I get this question from time to time: how do I make my pastor listen to my ideas?

Here’s my answer:

You CAN make people do things by:

  1. Blackmailing them.
  2. Get a hit guy to threaten their kids.
  3. Hold them hostage until they submit.

All wonderful ways to make them do something.

But, you probably don’t want to engage in any of those activities and if you do, leave my name off the police report.

In my view, the real question is how do I get my leader to trust my creative input?

That’s the question of every creative. In that context, let’s answer the question.

 

1. Understanding relationship dynamics.

 

As creatives, we support our pastor while they give vision.

Do not’s:

  • We are not for our ego or our agenda.
  • We are not going to avoid conflict.
  • We are not going to stay in toxic relationships.

Do’s:

  • We should have strong opinions, but be willing to hear out other perspectives.
  • We understand respect is given, and trust is earned, and that goes both ways.
  • There will always be some friction; no team is perfect, but we decide how much tension we can healthily maintain.

 

2. Watch your tone.

 

Any time we are presenting an idea or a criticism, we want to ensure we do so with respect.

If we need to have a more extended conversation on an issue, we should do so in private, and even in private, our tone should remain respectful.

 

3. Work towards a solution.

 

When faced with opposing views on a creative idea, work towards the best solution.

Don’t discount opposition; it is what refines creativity.

This means we are going to hold loosely to our ideas and give room for contradicting opinions.

 

4. We need to show that we are FOR THEM.

 

When a decision is reached, we are going to support the idea 110% and move forward with a positive attitude, even if it is not our idea.

If the plan fails, we’re not going to come back with ‘I told you so.’

 

5. Do your homework.

 

When you present a contradicting idea (especially when changing an established position), don’t present it with just a ‘gut feeling.’

  • Do your research.
  • Gather data and factual information.
  • Walk into the room, knowing the ins-and-outs of the idea to the best of your ability.

 

6. Take yourself seriously.

 

We need to value ourselves and our work. I’m not saying be uptight, but we should have a reverence for what we do and maintain professionalism.

 

Bonus: Identifying a toxic or abusive relationship.

 

Back in point one, I said: We are not going to stay in toxic or abusive relationships. I want to offer some context before we leave. Remember: If someone exhibits these behaviors once or twice, it does not mean they are toxic.

Red Flags:

  • They actively work to isolate you from other people by playing favorites or politics.
  • Nothing is ever their fault, and they consistently blame other people for their mistakes.
  • Bringing different points of view ends with an outburst of anger or passive-aggressive attacks.
  • They are manipulative, often playing on your emotions to coerce you into doing things their way.
  • They have zero respect for your personal space or time, and there are no codes of conduct or personnel policies in place.

 

What to do if you are in a toxic relationship.

 

Jesus tells us to love God and love others as we love ourselves. Healthy self-love does not include staying where you are being mentally, spiritually, or physically abused.

Action Steps:

  1. Pray to ensure your intentions are in check, and this isn’t a personal vendetta towards your pastor.
  2. Talk with a friend/advisor and confirm the accuracy of what you’re seeing. Don’t use this as an excuse to gossip.
  3. Bring your issues up with your pastor, and if you don’t feel comfortable going in alone, bring a mediator.
  4. If your pastor rejects your critiques or promises to change, but doesn’t, take your concerns to the oversight board.
  5. If the oversight board does nothing or there isn’t an oversight board, then it is time to leave.

 

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