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Tagged with “people” (24)

  1. Expectations vs Agreements

    Steve Chandler ‘s take on how we invite disappointment into our lives by creating uncommunicated expectations on others.

    Hi, my name is Andrew Miller from Business Enjoyment

    I am building a community of people who believe that the measure of success in business is about much more than just sales and profits. Money is important, but merely a step along the path, rather than the end in itself.

    In fact, I want you to enjoy your business so much it makes your bits tingle.

    I run a number of discussion groups built around the Business Enjoyment Model where we explore the things that really make a difference in business.

    There are events at different times all over Yorkshire plus a completely FREE version online.

    Go to

    to find the best one for you.

    For other information on what I’m up to, choose one of the following links to follow

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  2. Idea to Production with Studio Neat - Tom Gerhardt + Dan Provost at ConvertKit Craft + Commerce 2018

    This is Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost’s main stage talk from Craft + Commerce 2018. If you like what you see, learn more and grab tickets to the next Craft + Commerce right here — use promo code YOUTUBE at checkout for $100 off.

    In 2010, Tom and Dan founded Studio Neat, a company that makes simple products across a variety of categories. They remain the only two employees and have intentionally remained small, in the pursuit of autonomy and staying true to their design values. In this mainstage talk, they walk through their entire physical product creation process they’ve learned from creating their own products from idea and validation to prototyping and final production.



    Craft + Commerce is the annual conference dedicated to helping creators earn a living online, and is hosted by ConvertKit in Boise, ID. Craft + Commerce is the combination of:

    • Inspiring (and educational) main stage talks from full-time online business owners.

    • Nitty-gritty workshops teaching in-the-weeds levels of detail on how to build a business around your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel.

    • Parties, meetups, and sma…

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  3. Interview with Greg Boyd

    Greg Boyd has been one of the most influential people in my life for the past nine years. From afar, he has helped to form and shape my theology. Now he is consulting theologically on my latest book ANOINTED—the book I pitched to SONY as a movie.

    In this interview, Greg and I talk about his latest book and mine, why relationships matter in the Kingdom of God, the power of our imagination as it relates to our faith, and lots more!

    Be sure to watch the entire interview to find out how you can enter to win a copy of both Greg’s book and mine. Or visit this link now to enter:

    Find out more about my book "ANOINTED" here: Find out more about Greg’s book "Cross Vision" here:

    Get a free copy of my bestselling novel here

    Other videos you might like: How I Pitched My Book as a Movie to Sony: My Red Carpet Moment: Let’s Make a Movie: This is One of My Top Ten God-Moments:

    Other books by Greg Boyd: "Seeing is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer" : "Escaping the Matrix: Setting Your Mind Free t…

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  4. Heaven & Earth

    An animated walkthrough of "Heaven and Earth" Want to see more? Our Website:

    Say hello or follow us here: Twitter: Facebook:

    The theme of "Heaven and Earth" begins in the first verse of the BIble: "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth."

    The Bible Project is a non-profit creating animated videos that explain the narrative of the Bible. These videos are free to use for personal and educational purposes. Download a full resolution version of this video along with a study guide at

    Support us so we can make more videos! You can give to the next video at

    Help us translate this video into other languages. You can find a transcript below. Email your translation to

    Heaven and Earth Transcript:

    About the authors:

    Tim Mackie is a Pastor of Door of Hope church and a Professor at Western Seminary.

    Jon Collins is a founder of Epipheo and Sincerely Truman and a veteran explainer video producer.

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    watch my all of journey as an entrepreneur HERE:

    Listen & Download on The GARYVEE Audio Experience HERE: iTunes: iheartRadio: Soundcloud: Spotify: Overcast: Google Play: Player.FM: Stitcher: — ♫ "Queso" by Pell -

    ♫ "Eleven:11" by Pell -

    ♫ "Late Flip" by JMKM -

    ♫ "No Greater Love" by JMKM x 32Keys -

    💿 : DailyVee Selects: -…

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  6. Helen Fisher — This Is Your Brain on Sex | On Being

    April 20, 2017

    Ms. Helen Fisher: You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake. But then when you sit down and eat it, you just feel that rush of joy. And in the same way, I know a lot about love. I know a lot about marriage. I know a lot about adultery and divorce. Know something about the brain. Certainly know — hopefully know something about evolution. But I’m just like you and everybody else. When it hits you, you’re off to the races. There’s been times that I’ve walked towards the phone saying, “Don’t call him, Helen.”

