Leading from Behind the Camera

Sebastian Strand is one of the senior film editors for Hillsong Church, creating film content for albums, conferences, Hillsong Channel, and more. He’s a Dove Award-winning director (Hillsong Worship There Is More), and one of the most creative, fun, and cheerful people you’ll ever meet.


I grew up in a Christian environment and, whether I felt like a leader or not, I would always hear, “If you’re a Christian, you’re a leader.” I didn’t love these ‘encouraging’ statements and their challenging nature, until I moved to Australia to study TV at Hillsong College. I realised then that leading people isn’t something solely reserved for pastors. Leadership is necessary in every sphere of church life. And our involvement, wherever God places us, usually involves leading at some capacity.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned from teams and leading in the TV area of church life:

1. People want to be included.

People who volunteer do so because they want to help — they want to serve. This doesn’t mean that we dump on them the tasks we don’t want to do ourselves, but rather, we delegate. This approach involves  them in the process and takes people on a journey. When people work together, no matter the size of the job, they build relationships and add value to the end goal.

2. Don’t be a control freak.

Your solution isn’t always the best solution. Don’t underestimate the collective intelligence of your team. Sure, sometimes people make mistakes, but we should give everyone a chance to try their wings. If they have a better process than you do, stay teachable. The more you get to know people, the more you can play to their strengths.

3. Lead by example.

Go the extra mile. Practice what you preach. Be on time. Get people coffees and do the ‘small’ tasks that keep things on a personal level.

4. Be polite and appreciative.

Say “please” and “thank you.” Give high fives. Encourage your team.

5. Don’t forget to laugh.

Do something silly. Sometimes a funny joke can break a tense atmosphere and be very encouraging. Keep in mind the jokes and the silliness should be relatable and inclusive for anybody to jump in and have a laugh. Just remember when to be serious, so you can execute the job in an successful manner.

Last of all, a little encouragement. You’ll never have the perfect team and you’ll never be the perfect leader (I know… Whoopee!). Just because you don’t feel like a leader, even after years of leading, it doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job. Take confidence, lead in love and stay teachable on the way.