Us v. Them
Have you ever heard that phrase?
Sometimes, when on staff at a local church, the Creative team is an enigma. People see your work every week, online and in their email, but they don't really understand what you do.
This can also be the case within the church staff as well.
Yes, the Creative team can often feel as though they are on an island. If we are not careful, we can allow this island to form a wedge between us and the rest of the staff and church. One of the fine lines a creative must walk, in the church, is the line of Us versus Them.
I hope it is none of our dreams to build a Kingdom in the Video Room, but it can be so easy to allow our own thoughts, actions and desires to misalign with the rest of the church staff's. This isn't our intention, in most cases, but it happens because we are often misunderstood, or honestly, under-appreciated.
Sounds like sour grapes, doesn't it? Well, unfortunately, I have heard my fair share of these frustrations, and they mostly stem from this Us versus Them mentality. The idea that "They don't get us, they don't trust us or they don't care about us, as long as the work gets done." There are always instances where these statements might be accurate, but in the position we are in, it is our job to support the vision and heart of the Pastor, not the other way around.
So, what are some ways we can avoid an Us versus Them mentality?
1. Involve Yourself Beyond Creativity
Oftentimes, the Creative Team is hunkered down in some backstage room, working on caffeine and candy to get the job done. Without even meaning too, we develop an exclusivity to our team that communicates to people we just want to be left alone. Sure, this can often be the case, but in the context of team, we must be willing to involve ourselves in things other than the Sunday productions.
If you are like me, Staff Meetings are not always your favorite. You sit and think about all that you could be getting done during this time. What if, for our next staff meeting, we involve ourselves in the discussion? Not in a way that compromises or oversteps our reach, but in a way that is productive to the team as a whole?
By being involved in places other than the Creative Department, we will begin to feel like a team along with the other people on staff.
2. Clearly Define Your Vision for Each Project
To the whole "They don't get us," statement, I have a simple question: Are you clearly communicating your ideas? Often, we feel like others miss our point because they aren't artistic enough or free-thinking enough. The truth is, others often miss the vision because we do a terrible job of projecting it.
If you have an idea for a specific graphic or video, show your pastor an example. Either spec it real quick, or find something similar online. Don't allow your words to do all the talking. If you are creating a visual piece, show them visuals. The more clearly we can define our vision for a project, the easier it will be for our pastors and leaders to "get it."
3. Build Trust by Being Trustworthy
This can sometimes fall from the "they don't get us" tree. If they don't get us, then they won't trust us. The truth is, we often expect trust without ever having given our leaders a reason to trust us. Instead of working ahead, we barely hit our deadlines. Instead of bringing solutions, we often come to our leaders whining about the problems. In short, we don't give them reason to believe we can handle bigger responsibilities or freedoms.
But what if we took the initiative to finish our projects ahead of schedule? And then showed we were using this new time to create and develop new ideas for the church? What if, instead of telling leadership what we need, we do all our homework and bring the best solutions to the table that will take the church to the next level creatively?
If our leadership will see our own initiative and our desire to work ahead and 100% on the tasks we are given; our leadership will reward us with trust. They will know they can count on the Creative Team to do things never done before. The freedom and responsibilities will come from the trust you gain by being devoted to the leadership above you.
Having an Us versus Them mentality is dangerous for the Creative Team and the Church. We need to take the position that we are all on the same team, working toward a specific cause. So what if they "don't get us." We just have to take the steps necessary to be clear and provide opportunities for our trust and value to be seen.