Category Archives: Creative Team
Vacations are planned. Most of my team has some idea of their summer plans. And those plans have been factored into the overall creative process at Sun Valley.
But let’s take a look at a couple of problems I mentioned Monday that cause the summer to be more heated than it needs to be.
First :: the process :: effective and complete process
If you are operating on week to week basis then the summer is going to bite you. You just want have the personnel, the time or the capacity to get the work done and give your team opportunity to take vacation. Something will give. Something has to.
There needs to be a creative process in place that provides time for your artists. Time for them to create at a capacity that let’s them be all the artist they can be. And time to be better than they can be.
And in reverse :: the process allows for you to let them get away to refresh.
In my description of this problem on Monday, I also used the word — complete. You don’t just need a process, but a complete process. A creative process that allows your team not only create and design, but a process that allows them to finish well too.
If the creation is complete, then why begin?
Second :: the tweak
Again, as I said on Monday. If you have a good and complete creative process you are well on your way to getting through the summer unscathed. But it will take some consideration — a careful look at the cycle of team members taking time for vacation.
As with any team, when a member is going to be a way, even if for a few days, the leader has to plan for their absence. And for those that work on a creative arts team, you know the consistent business of the schedule. Because of this, careful planning and scheduling during vacation seasons is a must.
Plan ahead always, but especially during the summer!
The official start of the summer for many of us. Here in Arizona, most of the schools are out for the summer. Many of my friends are already off on their summer vacations. And many of my friends’ kids back East will be out of school soon too and they will be on their way to Myrtle Beach or some other great family destination.
It’s summer and time for relaxation.
Or is it?
What about your creative arts team or any other team you serve on? Are they ready to relax for the summer or do things heat up to a point that brings your team to a boiling point? It can happen. It does happen and there are typical reasons for this problem.
And it is a problem!
It’s a problem for the team, for the church, for your pastor, for you — everyone. But there are ways to prevent this from happening.
(I will discuss some of the problems today and dive deeper into them on Wednesday)
First, if there isn’t a great and complete creative process in place, then the summer is going to be a problem. When your team needs to get away with their kids and the preparations for the big Fall series are fast approaching. There will be a melt down.
Secondly :: Let’s assume there is a good process in place. Good for you. That means you’re less likely to fall into the summer trap. But have you really considered the vacation schedules of your team. Your great creative process will need to be groomed and coddled a bit. A bit? Actually a lot!
Here in Arizona, things are heating up. Faster than we would like — the thermostat may be climbing, but at Sun Valley, things are still relatively cool. We are on pace and still on schedule with our plans. We know where we are on providing the collateral needed for upcoming series. And we have the Fall series clearly in out sights.
Wednesday, I’ll dive a bit deeper into the fixes for the summer slump or should we say the summer bump.
See ya Wednesday.
On Monday we talked about the periodic consideration and analyzation of your team and the possibility of reorganization. Simply looking at each position individually and the team as a whole and analyzing strengths and weaknesses.
One of the big reasons for doing this would be the issue of capacity.
I don’t know how many times I’ve talked with creatives and creative leaders and creative teams and heard these statements ::
- We can’t do any more
- My team can barely get done what’s on our plate now
- I never have any down time
And team leaders — you need to take this seriously, because if the capacity issue or capacity problem lingers for long, there will be a pay day. And it won’t be pretty. You will end up with poor creativity or no creativity. You will have warn-out team members. And the team will probably not act well as a team. The problems will multiply.
So what do you do?
As a creative leader, first look at reorganization. Can the load be shifted and thus, managed more easily? If that isn’t enough and if you have the authority, get more help. Now this may mean leaning on volunteers more. It’s possible you weren’t using them effectively — take a long look at this. Volunteers are a vital part of the team.
Hire more team members. At some point, if more is required, you will need more capacity to accomplish it.
And I hear some of you saying this, “But the leadership of the church — they don’t understand our dilemma.”
OK. Maybe they don’t. And whose fault is that? That’s an important question that I will talk about next week. This is a cancer that I see in team relationships — between leadership and creatives — it must be fixed!
Let’s talk next week.
On Monday, I gave you a brief look at my view on my creative team and how I need them to be working in quasi-silos. The second part of the question was specifically asking about the church and not a specific ministry.
Question :: How do you manage silos (within your church or a specific ministry) and promote a unified vision?
I think I’d like to answer this in two parts.
Part 1 :: It is obvious that ministries within your church will lean on operating in silos. And that’s OK. Children’s ministry’s goal is children and families. Worship ministry will be focused on leading the community in worship. Guest services will be concerned about first impressions and guest relations.
