The Healthy Church Hub

How are you doing at leading the creatives within your ministry? Leading creatives requires a unique approach and skillset to manage effectively and continuously support innovative thinking and creative inspiration. On this episode, Nicole Lucas, Creative Arts Pastor and CEO of Creative Level Leadership, helps us better understand how to lead creatives and create a workplace where creatives thrive.

Transitioning from Peer to Leader: Navigating the Change

The shift from working alongside your peers to leading them can be intimidating. It’s essential to use the trust you’ve built over time and continue to invest in those relationships.

Although you may be in a different place in the organizational chart, remind your coworkers that you are still you – they know your character, work ethic, and desire to be a part of the team. This will help ease the transition and allow others to be encouraged that the team is in good hands and they can trust the leadership decisions you make in the future. 

Leading Creatives: Wins and Challenges

One of the biggest wins in leading creatives is that creatives bring collective wisdom. There is something special when you see creatives doing the things they are most gifted at. As a leader, it’s essential to learn about your creatives. Find out who they are, what they enjoy doing, and how you can help accelerate, enhance, and remove roadblocks to clear the way for them to be able to create even more.

Creatives also bring a unique level of intensity and intentionality to the table. As a leader, it’s your role to be able to celebrate and work with them when challenges arise.

Due to their intensity and dedication to their work, feedback can be one of the most challenging aspects when working with creatives. Creatives put a lot of themselves into their work and become deeply attached. Feedback and critique can feel vulnerable and personal. It’s important to consider how and when to give feedback. Giving feedback also requires a delicate balance between providing constructive criticism and being supportive and encouraging. Be specific, timely, productive, and respectful when giving feedback.

Communicating with Creatives: How Leaders Can Be Effective

Learning to lead people takes time, intentionality, and hard work.

Providing clarity is the most crucial aspect to focus on when leading creatives. It’s essential to be clear and take time to communicate the “why” behind the “what.” This includes the mission, vision, big picture and sharing the details for the day-in and day-out projects. Overcommunicating what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how it impacts the bigger picture will help rally your team and allow everyone to see their purpose and how they play a part within the group. This results in a unified team excited about the direction and how they can specifically contribute. 

When there is clarity, your team will be able to succeed. With no clarity, it’s easy to get lost in miscommunication and confusion of details. It wastes valuable time and resources and creates uncertainty about how your team should move forward. Lack of clarity can also create frustration, stress, and disunity within the group resulting in your creatives not being excited about their work or passionate about the mission.

Relational Equity: Why It’s Important

We all know how equity works. You take your time, investment, or money and put it into something, hoping it will yield a greater return. Relationships are the same way. It’s important to pour into and build up your creatives and invest in them so they can continue giving back through their work ethic, time, and skills. When you take steps to invest in your creatives relationally, you will better understand who they are, how they are wired, and why they are the way they are. Investing in relational equity will help you to deepen your relationships, build trust, and grow the culture of your team.

Relational equity with creatives is vital. With the demands of creatives in today’s world, creatives could choose to work someplace else and make more money, but they are choosing to work within the church and use their creative skills to communicate the gospel. They want to be there; they don’t have to be there. By getting to know your creatives on a greater level than just what they do, they will feel appreciated, cared for, and respected. This will boost morale within their work and help them find more fulfillment and purpose within their role.

Ways to Increase Your Church’s Creativity: 

No matter the size of your congregation, every church has the opportunity available to take a step toward being more creative. Here are five ways to get started.

  1. Do your research by looking deeper into other brands and organizations to discover what people like or dislike.
  2. Find inspiration. Use Pinterest to create a mood board, look up the latest trends, and be inspired. 
  3. Bring in a variety of people. Seek and survey the people within your church, church staff, and guests to better understand what they like and don’t like. Gather people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds to get a wide range of feedback and information.
  4. When data is collected, use this information to do something different. It’s okay to be uncomfortable and try new things. When you have margin, test out ideas to see what could work.
  5. Assess and see how things went. Review the new things you tried by comparing current and previous analytics, ask for feedback from others, and be honest about what worked and what didn’t. Continue to stay innovative!

Final Five:

  • Book: Making of a Manager – Julie Zhuo
  • Podcast: Hidden Brain Podcast
  • Favorite Technology: AirPods
  • Quote/Advice: “You were never okay with normal; you always wanted to do bigger things.”
  • One Thing for Church Leaders: You’re doing a good job. Keep doing good work, and trust that God will lead you to what’s next. Keep building into emerging leaders.


“When people know you value them more for who they are and not just what they do. I say that it makes the good stuff sweeter and the hard stuff easier.” - Nicole Lucas
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“Leadership is a thing that you do. It’s a part of who you are. You lead regardless of if you’re in a leadership position or not.” - Nicole Lucas
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“Learning to lead people according to how they need to be led takes time, intentionality, and hard work.” - Nicole Lucas
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“When leaders can take the time to be clear about the “why” behind the “what,” it’s going to help all of your team, but even more so, creatives to lean in and own it.” - Nicole Lucas
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