7 Things We Wish We Would Have Known When We Started in Church Media

Andrei and Kelly Belousov

March 3, 2020

It can be tough to know where to begin. You might have a lot of great thoughts or ideas of what you would like to do with your church’s media but aren’t quite sure where to start. We’ve all been there and we’ve all gotta start somewhere! Here are a few things we learned in our journeys that we wish someone would have told us when we started out in church media. We hope that these tips can be helpful for you. 

1. Resources are essential. You don’t know what you don’t know, so it’s important to surround yourself with resources that will get you to where you’re envisioning you want to go. What do you already have available to you that can help you learn and grow in excellence and what do you need to invest in to take you where you want to go? What tools do you need to invest in (software, equipment, training) that will get you to where you need to be? There are so many resources out there that were super helpful to us as we were getting started. We’ve done the work of compiling them for you and have made them available to you on our RESOURCES page. We want to make available to you what’s taken us years of research to find. You don’t know what you don’t know!

2. Learn from those who are ahead of you. We truly are better together and none of our best ideas were generated on our own, but rather with the help and strength of others. Are there other churches that are close by you that do excellent work in church media or creativity that you can learn from? Most churches LOVE to share their knowledge and resources with other churches in the area! After all, it’s not about what church you go to, but it’s how many people the capital “C” Church can collectively reach with the Gospel of Jesus. There are several churches that we follow and have connected with that have helped us grow significantly. Sometimes all it takes is getting the courage to ASK!

3. Collaboration is key. Work is almost always better and more sustainable when done in teams. People will always be the vehicle to seeing your dreams lived out. You’ll never be able to do it alone. “One can put a thousand to flight, but two can put ten thousand to flight.” Who around you is also passionate about church creativity and media? Even if you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing, pull some other heads into the game and have brainstorm meetings. God can’t use a parked car, you have to get into motion! Want to grow a creative department at your church? Don’t be afraid to ask others around you to help you. Even if they don’t have any skill in creating media, they can still add value. The leaders at Church of the Highlands, the second largest church in America, state that they hire people who don’t always have the skills but have the passion to serve. Over time, they train that person and teach them the skills they need. There are people who want to help and can add tremendous value, regardless of their skill level.

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The fear of messing up will always be the thing that holds you back the most. What haven’t you tried yet because you’re afraid of failing in it? The fear of failure is the enemy of success. If you’ve never failed, then you’ve never truly lived. Failure is inevitable. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” What fears do you need to let go of and surrender to God so that you can embrace the destiny that you were designed to fulfill in Him? Experiment and try something new!

5. Your ideas are only as good as your inspiration. Most of us were led to believe that to be creative, you have to be completely original. The truth is, all of the best artists are constantly pulling ideas from others. Who has great work that you can learn from and imitate as you develop your own style? As creatives, so many times we put pressure on ourselves to create 100% original, new content. Sometimes that pressure is enough to make people throw in the towel before they’ve even started because they didn’t even know where to start in the first place! A book we love and recommend on this topic is Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. We regularly surround ourselves with as much inspiration as possible. We look at what other churches are doing in their social media, photography, video, and graphics. When we see something we like, we think of how we can recreate it. We use templates from other websites or churches as springboards for our work. This has helped us tremendously in developing our skills as creatives. Think of it this way: in order to learn how to cook, you have to start by using other people’s recipes. We encourage you to imitate other work you admire and pull inspiration from as many different sources as possible. It will help you develop your own style and to learn how to create great work. 

6. Learn to embrace limitations. Creative work can get expensive when you factor in the costs of equipment, resources, time, and people. Working in churches, we usually feel limited in just about every area. What’s the best that you can do with what you have available to you? There’s the temptation to wait until we have all of the best equipment or best tools or the right people in order to get started. But the truth is, even the biggest churches have limitations and they simply learn how to embrace them. Craig Groeschel, the pastor of the largest church in America, says, “Limitation is the breeding ground for innovation.” As much as we despise limitations, they force us to get creative, to dig deep, to work harder and smarter, to try new and innovative things, and to be intentional and efficient. Embrace where you’re at and what you have. If you’re faithful in creating the best that you can with what you have right now, I guarantee you will be entrusted with more. Whether it’s financial limitations, skill limitations, or time limitations, trust the process. It’s building that grit in you to be a creative problem solver and putting you on the pathway to create better work than you could have ever imagined.

7. Baby steps will get you there. Small changes over time yield the biggest results. What small step can you take today to improve where you’re at? We often don’t take the first step in creating something because our ideas are too grand or what we see out in the world is far beyond what we have the capability to create. But as they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Life Church didn’t become the largest church in America overnight, they had to start with just a handful of people. They made the most with what they had, were intentional and strategic with their growth, and kept taking the next step toward their ultimate goal. It’s good to set big goals, but then your focus day to day has to be on the little step that you can take action on right now. Start where you are today with what you have. Keep taking steps. Keep taking risks. Keep growing, learning, and trying. You’ll eventually get to where you want to be. 

To help you jump-start your church media, we’ve put together a toolkit of helpful resources that contains several tools and strategies that we have developed and use to create effective and excellent media. Click below to access it.

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