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Tagged with “kind” (5)

  1. Kevin Rose, Serial Entrepreneur | Cool Tools

    Cool Tools Show 110: Kevin Rose

    (Photo of Kevin Rose by Christopher Michel)

    We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $358 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! – MF

    Our guest this week is Kevin Rose. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur and product builder, having founded the social news site Digg in 2004. Later Kevin pursued a career in venture investing, investing in companies like Medium, Ripple, and Blue Bottle Coffee while at Google Ventures and is now investing at True Ventures.

    Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

    Show notes:

    Peloton Bike ($1,995)

    “I had taken a couple stationary bike classes and the ones that you actually have to go in person, but then I had a buddy of mine, that was like you don’t understand, these classes are a lot of fun, they really motivate you, you can do it your house, and for me that just sounded like, okay, I’ll give it a shot, and I went and tried it at a friend’s house, and I got hooked, purchased one, and for a geek it’s awesome because you get all the really detailed analytics on the screen there post workout, and then it’s all live streaming classes, so like when you’re in a class the instructors will call you out by name sometimes, and there’s all different types of instructors depending on your music style and likes, so I’ve just found it to be a great way — if you have an extra half hour — to just jump on for 20 minutes and get a work out in.” [Note: True Ventures, the venture capital firm Kevin Rose works for, is an investor in Peloton.]

    Habitify: Habit Tracker

    “I’ve been into habit tracking apps, but they always kind of fall off, but as a data junkie, and kind of a geek, I really like to see and be held to certain habits, so I like to see like completion rate, and progress indicators, and little charts and graphs. This is just a really beautiful and simple habit tracking app. So for me, I set up daily habits that would be say “meditation” and there’ll be habits that I want to happen three times a week, like “cardiovascular exercise”, or taking certain vitamins three times a week, things like that, and so this is just my go to app for all things habit tracking.”

    Ledger Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet ($132)

    “I’ve tried both the TREZOR and the Ledger, and I wanted a place to have a physical device that is required to unlock your wallet, so that, that means, you know if I lose my laptop, or wherever I’m storing my cryptocurrency, you have to have this device along with a PIN code to authorize any transactions, any sending of any of your coins or tokens. The reason I went with Ledger though versus TREZOR is just the amount of companion apps and kind of built in coins that they support. I’m looking at their site right now, it looks like they support close to 30 different coins, and that was more than TREZOR.”

    Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit ($30)

    “A little hobby of mine is fermenting vegetables, and I’ve done this with a whole variety of different stuff. [I] started with sauerkraut, and I’ve done pickles, and things of that nature, but it’s always kind of a pain, it’s difficult in that these things are expelling gases, and you always have to keep everything submerged the right way, and this was a device that I had found probably a year ago called The Easy Fermenter that really makes it easy. You buy these little glass weights that sit inside of any standard mason jar, so it keeps all of your vegetables submerged beneath the brine, and then all you do is just screw on this lid that has an automatic exhaust valve to allow the gases to escape, and it’s as simple as that.”

    Also mentioned:

    Oak meditation


    Comments (0)

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  2. Steven Murphy on Effective Video Announcements | unSeminary

    Lightning Round Highlights

    Helpful Tech Tools // YouTube/Vimeo

    Ministries Following // Elevation Church Charlotte, NewSpring Church in South Carolina

    Influential Book // “Start with Why.” By Simon Sinek, “Die Empty” and “The Accidental Creative” by Todd Henry

    Inspiring Leader // Bob Goff

    What does he do for fun? // Antiquing and Paint Balling!

    Interview Transcript //

    Rich – Alright everybody, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. Happy Thursday, hope you’ve had a great week because you kind of countdown to this weekend at your church. Today, we’ve got a real treat, a church leader that I met years ago who’s a real expert in the area that we’re talking about today. So, I’m excited for this. We’ve got Steven Murphy on the line today. Steven, welcome to the show.

    Steven – Thank you very much for having me. This is awesome.

    Rich – I’m so glad you’re here. We bumped into each other a few years ago when you were at a previous engagement, when you were working at Sea Coast which was a great experience. Sea Coast is a great church. Currently, you work at Joyce Myers Ministries. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background, give us the Steven Murphy story.

    Steven – The nutshell side of it is that I got into television when I was actually a full time, hardly full time, just high-capacity volunteer in youth ministry and we actually toyed with the idea of doing a public access show for teens. Me and one of the other guys went done and took an eight-hour training course at the cable company. With those eight hours of training, you were then authorized to use their stuff. Honestly, that show never came to fruition but that was the kick-starter that what became a hobby and then ultimately a career and that’s been over 25 years that I’ve been in television production. I’ve did a lot of live sports when I was living in Phoenix Arizona, traveled all over the world doing that for all the big networks. Then in about 2004/2005, my wife and I just got to a point we said, “How can I take what I’ve always done with TV and video into the church world.” I took my first church gig in 2005 and worked for a couple big churches, as you mentioned Sea Coast was one of them.

    How’s this for a segue? In my church experience was tasked with putting together video announcements. What started off as, “What do you want? What are we doing with this?” became a passion of, “Alright, how do we do this well? How can we use this medium to the best and just communicate well?” That’s why it became a passion for me. I don’t want to just phone this in. I want to do it well.

    Rich – Right. You know it’s so funny, the video announcement thing, I think in the last few years and again you’re the expert on this but it seems like over the last even five years, it’s become a more and more standard practice in churches. A lot of churches are doing video announcements. Is that your impression as well?

    Steven – Very much so, in fact I tweeted a crack that video announcements have kind of become the church clip-art of 1990’s. Sadly, I feel like so many churches are doing video announcements because all the other churches are doing video announcements. I think that’s where it kind of degrades a little bit. It’s like, “We’re the last church that’s not doing them. We should do them.” I think churches jump into them with little or no research, little or no expertise on their staff. To me, that is one of those areas where it’s like this is part of the first impression that visitors are getting of your church. For that matter, I’m a metaphor guy and when I look at a church service, I look at it as real estate and that you’ve got about 60 to 90 minutes to use well. First of all to foster an environment where people can encounter the power and presence of our God and secondly, to really give them a postage stamp version of what the life of your church looks like. So, it just kind of grates on me when I see churches dive into that haphazardly and take 3 to 5 minutes of very valuable real estate and misuse it. That’s the part that kind of gets me, “Come on. You can do better.”

    Rich – It’s funny, last spring, I was on a missions trip, a clean-water (our church does a lot of stuff with that kind of clean-water efforts around the world) and had the privilege of taking a team to Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. On the Thursday night, we had an incredible privilege; we got to go to Thursday night church just outside of Granada in Nicaragua. We pulled up. It was a great service. I speak about as much Spanish as I do Russian; I don’t speak every much at all but, it was a wonderful experience. The whole was just great. It’s interesting, we’re out in this kind of a barn of a facility, it was really nice super-well-kept but not a fancy location but in the middle of all that, here was video announcements. This church had found we actually knew the guy who uses a little camcorder and pulls together video announcements every week at their church. I was like clearly the video announcement thing is wide-spread.

    Why don’t we dig into it? What are some of things that when you talk about some of the things that go wrong in video announcements or some of the things that kind of pit-falls maybe a church should avoid when they think about video announcements.

