Churches all over the world fall into one of two camps. One group of churches have pastors who plan months and months in advance. They have a calendar that is set, and they follow the road map from series to series. The other group has pastors who are more at the moment and come up with their content series by series, week to week or maybe even minute by minute. Neither side is correct or honestly even more healthy than the other, but both sides position creative people in an interesting spot when it comes to navigating ideas.
No matter which group your team falls into, I believe there are two vital ingredients that end up missing in most of our creative processes: Play & Pause!
For those who live in the first group, our routine can numb our creative process. We have to remember to press play on our creativity! For each creative element, project, campaign, and endeavor you need to have visibility and accountability. What are the elements? What are the wins of the elements? How long does it take to make them come to life? As you plan, months and months at a time, check back in and ask each other some hard questions: Does this piece make sense? How can we make it better? How can we bring it to life? What is missing? What is confusing? Is there a way we could improve this? Does it still connect? We call this a blocking meeting, and we look at creative elements a series at a time to make sure we are delivering our absolute best on each element. The truth is, with time very often we can get lost along the way because we are not forced to have the pressure of the time crunch right in front of us. We can be lulled into mediocre creative moments because time is on our side and we feel like we “have it.” The truth is, your best creative moments need the pressure of the PLAY button. Try them, experiment with them and improve them. The luxury of time should never be an excuse for lack of attention and intensity.
For those who live in the second group, you probably wish you had the problems of the first group. I have talked to a lot of you, and you tell me if you just had more time things could be better. You are in a microwave environment. The first thing you have to do is release yourself from the pressure. You are going to make awesome stuff but time is time and what you have is what you get to work with…no negotiating on that. Unfortunately, as time is flying by, we often forget to hit pause. So often we are on the treadmill to Sunday, and we are running as fast as we can. When we neglect to press pause, we often chase half baked or just outright terrible ideas because we feel like we have not the choice. But we do. Pause does not have to be a week or even a day. Press pause for an hour. Sit back. Review the creative. Is this good? Does it make any sense? Will we be able to execute this well? What could we do to make its impact more without killing our team? Have we considered every angle and context around this? It blows my mind how much clarity we find when we pause, pray, and review even if it is just for a minute.
Finally, be content. God knew where he was placing you and he knew how you were wired. He knew if you were a first or second group person and He has every intent in using you in that space. Maybe you need to press play, or maybe you need to press pause but whichever is best for you…make sure you press the button!