    Krista Tippett, host: [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: “This isn’t a good idea, Helen.” As I’m punching the buttons on the phone and calling him. So, bottom line is, there’s been times when I’ve sort of met a man who I could have really loved, and I knew immediately, “No, no. Don’t go there.” Whereas I think, if you don’t know how powerful love is, you might try. When in fact, it’s not the right idea.

    Ms. Tippett: Helen Fisher knows how powerful love is as a leading anthropologist/explorer on the new frontier of seeing inside our brains when love and sex happen. In her TED talks that have been viewed by millions of people, and the research she does for, she wields science as a sobering, if entertaining, lens on what feel like the most meaningful encounters of our lives. In this wonderfully personal conversation, Helen Fisher reveals how we can take this knowledge as a form of power for giving conscious new meaning to the thrilling and sometimes treacherous human realms of love and sex.

    I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being.

    [music: “Seven League Boots” by Zoe Keating]

    Ms. Tippett: Helen Fisher is a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and she’s chief scientific advisor to the internet dating site We spoke in Camden, Maine around the edges of the 2014 PopTech conference there.

    Ms. Tippett: I always ask whoever I’m speaking with if there was a religious or spiritual background to their childhood, like, however you might define that.

    Ms. Fisher: None.

    Ms. Tippett: None. Really?

    Ms. Fisher: I had no religious education at all. I grew up in an entirely lily-white Christian community in Connecticut. And when it came time for Sunday School, my father said to me and to my twin sister, “I’d be happy to take you to the church on my way to play tennis, but you’re going to have to find your own ride home.”

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] OK.

    Ms. Fisher: And so I went once and got a ride home with Margot Evermann’s family, who lived nearby. And that was it. The rest of my Sundays were spent playing with my twin sister, and I never went again. I’m actually going to a church right now up in Harlem. And I originally went for the gospel music, but this particular preacher actually says something. I like to have an experience in which I come home thinking about something. This is one of the reasons that I love the theater, particularly people like Ibsen, because you come away from it with ideas, ideas about yourself, ideas about the world. I happen to be an atheist, and I always have been. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at the Hubble Telescope site on the internet, but when you take a look at what’s out there, it’s so staggering. Reality is so staggering. The real meanings of life for me are in reality, I guess.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah, well, that’s one of those — you talk a lot in your work about how we are kind of reversing 10,000 years of habit, and I think, I mean, we’re doing that in many spheres. And I think religion is not going to look the same in the next century as it did in the 20th century.

    Ms. Fisher: That’s a wonderful way — I had not thought about that. That’s wonderful.

    Ms. Tippett: So where do you trace, really the — I’m just curious — can you trace the earliest origins of this, of love, and romance, and this drive in us as something that you had this special curiosity about that you started to pursue?

    Ms. Fisher: You know, people have always asked me why I study love. And — this is in hindsight — I’m an identical twin. And long before I knew that there was a nature/nurture controversy, I was very busy trying to measure how much of my own behavior was biological and how much of it was cultural. And as a child, I was very interested in people. I lived in this glass house, and my neighbors lived in a glass house. And by the time I was 6 and 7, I would sneak into the woods and sit on an old stone wall and watch them eat dinner.

    And I’ve always been interested in why we’re all alike as opposed to why we’re all different. So when it came time for my PhD dissertation, what I was most interested in — I figured that if there was any part of us at all that we had all in common, it would be our reproductive strategies. It would be our sex lives, our romantic lives, and our reproductive lives.

    Ms. Tippett: So when I was reading about your research and what you’re learning — as somebody who has been married and divorced — but also, I think so many of us who are single, but not just single people, kind of look around the world today at the matter of love, and it feels like there’s just a lot of disarray. Now, whether there’s more disarray than there ever has been, who knows? You know, maybe we know all the stories too much.

    Ms. Fisher: I think it is a time of disarray.

    Ms. Tippett: I mean, obviously, marriage and divorce has been in flux. One of the things that was interesting to me about your science is you do describe what happens in the brain as — has hallmarks of temporary insanity, right? I mean, it’s obsessiveness. I mean, I think you’ve said that the chief hallmark is that obsessiveness. And I just — I pulled out this passage from a novel. And I know you also like to work with literature and poetry.

    Ms. Fisher: I do.

    Ms. Tippett: Julian Fellowes, who created Downton Abbey — but he wrote this novel, and I just loved this passage when I found it. He said, “Lust, that state commonly known as ‘being in love,’ is a kind of madness. It is a distortion of reality so remarkable that it should, by rights, enable most of us to understand the other forms of lunacy with the sympathy of fellow-sufferers.”

