Enhance, Don’t Distract
As the Creative Arts staff, we have been entrusted to enhance our church’s ministry and services. However, it’s easy to let control of our creativity get away from us. It is also our responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.
I say this because our control over creative arts could mean
people get saved during a service, or they don’t. I know that is a lot of weight to carry on our shoulders, but we can keep that control if we just remember a few simple things.
Let the Spirit Lead You
The most important thing we creatives can do is to let the Spirit lead us. This means dedicating a major role to prayer and communion with your team.
While planning a night of worship a few years back, we began rehearsing about two months ahead of time. For those 2 months, our team gathered once a week to pray about the night, to talk about the theme, and to choose what songs we were going to sing. We planned to practice the songs for the night of worship in the weeks leading up to the big night so they would all be familiar. As we practiced, I started to use different lighting colors during the songs but they never really seemed to set the right mood.
While we were in prayer during the last night of rehearsal, I kept seeing some very specific colors in my mind. When I told the group what I felt, our graphics person shared that he was also seeing those same colors.
When we used those colors for that song, the graphics and lighting set the perfect atmosphere and the spirit was so thick in the room you could almost touch it. It doesn’t all land on us, but when we use our gifts for God in the spirit it makes the experience that much more beautiful.
Look to others for inspiration
This is a big one for me, and it can be easily done the wrong way. Most people take this to mean you should copy other people who are doing something that works and it will also work for you.
If this is your mindset, I have some bad news for you. What works for Elevation Church in North Carolina will not necessarily work in Chicago or Detroit. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t look to them, or others like them, for inspiration.
When it comes to the creative arts, I love to see what Elevation Church and others are doing in different parts of their ministry to help guide or push me in a new direction.
Here is the confusing part. Sometimes copying them can be the best option. For instance, I like how Elevation Church does the cover art for their Youtube Channel so I do the same thing for ours.
However, what does that imitation look like?
I use a screenshot from our service like they do, and I use our sermon graphic as the background. It is a copy, but it has our own spin on it. I think it’s important to do things that match your congregation and community but also look to others to inspire your art.
Bounce ideas or thoughts off others
In my opinion, out of this entire list, this is the one thing people do the least. I know this because I am very often guilty of it myself. I have to remind myself to ask for feedback, especially since I have learned that a second, and sometimes third or fourth, set of eyes on something can only help.
Choosing that extra set of eyes is the most important part of this. I have chosen the wrong people to help and it has done nothing but frustrate and even upset me. You must choose people that truly understand what you are trying to do.
They also need to be people who have good taste.
If you choose someone who has no idea what you want to accomplish and they also have bad taste, you end up with people going in 100 different directions. That is where frustration sets in.
When people disagree with your plan, it can feel like they think you are not doing a good job or that no one appreciates what you do.
With that said, you also need to be open to constructive criticism. You can’t get upset when someone says they don’t agree with your plan or that they would make changes.
If you choose the right people to bounce your ideas off, then you need to be able to accept their constructive criticism and not get upset with them for giving it.
Be clear about the message
This is the foundation of everything you need to do.
When you are building a house, you need a blueprint to make sure the project is completed correctly. A creative project is no different.
When you are filming a video, you choose a title first so you know what you are going to talk about. If you are mixing audio, you need to know who the lead instrument and vocalist are so that you mix them differently than everyone else.
The same goes for every type of art. You need to stop and think – why am I doing this? What am I trying to convey to the crowd or community? If you don’t do that, then the impact is lost.
Plan things out and make the message as clear as possible - any other fun and cool things need to come second.
Hopefully, this post will help you be the best you can in a creative arts role - whether it’s in the church world or out. Actually, these ideas should set you up for a great working relationship in any situation. I hope you take them to heart and pray about them.
Thank you for reading!
Let me know in the comments if you have implemented any other practices that have helped you and your team.
You can contact me at Justin@emtmi.com