God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Growing as a Creative Professional

When was the last time you took some time to work on you? Read a new book, designed something NOT on your project list? Maybe pushed yourself to try a new technique, technology, or picked up a pen and paper to go back to your roots?

Sometimes when I sit back, and think about where I have come from, and where I am going creatively, I realize some of the bigger milestones in my life were inspired by a conversation with a friend, community networking, book or maybe a great article. These milestones are almost all intentional. I intentionally left the print world 5 years ago. I saw a change with the growth of the web, and set some very specific learning milestones. Today our company rarely designs for print, and has launched some 250+ custom websites for churches, non profits and small businesses world wide. All because I took some time out, stopped to talk, learn, and grow.

So how do you grow? How do you have these conversations? How do you find the inspiration to even talk about change? I’d like to share some resources I have found helpful in the past, and some of my current tools and resources that I rely on.

Personal Relationships


These are so important. Surrounding yourself with creative people will do amazing things for your own creativity. Get outside your area of expertise. Recently I keep finding myself talking to fine artists – painters, illustrators and sculptures. Honestly these conversations are pretty random, and I did not intentionally seek them out. Just a few people, some new relationships, others life long. They have been inspiring me to get back to drawing, back to photography. Not for work and project sake, but for fun, personal enjoyment, and and for art. Already, I have found in just a few short weeks, I am thinking more and more about fine art, and how it MUST bleed into my daily web work. I still want to be an artist away from my daily projects, but the creativity is overflowing.

I also find when I spend more time in the word, and with others discussing faith and life, my sense of balance in life feels better. I know I should be seeking God in everything I do, but I honestly get caught up in my own thing, and my creativity, management, and well being take a hit.



I try and read a few books a year. Actually I have goals of a few books per month, but that never seems to be the reality. I don’t have a lot of specific creative book resources to share with you today, but actually business books. Odd I know, but I find reading business books help me be a more organized, thoughtful, and precise creative person.

Some of my favorite bookw have been:

  • Getting things Done or Ready for Anything by David Allen
  • How to Win friends and Influence Others by Dale Carnegie
  • The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker
  • Pour your Heart In To It by Howard Schultz (the starbucks story)
  • Juicing the Orange by Fallon and Senn
  • Almost any book by Seth Godin, but a personal favorite is the Purple Cow



Blogs are almost better than books. They happen in real time. I read a few too many blogs, and have been trying to narrow them down. I won’t share my massive list here. These are just a few great creative specific blogs. There are so many more.

Online Communities

Online communities have really been a great source of learning for me. I look back to the history of the internet, and how one of the original goals was to share information across vast distances faster. How true is this today. You can learn so much from articles and online communities with little to no cost. Some of the communities wont last long, others have been around a log time. Here are some of my favorites.

Church Marketing Sucks Lab on flickr

Church creatives unite! A generally vibrant community of church and ministry professionals coming together for feedback, ideas, and support.


I really like forrst. Its mainly web talk, but a great resource to learn code, design, business, and network with others.


A bite more generic than forrst, another great design community.

drawar.com drawr

Sitepoint.com forums (web talk)

Guess what?

Since you made it to the bottom of this great article, i have something special for you. I have 2 invites for forrst.com sitting in my hot inbox with your name on them! Comment below, share where you go for creative networking, inspiration, or learning, and i’ll pick randomly 2 winners. I’ll be picking the lucky 2 winners September 30th.

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  1. Matthew Snider (Reply) on September 22nd, 2010

    This is a great post! Thanks for all of the resources you have listed. I have added them to my bookmarks so I can start using them more.

    Thanks for doing this Matt!

  2. Chris Huff (Reply) on September 22nd, 2010

    Thanks for the resources! I wasn’t using a few of them. One place I go for inspiration is photography. Specifically, I subscribe to Popular Photography magazine (popphoto.com), and it’s always been helpful to get my creativity flowing (in web design and photography).

  3. Brad (Reply) on September 22nd, 2010

    Very Nice … Thanks …

  4. Jon West (Reply) on September 29th, 2010

    Having taken a while off after completing my degree, I’ve been having trouble getting myself back in gear and being creative and enthused by design again. These look like great resources to help respark the fire. Thanks alot!

  5. matt adams (Reply) on October 6th, 2010

    Hey hey, it looks like Jon and Chris are our winners! I’ll check it with both of you guys about using your forrst invites

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