The Court of Public Opinion

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One of the more difficult things about creative ministry is dealing with the court of public opinion. Everyone has certain tastes and stylistic preferences and many are eager to express those opinions to whoever is in charge. At times the comment cards, emails, voice mails and hallway conversations can become overwhelming. Here are a few things that have helped me navigate through this area.

– Know Your Vision: If your leading a creative ministry and have no clue what the vision of your church is, you’re in for a rough ride. At Sunnybrook, we have a clear vision that calls for a specific worship environment, song selection and artistic direction. As long as my team is working within those parameters, we know we are doing the right thing.

-You Can’t Please Everyone: You can’t do it…so quit trying! Turn the volume up and some will say it’s too loud. Turn it down and some will say it’s too quiet. Work to honor God by making artistic decisions based on the vision He has given. If you’re pleasing Him…you’re doing well.

-Be Gracious: On occasion, I’ve received an email or have been stopped in the hall by someone who isn’t happy with what we’re doing creatively. As an artist (i.e. emotional, controlling etc.) it’s easy to dismiss that person or even be abrupt in my response. Saying things like; “Well, that’s the direction we’re going so get used to it” or “Get on the train or get off it” creates animosity, division and wounded hearts. Offering to meet at a later date where you can share the creative vision in detail or simply taking the time to listen can go a long way in keeping unity in your congregation.

-Pick the Right Pace: As I mentioned in another post here, creative ministry is about pace. God has given a long term vision to His church and isn’t looking for us to implement the entire vision this week. Never stop moving forward, but make certain you’re doing so at a pace that makes sense for your ministry target.

-Don’t Let Your Emotions Take Over: People need to be able to express their opinions. You need to be able to handle those opinions regardless of what they are. Don’t allow a negative comment to drive how you view your performance. Again, if you’re creating within the vision, you are on the right track.

-Agree to Disagree: Every once in a while, there simply isn’t a solution. A person may become completely frustrated with the creative direction of the church and no matter what you do, they are going to remain frustrated. This is where you need to agree to disagree. It’s not worth it to engage in an endless stylistic and directional debate. Ultimately, that person will need to decide for themselves what to do with their frustration. As long as you have effectively communicated the vision and are creating based on that vision, you can rest assured that you are doing what God has asked of you. In the end…that’s what matters most.

The great thing about creativity is that it’s endless…the hard part is that everyone has a creative preference. The court of public opinion is a very strong voice and one that should be listened to. However, following God’s leading is even more important. Never sacrifice the vision in an effort to please everyone. Rather, please God in an effort to reach everyone.

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