Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

A Case Study in Visual Productivity

Team productivity experiment time!

I was a part of an incredible experience in May with Creative Missions???a missions trip where church creatives use their skills to help churches in other parts of the country communicate better. This article isn?t about that. It’s about team productivity. But check out Cleve Persinger?s site, to learn more about it.

During the weeklong missions trip, we were grouped into teams. Through the week, each team?devoted?an entire day to a church to beef up their communications strategy.?We created websites, logos, design pieces, etc. In one day we revolutionized the church?s creative effectiveness. One day!

Everyone on the trip joked that we couldn?t celebrate our successes when we got home. If our pastors knew we did all this in just one day, they?d unreasonably expect us to make it happen at home.

But is it so unreasonable? I started asking myself how I could bottle that productivity and bring it to my church. How could I serve departments in my church better without hiring more people?

The thoughts began converging and an idea developed. What if I recreated the environment from Creative Missions and did a One Day Creative Intensive at my church? Could it really be this simple? It’s worth a try!

So I chose a department I felt most needed our creative support. They were our guinea pig ? the small group ministry. I presented the idea to the small groups pastor and offered to have my entire department dedicate one whole day to hook them up with everything they need.

The only condition for them was that they would devote the day back to us ? no interruptions. She agreed. She’d power through the day in the same room, working alongside us.

The Setup

Three weeks before our One Day Creative Intensive, the small groups pastor and I met for three hours. This was our pre-meeting. We discussed their strategy as well as their creative and communication needs for the next six months. This helped us generate a list of deliverables for the One Day experiment.

I saw this pre-meeting as a critical part of the Creative Missions trip success. So I did the exact same thing.

  • We created a plan and a list of deliverables so we weren?t having to make it up as we went along.
  • I was able to communicate the value and importance of this One Day Creative Intensive to the ministry leader.
  • We were able to do the right research before the One Day: pricing, materials, budget.
  • We made sure the right people from their team and mine were part of the One Day process.
  • As we reviewed the ministry holistically instead of piecemeal, we found their list of deliverables was much smaller than it might have become over the next six months. (Making for simpler communication!)
  • We identified things they did need that they wouldn?t have considered otherwise.

The Day

The day came. We hunkered down. We got food delivered in and everyone was busy working. Because the ministry leader was in the room, each member of the team was able to?to get instant responses to questions or design iterations. Instead of the usual email back-and?forth or meetings that can go over days or sometimes weeks, feedback and decisions were instant.

In one day, we accomplished 12 out of the 14 items on the list. Completed! This included:

  • Re-branding the whole department
  • An infographic
  • Brochure
  • Banners
  • Greeting card
  • Forms
  • Custom icons
  • and more!

You want results? We got your results!

The Wrap Up

No team-building exercise could have accomplished the level of morale my department felt after this experience. We were a Navy Seals team working together. There were no silos and no lonely artists in this experience. It was a team and we killed it.

Plus, our credibility with the ministry we served is sky high. They respect our team more. No level of conversation, communication, or training could have made them understand my team’s heart. But now they see the expertise and value my team brings to the table.

There?s a lot of respect around the halls of my church office.

I would call that a huge success.

So what?s next? We?re learning from this first experience and tweaking the process. Then we?ll line up the next department and serve them.

Depending on the size of your church?s ministry roster, you could revolutionize your church?s ministries in four or five sessions. Spread that out over six months and you?ll free up your team’s time as well as glue them together as a unit.

It was a big experiment. And it paid off big time.

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