I’ve had the privilege of working with many great churches of all sizes and many denominations through our work at Timbuktoons and we’ve worked hand-in-hand with creative KidMin teams to plan and produce animation, motion graphics, and reusable assets for long term use. I’ve seen some great teams and we’ve learned a lot about how important a rock solid creative team is for your children’s ministry. Here are five key steps to building your team!
1. START WITH STRATEGY
This is the corner stone of everything to follow. It’s defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” Strategy is all about clarity and focus. Strategy comes before branding. Strategy comes before team member selection. Strategy comes before everything except overall church mission (which is really the first key component of your strategy). This is where you determine (with lots of prayer, input and buy-in from key stake holders like your senior pastor) what you are going to accomplish. I recommend a yearly retreat in September or October so you can nail down your strategy and set goals for the next year before the holiday craziness ramps up.
2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Once you determine your strategy, research other creative teams. Talk with other churches, read trade magazines, and I highly recommend talking to creative businesses. Getting information from experienced teams will save you lots of time, money, and mistakes. What hardware and software are do they use? What are the key roles and occupations and what is the purpose for each?
3. BUILD YOUR TEAM
This assumes that a strong leader is already at the helm. For a small church this may be the Children’s Ministry Director. For larger churches it’s common to have a Producer or a Children’s Ministry Creative Director (who reports to the CM Director/Ministry Leader). Both of these positions need to be filled by effective leaders who understand the strategy thoroughly. With an effective leader in place, it’s time to fill the slots that have (hopefully) been researched and budgeted for. Honestly, I recommend slow growth. Grow grudgingly. Add only what you know you need for weekly production based on your strategy. A core team might consist of a producer (this may also be the Creative Director), a videographer, an editor, a graphic designer, and a motion graphics designer. In many cases team members wear multiple hats at first, but make sure your team grows with the demands and size of the church. Don’t burn out your creatives. One effective exercise is to create an org chart with all of the future positions needed (even if you don’t have the budget for them now) and put the names of whomever is currently responsible for those duties. Then as you are able, fill in the slots until you have one person in each role (depending on the demands of that position).
4. ESTABLISH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Most churches hire out for niche services like illustration, animation, specialized motion graphics, or other project specific needs. I always encourage churches to have a system of connecting with creatives in their own body so they know who to call when a niche service is needed. There are also come great ministry focused creative companies (such as Timbuktoons) who partner with churches to help them with specialized creative services.
5. MAKE IT AWESOME
Finally, focus on quality. Set high expectations for quality, plan well, know your team well, and set them up for success. Nothing keeps a creative team thriving like the satisfaction of producing something great together. When ministry passion intersects with a quality deliverable that creates a buzz and helps change lives, you have a rock solid creative KidMin team that will thrive and have a powerful impact.