    Ms. Fisher: [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: “And yet, as we all know, it is a madness that, however ferocious, seldom, if ever, lasts… But, paradoxically, mad and suffering as one is, and the heat of the flame, few of us are glad as we feel that passion slip away.” You know, he goes on.

    Ms. Fisher: What a beautiful — what a beautiful…

    Ms. Tippett: It goes on. “No, while most people have been at their unhappiest when in love, it is nevertheless the state the human being yearns for above all.” [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah. In fact, parts of the brain associated with decision-making begin to shut down when you’re in love. Literally…

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] OK. And that makes so much sense.

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah. The blood rolls out instead of rolling in. And so they begin to — begins to shut down. And of course, I mean, for obvious reasons. This brain system of romantic love — and I do think it’s different from lust. I do think they’re very different brain systems. But romantic love evolved for that reason, to enable you to overlook everything in order to be with this human being. And of course, that’s what you really need to do to start that mating process. Because bottom line is that if you have four children, and I have no children, you live on, and I die out.

    The game of love matters. It matters big time. It enables you to send your DNA on into tomorrow. And so we’ve evolved a brain system and attachments. A very strong brain system too. But it’s not the same quite insanity. Maybe a different form of insanity, but it evolved to be so strong that some people will leave their community. They’ll leave their town. They’ll leave their family. They’ll go to a different country. They’ll learn a new language. They will start all over with their lives to do this thing. And then you wake up a few years later and — people wonder why love — why that early state of intense romantic passion begins to die.

    And bottom line is it takes a lot of metabolic energy. You don’t eat. You don’t sleep. You don’t think about anything else. You focus on this person constantly. You change your hair. You change your life. You change your clothes. You change your friends. You do a million different things in order to win and be part of this relationship. And you can’t tolerate that forever. Not only will you run out of energy, but you can’t really have a child sitting there at dinner and the two of you racing around the dinner table after each other.

    Ms. Tippett: Right. So that’s what, I think — and you have described all of this and what’s happening in the brain in terms of this brew of neurotransmitters and hormones.

    Ms. Fisher: “Brew” is a wonderful word. Never heard that.

    Ms. Tippett: So interesting. And yet, it’s a whole different set of qualities that we need to have — that we need to be manifesting personally. And also in that relationship in order to actually be good parents, right?

    Ms. Fisher: That’s exactly — and that’s one of the reasons I say to people, “Don’t marry him or her until some of that intensity has worn off.”

    Ms. Tippett: Really? You do say that.

    Ms. Fisher: So that you really know more about who you’re going to have a partnership with. It’s very interesting because I now study personality, and I read an article not long ago about the fact that you really actually don’t get to know somebody very well until about 18 months are over. And of course, if it’s in a good relationship, you keep learning things about them 30 years later.

    I mean, when their parents die, if a child dies, if you suddenly have to move, or you lose all your money, or you make a lot of money, you’re going to learn a whole lot of new things about somebody. I think that’s one of the problems with American marriage. We somehow think that the minute you marry, you sort of lock the door and stay in place. Whereas relationships evolve, and a good one is constantly evolving.

    Ms. Tippett: Was it Margaret Mead who said everyone should have three marriages even if it’s to the same person?

    Ms. Fisher: Oh, how wonderful.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah. Like, that everybody should have three marriages. And even if it’s the same person, that the marriage has to become something new at a different stage in life.

    Ms. Fisher: Oh, that’s wonderful. I know that she said that the first one is for sex, the second one is for children, and the third one is for companionship.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah. But I mean — so what’s so interesting again about the way you’re able to break this down is this first part of it, this falling in love part of it, this passion, this madness, which then leads to this commitment, is just instinctive. It’s not only built into us, it almost takes us over.

    Ms. Fisher: No question about it. It takes over the brain.

    Ms. Tippett: Right. Takes over the brain. But then, this other part, the part about raising children, the part about crafting a long-term love, moving into those next two marriages if you want to use that analogy — we’re so unprepared for.

    Ms. Fisher: Well, this is why — when you said we were in a time of disorganization, and we are. I mean, we are shedding 10,000 years of our farming background and all of the concepts that arose with that. I mean, the fact that a woman’s place is in the home. Women don’t have a head for business. Men should be the head of the family. Men should be the sole family provider. ‘Til death do us part. All of that is vanishing before our very eyes, 10,000 years of these concepts. And so we’re at this time of disorganization where nobody knows really how to go forward.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: And so — but it gives us great opportunities to build the kinds of partnerships that we really want. And one of the beautiful things about what you just said is that, OK, well, we don’t really know how to parent. And we don’t really know much about this person. And so what we’re doing now is getting into relationships very slowly. And that’s the beauty of this.

