How many of these problems do you experience in your church or organization?
- Disengaged members and attendees.
- Plateaued or declining attendance and involvement.
- Mediocre or poor quality worship.
- Lack of biblical knowledge.
- Lackluster spiritual formation.
- Little sense of beauty.
- Poor hospitality or guest experience.
- Inward focus / lack of outsider perspective.
- Lack of strategic thinking.
- Communications confusion or chaos.
For a long time, church leaders have tried to attack these seemingly intractable problems, with varying levels of success.
I believe there’s a common spiritual root to each of these problems: lack of creativity. Innovation that leads to growth and vitality can happen in a variety of settings: strategic thinking, leadership, worship and arts, communication, mission, discipleship, and more. But the foundation is the same. The key to vitality is to move yourself and others from consumption, where we are conformed to patterns of decline, to creativity, where we are transformed by our God-given impulse and calling to make things new.
If any of this describes your church, I’d love to help. Click the button below to inquire about an event or keep reading for more details:
Suggested Speaking Topics
The following three talks, each based on my book Think Like a Five Year Old, can live separately, as a keynote and subsequent workshops, or as a sequence, say for a retreat setting. They are ideally suited in the sequence in which they’re listed.
Think Like a Five Year Old (Part One): Reclaim Your Wonder and Create Great Things
Supposedly, since we’re made in the image of God the Creator, we have creativity in us. This may be theologically true, but most of us don’t know it to be so. In fact, the vast majority of us don’t consider ourselves to be creative at all. We’ve lost our ability to create. Maybe that’s why the vast majority of workers worldwide want to quit. Learn why this seems to be everyone’s story, the secret to reclaiming your creative wonder, and how to discover real innovations right where you live.
Think Like a Five Year Old (Part Two): The Four Expressions of Innovation
Whether you seek new ideas and vitality in your personal or professional life, creativity is about more than adopting best practices or reading someone’s life hacks blog post. It’s the natural expression of a more engaging and fulfilling life. Growth isn’t the target; it’s the result. In this session, learn strategies for creativity, how to overcome damaging misconceptions, and the four unique creative expressions with which we’re wired. Strategize new ideas for your setting and how to leverage these expressions for a more productive personal and corporate life.
Think Like a Five Year Old (Part Three): Techniques for Cultivating Creativity
Fostering more creativity ultimately comes down to the habits we form and lives we live. In this tactical seminar, learn creativity as a spiritual discipline: how to overcome the tyranny of the blank page, how to tame your schedule – and your mind – to leverage good ideas, best practices for more creativity, and more.
I also speak on a variety of topics related to creativity and communication in church life, such as:
Take Flight with Creativity: How to Build a Creative Worship Design Team
Church leaders in many congregations have attempted to form teams for the purpose of planning worship. Getting a group of people together in one room is fairly easy. But whether large or small church, staff or volunteer, most discover that it is difficult to form a team that actually works. In this session, learn how to be a part of a worship design team that works, including discovering a strategic approach to worship, tips for team composition, a look at how to overcome a series of obstacles that frequently keep teams from finding success together, and some of the usual “mechanical difficulties” that keep teams grounded. Based on my book Taking Flight With Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work.
Five Brand Secrets to Communicating a Compelling Vision
People don’t give time and money to pay your light bill, but to see lives changed. While we may cognitively understand this, we disagree in practice, because we communicate the process, not the vision for what might be. People don’t care about your process. This workshop focuses on the idea of your brand as a promise and five secrets to developing campaigns and leveraging technology that focuses on your shared dreams and aspirational possibilities.
Best Practices from 20 Years of Creative Worship
I’ve been practicing, studying and teaching about the visual arts in worship since 1995. Here is the best of what I have learned in the trenches of five churches and years of consulting, leading and teaching churches of all sizes and environments around the United States.
(For Creatives) How to Survive Working in a Church
The nobility of using your gifts for God’s kingdom inspires many lovers of Beauty to work for the church. Unfortunately, the turnover rate is killer. This session explores how to survive and even grow as a creative in a church environment.
(For Church Leaders) How to Make Your Church or Organization Awesome for Creatives
While many are talking about the power of story, few are creating a good corporate environment for successful storytelling to flourish. Instead, while leaders want more creative and dynamic environments, and storytellers and artists want a place to practice their craft, often the two groups can’t seem to work together. In fact, many leaders diminish creativity in their staff without ever knowing it. This session explores secrets to unlocking creative potential. How can you create an environment for creatives to flourish?
(For Communicators) Seven Secrets to Help People Remember Your Big Idea
Marketing is a hassle. You’ve got your cool creative idea produced and it sure would be a heck of a lot easier if people would automatically flock to it. Of course, this doesn’t happen. You’ve got to get the word out. To some extent, other people can help you do this, but when it comes down to it, the number one champion for your big idea is you. The first step is to admit your ownership. Say to yourself: I am responsible for marketing my own big idea. There, that wasn’t so bad. The rest is cake. Just follow these seven strategic approaches.
(For Worship Leaders) Ten Common Questions About Using Screens in Worship
Whether novice or seasoned veteran, these are the basic questions that everyone needs to know in order to use screens more effectively in worship. Consider this a crash course on screen use in your church. Based on my books The Wired Church and The Wired Church 2, and two decades of experience working in the trenches of church communication.
Jesus Marketer: How to Craft a Message That Changes Hearts and Lives
Many of us think of marketing as a necessary evil that comes after the more noble and meaningful work of creating the big idea. We like to pretend that how we present our idea doesn’t matter. And yet our efforts often float away without reaching those who so desperately need it. The package matters. Lucky for us, Jesus had a marketing strategy. The question is, in addition to communicating about Jesus, what if we began to communicate like Jesus?
