Should we pay Christians for doing creative work for the church? This week I ask Matt Busby Andrews (a senior copywriter and a member of St Andrew’s Cathedral) to share his thoughts – and I welcome yours.
Maybe I could tell a story.
One of God’s truly great evangelistic entrepreneurs in this country would have to be Dr Paul White. To many, he was known as the Jungle Doctor. I think he served as a medical missionary in East Africa for maybe only two or three years. But he came back to Australia and milked those years for the stories. It gave him a national platform as an evangelist. I think he must have published thirty books – apart from dozens of kids comics.
On top of this, Paul bankrolled a bunch of very important creative enterprises. One was Christian television. I know that he backed Clifford Warne and his puppets and Bible stories and sent him to America so Clifford knew how to write and produce children’s television. On the day Channel 7 opened for business, Clifford was able to walk in the door and give them a kids show – with Bible stories. It kept going, on and off, for forty years. The second major work was kicking off Australia’s first Christian advertising agency, Pilgrim International. Essentially, this was built around a guy called Graham Wade. It provided a communications resource for loads of Christian para church organisations, in particular World Vision.
It seemed a thousand evangelistic flowers bloomed around Paul White. God used him greatly. But I honestly think one of the reasons he was so effective was that he paid the Christian creatives around him. Whatever Graham Wade or Clifford Warne or others did, they got recognition and recompense.
I once had a chat with AJ Hamilton who runs all the media stuff for Mars Hill Seattle. I asked him about how he managed to achieve the quality of design across so much of their output – the online work for Death By Love being a prime example. He said they make a habit of recruiting the best designers. Okay I said, but how do you keep them? Answer: they’re the best paid staff in Mars Hill.
Creative communicators are able to greatly accelerate the mission efforts of the church. Sure, you can pull favour here and there, and get a designer to do your next brochure. But the real step change occurs when you bring creatives in as paid missional partners.
Do you agree with Matt – should our churches (and the Diocese more broadly) bring in creatives as ‘paid missional partners’?
Does your church pay for creative input (e.g. design of brochures, development of website, etc), or rely on the input of volunteers? Why?
* This post was also published at Sydney Anglicans *