Wanna know the most surprising thing I discover when talking to people working on a church staff? The biggest source of disunity and conflict often lies between the Senior Pastor and creative team.

Creatives often find themselves feeling under-appreciated, overwhelmed and ill-equipped to do their job well. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “my pastor/boss just doesn’t get it.”

On the other hand, I hear consistently from Pastors that they feel like creatives only care about their work and not how it fits into the church as a whole. They don’t feel the support, don’t give the benefit of the doubt to leadership, and are rarely happy with what they have.

Here’s the bottom line if you’re working on a creative team (or anywhere on a church staff):
If you can’t support the Pastor and the vision and mission of your church, go find another job. Seriously.

If you’re working on a church staff, you probably find yourself in one of three situations:

Don’t support the Pastor or vision and mission of your church?

Get out. Leaving your role on a church staff because of this doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad Christian. It just means that you take unity seriously. Scripture has a lot to say about unity as believers in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 4, Psalm 133:1, 1 Peter 3:8)

If you find yourself in this place, don’t take away from the vision and direction that God has given the Pastor of your church. Don’t go out swinging. Quietly move on and find a place you believe in and can give 100% of your heart and efforts to. Wasting your time and energy talking about what you think the Pastor should be doing right now gets you nowhere. If God wanted you to be the Pastor, He’d put you there.

Dealing with consistent frustration?

Deal with it. There’s no perfect Pastor and no perfect church staff.

I would encourage you to fight for unity. Guard your words and thoughts, and don’t be the source of division within the staff. Make the effort to bridge the gap where there’s a disconnect with your Pastor.

So many creatives live in consistent frustration because they have in their mind that they want their Pastor to be like someone else. Support your Pastor for who they are, not who you want them to be. Learn what’s on their heart and have their back. You might just be surprised by how that opens up dialogue to help your church be more effective.

In a good situation?

Protect it. Thank God for it. And continue to fight for it each and every day. Guard the meetings after the meetings and lead the way in fighting for unity. This doesn’t mean you blindly support everything. It does mean that you build the relational equity with your Pastor and leadership to push back where necessary, give your opinion when needed, and at the end of the day support the decision that was made.

I’m incredibly blessed to work at a great church with humble, Godly leadership. It’s the healthiest staff I’ve ever been a part of.

For me in my role as a Creative Arts Pastor, the #1 thing that can create disfunction with my team and our Pastor/leaders is disunity. That’s why in hiring our team, the most important aspect I looked for was not talent, but it was assembling people that had a church-first attitude and mindset. That’s been THE KEY to the success of our team and ministry.

There’s a healthy tension that lies between the Pastor and creatives in planning services and the creative work of the church. At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is that my Pastor knows my team and I have his back and support him.

If you’re not there, and know you can’t get there, it might be time to quit your job.

  • Justin Meeker

    Great thoughts…I think something that many church creative teams struggle with as well is that it often tends to be an area where people with little ministry experience (or work experience in general) gravitate. They’re left trying to reconcile their unique creative personalities with the uniqueness of working in ministry. For the Communications or Creative Director, I think one of the best things we can do is give our teams wide margins of creativity and encourage them to take creative risks; but, we also need to walk alongside them closely if those risks aren’t accepted and help them differentiate the voice of truth from the voice of the enemy. We need to show them that we’re in their corner and encourage creativity, but also coach well on how to put “self” aside if what was the most creative choice in our eyes wasn’t chosen…And on that front, I do think it’s equally as important for my team to know that our leadership supports them, has their back, and trusts their decisions—there has to be mutual trust from leadership…but it just takes time to build it. That’s where what you said becomes 100% accurate: hiring based on character and a person’s heart toward ministry is as equally (if not more) valuable as their talent…And there are people out there that encompass both 🙂