Every church has “creatives” in the congregation and/or on the staff who have an artistic temperament, who are passionate about music/art/worship/liturgy, who have a lot of ideas swirling around in their heads, and who feel perpetually misunderstood.
Some of this is the fault of the creatives. They have a responsibility to be stewards of their gifts for the edification of the Church just like anyone else, but too often treat their God-given gifts like weapons they can point at people to get what they want, or like wild animals that can’t be leashed.
But a lot of creatives are driven to insanity – and to the point of wanting to quit – by the Church because of all the rules and regulations it imposes on them, thereby stifling and squashing the very gifts God has given them.
Here are ten commandments that will make creative want to quit:
1. Thou shalt not ask why
Creatives want to know details/context/background so they can use their gifts as effectively as possible, and so they can make suggestions for how people might be more genuinely blessed. Yes, creatives like blessing people.
2. Thou shalt not make anyone upset
Tell a creative not to upset anyone, and you’re basically telling them that to be timid is to be strong.
3. Thou shalt not re-invent anything
Creatives don’t always want to make a copy of a copy of a copy. They want a blank canvas from time to time.
4. Thou shalt not push the envelope
Give creative people in your congregation and/or on your staff the freedom and permission to experiment and to make mistakes in an atmosphere of grace.
5. Thou shalt not give input
Sometimes creatives have really bad ideas. Sometimes they have really good ideas. Listen to them.
6. Thou shalt not have support
Most creatives work better when they know the Church has their back.
7. Thou shalt not be defended
And when creatives are criticized and attacked, if they aren’t defended by the Church, they’ll be less motivated to pour their hearts out next time.
8. Thou shalt not receive affirmation
When a creative person in the Church pours their heart into a project, an event, a production, or a service, a lack of a “thank you” or “well done” or “here’s what I liked” can be debilitating.
9. Thou shalt not be paid fairly
The Church has a terrible reputation for treating creatives like they’re not worth much, primarily by expecting them to always work for free or at a discounted rate.
10. Thou shalt not sit in the driver’s seat
Most creatives want the opportunity to lead something. They want the freedom to see something through from start to finish, and they want to know they’re trusted and respected.
Give a creative person a little bit of context, a lot of freedom and grace, the right to speak up, support and back-up when they need it, affirmation, fair pay, and a leadership role, and they will be much likely to serve with joy for a long period of time.
Smother a creative person with commandments, and they’ll quickly move elsewhere!