There is a Dynamic Tension Between Artists and Leaders

Last week I wrote an article for an upcoming issue of Neue Quarterly. I wrote about the dynamic tension that exists between artists and senior leaders in a church. I'll let you know when the article is published, but to give you a preview, I included this list of how artists and leaders are different...

  • Artists want to help people experience God. Leaders want to give them truth about God.
  • Artists want the freedom to try stuff, the chance to risk. Leaders personally like risk, but when it comes to the services, they want to know what is happening and have a pretty good idea it's going to work.
  • Artists are feelers. Leaders are thinkers.
  • Artists want to leave room in the program for spontaneity and the move of God. Leaders figure God will move ahead of time during the planning phase.
  • Artists have a hard time logically explaining how the artistic elements will contribute to the goal of the service...they just feel strongly that it will work. Leaders have a hard time planning a service around a feeling.
  • Artists like asking questions. Leaders like giving answers.
  • Artists like leaving the audience in the tension of the unanswered. Leaders feel like they are failing if they don't offer a convincing message.
  • Artists want to be a part of the dreaming phase. They want to know the "why" and not just the "what." Leaders want someone to create a service around their concept.

Obviously these statements are filled with generalities. There are many artists who are great leaders. And there are plenty of leaders who have the heart of an artist.

But I would be curious what you would add to the list? Where am I wrong? What have you experienced when the relationship between artist and leader is at its' best? What about at its' worst?

Tim Stevens14 Comments