Getting Fresh


Ever feel like everything you’re working on lately looks alike? Just have a tough time coming up with a “new” idea? Find yourself in a rut? I do…a lot.

I only work with churches and that means communicating the same story over and over. At any given time I can be working on three different visitor pieces, two bulletin shells, youth promos, etc. – all wanting the same sort of thing but each deserving and needing their own personality. Keeping things fresh is something that constantly has to be top of mind. Here are a few things that help me.


It’s really easy for us to get so attached to our work that we can’t take critique well and allow outside input. If you step back from the work, allow others, those carrying the vision of the sermon, event, etc. to speak into it you will often find yourself on the other side of a rut.

This isn’t about blindly taking orders, this is about hearing from someone who sees it from a different perspective and asking questions about what they see.


Sometimes all it takes is a change of pace or scenery. That might mean going to a coffee shop, talking a walk downtown or going to movie. But do it differently. Go to the theater and ask for a ticket to the next movie playing, even if you’d never normally see it, go to a different coffee shop, walk through stores you’ve never been in before.

The idea is to take in new stimulus, experience new things. Take the time to notice the people around you, what they’re wearing, how the stores are setup. Fill up that creative sponge.


Rest is an often overlooked tool, especially in the creative world. You need rest, your eyes need rest, the work needs rest. Step away from the work and allow yourself some quiet and let everything just settle.

God gave us the sabbath, not as a command, but as a gift. God created the heavens and the earth…and then he rested. It’s important to be fresh. Not just to keep your portfolio from looking bland but because what we communicate has eternal impact. Remember, what we do is about communicating much more than looking pretty or winning awards. May God bless you and fill you with creativity.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________ Michael Buckingham, our guest blogger, is the Founder & Creative Director of Holy Cow Creative with the goal of once again making the church the most creative place on the planet. He is also the Creative Director for the Center for Church Communication and Church Marketing Sucks. You can also find him on his own blog Jesus Hates Papyrus as he continues to help the church not be so… churchy. Follow Michael on twitter: @holycowcreative

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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  1. Matt,

    Thought-worthy post. I know that these are things you practice or are trying to practice better. Any one who leads in a High D environment. Lean on!

  2. I actually need to give a shout out to Michael too. Sorry Michael, just realized you did the guest post. I highly enjoyed it. Matt and I have been talking about these topics.

  3. Great stuff!

    Nathan Davis // Reply
  4. Thank you sooo much for this! I was directed here by Church Marketing Sucks and I needed this reminder. So often I find myself in a self-dug rut that I am unwilling to listen to anyone else's thoughts. Looks like I have something to copy and print out to put next to my monitor at church!

    Matt // Reply
  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Buckingham, Matt Knisely and Matt Knisely, ChurchMarketingSucks. ChurchMarketingSucks said: Getting fresh w/ our own @holycowcreative: KH (Couldn't resist writing it that way, but really it's about being creative) […]