    Ms. Tippett: And that’s a shift that you’re seeing now demographically.

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah. These one-night-stands, the friends with benefits, the living together before you getting married. More and more people are having children before they marry. And so, they are beginning to — they’re beginning to really understand a human being before they sink the boat into a mutual thing.

    Ms. Tippett: And I think it’s important to dwell on that. Because what you are saying is that, especially generationally, you can — and I have children who are 16 and 20, right? And you can say…

    Ms. Fisher: Boys? Girls?

    Ms. Tippett: A boy — 16-year-old boy, 20-year-old girl. Actually, she just turned 21. And you can worry — but parents can worry about the, as you say, the casual sex, the friends with benefits, which feels just really suspect and irresponsible and scary. But you’re saying that that’s not necessarily about them being flaky or casual. But it’s a manifestation of being cautious and…

    Ms. Fisher: Not only being — yeah, being cautious, really learning something about this person. Now, I mean, most people know all about contraception, so that worry is no — should no longer be with us. And, most people know about disease, and so that — they should be able to monitor that. And so, some of the riskiest parts of living with somebody are gone. And, of course, parents are now accepting their children living with somebody, so they don’t even have the social stigma of it. And their social circles are accepting it. So, a lot of people almost intuitively reason, “I’ve got no reason to not do this. And I got huge reasons to really get to know this person.”

    Ms. Tippett: Well, and especially when so many people now are growing up in homes where there was — where marriages didn’t — they failed.

    Ms. Fisher: Exactly. They’ve seen it around them.

    Ms. Tippett: And not just them, but all their friend groups. I mean, I think of my kids. And then there’s this interesting thing that’s happening now with the fluidity of family, of all the forms of family. I mean, there is no model.

    Ms. Fisher: Right. We’re seeing a new form called — that I call the association. And, I’m really excited about it because it’s groups of friends. I live in New York. My — both parents are deceased. My older sister lives in Europe. My brother’s dead. And my older — my twin sister lives in Europe. So, I really — Thanksgiving is a challenge for me.

    Ms. Tippett: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. Fisher: And I’m between men, so that’s a real challenge. So I have a group of friends who I see, and I see them regularly. And they’re the ones that will come to the hospital if I’m sick. They’re the ones that I will call to say that I made a speech that people liked. And it’s an association of friends that is my real family. And it’s interesting how a lot of young people — they’re much closer to their association than they are to their own family. So Christmas and holidays become very stressful for them. Because they go home to families that they really don’t know very well, and who don’t really know them. They don’t know these people they way they know the people they hang around with in New York City. So we’re building new forms of family.

    [music: “Singular” by Ryan Teague]

    Ms. Tippett: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, with anthropologist of love and sex, Helen Fisher.

    [music: “Singular” by Ryan Teague]

    Ms. Tippett: I wonder if you’ve also paid any attention to something I’m aware of as a parent of teenaged children, and I hear a lot of people talking about it, is that even this romance piece seems to happen collectively in groups. Dating is not what it used to be. You don’t invite the girl to go to a movie and dinner. You go out with a group of friends and then somehow people are coupled. But it’s a very different pattern.

    Ms. Fisher: And even that, I think, is cautious. I mean, first of all, they don’t have a lot of money. And dinner these days costs a lot. And once you start having dinner with somebody, you are expressing a genuine interest. But if you casually go out with a group, and you go dancing, and then you all end up having breakfast at 2 a.m. at some place. And you can get to know somebody. It’s the expanding pre-commitment stage. And there is, I think, a Darwinian wisdom to that. It’s interesting. I was talking to somebody recently who said that actually the dinner date is coming back. But I haven’t seen the signs of that. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: No.

    Ms. Fisher: Even among older people. I mean, I’m older. And I’m forming new friendships in a group. And that’s exactly what’s happening to me. There’s a couple men in that group that I could be interested in, but nobody’s expressed anything.

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: Everybody just goes with the group.

    Ms. Tippett: And you don’t know what the rules of the game are, ‘cause it’s a new game, right?

