There are many duties that a so called "Creative Director" may have on their to-do list each week. There are many titles that may fall into the category of "Creative Director" in the church.
A Creative Director is entrusted by leadership to steward resources responsibly, and develop others diligently.
You may work with a title of Technical Director, Media Director, Creative Arts Director, Creative Pastor, etc. There are weeks where you find yourself designing sermon graphics, building sets, taking staff photos, managing social media networks, training volunteers, or capturing testimonial stories, among many other various tasks.
There also may be weeks where you are working on yearly calendaring, budget planning, technology integration, or cleaning confetti off the student ministry floor. We could go on and on talking about the role of a Creative Director and how it is defined, depending upon the context of your ministry and culture.
In this article, though, we are going to discuss some bigger picture roles that I believe are essential in effectively serving under the title "Creative Director."
1. First and foremost, a Creative Director must Lead Responsibly. This means that you must wholeheartedly understand that you are leading and pastoring the team that serves along with you. This isn't a responsibility that we should take lightly.
In many contexts, we are responsible for large groups of volunteers, large amounts of really expensive technology, and fairly large budgets. Sometimes, the budgets of a creative/tech ministry are some of the largest, if not the largest budget of a church.
A Creative Director is entrusted by leadership to steward resources responsibly, and develop others diligently. As a Creative Director, are you leading in all areas of your ministry, responsibly?
2. A Creative Director must Relay Vision. In most situations, you are the middle man between a creative team and senior leadership. You take ideas and turn them into realities. You take scribbles on a paper and craft it into three-dimensional stage designs. You turn your pastor's dreams into realities, with nothing more than a Skil saw and some LED strip lights that you got on sale from Lowe's last Christmas (and gaff tape of course). You relay the vision from your pastor to your team, to effectively communicate their message.
More importantly, you relay the vision of your church to the congregation and community. You craft the story, you brand the program, you write the copy, all in an effort to relay the vision in the most concise and effective way.
A large part of your role as a Creative Director is simply to relay or cast vision effectively. This enables you to create beautiful environments, tell powerful stories, and build dynamic teams.
3. A Creative Director Releases Leaders. Great leaders don't develop followers, they develop other leaders.
In any ministry, leaders are responsible for developing, then releasing volunteers into action. Anyone can delegate tasks for someone else to do. You can leave directions, show them exactly what buttons to push at exactly the right moment, but the true test of leadership, is in releasing.
As a Creative Director, you are tasked with identifying potential, developing that potential into leadership, and then releasing that leader to train and develop more leaders.
The "Leadership Cycle" if you will, is nothing new, but it remains the key component in any successful ministry model. If you're curious to know if you are doing this well, you can evaluate yourself by doing any of the following or asking these questions:
1. Look around your ministry to see if your hands are on every aspect of every project. If so, there is a good chance you aren't releasing.
2. Ask a couple of key leaders on your team - Have I released you, or do you feel like I watch over your shoulder making sure a job is done correctly? Make sure you begin this type of conversation, with the assurance that you won't be upset, regardless of the answer.
3. Are you seeing volunteers come and go from your ministry, or are they serving and thriving under your leadership?
Chances are, if you are succeeding as a Creative Director, then you are leading responsibly, relaying vision clearly, and releasing leaders effectively. I believe that it takes all three of these components to be effective and successful.
If you find yourself not leading in all three of these areas, you may still garner success for a while, but it ultimately will not last. Most likely you will either burn out, move on, or become a lid to your organization's success.
Leading responsibly and relaying vision is great, while not releasing leaders will leave you exhausted and burned out.
Developing and releasing leaders, while not managing them responsibly, or relaying clear vision will only frustrate your leaders. Craig Groeschel says, "Trust without clarity, produces work without direction."
Relaying vision and releasing leaders will work for a while, but without cultivating those relationships and shepherding those leaders, you will be left with a dry and lonely ministry.
My challenge to you as a Creative Director is this, build a dynamic team by leading them responsibly, communicating clearly, and developing leaders. Earn the trust of your senior leaders by stewarding the resources you are entrusted with, bringing their ideas to life, and keeping Christ at the center of it all.