    Steven – Like I was saying, I feel like a lot of churches just dive in, feeling like they’re behind so they just go for it with little or no plan. I’m very much a why-guy. Read a good book about a year and a half ago called Start with Why and it really helped crystalized my thoughts on, “Okay, this is what makes sense. You can’t just read the bulletin for 5 minutes.” I think if you’re going to go with video announcements, then you’ve got to start thinking visually. You can’t just move a talking-head from a podium to a screen. That’s what I think really one of the first things that happens is, “We just read the bulletin and we put it on video.” Then, you’re not really maximizing what that medium is good for. Be visual.

    You were just talking about mission trips. Well, it’s one thing to stand up and say, “We’ve got a great mission trip coming up to Nicaragua. It’s in six weeks. If you want to go, you should sign up.” You haven’t really communicated other than a date and time. Give people a reason why you are going. Give them a reason why your church is passionate about serving the people of Nicaragua and then mix in some photos or some video from the last time you went. For that matter, I’m very much a fan of story; get a quick 30-second synopsis from somebody who was on the last trip. Obviously, they’re going to speak very passionately about what that trip meant to them and why they’re going back. These are the things that are going to wet people’s appetite more than just calendar fodder. I think very much in our churches, we’re very much about what. We’ve got plenty of stuff to do but we rarely give the why. We rarely give the reasons why our church is giving things like this time and the calendar space to happen.

    Second to that, if you really want to do video announcements, identify somebody on your staff or start thinking about a hire. One of things that that’s really occurred to me lately was that you wouldn’t just grab somebody off the street and say, “Hey, why don’t you lead worship in our service. I don’t know anything about your background or your skill but this is just something that we really want to do.” I feel like that’s one of the things that happens in churches. “You know the youth guy, he knows a little bit about video.” Well, that youth guy is probably really strapped in his schedule and now you’re putting this on his plate. You go in without a plan. You go in without any real long-view as to what things look like for the next 6 months and you start them.

    Rich – In our world, we do video announcements every week. I think our guys do a really good job just to underline a couple things there. We don’t want to just transfer the talking -head thing, like we had one person just standing up there. We want to actually show as much, (the term I’d heard used before) the B-roll or footage from, actually seeing things happen. Let’s actually illustrate what it’s like to be in this whatever event or that you’re promoting. Obviously it’s a little of a bottom-less pit like television commercials are 30 seconds long and they can take half a year to put together. What would a rule of thumb do you think that a church when they think about how long it might take between shooting and editing to pull together a decent video announcement?

    Steven – I think that the reasonable time-frame is a good day and a half. That’s just because, I look at that you’re usually talking about a four-day work week (and I hope that churches either given their staff a Monday or a Friday off) that you’re really trying to cram a whole lot into that four days. So, you’ve got a day’s worth of work as far as planning, scheduling, shooting and then the edit and I would always throw out that you’ve got to throw in a little extra that I hope that somebody gets to review that things and you may have to go back in and do a reedit, tweak something before you actually kick it out and have it ready for the weekend. That’s just one of those things to where I just don’t think a lot of leadership knows what it takes to put together a video. It’s like, “What? It’s just 2 minutes, how hard could it be?” There are a lot of hours that come out to making that 2 to 3 minute video and it’s not so easy. It’s just tedious and time-consuming at times.

    Rich – I found that part of my role has been internally, trying to communicate with people when they ask for video stuff from our video guys to just articulate how long that takes. Coming up with some sort of calculation that’s like, “Well, if the video’s going to be 3 minutes long, generally, it’s 3 hours per finished minute so that’s going to take 9 hours work for us to do.” Every editors going to be a little bit different and very situations going to be a little different but it’s good to kind of figure out what that is because a lot of times people all they see is the finished product and it actually takes longer than you’ve ever anticipate it taking. What else should we be thinking about when we think about video announcements?

    Steven – One of the things that occurred to me in the last year, even though I’m out of having to do it week to week, I just like to watch and see what’s happening out there. The propensity to have a boiler-plate section, do a search on YouTube or Vimeo for church video announcements and you’ll find this in 90% of them, “Hi, welcome to Such-and-such Church. We’re so glad to see you this weekend. If you could take a moment and please fill out the visitor card, it’s in the seat in front of you and drop it in the…” Okay. We get that part. To me, that’s something that should actually come from a human. I think that we again started to look at video announcements as this weird catch-all for those kinds of things. I would just much rather see that from a pastor or a staff member that’s up on stage and right in front of the people. Video is a great way to get messages across, it’s a great way to be visual but, something like that to me should be more personal. That’s should come from a human right in front of you that’s making you feel welcome as a new person or as maybe somebody who hasn’t been at church for a year. Save that real estate for actually announcements, save that time for making things stick.

    Again, you mentioned mission trips, that is one of those things that I think that is a great medium because you can be so visual with. At Sea Coast, we had this on-going relationship with Habitat for Humanity that we had teams going out on a regular basis. Don’t just give a date. I grabbed one of the guys and said, “Let’s go shoot on the site.” Just the location itself becomes a part the announcement. You’ve got 2X4’s and hammering and nailing and stuff going on behind and that to me is all the more enticing than just somebody giving dates and times. Let the medium work for you instead of just, “We know that video announcements is 3 minutes this week and here it is.” Then, everybody down the line is just kind of phoning it in and my heart goes out to the video guy who’s got to make that work every week.

    Rich – Have you kind of encouraged churches or seen churches, they might get into a regular pattern and then take a break. We’ve done this actually two weeks ago; we didn’t have any announcements at all. I remember in the Monday meeting going into that next weekend, I was like, “Yeah, there’s no announcements this weekend at all,” and people were like, “What?” I was like, “Yeah.”

    Steven – “Can we do that?”

    Rich – “Are we allowed to do church without it?” I said, “Listen, I want times in our schedule where we just are not constantly shilling for stuff and give a bit of break, a bit of a breather, a bit of a Salem-moment.” Obviously, the same is true with video announcements, right? Taking a break every once and while is a good thing just to kind of keep it fresh.

    Steven – Absolutely, I’m all in favor of, I always call it, going dark. If you don’t have some real meaty things that you need to promote that week, then go without. I dare say if you did an exit poll of people walking out of your church, “Did you miss video announcements?” “Didn’t even think about it.” I think that all too often our video announcements may end up being way too internally-focused. “That one ministry really wants their thing on.” I remember one time, we didn’t have anything going on and I was asking around. I was like, “You got anything?” This one guy said, “We’ve got a financial seminar.” I remember thinking, “I can’t make that real visual. That’s the only thing that we have? That’s going to be tough.” I don’t think that your service will suffer any if you go without for one week.

    Rich – That speaks to connecting to the broader communications strategy, right? Like you said earlier, you let the why drive first. Why are we doing this? What piece does this play? How does this fit into the overall mix? What piece of our strategy does this fulfill? Let that be the preeminent thing rather than, “Okay, we need to fill a time-slot. Let’s watch paint drying in the senior’s room because we have to.”

    Steven – They think that they just get this kick that, “We have to have video announcements this week.” I’m never going to be a proponent of that, to do it just because you can. You’re wasting somebody’s time.

    Rich – Are there churches that you think do a particularly great job, if people want to look at or kind of explore what other people are doing, who would you point them in the direction of that you think do a great job on video announcements?