A Little Bit About Me
My calling is to use creativity and effective communication to share Jesus Christ and advance God’s kingdom. I have been practicing my craft since 1993, and in 1996 I began to write and teach others to do the same. Along the way I have honed a philosophy and strategy for what I do and have developed a variety of hard skills for improving creativity and sparking innovation.
I have spent the bulk of my career in the local church, joining with colleagues to develop creative and storytelling congregational cultures, the kind of places that artists want to join. My theological education and field experience, coupled with my ongoing research and writing on creativity, uniquely positions me to speak on creativity and the life of following Jesus. My wheelhouse is a passion for fostering personal and community creativity, for turning dreams and ideas into real innovation and change, and, tactically, for helping your church communicate the gospel more effectively through art and design.
I have written ten books. The most recent, Think Like a Five Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder and Create Great Things, comes out through Abingdon Press on June 2, 2015. Click here to learn more about it.
My beautiful wife Shar and I have been married for 23 years. We have four children in school, which makes for a busy and fulfilling life stage.
Learn more about me, read a longer bio, and view my ministry and educational background at the link.
What People Are Saying
Len’s work at Midnight Oil was my first glimmer of hope that I could change how churches communicate.
– Michael Buckingham, Creative Director, Victory World Outreach and Owner, Holy Cow Creative
Few authors have foreseen the future of language. Len captures not only the prophetic union of technology and worship, but the first glimpse at a new way of thinking. Without a grasp of this new language, I can not see how the church can survive. That’s how important Len’s work is.
– Thomas Hohstadt, Conductor, Fulbright Scholar
Len is a master wordsmith and communicator.
– Will Willimon, Author
Len’s writing and insights for the church go far beyond media; they extend to how we effectively communicate the Gospel to generation that has largely dismissed what the church has to say.
– Jordon Cooper, Founding member, resonate.ca
Len is an artist and thought leader.
– Gary Molander, Author, Pastor, Owner at Floodgate Productions
Len’s vision for the effective use of media in worship has transformed worship experiences in numerous congregations around the country.
– Warren Pattison, First United Methodist Church, Lakeland, FL
Len is a creative master.
– Grant Hagiya, Bishop, United Methodist Church
Len Wilson is an incredible speaker and a gifted minister of the Gospel. He is able to effectively communicate his vision for using media to reach people for the Kingdom of God!
– Phil Graves, Web/Graphic Designer at All Saints Media
The first time I heard Len speak on his passion, I knew he was the real deal. Len speaks from the heart and works hard to help church volunteers and staff create an atmosphere for worship.
– Darell Jordan, Software Support Specialist, Hewlett-Packard
As Senior Leadership Editor at Abingdon Press, Len brought heft and breadth to our acquisitions.
– Neil Alexander, President and Publisher, United Methodist Publishing House
Len possesses a rarely-seen combination of creativity and attention to detail which together make his work both strikingly original and highly correct.
– Rebecca Burgoyne, Director, Publishing Operations, United Methodist Publishing House
Len took over a fledgling ministry at Ginghamsburg Church and developed it into a nationally recognized program of innovation and effectiveness by producing some of the most effective tools for communicating deep theological concepts in ways that informed, inspired, and entertained.
– Mike Gibbs, Missions Pastor, Ginghamsburg Church
Len literally wrote the book on the development and use of engaging multimedia communications in worship.
– Steve Fridsma, architect, Grand Rapids MI
Len’s insight, design sense, and communication skills are limitless.
– Myca Alford, Strategic Marketing Manager, United Methodist Communications
Len consistently brings creativity, professionalism and a high level of expertise to the creation and effective use of media, creating a “digital stained glass window” that enhances worship in powerful ways. Len also has a clear understanding of the value and mechanics of team building, and the significance of spiritual relationships in the worship design process.
– Claudia Lavy, Vice President, Deepening Your Effectiveness, Inc.
I published my first short story at age 14 and my first church leadership book, The Wired Church, at age 28. I have been lead or solo writer for nine books to pastors, church leaders, communicators, and worship leaders. In addition, I have written 40 journal and magazine articles, maintained this blog since 2007, and occasionally contribute to other blogs and websites. My tenth book, Think Like a Five Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder and Create Great Things, is a mass market trade Christian book on creativity. It officially releases on June 2, 2015. Learn more about my books here.
My Speaking Experience
I have been honored to conduct over 200 keynote addresses and workshops in venues of all sizes, either solo or with partners in ministry. Highlights include:
- 44 US states and 4 Canadian provinces
- Disney Creativity Conference (2 times)
- World Association for Christian Communication
- Festival of Homiletics
- ShowBiz Expo
- Break Forth Canada
- NAB: National Association of Broadcasters (3 times)
- NRB: National Religious Broadcasters
- Worship Leader National Conference (3 times)
- Ginghamsburg Change Conference (4 times)
- Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute (5 times)
- Jan 20-22, 2015 | 9th Annual Creativity Conference, Orlando, Florida
- Mar 2015 | ECO National Gathering, Atlanta, Georgia
- Jun 24 – 27, 2015 | FUEL Conference, Green Lake, WI
- 2016 – Dates TBD | EO Tours European Teaching Cruise
Additional dates are in development; check back soon or click below to inquire about an event near you!
Contact Me Now
Invite me to speak at your next event! Click the button below to start a conversation on how I can help your next gathering.