I sat twiddling my fingers at my keyboard for minutes that felt like hours. Before I knew it, I was scrolling Instagram, Facebook, my email, anything to take my mind off the task at hand.
I was suffering from a case a writer’s block, also known as “help me, I’m lacking inspiration and creativity. ” While I, of course, could have “pushed through” the work would have felt lifeless, coerced, lacking in playfulness, and excellence. Which is exactly how many of your staff operate week-in and week-out.
Now more than ever, there is a high expectation on churches to bring inspiration each weekend. Take a Sunday scroll through Instagram and you will see how high of a priority creativity is; so many churches are trying to engage its members in concert worthy worship, physical environments that make people want to come back, graphics that entice people to read what you’re up to and activities for young people that compete with their constant stream of digital media.
It’s hard work that’s done in the name of evangelism. It’s hard work that’s done in the name of relevance. It’s hard work that’s done in the name of honor to our God.
This isn’t a discourse on whether all that is good or bad, though I’m sure people would have varied opinions. However, all that was said to stress how important it is that your staff has a creative work environment and access to inspiration on a regular basis because they can’t create for others unless something is moving in their own soul.
These tips are healthy for anyone who works at a church, but especially if your church is beating down the doors of creativity and pushing creative bounds, then you have to make sure you are providing opportunities to recharge your staff.
here are four ways to help your staff be more creative
1. provide regular intimate corporate worship
You would not believe the number of people that work at a church that do not get to take part in corporate worship on the weekend. A lot of times it’s because there’s only one service. A lot of times it’s because there’s a lack of volunteers. Sometimes it’s because a “fire” arose at just the wrong moment that needed their attention, but it’s alarming and sad. One of the Facebook groups I am a part of, started providing a weekly “online worship/church service for people in kid’s ministry” because they realized how many people missed church. And while I’m glad they are meeting a need, hundreds of people attend and it’s sad because those people are not getting that need met at the churches THAT THEY WORK AT.
So, what does this look like? This looks like a quick weekly or bi-monthly staff get-together where the staff worships and prays together. Hopefully, your worship leader can be present, because we are talking about renewing creativity, but even if they can’t, there is something really special about a small group of people just being in God’s presence together. Try out, and tell me if people don’t walk away refreshed and inspired, because they will.
2. flexible work environment
There’s a huge movement in start up cultures where staff has a “work from anywhere” option. While I know that people on church staffs actually need access to their tools, like instruments, stages, craft supplies and more. A lot of work is done on computers, like counting attendance, or reconciling finances, or filling out first-time guests cards and let’s be honest, all of that could be done from anywhere as long as there is wi-fi. So, consider offering your staff a day a week where they can work from anywhere or at the least, get a wi-fi extender and some outside chairs, so people can sit outside if they so desire.
This is such a tiny tweak, but it can make a big impact.
3. money for staff enrichment
Personal development and personal enrichment might come naturally to a few people on your staff, but in general, it is an extremely learned behavior. Like a “quiet time,” it requires commitment, self-discipline, and accountability. However, it’s REALLY important for your team to be reading up on best practices for their area of ministry, to be checking out podcasts or new tools and apps to improve their craft. This is something that is lead completely top down.
If you want your team to be doing things like this, you need to let them know it’s a priority or expectation, then you need to provide a resource list of places to get information (like everything.church 🙂 ) and lastly you have to be willing to make an actual investment.
The investment might be for a new book every other month or new apps, but it also might be for taking your team to coffee, ice cream or the occasional outing. While this isn’t enrichment of the mind, it is an enrichment of the soul, which is equally important when you’re trying to spur on an environment of creativity and it also just goes really far in creating a work place people love.
4. annual conferences or staff retreats
Let’s be honest, this is expensive, but there’s something really special about getting out of your home, your comfort zone, and being challenged or dreaming together, or just being in a place where God can move. Most churches would defend the importance of camp in the life of a teenager and I would take that same stance on a conference or retreat in the life of a church staff member. It refreshes the soul, it reminds you why you devoted your life to this work, it bonds your staff in ways few other things can do.
If you can’t afford it, save for it, but if you can do it, then do it, because it will provide a refresh of creativity like nothing else can do.