    Steven – The real easy one right off the top of my head is Elevation Church in Charlotte and they post their stuff on Vimeo. They blow everybody out of the water. Early on, one of the big sparks for me is that I went to a service at North Point in Atlanta and they do a phenomenal job. They do a 10-minute announcement thing that starts well before the service but that’s because they’ve got full seats and a captive audience and an amazing team. Elevation just has really done a great job of capturing the story element and just really telling what the church is doing on an ongoing basis as opposed to, “Here’s a thing coming up.” It’s like, “Look what your money has been doing. Look what your involvement is doing in changing our community.” It’s a great unifier in a church like that that’s got a good dozen sites that really shows people what that church is all about. I’m just a big fan of that. When you switch it from calendar fodder to, “This is our DNA, this is what our church is about,” I think that’s something that’s just got teeth as opposed to just spouting dates and times all the time.

    Rich – Definitely, is there anything else that you want to share with our listeners before jump into the lightening round?

    Steven – Yes, honestly it’s just, be strategic. Figure out what you want that thing to look like and not just this week. What do we want the next 6 months to look like or the next year to look like to where you’re really maximizing what that medium can do for your church instead of just spouting calendar, instead of just taking up several minutes. It just cracks me up sometimes when I come across video announcements that are 7 and 8 minutes long. That to me says, “This is a church with no strategy whatsoever.” Pick the top 2 or 3 items that you really think are going apply well to your church and then go after them with a fever that says, “We want to tell this story. We want to really sell this to our people in a way that lets them know, this is what our church is about.”

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  3. George Mekhail on launching multiple campuses after closing the first one. | unSeminary

    Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadPodcast (video): Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe to the unSeminary Podcast: [iTunes] [RSS] [Stitcher] [TuneIn] // [VIDEO iTunes] [VIDEO RSS]Today’s podcast is a conversation with the Executive Pastor at a fast growing church in the North West called East Lake Church. Sprouting out of the one of the least “churched” communities in the country, East Lake gives some fascinating insights into reaching out into a “post-Christianity” culture. During this interview George talks about how they launched a campus … and then closed it because it wasn’t meeting their needs … but then went on to launch more. It’s a fascinating conversation and full of insights for all kinds of churches!George Mekhail // [Website] [twitter]Interview Highlights //01:45 // George started attending EastLake with his wife when it was 300 people02:10 // Ryan Meeks started the church for friends who might have a hangover on Sunday morning03:10 // Launched their first multi site campus and later closed it down04:40 // Rich points out that growth to 5000 people in the North West is unheard of06:25 // George serves as ‘Executive Pastor’06:53 // Decided to go multi site again in 2011 with a new structure08:20 // EastLake didn’t want to have a glorified overflow in it’s second campus11:45 // Two ways EastLake avoids ‘main campus’ thinking14:30 // George talks about the mistake of the hologram15:55 // Staffing at EastLake is only 30% of budget17:40 // Resources made available to be a generous church because of high value on volunteer ‘priests’Lightning Round HighlightsHelpful Tech Tools // Evernote, Fellowship OneBook Worth Reading // The End of Religion by Bruxy Cavey, Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLarenMinistries Following // The Meeting House, Mile High VineyardInspiring Leader // Pope FrancisWhat does he do for fun? // wife and two kids, vacationing, legos, tea parties, golfing, hiking, readingInterview Transcript //Rich – Well good morning. Happy Thursday everybody. It’s Rich Birch, the host of the unSeminary Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. This is the podcast where we try to provide kind of practical insights from amazing church leaders from across the country. Today we have a great guest on our show. In fact this church, EastLake Church, I think has been listed more than any other ministry as a ministry that people are following and looking at, which is amazing. I am super excited to have George Mekhail on the phone with us today. George, thanks for being on the show.George – Ya, thanks for having me Rich.Rich – Ah, I’m super excited you are here. Thanks so much for taking time out. George, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and EastLake.George – Ya, sure. My story kind of started all the way back in high school when I started rebelling a little bit against the church background that I grew up in. I started to ask some of the deeper questions of life…what am I doing here? How am I going to invest this life that I have. Really started down the path of I don’t believe in God. I don’t really think there is a point to this whole thing. After some time, and after talking to my dad who was really always harping at me, you got to take your life more seriously and that kind of stuff, I made the turn and just kind of started to take things more seriously. Since then it has been a fun journey. Got married really young. My wife and I found EastLake when it was a year old at the time, in 2006. And we fell in love with it. Started going every week. It was about 300 people at that time and meeting at a Junior High. It was an interesting season. There was a lot going on in the Seattle area. EastLake was started by our lead pastor Ryan Meeks. They moved up from San Diego. Ryan had a lot of friends up here, went to high school up here with his wife Michelle. And really there was nothing up here as far as churches that existed for people who didn’t have a church background or didn’t have a church so to speak. Ryan described it, he wanted a church for his friends who had a hangover Sunday morning and who have anywhere to go. So that’s kind of how EastLake started. About a year and a half into EastLake we were really just blowing up. About 1400 people by I think 2 and a half years in. Outgrew the space we were in in 2007. Relocated about 5 miles north to a town called Bothell which is about 25 miles north of Seattle. Ever since then things have just taken off. In 3 years since moving into Bothell we were running at about 5000 and once again had a space issue. And had to decide what are we going to do? Are we going to try to raise 3 million dollars and try to renovate this building or are we going to try and dabble in this multisite thing that we keep hearing about. So 2010 we decided that we were going to try multi site so we started a campus in Bellview, the east side of Lake Washington. So we have two sites, the Bothell location and Bellview location but really realised pretty quickly, about 4 months in, that we weren’t ready for what this was. We weren’t a multisite church. In month 5 we did something that surprised a lot of people, we closed the Bellview location and went back to being a single church. And that was interesting because Bellview was actually really successful. There was 800-900 people attending.Rich – Wow.George – It was successful by all standards. It was financially self sustaining, but there was something not there. Close it and decided hey, we will decide some other way to solve our crowding issue so we started more services, just really tried to find a way to manage it until we had a better plan.Rich – Well there’s a lot there. There’s a lot to unpack. That’s fantastic. On EastLake, I know when it’s your own story, ‘we grew and it’s 5000 people’, this isn’t in the South. You are in the North West. I know you know this. The kind of place where people don’t attend church. It’s just not, there’s not the cultural assumption that you would attend church just normally. So what is it do you believe God is using to draw people to EastLake?George – Ya that’s a good questions. For me at least, sort of that rebellion and discontentment that I was feeling, what I loved about EastLake that struck me right away, and I think my wife would identify with this, you get this overwhelming sense that people are real. People are authentic. Friendly, warm, they are not faking it as much as you can not faking it to a stranger on a Sunday morning holding a cup of coffee. I think it starts there. Accepting people right where they are at. I know that’s how I felt. I know that the thing that allowed me to give God and faith and the spiritual journey a shot. “Oh, there’s normal people that actually do this.’ And I think that was a turning point for me and I’ve heard that story repeated over and over again. You are right. Not a lot of church around here, not a lot with church background. People would say that we are the least churched city, or we were the least churched city, not sure if that is the case anymore but it certainly was the case years ago.Rich – Now what’s your role at EastLake? What is your day to day there. So I am the Executive Pastor. That’s just the easiest way to explain it. We don’t really use titles on a business card or anything. I’ve found that saying that is just a lot easier.Rich – So now, let’s go back to that unique story. You were one campus, you went to two, it was growing, succeeding, paying the bills and then you compressed back. But you have subsequently gone out and launched campuses. What was it that helped you to turn the corner and be able to do that?George – I think it was just really admitting that A, we weren’t really ready the first time. We did it all wrong. And trying to analyse why. What wasn’t working? And that sort of describing that intangible sense that we weren’t ready. But I think what it really came down to was that we were trying to just import what we had at the first site to this other place without really caring about this other place. So it was like you have this main campus mentality where they had all the bells and whistles. They had all the best staff. Everything was at the main campus. This other campus down the street, they got some of the best staff every other week maybe. And they just had like, it was just subpar really. And it was close enough that it was just kind of noticeable to people. I wasn’t even on staff at this time so even for me and my wife, we would go to both depending on which one our friends were going to or whatever. So that sense existed there. So going multi site again in 2011 we knew that we had to do it differently. It started with how we approach our structure, how we approach our staffing, what commitments we were going to make to all of our sites to basically try to keep them as uniform as possible and not have this glorified overflow room feel. Multisite in that way which is what it felt like the first time around.Rich – OK. So now tell me a bit how you structured. What does that look like? Obviously one of the realities of multi site it’s constantly evolving and changing. Why don’t you tell us what you’ve done and what you are learning that is kind of transferable to other churches, so that other churches don’t do the same thing. Kind of have to close down a campus.George – Ya, definitely. Well, I mean I’m actually really surprised that you started this off by saying that a lot of people are looking to us to kind of see how we are doing it. That’s scary because we don’t know what we are doing so geez, people who learn from us have got some problems. Basically what we’ve done is really tried to approach structure by thinking ahead to where we want to be and not so much what our current realities are. If we would have done that from the onset we could have avoided some issues, but I think just the awareness that the structure was going to need to be flexible and bend at every iteration of multisite, and every staff member that you add, and every department you are trying to improve. So for us it really was, and this was one of the main reasons I was brought on staff. It was two months before we went multisite the second time I was brought on staff and my role was very vague. It was to figure out central support. Whatever that means. Here are some books to read. Some people are doing it. Go figure it out. And so, that was really kind of how we started. What are some things we can centralize? What are some things we can have localized? And really what is the goal of multisite. Is it to be as efficient as possible? Is it to have as many campuses as possible? Is it to have big campus? What are we really trying to do? I think where we have landed or landing, we change our mind quite a bit, is that really the most effective use of multisite is to be able to replicate resources as efficiently as possible, in multiple locations so that we don’t have to build that 30 million dollar building and be a regional site. There are so many ramifications just within that. Being one regional location, for us, people were driving 40-50 minutes sometimes just to get to our one location. One of the things that we say or we’ve heard is that it is hard to be the church where you don’t live. If you had to drive out to 50 miles, it’s really, really hard to do ministry in your normal life. Outside of Sunday, how are you going to invited your friend to drive that long with you. So that was our big critique, we wanted to take the church to the communities. Not just be that overflow room. So consistency across all sites is something that we’ve really tried to adopt. We have tried to be intentional about killing it in our main campus because we don’t want it to be, we don’t want this mothership feel. We want to avoid the main campus language. All that stuff is out of our language. It’s our biggest site, it’s our original site but it’s not our main campus. There is really nothing about it, other than it’s size that makes it our main campus.Rich – Ya, what are some of the other kind of practical ways that you have tried to live that out. So language is one of the ways. Are there other ways that you try to enview, ‘Hey, this isn’t like the step child to our other locations.’?George – Ya, so from day one, Ryan or whomever was speaking left the main site and went to our Seattle location from Day one. And then from there about 10 months into multi site, we started to catch wind of this new thing that was happening thanks to Life Church in Oklahoma, and that was prefilming the message. Something that they do periodically depending on the schedule and what not. We wanted to take it further and say what happens if you do this every week? So probably one of the more unique things that we do is we pre-film all our messaged. So every Thursday Ryan comes in, or if it’s a guest speaker, they come in and they film the message for Sunday. So by the end of day Thursday we will have the message ready to go to play and all of our locations are video. So on a given Sunday you cannot find a live speaker at any given EastLake location which is great. It gives us so much flexibility. It’s one of those things where we can be, like right now, we are about a month and a half ahead so we have church in the can for the next two months! Which give us flexibility. SO when you show up to the main campus and there is no ‘dude’ up there speaking live, that pretty much is a big hint.Rich – That’s huge, have you found….the church I am in, Liquid Church, we were actually doing that for a while, that we found that at the campus that we originate from, when we switched to video it felt like we were taking something away. In your case, Ryan used to be here and now he’s not. It’s almost like we are punishing that campus. Have you found those dynamics?George – Totally.RIch – That’s on purpose.George – I don’t know if it’s on purpose but it’s definitely a learning. So first of all, when we went multisite, Ryan did a great job of preparing us for the inevitable. Which was, we are going to lose people. People are used to a certain experience, a certain commodity when they come to church that depending on the level of buy in, they aren’t going to be ok with a dramatic change like this. One of the unfortunate things that happened when we went multi site was we tried to overcompensate for this fear, this impending reality which was, we are going to take something away from Bothle, and the way that we were going to compensate for this was we were going to give Bothell a hologram experience, because we wanted them to have somthing. We were taking away their live speaker. True story, we bought a hologram and projected an illusionary hologram image in our Bothell location so that when you showed up it looked like something from Star Wars. It was not fun. We killed that in about 3 months and just kind of decided to land on the fact that they are going to have to be ok with losing something.Rich – So if anyone needs a hologram projection system, you’ve got one for sale.George – We do. Absolutely. Just call me. We would be happy to sell it to you.Rich – Nice. That’s fantastic. Now one of the words that I have heard describe your campus is ‘unconventional’. Or that you kind of think about things in a different way. Can you think of a couple things, maybe one way, that you think you kind of approach things in an unconventional manner. What you are doing on video I think is unconventional. It does push against the natural wisdom even in multi site you need to have somebody somewhere preach in front of a life audience somewhere.George – Definitely. That’s probably the main thing pragmatically. I would say the other thing that has always been kind of in our ethos is a low staff participation as fars as whose carrying out the ministry. The idea of priesthood of all believer we actually try to live out as much as possible. We have a very high volunteer culture. We run about 30% staffing, 30% of our budget goes to staffing.Rich – Oh my goodness, that is low.George – Most books will tell you they are running 45-60% but across the board we are simple, very low budget as far as what we spend money on to carry out the ministry. Other spending resources that come to help Charity Water which helps bring clean water to nations all across the world. But this idea that volunteers really do a lot of the responsibilities that staff traditionally do has really helped shape everything about us. It helps people feel like they are needed and therefore it helps establish community, these really deep routes I think. People believe in EastLake because they help pull off EastLake. When I think unconventional I think ‘Man, if we didn’t’ have volunteers we really couldn’t pull off a Sunday. It’s just that simple.Rich – So you know what your staff to attendance ratio is? What does that look like to your Sunday attendance?George – We have 38 full time staff and average about 4200 across all campuses. So whatever that ratio is.Rich – Wow. That’s amazing. I’m not good at math so…that’s fantastic! The thing I don’t want people to miss there, what that has allowed EastLake to do, if you have journeyed with EastLake, followed them, they are a very generous church. You have done a very good job motivating your people to be generous, but then just out of the normal offering you do a lot of work, which is incredible. That resonates, that’s attractive to the community.George – That actually goes along with the way that we go about it is unconventional. We have thrown two parties in the last three years called drinks for drinks. Which is basically a giant kegger, we invite local cover bands, the last one we had about 1800 people come and actually most of those people don’t even go to EastLake. We promote it in the community and ended up in one night raising $850 000 that ended up going to Cambodia.Rich – Fantastic! Anything else you would like to share with our listeners before we jump into the LIghtning Round?George – Ah, no, I think we covered a lot there. Hit me with the Lightning Round, Rich.

