No matter how creative your team or how cool the location is where you meet or even how often you change out your creative planning team members, there will be times when an idea comes up that no one knows how to accomplish. It may be plausible and even within budget, but how to make the idea a reality may not be evident.
That’s where your “go-to” resources come in!
Start with your sphere of influence Your first go-to resource is your circle of co-workers, friends and family. It’s amazing to me how diverse and helpful our own small sphere of influence can be when it comes to finding someone or something just by asking who we already know. “Oh, my Uncle knows this guy…” or “my friend works with a girl who…” can be the starting point of making your idea a reality.
In your creative team meetings, be open and willing to admit what you don’t know – even if it’s about an area where you’re the expert. For example, in my consulting I’m often asked a question where I don’t know the answer. What I say is “I don’t know, but I know someone who does.” I then start calling or emailing my go-to resource list.
Expand Your Networking In the business world, networking with others is the best way of increasing opportunities and finding helpful relationships. It’s no different in the church world, though we often act like if we can’t hear a thunderous voice from heaven on every issue or question, we’re not spiritual enough. God places people in your life for you to get to know – to network with – and to help you where you don’t have enough expertise or resources.
If you’re a pastor, how well do you know the pastors at other churches who are doing creative things that you admire? How many conferences have you gone to where you intentionally stopped by the booths to meet experts and get their contact information? And at conferences, how often do you hang out in the attendee area and meet people and/or do you pay attention to which other attendees are asking great questions?
If you’re a techie, how well do you know other techies at other churches? When is the last time you took one of your volunteers to lunch and asked them about being introduced to key people in their sphere of influence? Do you know which websites have the best information and which ones are only populated by well-intentioned people but often have inaccurate information? Knowing where to go – and where not to go – are important considerations in your networking research.
Be A Great Client When looking at the big mega/giga churches, many get discouraged by what they don’t have at their own smaller church. “Sure,” some will say, “it’s easy to be creative when you have lots of money.” Yes, having money and extra staff helps. I’m not arguing that. However, those churches didn’t get there overnight and they didn’t start with those budgets, either.
One of the seemingly little-known “secrets” of mega churches that utilize technology well is that they often don’t own a lot of it. Renting, borrowing, leasing – those are all options that allow churches to use the right technology when they need it and not have it sitting around when they don’t. I have friends at companies like Cinemation Design, Sce/con Scenic Services, Communilux and Pink Ink where I can call and get ideas, equipment, setup and rentals. Often, because of their expertise and experience, they’ll help you think through your idea and make it even better. And, yes, this will cost money.
Let’s face facts: sometimes, your ideas will cost you money. Build a bridge and get over it. You can help determine how much money you will have to spend based on how great of a client you are for sales, rental and staging companies. When you first start working with these companies, explain that you’re looking for a long-term relationship to help partner with you. And then do it. Pay on time, be polite and gracious, and let them know how much you value being a customer of theirs. You’ll be amazed at how receptive they are to church clients that pay on time, are nice to work with and are repeat customers!
CONCLUSION OF THIS SERIES The Creative Team Process is one that includes a paradigm shift, new ways of thinking, a new kind of time commitment and a sharing of our ideas, time and networks. The results, however, are fantastic, which isn’t really surprising when we all know that a team accomplishes more than any one person ever could. Share your comment below or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter with your ideas or questions.
Anthony Coppedge is a church technology consultant, speaker, and author with experience identifying strategies, building scalable systems and processes, and focusing efforts to stay true to the vision and DNA of an organization. He has served on staff at three mega churches and worked in the church management software and audio/visual industry.