So you see, they do operate with different focuses. Their personnel is almost always different too. Each of these ministries require certain skills and personalities in order to be successful.
But please understand, the above explains why these ministries should (as do my creative arts team) operate in silos.
..these ministries should work together with one unified vision. And how do they do that?
Part 2 :: At Sun Valley, each campus has a lead team. The lead team consists of leaders of all the major ministries of the church. These leaders are led by the Campus Pastor. This team meets regularly and focuses on dialoguing on the vision of Sun Valley. They make sure that the operations of the church, the ministries of the church, the personnel of the church are all doing what they can to promote the vision.
The beauty of this team is that each team member gets input into their ministries from other leaders. This conversation strengthens all the ministries.
Bottom line :: ministries will work alone in performing their specific tasks in the organization, but these same ministries must communicate and dialogue in order to keep the ultimate vision of the organization a priority.
And this takes work.
Try it. You’ll like it. No. You’ll love it and benefit greatly from it.
Question #2 :: How do you manage silos (within your church or a specific ministry) and promote a unified vision.
Let me first answer this question as it relates to the Creative Arts Ministry. As the leader of the ministry I promote silos to an extent. Each of my team members have a fairly specific job to do. Most if not all of their job description lies within their area of passion. When someone gets to work most of their time within their skill set, they are healthier, more energized, and are far better teammates. And their creativity is off the charts.
Because they only have to think about what they love. Now I know that most of us have things on our job description that, frankly, do not fall into our area of passion. And my team would say that was true too.
Far more of their time is spent doing what they love than what they like. And I want to take this conversation one step further and explain this :: I don’t need my guys to know everything that’s going on in the Creative Arts Ministry. If they use energy trying to keep track of that stuff then they can’t spend it on what I need them for.
Let me dive down a bit more on this. Our team, individually, knows enough about the workings of a creative project to understand its target and goal. They can explain it from a 30,000 foot level. They know only the specifics that they need to — the specifics that pertain to their job. They know well the parts of the project that they are ultimately responsible for. The other parts they understand in principle.
This keeps everyone working hard. This keeps everyone interested. And frankly, it keeps everyone happy. I like happy. And happy gets me quality and creativity.
So, there you have it. In my opinion, there is a place for silos — healthy silos.
What’s your opinion?
Wednesday, I’ll switch gears and answer the specifics of this question as it relates to ministry silos within the church. There’s a difference.
For the last month I’ve been blogging about the art of listening and all the problems that come when we don’t. And the problems aren’t little things but destructive forces that can tear your team apart.
We discussed Reason Three on Monday and I told you that I’d go into much more detail today. I wanted to save this one to last because it concerns the Creatives and an overall attitude that is arrogance at its core.
And one of the most damaging of all the reasons. And here is how it plays out.
As I wrote on Monday, Creatives often think that their Pastor is “out of touch.” They think that they are more in tune with culture and the prevailing society than their leadership. And I hear this often.
But why do they think this?
The Creative are often younger. And they translate that into being more in tune. They are often more into the social media. Twitter. Facebook. You name it.
And … drum roll please … they are far more creative than their Pastor. Which makes him uncool and not able to offer much when it comes to worship and the weekend. He can only offer theology. Boring.
OK. Let’s stop there. You get the picture. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating one little bit. Not from the conversations I’ve had. And frankly, it appalls me.
It is arrogance at it’s finest … or should I say at it’s ugliest.
Your Pastor is your leader. Appointed by God, by the way. He is the beginning of all you do. Creatives don’t create in order to create.
Creative create in order to make the message given to your Pastor by God is as clear and impactful as possible. (I think that I will talk more about the Pastor’s role next week. This will bring this even more to light.)
Learn to work within that framework. It is godly and will free you to be the best Christian artist you can ever hope to be.
The first was a problem of communication. The pastor and the creative team speak very different languages. The second difficulty is just as deadly — creating more loudly than you listen. You can go back to the earlier posts in January to catch up.
Reason three, however, has many more long lasting problems attached to it. We will talk about it on a surface level in this blog, but on Wednesday, I will dive deep into the ultimate relational devastation this one can havoc.
Reason Three: They don’t care. Sometimes artist’s think they have a better and more culturally relevant way of communicating, so they a low opinion of the pastor’s position on the issue.
Let me more finely explain everything I mean about this one:
“They don’t care.” — this statement is coming from the Creatives and they’re talking very specifically about their Pastor.
