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The Wizard of Oz and Worship Creativity


Creativity…worship…special effects…props – seriously.  Let’s take a breather for a moment before we begin and just write down a few words that come to mind when we think of the words “Creativity” and “Worship”.

Thought about them?

What words do you think of?  What images come to mind?  Think about the last truly “creative moment” you had in worship.  What made it “creative”?  You see, we tend to relate the word “creative” with special lighting, props, solo or “focus songs”, dance acts, or a variety of other things.  Don’t get me wrong…there is nothing wrong with creating with these mediums – but how do we think outside the box?  Enter The Wizard of Oz – Bobby McFerrin style.

Take just a couple of short minutes and watch something with an open mind.  When you are done, we will come back to the article and see what we can learn about being “creative” in a whole new way.

One man…one microphone…and very creative.  I want you to notice something.  Did you find yourself relating to the video?  (if you found yourself relating to any of the 80’s hairstyles or sweaters we need to discuss a whole new aspect of “creative” with you)  Seriously – did you find yourself singing along…or at least wanting to?  McFerrin has an extreme amount of talent – but let’s notice a few things about the video.

1. He had a whole orchestra (see video at 6:00) at his disposal and didn’t use them.  We tend to use things because we have them available — or because we have a budget for it.

(Worship Planning Pastor) “Do we still have any money left in the budget for Worship Arts?”

(Finance Pastor) “A couple of thousand in petty cash, why?”

(Worship Planning Pastor) “Sweet!  ‘Cause I was thinking we could rent a cherry picker and have Tim rappel down to the stage for the welcome this Sunday!”

So we may not go that far…but we’ve all had those “what if we could” moments that someone has, thankfully, talked us out of, right?  McFerrin has a whole orchestra – yet captivates a packed house by simply being creative with himself.  No props but a glass of water.

2. He had everyone so comfortable with what he was doing…that they became a part of it.  Let’s face it.  There were times when he “directed” them in…but there were other times that the whole audience seemed to know when to come in right on cue!  Some of us only wish we could get that kind of response in worship service from our congregations…..but, then again…

…maybe folks are too busy looking at lights and props to focus on participating.



Update:  (Thanks to Jeff Brown for pointing this video out!)

One of our readers pointed out another great and more recent video of Bobby McFerrin – demonstrating simplicity in creativity that still engages the audience.  Take a look…it is well worth it!