The Power of Delegation in Church Graphic Design (Newsletter 3-11)

The Power of Delegation in Church Graphic Design
Brandon Robinson

It’s an incredible honor to visually communicate all that God is doing in our churches. But it’s also a challenge when churches often have only one designer (or none at all and the work falls to a generalist). This can lead to burnout and is a disservice to the people we are called to serve. So how do we get out of this place? The answer I’d like to propose is delegation.
Now, I know what you are thinking: “Delegate?! That sounds amazing, but delegate to who?”

We can delegate to ministries in the church with the right style guides, templates, and training. Then we can foster a collaborative work environment, equip and give ownership, and reduce burnout:

Collaboration and Shared Responsibility
When you delegate, you are allowing the team to get in on the ground floor and play a significant role. This shares responsibility and fosters more collaboration. From here trust is built between teams, and everyone is generally happier with the outcome of the project. It’s a team effort, not just something foisted on your to-do list (or their’s).

Equipping and Ownership
With both teams playing a role in the strategy and development phase and sharing responsibility, you are not only giving ownership to the other team, but also equipping them for the future. Most people don’t know they can do something until they are given an opportunity. A template and style guide can go a long way.

Equipping and ownership in my eyes go hand in hand. You are more willing to take ownership if you feel properly equipped and if you are equipped you are more likely to take ownership in the future. Delegation is a great way to accomplish this.

Reduces Burnout
Burnout is something I think designers have accepted as “part of the job,” but I don’t think this has to be the case. By delegating we’re sharing the workload and taking proactive measures to not burn out. This makes you better a teammate and ultimately frees you up to work with excitement on all the things God has called your church too.

A bonus of delegation is that it can act as a filter for unnecessary tasks. When ministries realize they have to create the marketing materials, their requests often become more realistic.

How Design Delegation Works
This sounds great, but without the “how” it’s just a good idea. As we explore this at Transformation Church my hope is that delegating graphic design within our staff feels completely attainable. What I am about to share next is how we do it at Transformation Church. It is not comprehensive nor is it the only way. I would encourage you to reach out to other churches and designers in your area to see what they do as well.

Communication Tiers
First, you need to create a tiered system. It is so helpful separating projects into high emphasis, medium emphasis, and low emphasis, with specific parameters for each. This does takes the stress off deciding what to create, sets realistic expectations, and allows you to work proactively:

High emphasis projects:
• 100% developed by the communications team.
• We meet and strategize with the specific ministry team first, but the actual creating is owned by our team.
• These are big projects, such as Easter, Christmas, giving campaigns, etc.
• We do a full marketing push with print materials, web graphics, social graphics, email, etc.

Medium emphasis projects:
• Split 50/50 between the communications team and the ministry team.
• We come up with the communication plan, but the execution is shared. We provide templates, and they create the specific materials, such as internal print material and email communication graphics.
• These are reoccurring events such as membership classes, or targeted ministry area events, such as financial stewardship classes.
• These projects have a smaller marketing push, usually a digital presentation and weekend promotion graphics.

Low emphasis projects:
• Split 80/20: 80% is owned by the specific ministry team, and 20% is owned by the communications team.
• With these types of projects we provide templates, training and direction, but the ministry area owns the development.
• This is not to say that this ministry area and/or their event isn’t important, it’s just not something that the majority of the church needs to know.
• These are things such as, weekend teen meetups or a monthly kids newsletter.
• These projects have minimal materials, often just digital graphics.

Templates and Training
All of our design delegation is template based. We provide the ministry team with necessary templates for them to own the design. We primarily use Power Point, Word, Creative Cloud, and Canva. This allows other teams to create quick graphics that will be within your brand guidelines and—more importantly—you don’t have to create!

I also make myself available for training. Sitting next to someone and training them builds trust and creates a safe space for them to learn. This is key. You never want to delegate a project or an aspect of a project without training. These sessions don’t have to be long or come with curriculum. The best way to train is often to work on an actual project together. This makes the training session realistic and actionable.

Relinquish Control
All of this requires letting go. You can’t micromanage every project. That defeats the purpose of delegation. This is where you need to trust in your style guides, templates, and training. You may need to relax your high standards and focus on improvement over time, but the payoff is worth it. Remember the goal is to serve your staff and the people of your church, not to win awards.

As graphic designers we have an important role to play in the church. We get to inspire and visually communicate all of the amazing things God is doing in and around us. However, burnout is real and we can only accomplish so much. My hope is that through delegation we can empower others and ourselves to have a healthier and more collaborative experience.

The above article, “The Power of Delegation in Church Graphic Design” was written by Brandon Robinson. The article was excerpted from web site. June 2017.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”