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EVERYTHING BUT PREACHING

Working With the Creative Genius

By Dick Hardy

Q. I have an unbelievably creative staff member but her disorganization drives me crazy. How do I work with creative people who do not have administrative or organizational skills?

A. When God puts our personal gifts together, He frequently does not give administrative and organizational gifts to off-the-chart creative types. Scripture teaches that we are parts of the same body of Christ. Some are the hand; some, the foot, the eye, the arm, the heart, etc. Those who have administrative gifts think the world needs to function like them. If this were the case, the world would be organized, but very boring.

We need the creative genius God gives the church through musicians and youth and children’s pastors. At the same time, we grouse about the creative genius’ lack of organization and administration abilities. We want both gifts in one package.

I suggest you find ways for your creative people to flourish in their assigned roles, while not leaving the church at risk with their disorganization.

They must be able to do three things:

  1. Identify their shortcoming in administration or organization. Ask staff members to articulate what they define as a shortcoming.
  2. Articulate how their shortcomings might play out. In other words, if they tell you that organization is their shortcoming, they need to be able to tell how it might manifest itself when planning a youth outing that requires parent permission forms. They might not have all the forms, and yet they conduct the outing anyway.
  3. Articulate what might be the consequences of their shortcoming manifesting itself. They may say that if an accident occurs with a student who did not have a parent permission form, the church is liable for a lawsuit.

    Consider personal development. Help creative people see your concern for them as further development of them. Consider sending them to a conference that focuses on order and organization. Their DNA is set, but you want them to grow and develop personally outside of their creative side.

Maintain an attitude of acceptance when dealing with creative people. They may never match your expectations. At the same time they will do things for your ministry that your black-and-white-straight-line-policy-procedure mind cannot fathom.

Do not get into a situation where a staff person with a creative mind sets you up for perpetual frustration. Clear that during the hiring interview. Go into the employment relationship with your eyes open. While the staff member is with you, be sure she understands that you value her. At the same time, make sure she knows you expect her to play by the same rules everyone else plays by. Set your expectations, and then make sure you and the staff member live by them.

While you express gratitude for these creative types, I encourage them to value people like you who read to this point in an article. They laughed after the title and moved on to something more fun.

DICK HARDY is founder and president of The Hardy Group, a pastoral leadership consulting firm for lead pastors. Contact Dick at dhardy@thehardygroup.org or visit the website www.thehardygroup.org.

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