Finding Balance in Multisite Artist Development

This is the third and final post in this series related to learnings from my conversations with worship arts pastors and directors, independent artists, and coaches/consultants regarding multisite artist development.  If you’re just coming into the conversation, you can catch the first two posts here:

How Multisite Churches Develop Artists
The Challenges of Developing Artists in Multisite

In this post I want to highlight a few of the tensions and questions that exist related to developing artists in multisite churches.

Tensions in Multisite Artist Development
Developing artists for a multisite church brings with it tensions that must be carefully balanced and navigated.  While I have set up the ends of each ‘continuum’ in a versus format, these really should be read as ‘both and’ statements.  Here are some of the key tensions that have surfaced thus far:

  • Pastoring Artists vs. Managing Talent.  In the original post I shared how churches that do artist development well focus on shepherding artists.  I also mentioned that they see themselves as curators of the talent within their churches.  Being successful in artist development requires a careful balance of both pasturing and managing.  Leaning too far on the pasturing side can lead to underutilized gifts.  Leaning toward management only leads to artists that are empty and talent pools that become very shallow.
  • Time to Invest in Artists vs. Weekly Production Deadlines.  As I mentioned in the previous post, Worship Pastors are faced with the reality that weekend services come around every 5-7 days.  This creates a real tension between their desire to invest in their artists and their need to call them into service.  Where do you invest your time?  A carefully balanced approach is key, creating more natural rhythms of rest, invest, and enlist.
  • Roles vs. Functions.  I had a great conversation with Stephen Brewster, Creative Arts Pastor from Crosspoint.tv.  Stephen has done some great thinking on developing a creative team based on key roles (developer, architect, curator, etc) rather than just functions (sound, video, graphics, etc).  We’ll have Stephen share his thoughts on this topic in our first Artists Development InnovationLab gathering.
  • Artistic Development vs. Spiritual Development.  Again, this isn’t an either/or but must be a well-balanced both/and for multisite churches.  Artists need opportunities that allow them to develop their skills.  They also need environments in which they can be shaped and formed spiritually.  How do you facilitate both?
  • Alignment vs. Freedom in Expression.  This is a tension that should be constantly revisited.  Its true that every church will land in a different spot on this one, based on their culture and constants.  However, regardless of the degree of alignment you strive for, you should always be searching for ways to allow for freedom of expression.   Artists want to create, not simply duplicate.  How can you achieve alignment while allowing room for originality?
  • Structure vs. Organic Networks.  Structure is needed to be intentional about artist development.  However, too much structure can drive artists away.  How do you create systems and structures that feel organic yet create movement?

Questions Regarding Artist Development in Multisite Churches
Finally, I will leave you with a few questions that that leaders I am speaking with are asking.  Some relate directly to the tensions above.  Certainly there are others being raised.  Have you discovered answers to these:

  • How do you build in time for development when the amount of serve time is already high?
  • How do you expand your depth and resources at smaller sites?
  • How much do we duplicate at each campus?
  • What is a proper development path for worship/creative artists?

What About You?
If you are a Worship Arts or Creative Arts Pastor in a multisite church, I would love to hear about your experiences developing artists for your church.  What tensions do you find yourself living in?  What unanswered questions do you have?  Also, if you’d like to learn more about the Multisite Artist Development InnovationLab, click on one of the links below.

Multisite Artist Development InnovationLab Website
Request Contact Regarding Multisite Artist Development