Deadline Creativity

This weekend was not fun for me. Late in the week we had a change in speakers. So instead of our senior pastor speaking during all 3 services one associate pastor would teach Sat and one would teach on Sun. It’s our normal procedure for when our senior pastor is not speaking, but I usually know about it in advance, not on Friday.

My senior pastor is unique, he is very planned out in what sermon’s he’ll be doing. He has rough outline and draft of sermons for the next year. Yes I said a year, I said he was unique. Granted in that year things change, but I usually have a good idea what the next 3 months are going to be. I get rough outlines (3-4 pages of handwritten notes) a few weeks before a series starts. I get finalized outlines (the content that goes on the projectors) Tue or early Wed usually, sometimes later if our pastor is traveling.

But with this last minute change I had the chance to experience what many creatives in churches experience, deadline creativity. I found out Friday (a day I usually work half days) that one pastor wanted about 20 images to go with his sermon as illustrations and the other wanted 4 clips pulled from the movie Miracle.

My typical creative time is about 2 hours for the sermon graphic (title slide and sermon slide) and 1 hour to put the content into the slides. So when we have 2 pastor’s speaking it’s pretty much a days worth of work for me once you factor in meetings and interruptions.

So I left at my usual time on Friday only to return early on Sat to prepare. After Sat service I had another set of sermon graphics to do. Finally early Sunday morning I pulled the video clips. For me I HATE working this way. My mind gets to worrying and thinking about the projects so Sat morning I couldn’t enjoy being with my family because I was thinking about what needed to be done. Same with Sat service, Sat night I couldn’t sleep and when Sunday services finally finished I was mentally exhausted.

I know some of you out there this is normal. You might be a part time or volunteer who comes in Sat night to prepare for Sunday service. Or your pastor my procrastinate/ flow in the Spirit. I’ve always thought God talks on Monday or Tuesday just as well as Sat night, you just didn’t want to listen then. Wait did I just say that? For you guys in that situation I’m not jealous. Made me realize how well this process is structured at my church, most of the time.

The things I learned from this:
-I don’t like working like that
-Make sure your well is full. You have to have a creative well to pull things from. If you don’t have anything (ideas/ resources) then it’s much harder


July 22, 2008. Graphic Design, Personal Growth, Tech Stuff, Video.


  1. Adam Oas replied:

    For me it’s not a weekly but more of a seasonal thing where I’ll have a few months of normality then as a big event comes I’ll have a month or two where I’m working like a dog 70+ hours a week, culminating with a race where it’s a 90+ hour week. There’s just no way around it in media (or really any environment) it’s just a part of the job i guess.

    ps. I see you twitterred that you’re learning C4D… I’m jealous.

  2. Dave replied:

    I agree with you Adam. All media environments have their “push” seasons where you’re going full speed plus some. I have those seasons as well.

    I was thinking more about those who work in the church environment and it’s a weekly scramble because their speakers are not planned out ahead of time.

    I can’t imagine those who work in a news room or network where they are creating promos that play in a few hours from when they get the scope of the project.

    Yeah I’m taking some classes at on C4D. I was able to pick it up for a fraction of the cost. So far it’s hurting my brain to get a basic understanding of the 3D modeling mentality. But it’s bearable. I just need to set aside a couple hours to get the basics down.

  3. Mike Sessler replied:

    Good point, Dave. I have always been puzzled by people who insist that they can’t plan ahead because they need to “let the Spirit move…” whatever that means. Seriously, I don’t think God is surprised every weekend, wakes up and says, “Oh my gosh, it’s Sunday, I need to tell those pastors what to say!”

    I’ve seen services planned months in advance affect people deeply, often times touching on things they were going through right then. God is just as able to give direction weeks in advance, which gives us creatives time to do good work to support the message.

    Though we plan our series out months in advance, I often don’t get sermon notes until 2 PM for a 5 PM service (with predictable results). In this case, you get what you prepare for.

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