strengthen if you work on the basics.
- Grab—Look for anything that grabs you emotionally (whether the emotion is good or bad). Thoughts, impressions, experiences—anything that touches your emotions is what you are looking for. When you notice it, write it down. Keep a running list.
- Interrogate—Revisit those emotion-filled list items. Ask each one: Why did you move me? Why do I still feel that emotion when I remember that experience? Move on to what type of artistic expression would best demonstrate the emotion you felt. Consider stories, paintings, characters, music, or illustrations as possible art forms that may capture it. Ask the list items: What could you be? How could I use you?
- Transform—Once you have found the match between the list item and the art form, make the idea into that thing (painting, blog, show, story, etc.).