Plotting the Course for Your New Creative Team

Plotting the Course for Your New Creative Team

Resist the urge to look longingly at the cool, bigger church down the road, making design or creative decisions at your church, based on what they are cranking out.

Within today's church culture, a new breed of creativity has taken over.

As creatives, we are full of the most amazing vision exploding with ideas and dazzling ingenuity.

That church culture has actually been in control for quite a while now, whether we know it or not.

As leaders tasked with guiding the creative processes, sometimes we are left scratching our heads, wondering if we even understand what this new breed even looks like.

The pressure to stay current with creative trends, is especially high in churches that wear those wonderful buzzwords, like "relevant" and "authentic," as badges of honor.

You know what I mean.

As a result, you may find yourself sifting through a myriad of comments, suggestions and downright criticisms about what your church should be focusing on, in trying to remain on that path of staying current.

Some of those questions that could arise might include:

Are video announcements absolutely required?

Have you missed the boat on environmental projection?

Are traditional banners a thing of the past?

When should you push the button on that expensive video art display installation in the lobby? 

Rest assured, once you think you have a good beat on what's hot and what's not things will change before you have a chance to get your next stage design budget proposal together!

Take heart my friend.

A quick note before you get the proverbial "7 most important things that make this article awesome" list because you know it's coming.

If you are the creative decision-maker for your church listen up! Don't make that mistake that we all have made, at one point or another. Resist the urge to look longingly at the cool, bigger church down the road, and work toward making design or creative decisions at your church, based on what they are cranking out seemingly effortlessly week after week.

By doing this, it usually will lead to some level of frustration.

I'm not saying that it isn't good to research the tricks and trends of the trade. But it's important to pray for timing.

Why?

Because you need to represent the heartbeat of your worship community with endeavors that speak to who you are and where you are going. Here are those helpful steps.

Now time for that aforementioned list

7 Steps for Casting Creative Vision

Step 1: Understand the pastor's vision and direction. It would be pretty foolish for a navigator of a ship to plot a course for a destination that the captain did not approve beforehand right? Yet, that is what we try to do, when we do not at least get an overall idea of what God is communicating to our spiritual leaders. Find out his heart and you may even get some great ideas along the way.

Step 2: Make the vision of the house, the desire of your heart. If you take time to pray on the vision that your church carries, then your creative direction will take on a whole new energy and authenticity.

Become an expert at explaining the vision of your church.

In doing so, you are solidifying your personal commitment, and unity will become a cornerstone of every decision that is made from the beginning!

Step 3: Rally your troops. If you're in the process of forming your creative team, this is a good time to get to know them before casting any vision.

Every think tank needs motivation and momentum. Get the team together for fun brainstorming sessions. Listen to their creative ideas. Write them down for later use. Validate the ideas they have been carrying around for a while (being careful not to make any promises.)

If you listen to your team first, they will be more open to listening to your guidance down the road. And by all means, choose an inspiring area for these fun meetings!

Step 4: Share the vision. Now is the time to honor your leadership by clearly sharing their vision. This will help shape the creative thoughts of your team. For example, if you share your church vision to eradicate homelessness, then your team would be more likely to focus on, let's say community video documentaries. 

Conversely, if it is your church vision is to keep the attention of the younger generation, then consistently delivered environmental projection or projecting YouTube-based short teachings may be in order! But really, these are just examples of your next step, which is

Step 5: Plan the mission. Don't forget that there is a distinct difference between vision and mission. Your creative mission should give legs to your house vision. This is the moment to strategize how you will use creative elements, not only to support sermon series and events, but also to develop a long-term action plan that helps to move your church toward fulfilling its broader vision. This may even be a moment to craft a team vision, that narrows things for the creative mind. Then, the mission can become easier to plan. 

As your team develops, you must identify the roles for each member of the team. It may feel awkward at first, but delegate jobs like supplies coordinator, project budget manager, story-boarder, etc. Even if these people have no experience in these areas, you are empowering others and practicing the creative process that, one day, you will master.

Step 6: Activate and manage your team. There is more to activating any project than yelling "charge!" Consider using more than just Google Calendar and e-mail to assign and manage your projects.

Project management apps like Podio, Basecamp and Asana are great tools to stay socially connected, while tracking progress and assigning new tasks that keep your "critical timeline" in constant focus. This type of app-based management respects the time of your volunteers, while being efficient in idea sharing, decisions and course changes!

Step 7: Repeat the Vision. Finally, a crucial step to sharing vision is intentionally repeating the vision and your action steps often. Doing this reminds everyone why you are doing these projects and gives meaning behind each step you take. Striking a balance of how often you repeat the vision is important. You may not share it with every communication, but larger meetings and benchmark moments should not pass without giving your church's vision and even your team vision some time in the spotlight. 

As creatives, we are full of the most amazing vision exploding with ideas and dazzling ingenuity. Oftentimes, though, we try to "steer the ship from the rudder," by implementing creative changes that leadership or a congregation may not be ready to accept. Learn to harness this new breed of creativity of the individuals you lead, by first understanding the spiritual call on your community. Then, allow your people to lead you to a better understanding of how today's trends and practices can best support the collective vision.

Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision the people perish." Then, Habakkuk 2:2 gives legs to the proverb, "The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it."

Let the Lord guide you in your vision and be unified in your mission toward creative excellence.

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