    Ms. Fisher: It’s a new game. Everybody has to make up their own rules, which is both extremely difficult, but has great opportunity.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: I mean, for example, with technology. I mean, that is changing courtship. It’s not changing love. I mean, once you — whether you meet them on Tinder or Facebook or or your girlfriend sets you up, when you meet that person in the bar or at the coffee house, your ancient human brain clicks into action. And you court the way we’ve done it for millions of years. But bottom line is that courtship, how you meet somebody, what the etiquette is — we’re now building what Margaret Mead called taboos. Instead of rules, taboos. One of the new taboos is that 60 percent of people on a date find it extremely rude if their partner — dating partner pulls out…

    Ms. Tippett: Their phone?

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah. And does a text message or uses their phone in any way. So I do this annual study with called “Singles in America.” And we don’t poll the Match population, we poll the American population. It’s based on the U.S. census. And 45 percent of women research a date before they go out. About 33 percent of men do. Far fewer men. We don’t know why.

    Ms. Tippett: Really.

    Ms. Fisher: But my hypothesis is that men are much more afraid of being accused of stalking. And so, they’re not going to do that. But what amazes me as an anthropologist is why doesn’t 100 percent of both men and women research the date? Because it’s natural. I mean, for millions of years, we lived in these little hunting and gathering groups. And they would arrive at a water hole, and some girl would see some cute boy at the other side of the water hole. And she didn’t know him.

    Ms. Tippett: She’d ask someone about him?

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah. Her mother knew his aunt. Her father knew his brother. She knew what he was going to be when he grew up. She probably knew what his religion was. She probably even knew whether he was a good shot or if he had a good sense of humor. People for millions of years went into relationships, even on the first date, knowing a good deal about a human being. And we somehow think that’s it’s natural to walk into a bar and know nothing about somebody, and unnatural to go onto a dating site. Where in fact, it really is the reverse. And now we’re sort of on our own. In the past, our parents…

    Ms. Tippett: Right. We don’t have those extended circles of people who know them.

    Ms. Fisher: We don’t have any of those extended — and we are missing something. The loss of local community. Everybody’s very upset about divorce. Divorce has been around for a good four million years. Serial pair-bonding is probably basic to the human animal. Series of partnerships. But what is really unusual for me is the loss of local community. We have extended communities. We have our internet friends. We’ve got our work friends. We’ve got our people who we exercise with. We’ve got people who we go to a poetry conference with. Whatever it is, but we don’t have local community.

    Ms. Tippett: Well, and the other thing I’ve thought about some over the years is how marriages are such lonely — the nuclear family is very unnatural in human history for these same reasons, right? That marriages and families would have been embedded in networks of other marriages and other families and elders and cross-generational.

    Ms. Fisher: So well said. So well said.

    Ms. Tippett: And I think it’s like this death blow to marriage as an institution almost to have it be this isolated where you have two people who are left to take everything out on themselves.

    Ms. Fisher: People are so upset about this — a single mother, or a single father. I’m upset, like you are, about the two of them. They’re all by themselves.

    Ms. Tippett: Yes.

    Ms. Fisher: And it’s so interesting. I have a housekeeper who comes every two weeks, and I just adore this woman. And she’s from Ecuador. And I asked her how many people she has for Thanksgiving. She has 50 people for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t scare up 10 relatives. I couldn’t do it.

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: But there’s something beautiful about — and that’s of course the way we lived for millions of years. So 100,000 years ago, if you divorced, OK, so he walked out of the little camp with his bow and arrow. And that was it.

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Right.

    Ms. Fisher: But you still had your mother, your aunts, your uncles, your cousins.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: A whole pile of people to support your child…

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah. Right.

    Ms. Fisher: …with you.

    Ms. Tippett: Right. Right.

    Ms. Fisher: You had a whole local community.

    Ms. Tippett: Right.

    Ms. Fisher: And that’s what’s really disappearing. And that is a real shame. And so, it’s part of this age of tremendous transition.

    Ms. Tippett: So one of the things I feel comes through in your TED talks and in this presentation I saw you give yesterday is that this drive in us to mate and settle down is just one of the most fundamental things about who we are. I mean, but when you talk about these new associations, whatever stage of life we’re at — and I don’t know if this is a true statement — but I think most of us, at any given time, if we had a choice, “Would you have a romantic sexual relationship or not?” You’d say, “Sure.” But it’s also possible not to be loneley without that and to have very rich lives that are full of love.

    Ms. Fisher: Absolutely.

    Ms. Tippett: Not that particular form of love, but full of love, which doesn’t have insanity attached, which can be kind of a relief.

    Ms. Fisher: Exactly. And you don’t have to be annoyed if they leave their socks on the floor one more time. I mean, you know…

    Ms. Tippett: So, I mean, do you think this is also, I mean, is this kind of a form of progress that we’re charting, this new way of choosing our lives of love and association.