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  4. Ben Callahan – Structuring Your Workflow for Responsive Web Design » UIE Brain Sparks

    Ben: This is the question that I always get. [laughs] It’s not just from other folks in the industry, but obviously from every customer that we talk to. A lot of times, and I’ll just kind of explain here kind of how exactly this ends up playing out for us. A lot of times when we were doing fixed bid pricing, a customer was committing to us for the duration of a project.

    Maybe, let’s just say, it’s a three month project, and it’s $50 grand, something like that. We’ve got some duration. We would look at that. We would say, “Let’s do three payments. We’ll do a third upfront. We’ll do a third when we’re halfway through, and we’ll do a third at the very end.” We would structure something kind of like that.

    There are contracts that are signed in that scenario, that commit both parties to doing all this stuff, and making all those payments. What we found is that in order for us to request the flexibility and pricing that we want, we also have to give a little bit in terms of the flexibility for that contract.

    What that means is that we don’t ask somebody to sign a long-term contract for us. In that same scenario, we would certainly put some thought behind, approximations, of what the budget should be. We may come up with a very similar number, but it’s all with the understanding that it’s an estimate. We’re doing our best guess here.

    Then what happens is if we don’t do our job, if our customers aren’t happy with what we’ve delivered, they absolutely have the ability to walk away. Everything that we’ve done up to that point is theirs.

    That understanding means that for us, we’re basically sharing the risk of the project with our customers. Instead of committing to some number, and seeing scope change, and dealing with all the struggles that come along with that kind of management, where there’s change request, and just constant dialogue about that. What we’ve found is if we don’t do our job, we lose it. We have to make our customers happy. We have to show that we’re delivering value for the price they’re paying.

    Now, we’ll also say, for us, we adjust our hourly rate to make sure that we’re inline with what will allow us to deliver a really high quality project for a price. In the end, what happens is this becomes a very constant conversation with our customers. It opens up the conversation about money. We find ourselves literally every week talking with our customers about, “Hey, we’ve spent 60 hours so far on this. That’s about where we think we should be.”

    But also, it’s possible that, “Hey, we’re a little behind honestly. What we’d like to do is get into a little bit more depth of conversation around the priorities that you have. Let’s get those literally listed, first priority to the last priority, and recognize that we may not get all the way through this list. If something is going to get cut, what should it be?”

    It puts those decisions in our customer’s hands, and allows them to prioritize exactly what we work on, obviously with our recommendations for what would be a valid delivery. We get to work with them on it, I guess, is the point. That’s created much better, much stronger, longer lasting relationships with our clients.

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  5. Greg Atkinson on 4 Keys to Creating an Irresistible Church | unSeminary

    Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadPodcast (video): Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe to the unSeminary Podcast: [iTunes] [RSS] [Stitcher] [TuneIn] // [VIDEO iTunes] [VIDEO RSS]On today’s podcast we have church consultant, author and pastor Greg Atkinson. We’re talking about four areas that every church should work on to become more irresistible in the coming year. This episode is overflowing with helpful thoughts on how to make your church the kind of church that people will want to attend and to tell their friends about. We based this conversation around a chapter of Greg’s book “Church Leadership Essentials“. Listen in on this episode for some practical insights on things you could improve at your church in the coming weeks and months.Greg Atkinson // [Website] [twitter] [Church Leadership Essentials: What Every Pastor Needs to Know]Interview Highlights00:30 // Greg’s ministry experience01:10 // Greg is the editor of an online magazine02:00 // Greg’s new book, ‘Church Leadership Essentials’02:20 // Becoming a more irresistible church in 201402:45 // Becoming more irresistible in the area of First Impressions03:16 // First Impressions begin online before a guest has attended your church03:20 // Guests should know that they matter to us before they hear that they matter to God03:49 // The fastest growing churches in America expect guests05:30 // Greg asks ‘is the pastor approachable, accessible?”06:02 // Rich recalls a time when he was mislead to an empty new comer room08:25 // How humbling that the pastor of one of the largest churches in America is still available to speak with after each service10:06 // Walking slowly through the pews11:00 // Becoming more irresistible in the area of Children’s Ministry12:16 // Kids environments must always be Clean, Safe and Secure16:40 // Paint goes a long way17:17 // Impact of impressive Kid’s environments is greater on parents than kids19:52 // Becoming more irresistible in the area of Security20:11 // A mega church that Greg failed in the security area25:59 // What’s involved in good ushering28:57 // Becoming more irresistible in the area of Attractional Worship29:55 // Church success is dependent upon people inviting their friends31:56 // Greg reminds us that we don’t want to offend a guest by anything that is within our control33:59 // Greg’s book – Church Leadership Insights: What Every pastor Needs to KnowLightning Round HighlightsHelpful Online Resource // Gmail, Google HangoutBooks That are Having an Impact // Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp, What the Plus by Guy KawasakiInspiring Ministries // Crosspoint, North Point, NewSpring, SeacoastInspiring Leader // John MaxwellWhat does he do for fun? // Date nights with his wife, hanging with his kids, movies, guys night outCheck This Out // 8 Effective Ways to Follow Up With Guests at Your ChurchInterview Transcript //Rich – Well, welcome to the unSeminary Podcast. Rich Birch here, your host. We have got a real treat here to kick off the new year today. We have got speaker, writer, consultant, Greg Atkinson with us. Greg is a 20 year veteran of church work. He’s a real expert in so many different areas and a gift for us as we kick off the new year. He’s actually left the local church environment to make himself more broadly available to serve churches all across the country, ultimately around the world. Also is working with an online magazine right now. Greg welcome to the show. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the online magazine you are working with these days.Greg – Thank you for having me. I am in a season right now where I am speaking, and writing and doing some freelance writing. Working on some book projects that will be coming out in 2014, 2015. And I am the editor of Christian Media Magazine. It’s an online magazine and we are going in a new direction. We just have a whole new look. A whole new feel. We went through a rebranding process and are coming out in the new year going strong trying to reach church leaders of all types to get them to read the magazine, to learn about media resources for them.Rich – Nice. Very cool. We will link to that in the show notes so people can get a sense of that and learn more about that. It’s obviously a great resource for people to get plugged into. Well one of the things you wrote, you have written a number of books and we will talk about your book a little bit later. One of the books you wrote recently, I have it on my kindle so I apologize to those who can’t see that….’Church Leadership Essentials”. It’s a fantastic resource you should check out. If you over the holiday season got your new Kindle, you should buy this book. It’s only $5, common! One of the chapters in there we what to really drill into for churches, because I think a lot of churches can benefit from this, is How to be Irresistible. How to be more irresistible as a church. You actually talk about 4 different things in there and I think that’s a great for all of us. It would be great if in 2014 our churches were more irresistible than they were in 2013. So let’s talk about those 4 areas. What’s the first area churches should think about when they want to be more irresistible?Greg – Well in the book, and in my writing and my teaching I talk about 4 areas and the first area is First Impressions. And that, as you know, starts before they come to the actual campus. I include online presence in that. I Include your use of social media, your website. Most people nowadays will check out your church online before they ever come to it physically. Once they get there, Mark Waltz from Granger has a great quote in his book where he talks about how you’ve got 10 minutes somewhere between the parking lot and the children’s center 10 minutes will pass. They should know they matter to us before they hear about how they matter to God. So I like to focus on those first 10 minutes and letting people know that they are welcome, they are loved and that we were expecting them. One of the things I found when I work doing my consulting is that the fastest growing churches in the country actually expect guests, they aren’t surprised when they show up.Rich – Oh wow. That’s good.Greg – It’s like they gear everything towards the first time guest. Everything from Welcome Centers to Children’s check in, to signage, to parking lot greeters, everything is geared towards that first time guest. So they are ready and waiting for that first time guest to show up. Just having that good first impression in that first 10 minutes.Rich – Ya that’s good. Is there something that you’ve come across that some church has done on that first impression stuff that has been particularly intriguing to you? Wow, that’s something I’ve never seen before. To kind of make those first time guests feel extra special and welcome as they arrive.Greg – A lot of churches that I have worked with will do some kind of either a VIP room after the service, or a Guest Central after the service, or a meet the pastor. Some kind of opportunity where you go into a separate room, decorated like a party atmosphere, I love the VIP rooms that churches do and they have the little giveaways, maybe a little bag with goodies in it with stuff about the church to welcome people. And then you get to actually physically shake the pastors hand and some of the other key leaders at the church. Some kind of way that they get to actually make that connection on the first visit. Actually, when I consult with churches, one of the things I look at in my report is ‘Is the pastor approachable, accessible?” And that’s something that visitors are looking for, are they going to get a chance to talk with him, to hug him, to pray with him. So that’s something that I like to see is at the end of the service, to have some kind of guest central or visitors spot where people can come in and meet key leaders.Rich – That’s amazing. That’s a great tip. My wife Christine and I, when we were first married, it was within the first year. We were looking for a new church. We had moved into a new community. And we went and visited, it was kind of one of those churches that was going and blowing in town, it was doing a great job. And during the service the church said ‘we’ve got this new comer room, we’d love for you to be there’ You probably see where this is going. And they had some signage out in the foyer saying here’s where the newcomer room is. And it was a little bit weird because it was downstairs and kind of off in a corner but we were like, oh this is fine. So we go and we stand and there’s sure enough a big sign, ‘new comers’ in front of the door. And we go in there, and we just stand there. And there’s no one there in the room. And I was like, and I’m like a Christ Follower. I love Jesus, big-time. And we are standing there feeling so awkward, what’s going to happen next, and no body came in. So we just kind of slinked back out the door.Greg – That’s poor execution.Rich – We slink back out to the parking lot. You know, that’s a great church. I’ve often thought of that with the guest services stuff at our church, because that’s a great church. They do a great job and are doing a lot of fantastic things. And there are are weekends when things go wrong and your normal system doesn’t happen. But you know what, the reality of it is, there are people that visit every weekend so you have to nail that stuff 52 weeks of the year, or however many weeks of the year you do services.Greg – You gotta give it attention. You’ve gotta give it your presence. You’ve got to make it a priority. One thing I like to help churches do as a resource is to brainstorm creative names. I mentioned you could call it a VIP room, a Guest Central, a New Comers Welcome. One of my favorites is Erwin McManis in LA calls it the After Party. And so they have a party after each service and you can meet each pastor, and Erwin if he is there live. Love to throw out different ideas.Rich – That’s fantastic. On that front, still to this day, Bill Hybels, you know I find this humbling, after all these years he will hang our at the front and talk to every person and shake a hand and interact. I think there are a lot of pastors of churches that aren’t 30 thousand people, or however many Willow has gotten to these days, who are like “i’ve got things to do, I’m a busy person.” I commend Bill on that! He’s willing to stand around. I had brought a friend to Willow in the last year and we were at their last service, we did the tour thing and poked around and popped into the auditorium at the end and sure enough, this is now an hour after the last service and Bill is still hanging around, shaking hands, talking to people. And I was like, hmmm, that’s a humbling sign for me because I think I am often just rushed on Sundays.Greg – It speaks volumes. When I consulted with 12Stones in Atlanta, their pastor Kevin Myers, they were just recently named the fastest growing church in the nation, but he’s down front praying with people, hugging people, crying with people, counseling with people after each and every service. We all have that potential to be rushed, like you talked about, it’s human nature. I wrote a chapter in the book about walking slowly through the pews. That is something that I learned many years ago, nearly 20 years ago from my veteran uncle who had been a minister for many years. He came up to me after one of the services and I said, ‘What did you think?’ I was a worship leader and I thought I had done a good job leading and I thought that was all that mattered. And he said “Greg, walk slowly through the pews. You rushed right by people, you just rushed down the aisle, and you were always in a hurry to get places, and you didn’t make eye contact and shake hands and speak to people.” And so I never forgot that, and we always have to be intentional about walking slowly through the pews.Rich – That’s a good bit of wisdom for sure. So first impressions, that’s the first area. What’s the second area we should be worrying about in 2014 if we want our church to be more irresistible than last year?Greg – In Childrens Ministry, we as evangelical modern churches we are often trying to reach parents with young kids. And how you welcome kids when they come, how your rooms are decorated, all that speaks volumes, what they learn, is it just babysitting or do they actually learn stuff about the Bible and about God. Great churches send kids home with devotional material, or homework to go over with their parents. I love the ORANGE philosophy and the thought of partnering with parents where we send resources home, at my church, with the kids for them to show their parents, and the parents bring it up over dinner. ‘Ok, this Sunday you talked about Daniel. What did Daniel do? Then the discussion. Actually in some ways it’s like a reverse discipleship because a lot of the parents aren’t strong Christians at all. But the big three that I always talk about, and there’s a chapter in the book about this, is Clean, Safe and Secure. Clean: If a parents drops off a child and it is a wreck. it’s not clean, it’s not sanitized, presentable, it’s not nice neat and tidy. It’s going to give a negative first impression. Again, they are going to feel like you weren’t expecting guests and they’re going to get a negative impression, and you don’t want anything negative in the first 10 minutes. Clean, Safe and Secure. Safe means that there’s nothing dangerous in the room, there’s no jagged corners or corners sticking off the edge of some rusty table that a kid could fall and cut their eye open on. It’s got to be safe. And last, secure. It’s got to be secure. How you get in, how you get out, how a child get’s checked in. That’s why so many churches use database systems like Fellowship One, where you get the name badges, and you have to have a matching number to check the child out. And also secure meaning there’s not a back door that’s unattended in the children’s facility where the kid could wander out into the street and get kidnapped or picked up. In my church there’s one way in and one way out of the children’s part of the facility and those were monitored by security guards. We had a great security team. And you didn’t get out with a child unless you had a matching sticker. It was very secure. Clean, Safe and Secure.Rich – Very cool. On the children’s ministry front are there some common low hanging fruit that churches could implement even in these first months of the year. I think a lot of times people get overwhelmed when they go to a church like North Point or Mariners out west and be like ‘oh my goodness, this is Disney World, we are not going to be able to do this.” But are there some low hanging fruit that, people could do, even right away to help improve their children’s ministry.Greg – Ya, we recently, the church where I was most recently the campus pastor, we were a multisite church and we moved into a new facility. I wanted to do something like North Point, Mariners, kind of a wacky world theme. Where Wacky World comes in and decks out the walls but we couldn’t afford it so we hired a local designer, a local print shop to make us those appliqués that stick to the walls, that look like Wacky World. So it was done very economical, very cost effective, but it looks professional. It looked like something I’d seen because my old church I was pastor at in Dallas, they had used Wacky World so I was familiar with what their stuff looked like, and it looked like it, but it was done by a local print shop so it was very economical. My thing is excellence in all things, so if you can shoot for excellence, it doesn’t have to be Wacky World if they are not in your budget and you can’t afford it, but if you can try to, you know I was looking at a church…I visited a church two weeks ago and they are a great church, a large church, a mega church, but walking down the halls to their children’s facilities, they were just bland. It was like khaki, or cream walls, just walking all down the hallways. There was no vibrant color, nothing inviting, nothing exciting letting me know that I was in the children’s wing of the building. Just real drab and bland.Rich – Absolutely. Ya, the environment piece is a huge deal. It’s amazing. Even if you are a church listening here today and you are thinking I’m not even sure we can afford to get some printing done, well you should look into it because it’s not as expensive as you think it is. But even if you can’t afford that, you would be amazed by what you can do with paint.Greg – That’s what I was going to say, paint will do it.Rich – Absolutely. You can paint some walls. We just went through a renovation of a facility and people are blown away by the kids environments but when you step back and look at it, it’s mostly paint. There’s some environment stuff too but mostly what you are impacted by. There was a study done recently, I believe it was by Cogun I need to go back and check the reference on that, where they basically went in a studied and asked kids and parents and families in these church environments where they’ve had the kind of Wacky World environment pieces and the impact that it’s had on them, and what they feel about the church, if it’s the kind of place that they can invite their friends. It’s interesting, what they found is, the kids…those environments, very quickly, within a couple of weeks, they just become paint on the walls. It just becomes kind of expected. They think of course I go through a slide to get into my kids environments. But listen, for parents, it almost lasts for years.Greg – It’s the parents. It speaks volumes to the parents.Rich – Absolutely, years later you are thinking ‘oh my goodness, I can’t believe my kids get to go down a slide to the kids environment!’Greg – That’s what I wish church leaders would realize. They think, ‘they are a 3 year old, what do they care, let’s give them some crayons and let them color.’ They don’t realize we are trying to reach the 20-30 something parents that the kids are precious to them, their pride and joy, and when they come to a church that is inviting and welcoming to kids and has that Disney Land kind of feel, colors and attractive, compelling looking appearance, it just speaks volumes to the parents. And that is included in that first 10 minutes. Making that first impression when they think my kids are happy, I am happy, and because it is clean safe and secure and I am not going to worry about their safety so I can worship and actually pay attention to the message and pay attention to what God wants to do in the service. I can allow God to speak to me. I am not worried if my child is going to go out that back door, or hit is head on that rough corner of the table. They are not worried when it’s clean, safe and secure and they can focus on what God wants to do on their hearts in the worship service.Rich – Absolutely. That’s a huge lesson. That’s one of those things I wish more church leaders would take to heart when it comes to their physical facility. OK first impressions, children’s ministry. What’s another area that we can invest in this coming year to make our church more irresistible?Greg – Yes, the third area is security. A lot of churches don’t think about this. That clean, safe and secure, the word secure there, that applies to adults as well. They want to feel secure. I worked with, I’m not going to say which church it was, but it is a well known giga church, mega church with a well known worship leader and pastor. Amazing church. And I worked with them as a secret shopper and I did my report and the last question says would I return to this church. Would I come back as a guest and I said no. And they were stunned and shocked but they were also pleased that someone was honest with them. That someone would shoot straight with them. And that’s what a consultant is supposed to do. I’m not just supposed to tell you what you want to hear. And they said ‘tell us more about this. Why wouldn’t you come back? We have some of the best worship in the country?” And I said but you’re not secure, and I didn’t see any security present. I didn’t see any people with ear pieces in. I didn’t see any police officers roaming around which should happen in mega churches. I didn’t see anything around to let me know that I was safe. We live in a world now…I’m a movie guy, I love movies. And just the other week at my local theatre there was a shooting that I was almost there and I would have saw it and it would have wrecked my life for the rest of my life to have seen it. But a guys wife went out on a date with another guy, and the husband came and gunned down, the guy shot him 5 times in the movie theatre parking lot, and everybody around that was going to a movie saw it and I was this close to being there and seeing it. You know, there has been a number of church shootings. There’s been kidnappings and disgruntled parents coming in and grabbing their kids out of kid classes. A divorced dad taking their kids without their mom knowing. So security, if you want tour church to be irresistible, and if you want it to be welcoming and inviting and again that God factor. You want people to focus on Christ and the worship service, you don’t want them worrying about are their lives in danger. You gotta have security measures in place. So when I work with churches, and I only work with very large churches, but I’m looking for the people with ear pieces in their ears. I’m looking for people with the walkie talkies. I’m looking for the people with guns on them. I’m looking for the people that give me a dirty look if I try to go somewhere that I am not supposed to go. Because I’ll try to get into children’s ministry areas that I am not supposed to get into as a secret shopper. And I’m looking for people to stop me and say ‘whoa, where do you think you are aging?” and I’m testing that security as a secret shopper. It’s just something that in this day and age, as much as a I hate to say it, now we are in 2014, you got to be secure and you have to take security seriously. We had an incident about 2 months ago at my church where I was campus pastor where a guy came in drunk. And he was known, he was a guy I had been counseling about alcoholism, and had been trying to get him into AA, and he was too proud to get into AA. He said he could beat it all on his own. He needed to be in AA and he had a reputation for being very violent when he got drunk and getting into a lot of bar fights and beating people unconscious. He