In my 10 years of work in the church world, I’ve noticed a communication gap between creatives (particularly in communications directors) and leaders (usually senior pastors or executive directors). Creative folks and senior leaders are typically wired different and it seems there are things we both wish they could say to each other, but for various reasons never do.
The work of creativity and communication in the church is too important for there to be an elephant in the room, so here are 12 things that church communications directors wish we could say to our senior pastors:
12. We have unique gifts and expertise.
We’ve spent years nurturing and cultivating it. We want to use it to serve or we wouldn’t be here. We take our calling seriously. Please allow us leverage our gifts and expertise.
11. We want to be at a place where we are celebrated, not just tolerated.
You are the only person who can create that culture.
10. Communication is so much more than disseminating information.
Communication is more than a bulletin, newsletter or website. It’s more than a means to an end to communicate to the church. With communication, we bring our knowledge and expertise in content marketing and strategy, color psychology, analysis of reading trends, etc.
9. We want to help create a DNA of communication within the church, not just help with the church’s marketing and PR.
8. In order to do our job well, we need a “seat at the table.”
The leadership and planning table. We need to know the “why” behind an outreach event in order to communicate it correctly. We need to hear the discussion. We need to give input and have our voices heard. Who knows, we might even be able to shape something in a way you’ve never thought of and make it better.
7. Please don’t second guess every color or font decision I make.
As Seth Godin says, “You don’t know a lot about accounting so you don’t backseat drive your accountant. You hired a great designer, please don’t backseat drive here, either.”
(see point 12 above)
6. We see things – quality and excellence things – that you and others on staff don’t.
Our artistic bent allows us to constantly see ways to improve things. Often these things are outside our area of responsibility (such as, paint colors which is often left to the facilities guys). If you’ll allow us (by creating a culture where questioning and suggesting is welcomed and encouraged) we can make our church more excellent.
5. You have to inspire us!
If you see us underperforming or unmotivated, it is because we haven’t been inspired. Cast an amazing vision. Call us to something greater. Show us where God has called this church body to go. Equip us. Then get out of the way and let us do our thing.
4. We need to be inspired.
Different from number 5, we need the margin (time) to read, watch, explore, create, make mistakes, and – in general – be inspired. We need you to send us to conferences and trainings where we can learn from our peers. We need you to invest (money) in our development. It will yield great returns!
3. We need you to pay us.
Although we aren’t inspired by money (usually) we need to make a decent living. We can’t be at our peak creatively if we are worried about where we’re going to get the money to pay our mortgage. Also, our positions are often seen as less-necessary than other positions like the youth pastor or children’s ministry so we usually make less money than those guys. However, we’re just as vital to the mission and should be compensated accordingly.
2. Although we like to act like it, we don’t have it all together.
We need your help and your leadership. We need you to care for and nurture us. Although we’re not the needy people that the creative stereotype suggests, we do need you and your attention just as much as any other staff person or congregant.
1. We are so grateful to be on your team and to be using our gifts to expand the kingdom.
Thank you for making it possible for us to serve!