Ryan Skjervem Exclusive Interview

How would you describe where you are in life right now and how does that affect what you create?

I am in full force crazy mode. Currently we have three kids three and under and it seems like about the time I duck my head into the door at home, it’s non stop until the last one drifts into sleep, at which point I think my wife and I are spent and we crash during episodes of The Crown.

I think it truly affects the work that is happening right now. I do feel like my lack of sleep is a bit of a detriment to my creative process. I find myself trying to spit things out faster and with shorter and shorter attention to details.

We are currently, as a church, in a fairly large growth mode, so we are finding ourselves spread a bit thin as well. I find myself relying heavily on my design background and stores of resources in my mind (when I can remember them. I swear having kids means you leave pieces of your brain scattered amongst toys and crackers across the floor) Also getting inspired by things on Instagram/Pinterest to help me get the list completed week to week.

Describe one thing you wish everyone knew about working in the creative ministry field and why it is important.

I wish that the could be an “aha” moment for people when they are looking at creative things. That they would take a moment to understand the “why” behind the design, to appreciate the time, energy and process. That it would really help them connect to the idea and excite them.

What has been one of the most frustrating parts of creative church ministry for you or your team? How did you overcome it?

I think one of the hard things is time management i.e.: can you just throw this together…shouldn’t take you long….story of my life. It’s tough to help people understand the process when creativity may not be their “thing”. I think it’s a constant struggle. It’s like when my wife and I don’t view something the same. I have to learn how to explain and walk through a process to someone who may not “get it”. I need to remember that my brain is unique and works a lot differently than someone else’s. Just like I do not understand the mechanics of sports… I’m going to need a bit of time to process what they just said, when all I hear is, “RBI to the defense, MVP with the string of line, double fault, extra point win.”

What keeps you going in creative ministry? 

Knowing that there is a bigger picture going on that I am a part of. One of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around was the idea of working under vision. My job is to help illuminate and communicate the vision of leadership above me. They are there to set the culture and I need to come under that and fulfill it. Sometimes as a creative amidst a group of non creatives, it can feel like I am an “island” and feel misunderstood. But God created me to be different in that way. It allows me the ability to be the piece of the puzzle that wasn’t there before. If I don’t fulfill my purpose or think my piece needs to look different or go somewhere else, I am not coming under vision and becoming a rift in the flow God has created. 

I can’t do some of the things God has placed in the lives of those I work for, but as I create and function under vision, I get to be a part of that work God is doing in the city around me. I get to be in the hospital room with someone walking through cancer. I get to be in the counseling room with a family that is fractured. I get to inspire from a stage and speak in to hundreds of people’s lives who just need that glimmer of hope. I’m not there in body, but my work facilitates that ministry. 

Worst moments. Best Moments. What are yours?

I feel like my worst moments are when I allow my well to dry up and I get under pressure and find myself “reacting” to my co workers, my volunteers, and my family. 

My best moments are when I have an idea that I’m not sure how it will all come together under deadline, and I get the giant sigh of relief when it really truly does come to fruition. It may have not been in the way I planned, but I love it when God surrounds me with other creatives who give input and we see the breakthrough on the other side!

Describe your work/life balance. 

There’s balance?? I feel like it is a slight muddle of watercolor. this is an area I sometimes need to work on. I haven’t mastered anything in this area. BUT God. seems like I get breathers every once in a while, just when I am most desperate and I think God knows.

Describe your work environment and what helps you thrive in it.

My “floating workspace” is typically wherever the space is that I am designing for. I find that if I can work inside it, I get inspired and think up new ideas. I need to be tactically in it. I need to be not just envisioning the space, but breathing it, touching it, inhabiting it.

Ryan Skjervem

Creative Director at The Rock of KC

Ryan is an experienced designer who specializes in creating graphic and interior design for his church, The Rock of KC.