The Church Creative

by John O’Keefe

What if…..?

The Church CreativeDo people who ask “What if” questions drive you crazy? If they do, you may not be as creative as you thought. What if…..? To me, and to all the Creatives I know, questions that start with “What if” are central to our faith journey, our life, our DNA, and no What if question is off limits to the mind of a Creative…

  • What if we re-imagined everything about how we gather as a community of faith?
  • What if we decided that everything we do as a gathering is fair game?
  • What if we did something no one has ever done before?
  • What if we joined together as a community instead of a church?
  • What if we decided that the building was not as important as the people?
  • What if we danced to the rhythms instead of ignoring the music?
  • What if we developed the courage to toss out the bath water, not worrying about the baby?

In my new book, The Church Creative: how to be a creative gathering in the 21st century, I explore the idea of “What if”. The idea of how Creatives explore life and the world around them via the What ifs they ask about all that is happening around them.

What if we re-imagine everything?

When we ask “What if”, we are not striving to change the image of our gathering; we are striving to change our gathering. To re-imagine is not re-imaging. Re-imaging changes the outside, re-imagining changes us on the inside.

Generally speaking Creatives bring to life some amazing things and the most exciting is this ability to re-imagine the gathering of followers they serve. For Creatives, nothing is off limits when it comes to re-imaging possibilities. Creatives are always asking What if, because they’re curious and because they see things very differently; most of the time they see things better. (Page 138)

What if questions led to “What’s next” questions

Because Creatives live in the world of “What if”, a world that is at our core, our DNA, we question everything, our “What ifs” naturally lead to the question, “What next?” Creatives just don’t as “What if”, they desire to put that “What if” into action, into changing lives. For those living outside the world of creativity, this can drive them crazy. Why? Because it means change, it means doing things differently, it means that nothing is as it seems and everything is up for grabs, it means what we do today may not be what we do tomorrow and what we do tomorrow may not be what we do next month. The “What next” questions always means change. It means we are ready to re-imagine the possibilities.

When we re-imagine, we develop an environment of reciprocal learning, where we embrace multiple ideas and multiple understandings of different learning styles. We come to realize that the solution may not be found in the answer, but in asking more questions that guide us to the answer we seek.(Page136)

What if, we invited everyone to ask “What if” questions?

Imagine the quantum leap in creativity we would have if everyone was invited to ask “What if”. The amazingly divine chaos that would come from the possibilities, the changes our gatherings would go through to reach past where they are and into the world around them. “What ifs” open doors, reflect the inner self to the community, drive the conversation, express the heart of the gathering and plays the music we dance to as a gather on a journey to explore the nature of our faith among others. “What ifs”, take us from where we are now, to where God wants us to be.


John C O’Keefe is a pastor, speaker, thinker, rebel, wonder and the author of The Church Creative: how to be a creative gathering in the 21st century and Boneyard: creatives will change the way we lead in the church. He holds a Doctorate in Leadership in the Emerging Culture, Future Studies from George Fox University.