    Ms. Fisher: I like the — it’s a wonderful idea. The only thing I would disagree with is I’m not sure it’s new. Maybe the association part is new because it was always family. And in that kind of — there’s some beauty in those — that opportunity for choice. And I think that’s what you’re getting at. We’re moving back into a world where people can make choices. And I would guess in hunting and gathering societies, there are older women who say, “No. I’m not going for another old man. I’m going to hang around with the group and have a good time with my girlfriends.” [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: Right.

    Ms. Fisher: And we’re back at that. Whereas on the farm, they often married the next day after a partner died. Because they needed somebody to milk the cows.

    Ms. Tippett: It’s so interesting to have that big, broad lens, that perspective.

    Ms. Fisher: Right.

    Ms. Tippett: Well, I remember even learning that 100 years ago, or up until the early — late 19th, early 20th century, was it something like, the average marriage lasted for seven years because life spans were so different.

    Ms. Fisher: Isn’t that right?

    Ms. Tippett: We could all hang on for seven years.

    Ms. Fisher: [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Right? Almost. No matter the marriage.

    Ms. Fisher: Right. That’s interesting that you know that. I mean, very few people know that. The lifespan, by the way, has never changed. But the bottom line is, so many people died in infancy and childhood…

    Ms. Tippett: And childbirth, yes.

    Ms. Fisher: …that the average was reduced. But in the year 1900, the average marriage, I think, was 12 years.

    Ms. Tippett: 12. Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: And the — in the year 1990, the average marriage was also 12 years. But 100 years ago, the marriage ended because somebody died. And these days, it ends because somebody divorces.

    Ms. Tippett: So I’m becoming aware as we’re speaking very, kind of, transactionally and biologically about the institution of marriage. And the damage that gets done to children when marriages fail the way they fail these days is significant. And those are the kinds of things that religious people talk about in sacred terms. I mean, it is thinking about marriage as an institution that is there to be nurturing, and in particular to be nurturing to the children. And, I mean, there’s all this — like, the religious view of marriage as a sacrament is — it doesn’t really figure in the way you study marriage and look at marriage. And I just — I wonder if you ever have conversations with religious people.

    Ms. Fisher: It would be very interesting.

    Ms. Tippett: But have you not — do people ever…

    Ms. Fisher: They haven’t yet, but maybe you’ll inspire them.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah, I mean, do you see that as just a — as a way of thinking about marriage that is just completely removed from what you see and work with, or…

    Ms. Fisher: No, I see it as a beautiful…

    Ms. Tippett: What would an interesting discussion be for you?

    Ms. Fisher: Well, just backing up, hold that thought because that’s something I really have to think about, what an interesting discussion would be. But I think you’ve started it right now. And I don’t see it as religion supporting marriage. I see the profoundly basic human drive to love and form marriages as so important that we’ve created institutions like religion to support it. So, even more important than religion are these profoundly basic human drives to love. And religions then build on that drive to support that drive. But it’s one of mankind’s institutions that is very supportive of love. So, what kind of conversation would I like to have with a theologian? Can you tell me?

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Well, I think maybe someone would say that they — this capacity that we have, I mean, not just restricted to romantic love, but including that, is just one of the most ennobling and defining characteristics of what it means to be human at its best. And I think…

    Ms. Fisher: And I would agree, of course.

    Ms. Tippett: Right. And I think they might be disturbed at your — that the scientific focus that you bring to it — that it might feel reductionistic — what happens in terms of neurotransmitters and hormones and biology. And, I mean, I wonder how you would…

    Ms. Fisher: Great.

    Ms. Tippett: …engage that discomfort?

    Ms. Fisher: You’ve just enabled me to say what — if I’d — when I die, what I’m going to say next is, for me, the one thing I would like humanity to remember. And that is, the more we know about the brain, the body, human evolution, about biology, the more we will come to understand the power of culture to change that biology. Biology and culture and religion, they all go hand-in-hand. They’re all parts of a huge, big system called humanity. And I don’t feel that they threaten each other. I feel that they enhance one another. And that a truly religious person, if they have any imagination, can benefit from understanding that the love of God is in all of us in some form. That it’s biologically based. It’s not going away. And that it’s part of humanity. So, I don’t see a big dichotomy that other people might see. I see a tremendous union between the intellectual, the spiritual, and the biological. I think they work together as a team.

    [music: “Liminal Space” by Ryan Teague]

    Ms. Tippett: You can listen again and share this conversation with Helen Fisher through our website,

    I’m Krista Tippett. On Being continues in a moment.