was like a MMA fighter, lethal. He could really hurt people. And so he came up to me on a Sunday morning and said ‘Man, I’m sorry, I failed. I went out to a concert last night and I have been drinking all night and I’m so sorry.” And he was just wreaking of alcohol and I patted him on the back and said ‘I love you man, maybe God will speak to you today.” And he went into the service. As campus pastor I went to all our security guys, we have two police officers, off duty police officers who just always carry guns with them. And then we have ushers and security folk and some ex-military guys and I just went to each of them and I pointed the guy out. And I said he’s drunk and if he makes a move for the stage, tackle him, don’t let him get to the stage. And I just had to point it out. And that’s just me doing my job to keep our church secure and safe. Thankfully nothing happened. He left, he cried after the service, he said that God was speaking to his heart and he left but who knows how many drunk people show up to churches on a given Sunday. But I had every eye in there on him security-wise, trained on him just watching him to see if he made any sudden moves to rush the stage and so just gotta take precautions.Rich – That’s obviously, pardon the put, but that’s a sobering thing to talk about. It’s the kind of thing that we don’t think about a lot but it’s the kind of thing that a lot of us go back and loop back on our security procedures for this coming year and say what is it that we need to improve on this front. Maybe we need to be a bit proactive.Greg – This is something that doesn’t get talked about all that often. Some of it is just within your first impression ministry you have parking lot, you have greeters, you have people that attend a welcome center or information center or guest central. But you also have ushers and you don’t want to forget the art of good ushering or good ushers that not only seat people, but are active and attentive during a service. We had a situation, it was a year ago last January, where we were, I’ll never forget it because it was our last service in our old facility before we moved campuses. We were getting ready the very next week to move to our new facility as a campus and this was our very last service in our old building and it was a very special, meaningful service and I shared memories from people because we had met in that building for 5 years and I shared stories. And as I’m talking, I’m up front sitting on a stool sharing stories form people having a very powerful meaningful moment, this women with dementia started walking up to the front started screaming and yelling at the congregation, and talking about her husband thinking she was cheating on him and her husband had been dead for years, he wasn’t even alive. Her husband thought that she had done something with her husbands brother and she talked about people climbing through her window and she was just talking out of her mind and in my mind I was thinking where are the ushers ushering this women our of here. I didn’t want to be the mean bad pastor that tells this woman to be quiet. So I was patting her on the back saying ‘ok, ok, ok’ and I’m just patting her on the back and thankfully she wasn’t mic’d. I didn’t hand her a microphone so most of the people couldn’t hear what she was saying it was just gibberish, but I was hearing the nonsense that she was saying. So we had a meeting after that where we said, ‘if something like that happens, if you see anyone like that come up to the stage that shouldn’t be coming up to the stage you need to just grab a hold of them and say please come with me we need to usher you out. Just ushering, just basic ushering. I’ve seen, I remember in college seeing someone rush the stage and try to take a swing at the pastor as he was preaching. I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my days. Twenty years of ministry, so security is important. You want people to feel safe at church. If somebody tries to run a the pastor and try to take a swing at him, you remember years ago Charles Stanley, Andy Stanley’s dad got punched in the face. So when stuff like that happens people don’t feel secure and safe so we just have got to take precautions. That’s all I’m saying is take precautions.Rich – That’s good. That’s a good one. Alright so First Impressions, Children’s Ministry, Security which we just talked about. And what’s the fourth area that we could be looking at this coming year.Greg – That would be excellence in attractional worship. And that means that you put everything you’ve got into that. Whether you meet on Saturday night or Sunday morning or Sunday night into that worship experience, or worship experiences…giving it everything you’ve got from worship flow, song selection, authenticity, your communication, preaching, teaching, sound, video and lights, making services memorable and powerful. I think of that passage where it says go out and compel them to come in. Things are done in such a way, and we really had this at my last church, it was such an amazing worship experience that people wanted to tell their friends about it. And I remember years ago attending the evangelism conference at Willow Creek and hearing Bill Hybels talk about the success at Willow Creek has always been and will always be people inviting people. And that was hard for me to hear because I am a marketing guy, I am big into marketing. I could market with the best of them. I’m big into marketing. But I needed to hear it’s about people inviting people. At the end of the day it’s about word of mouth. Word of mouth will always be the best form of marketing. So when you craft services where people can encounter the living God and where they are guest friendly and you don’t use churchy talk, you don’t say anything in which you would have to explain and get into the Greek and get into theological reasons of why you would have to use that word. We try to avoid all churchy lingo and try to talk just like you and I are talking right now, just common, casual conversational language. And make it where our people feel safe. So you have your core there, where your people are attending and they trust you and love you. And trust is that key word, they have to trust you. They have to feel comfortable. They have that person that they have been building a relationship with at work or at school and they say ‘hey, why don’t you come check out our church. I think you would really like it. It’s not like any other church. Come give it a shot.’ And then everybody tells those stories of the week that their guest that they have been inviting for so long finally shows up and they have that cringe factor. They are thinking oh I hope everything goes all right. I hope the pastor say something stupid. I hope he doesn’t preach on money today. They have that cringe factor and they see that the stakes are high and they want it to be a great service for their guest that they have been praying for. So we as pastors, as worship leader, as service programmers, we are always aware and sensitive to the fact that it is somebody’s first time at our church. And that happens every Sunday, it is somebody’s first time at our church and we want to make sure that they are not offended by anything that is out of our control. If they get offended by anything Gospel, we can’t help that. The Gospel can be offensive. But if they are offending by bad lighting, or poor communication, or music that’s not done with excellence and you have an off day musically it just turns people off. So just doing your best when it comes to the actual worship experience.Rich – Absolutely, that’s one of those lessons to let just soak in. There’s a lot there. There’s a lot to unpack but continuing to invest in what happens Sunday from your own teaching, to what happens in the musical piece in the morning and all those individual elements. Maybe you take one or two of those and say ‘I am going to spend three months with our musicians so say ‘how can we bring this up? How can we bring up the quality from there?’ Then we take another 3-6 months and work just on teaching, on that piece. Work your way through the service to bring the quality up so it does have that attractional outsider focus. This has been an incredible conversation. I want people to understand, today we, this is a bit awkward, but this whole conversation has been based on one chapter of Greg’s book. Now, I’m not a book sales guy, but you really should pick up this book. Today we’ve been talking just about one piece of this and we’ve pulled a lot out, it’s been like a 1/2 hour conversation and the thing I love about this particular book ‘Church Leadership Insights: What Every Pastor Needs to Know, it’s similar to the kind of content that we do at UnSeminary. It’s really practical and it’s stuff that they just don’t teach you in seminary. They are not wrestling through this kind of content. I think it’s the kind of thing you could pull apart, you could use it for training with your team, buy a bunch of copies and use it in that environment. Or just walk through it and say what difference does this chapter make in our church and how do we just go out and apply that. Is there anteing else on this content that you want us to wrestle through before we move onto the lightening round?Greg – I was just going to say, when I first came to my campus they were in decline and they were struggling and I was actually the third campus pastor in three years and they had dropped down to a very low number of people and were really struggling and so I just went into evaluation and assessment mode. I had been a consultant before I came to the church so I looked at the weak links and they were first impressions, children’s ministry and worship. Those were the weak links at the church. So I hired a part time children’s minister and if money is an issue don’t let it because I could have had a lay leader do it, a lay leader be the children’s minister but I hired a very part time kids pastor to oversee kids and take that to the next level. And then we had a transition with our worship. We had an interim worship guy. We had a transition and then did a nationwide search to find a worship guys and it was great. We found a guy who was from a North Point Strategic Partner Church, one of Andy Stanley’s strategic partners church. And he did a great job. He got our concept of church for unchurched people and reaching the lost and he took our worship to a whole new level so we started slowing turning things around. And then honestly, first impressions was always a work in progress. We doubled or tripled our team in size but we kept adding greeters, we added a parking lot team, we added two people to the information center and started expanding the role of ushers and just started putting a lot of beef and emphasis into those areas. So it was, when I write about this, this is what I was dealt when I came to this campus as campus pastor, these were the week links that I had to address. So all of my writing is born out of experience. And like you said, it’s not stuff they teach you in seminary, it’s not stuff they teach you in BIble College. This is just stuff you learn the hard way so I hope it helps people.

    —Huffduffed by theprd