Question: How do you get that “a-ha!” moment?
Rick Warren: Creativity really, for a pastor, comes in two ways.
First there’s something that works universally with everybody whether you’re a believer or not; and that is you study, study, study intensely on a subject. And then after you’ve thought on it, you set it aside and you go do something totally relaxing. And it is in that relaxing period that your subconscious goes to work and will often organize what you need to do. Sometimes you get the brightest idea in the shower, or driving, or sitting in the backyard. It’s very hard to prepare a message if you don’t build in the pauses. Any speech, any message would be more effective and be more creative if you allow time to intensely study it and then take a break; intensely study and then take a break. As a pastor I have also God’s spirit which gives me ideas. We say that when God gives you an idea, that’s called inspiration. When the devil gives you an idea, that’s called temptation. And when you give yourself an idea, that’s just called an idea. And all the time you’re getting all three, you know? It’s like do I do the good? Do I do the bad, or whatever?
And there are many times I’ve been studying a particular text of scripture, and I’ll say, “God, what does this really mean? I don’t really understand it. It doesn’t make sense. What does it mean?” And I will ask a question, and I’ll say, “Dear Lord, help me to know what this means. And give me the ideas. And even as I sleep, you rearrange my subconscious.”
And oftentimes I’ll ask a question as I go to sleep, and when I wake up the next morning it’s just there. And the outline comes very, very quickly.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007