    [music: “Liminal Space” by Ryan Teague]

    Ms. Tippett: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, in a wide-ranging, personal conversation with the anthropologist/explorer of the science of love, sex, and marriage, Helen Fisher. She’s well known for her TED talks and her research for, where she’s chief science advisor. When we fall in love, it turns out, it’s dopamine that makes us feel obsessed with the object of our desire, while chemicals released during sex activate a profound sense of bonding.

    Ms. Tippett: Another thing from your science that I was applying to that is you talked about how casual sex doesn’t really remain casual.

    Ms. Fisher: It’s not casual. Unless you’re so drunk you can’t remember.

    Ms. Tippett: And why? And why? I mean, how you can explain it, it’s because of what is set off in your brain and your body conspires to make you start feeling attached to this person.

    Ms. Fisher: Or in love, or both.

    Ms. Tippett: Or in love. Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: Right. And, when you have orgasm, you get a real flood of oxytocin and vasopressin. And these are the basic bodily and brain systems for attachment.

    Ms. Tippett: Right. It’s like what mother’s get when they love their babies. It’s a primal…

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah, yeah. I mean, don’t have sex with somebody you don’t want to feel something for. I mean, people can do what they want to do. I’m not in the “should” business. But the bottom line is, if you don’t want to get attached to somebody, it’s easier to not sleep with them. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Right.

    Ms. Fisher: Because you might end up being attached to somebody who really does not fit into your life.

    Ms. Tippett: And I think as — again, in this new world — I mean, I grew up in a very conservative, strict, Southern Baptist — you know, small town where you were saving yourself for marriage, like, and this was just an absolute. And now I kind of look back on that and see it as helpful in a way. Like it provided boundaries that were good so that you didn’t — I mean, I actually see these rules at a point.

    Ms. Fisher: Right. Human animal needs boundaries. And here we are in a society now where we don’t have any rules. Nobody knows what to do.

    Ms. Tippett: Right. And even in very religious cultures like that, where people are kind of crafting their path towards marriage with these religious rules, I still think all the messages that are coming at them about who you marry, and about the romance of that are coming from movies with happy endings, and all the love songs that we just — that we’re awash in at that age.

    Ms. Fisher: I remember…

    Ms. Tippett: And I wanted to ask you about that because I guess one of my kind of deeper concerns here with this subject is that somehow — I love your idea that this knowledge is power. And somehow our brains take us through these several, very powerful stages to getting to the point of being with other people. But somehow we need to figure out how to be intelligent and caring in this matter of long-term love and it seems like we have almost — it seems like our brains don’t do that for us.

    Ms. Fisher: It’s such a good point because Americans love romantic love. We just love romantic love. But we don’t pay much attention to attachment. And it’s very interesting, I was on some radio with a guy from China. It was a great learning moment for me because I was talking about romantic love and how you can remain in love long-term as well as loving the person. And you can sustain this long-term romantic love in a deep attachment. And he said, “Why would you want to do that?”

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Right.

    Ms. Fisher: Because they admire attachment. Or at least he did. And he was representing the Chinese perspective that, OK, romantic love comes, and romantic love goes. What’s really powerfully important is that feeling of deep attachment to a human being. And at that moment, I said, “Oh, right, Helen. You’ve just been a member of your own culture, and you’ve not realized that other cultures historically…”

    Ms. Tippett: The attachment itself is a wonderful thing.

    Ms. Fisher: That’s what he was telling me. And we celebrate romantic love, and we do not really celebrate attachment. And in fact, I remember a line from a poem that a friend of mine wrote, which was, “We are lied to by our love songs.”

    Ms. Tippett: Yes.

    Ms. Fisher: Because they always end up with a happy ending. But what is it about Americans that — we’ve been lied to by our love songs. We want to believe it. We do see it in the movies — rejection. But we have rose-colored glasses on.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah. And I just also feel like with all this change that we’ve talked about, with new up-and-coming generations, it being a complete matter of choice for them, right? And then the fact that we’re all living longer.

    Ms. Fisher: Right.

    Ms. Tippett: I mean, we have so many decades, potentially…

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah, to live with somebody.

    Ms. Tippett: …to have — to be married, to have all kinds of relationships. Or to have a marriage that, as Margaret Mead said, might evolve to be a few marriages to survive. I just feel like somehow, we have to grab hold of this and kind of become learners.

    Ms. Fisher: I think the young are.

    Ms. Tippett: You do?