Why? The following phrases in Reason Three help define that a bit. Most Creatives truly think that their Pastors are completely out of touch. Why? Simply because they don’t see them being creative. And that’s a very bad thermometer.
One: No, your Pastor is probably not very creative. Duh. That’s why he has you. So why do you link his “being in touch” to being creative? Makes no sense.
Two: Your pastor will often have different perspectives on today’s most pressing issues. Again, you and he are different. That’s the reason he has you on his team. And your differences make for a stronger team.
Three: With the first two in mind, you have to surmise that his role is different than yours so why do you want him to not be that way?
Bottom line: What I see as the most damaging aspect of Reason Three is the issue of trust. And that trust has a lining of arrogance. This is what I’ll turn my attention to on Wednesday. You don’t want to miss this one. This situation can be very, very destructive.
Reason One: Creatives truly don’t understand what their Pastor is saying. This means they hear a different language being spoken.
It is my opinion that this is the biggest reason why “listening” is compromised … by far. And this is a big reason I wrote my new book, The Blame Game . As a young worship pastor I finally came to realize that my pastor was speaking one language and I was speaking another. It took me a while to realize the true issue.
And it caused a lot of problems :: systematic problems, creative problems, and yes, relational problems. I wanted to listen. I really did, but what I was actually hearing was something far different than what he was saying. And it wasn’t that what I heard was far off, but different enough to cause a conceptual chasm.
In my book, I go into detail describing this problem. This problem will sink every creative effort. It will throw chaos into the communication between you and your pastor. This chasm will not be spanned until someone learns to interpret the conversation.
This is why there is a real need for a Creative Activist. This is someone who understands the role of the Pastor and the Creative equally well and becomes the interpreter (or go-between).
Their responsibility plays out in very specific ways: they receive the vision from the pastor and translate that to the creative arts team. This is critical. Another integral responsibility is to translate to the pastor, the often misunderstood, artist’s heart; continually expressing the feelings, the desires, and the struggles of the creative arts team.
This “interpreter” will also communicate in reverse; explaining the creative efforts and the plans of the creative team. It’s important to make sure listening (and understanding) happens in two directions.
On Wednesday I’ll also describe more of the difficulties you will encounter if Reason One isn’t resolved, but I’ll also point you strongly toward some fixes.
Monday and Wednesday I posted a blog about a video project we did at Sun Valley — One I called the most collaborative video project I had ever been a part of. The most collaborative at Sun Valley by far.
The Creative Arts Team must be collaborative. Obviously, amongst the creatives on the team, but also with the various ministries of the church.
I’ve blogged many times about the subject of communication and the importance of passing information to as many people as possible. The more the ministries know about what is happening on “the weekend” in the worship center the better.
Same goes for collaboration. The more buy in you get on a project from these ministries the better. The more a project is discussed amongst the ministries about the project the better.
Case in point: Creative Arts pitched a Christmas idea to the Lead Pastors a couple weeks ago. The initial idea came from a mission discussion that happened on the lead team at our Gilbert campus. The lead pastors liked the idea so we were given the “go” to move forward.
This is where collaboration and “buy in” were important–I needed to next engage the directors of missions from all three campuses. I needed them to hear the pitch. I needed them to weigh in on the details. And ultimately, after all the details had been worked out, I needed them to be bought in on the idea.
That very meeting happened this past Wednesday.
And now we move forward with our plan. The directors have homework to do for me and the Creative Arts Team has a plan to implement.
I’ll talk more about the big plans we have for this Christmas endeavor in coming blogs. Stay tuned!
We have three very distinct campuses. The original Sun Valley campus is nearing its capacity. That’s been interesting. Five services on the weekend. This was one of the reasons for the second campus — about 13 miles away — the Tempe campus was a merger with another church. Another distinction with its own set of newnesses. And then there’s Casa Grande. I parachute drop about 40 minutes away.
Now you know why I used the word “distinct.”
Since my creative team is considered “global” (we serve all 3 campuses) we have realized the impact of the power of 3. Everything we do we do in 3’s. Just about everything.
It has impacted the way we do things in a considerable way, but I would have to say mainly in the realm of communications. I’ve written a couple of blogs about this. It is always on our minds and seems to be always the topic of conversation.
Frankly, it’s something we haven’t fully figured out yet.
One of the “power of 3” moments came this past month when the creative team was creating the Fall Mailer. We had done these before. Several actually, but never for three campuses. We had to determine what that meant.
I’ll talk about the specifics about the mailer for three campuses on Wednesday.