Collaboration is a huge part of everything the Church on the Move creative team does. But at the same time, there?s quite a bit of autonomy for each person involved in the process.
They approach their creative process like multiple movies. Each segment of their services?specifically their Christmas services?has its own writer. For the worship team, that meant 8-10 segments they were responsible for. Then Andy Chrisman, who leads the worship ministry at Church on the Move, assigns those pieces to different people. Those producers then sit around a table and pitch their ideas to Whitney George or Andy. Then they decide which ideas have the most promise.
After that meeting, each person goes back to their offices and studios to work on the segments. Later, they come together again and make comments on the products after listening/experiencing the segments as a group. That?s when the collaboration can happen.
A lighting designer might make suggestions to a musical piece because they have an idea for a cool lighting cue. Or a sound engineer might be able to make a comment based on something they?d like to do. A video producer might think a song is too long to make a compelling video for? They do that with every piece?going back and forth every meeting.
After that process, they will finally feel like they?re all on the same page with each scene of the service. Then they separate and work on their segments.
The team is in a place creatively where they trust each other enough to let them do their thing with the segments they?re given.
One of the things that Andy Chrisman believes in strongly when it comes to worship is maintaining relevance as you get older. Andy came on staff in 2005 to take over the worship team. They kept almost every musician and singer originally, but he began changing a few things to accommodate his style. As they grew as a creative team, though, he realized they weren?t as flexible as he needed the team?to be. So he made a change. He began switching out the band to a younger crowd.
Previously they had paid their older musicians, but he needed more flexibility. He wanted folks who were ready to stay later and work harder to develop a unique sound. When you?re 17, 18, or 19 years old, you?ll get there?early and stay late. That?s what he wanted. He figured he could teach them to play better and how to get better tone if he needed. But he primarily wanted youth.
Because of this, it?s been easy for Andy and the worship team to have a younger sound. The truth is, those younger people on the team will know about music the older folks won?t even have heard of. You kind of have to be in your mid 20?s to find music that?s popular. And Andy strongly believes that the church is about the younger generation?not necessarily about him.
More than half of the Church on the Move congregation is made up of people who are Andy?s age or older. But to him, they aren?t the future. In his mind, the younger people need to shape the music and content. He wants to make a church they want to bring their friends to. They shape the service as much as possible. Andy?s even getting to a point where he sees his job is just to make sure they don?t run the bus off the cliff?asking the right questions and leading them the right way. But otherwise, they lead the way.
That?s how he survives and thrives in a situation like that. When it comes to being relevant and forward thinking, he chooses to surround himself with 20 years olds. He says he?s grown as a musician more in the last 8 years than he has in his entire career.
Here?s the take home for you and your church this Christmas season: How can your team best collaborate? Do you need to work together on everything or assign specific projects to specific people? Also, how are you maintaining relevance. Even if you’re just pushing 30, are you already embracing the younger generation in your team?