    Ms. Fisher: I mean — yeah. In the “Singles in America” — not everybody. But in the “Singles in America” study that I do with, we ask them, “What must you have in a relationship?” And, “What’s very important?” And they must have somebody they can trust and confide in. They must have somebody who respects them. They must have somebody who makes them laugh, which actually is very important biologically.

    Ms. Tippett: I just love that. I love it. Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: Because laughter drives up the dopamine system. It’s very good for you. Laughter’s very good for you.

    Ms. Tippett: Yeah. Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: They must have somebody who spends enough time — puts — gives them enough time. And they must have somebody that they find physically attractive. We are turning inwards. We are trying to build now the most important relationship. And when I ask the questions, like, they’re very in favor of marriage without children. They’re very in favor of children without marriage. They’re very in favor of living together. What they will not tolerate is commuter marriages, people living in separate homes, people living in separate bedrooms. They want total transparency in the relationship. They want to be — have access to the person’s cell phone.

    A great many of them would walk out even on a date who hides what they’re saying on their phone or their texts. I think they’re looking for a really special kind of relationship. 100 years ago, sure, you had a nice husband and that was great. But you also had very profound relationships with all your other people in the local community. And so, the partnership didn’t have the same profound intimacy because it wasn’t all you’ve got. Now your partner’s really all you got. And so we want everything in that partnership.

    Ms. Tippett: That’s deadly. [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: So rather than being less serious about that primary relationship, I think we are profoundly more serious about it. I think people are taking this very seriously. There’s never been so many self-help books. There’s never been so many therapies, therapists, and couple’s therapists, and all kinds of support systems.

    Ms. Tippett: So this education is maybe just — it’s happening now. It’s happening in real time.

    Ms. Fisher: They don’t want to fail. They’ve seen their parents fail. They’ve seen their friends fail. They’re scared of divorce. 67% of singles these days are terrified of the economic and the social and personal fallout from divorce. And we may see a real swing towards really good marriages. Well, you know, I did this study of married people. I asked these married people — it was 1,000 people in the study, a little over 1,000 — “Would you remarry the person that you are married to now?” And 81% said yes. So, and 76% said that they were still madly in love with this person. And I have friends who’ve done other similar studies and found the same data. So, you’re talking to an optimist. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: That’s probably your problem.

    [music: “Wet Salt” by Psapp]

    Ms. Tippett: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, with anthropologist of love and sex, Helen Fisher.

    [music: “Wet Salt” by Psapp]

    Ms. Tippett: Did I read that you were married once but briefly? Is that right?

    Ms. Fisher: I was only married for a few months when I was 23. And, yeah. I married the wrong person. And actually the night we decided to divorce was one of our best nights together.

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: And then, well, you know, I was a young hippie in graduate school. It was the ‘60s.

    Ms. Tippett: OK. [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: And I have then made two very long, powerful, deeply meaningful, and successful relationships. I didn’t marry them, but there was true love.

    Ms. Tippett: Mm-hmm. So how do you think all of these things you know through your science, through your work, how does it — how have you been able to work with that? Or have you? I mean, is there a limit to when we talk about the insanity part of the reality of love?

    Ms. Fisher: I use the — I don’t know if it’s a metaphor or not — of a piece of chocolate cake. You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake. But then when you sit down and eat it, you just feel that rush of joy. And in the same way, I know a lot about love. I know a lot about marriage. I know a lot about adultery and divorce. Know something about the brain. I certainly know — hopefully know something about evolution. But when it hits you, you’re off to the races. There’s been times that I’ve walked towards the phone saying, “Don’t call him, Helen.”

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: “This isn’t a good idea, Helen. Take control, Helen.” As I’m punching the buttons on the phone and calling him. So, bottom line is, it has helped me, though. There’s been times when I’ve sort of met a man who I could have really loved and almost immediately found out that they loved somebody else. And, I knew immediately, no, no. Don’t go there. Whereas I think if you don’t know how powerful love is, you might try. When in fact, it’s not the right idea. So, knowing what I’ve known has helped me navigate. But the bottom line is, I’m just like everybody else.

    Ms. Tippett: Do you have any theories about, or any perspective on — it seems like the world right now, the world a lot of us inhabit, Western, urban, educated people, is full of amazing single women. [laughs] And men — fewer are men who are single. And even fewer men who are as amazing or as appropriate. It feels like the world is out of balance, I think. And again, I may be talking about a certain demographic group. But it doesn’t seem like it’s just 40, 50, and 60-year-olds. It seems like it’s harder for 25-year-olds to know where to look for a mate. So, what perspective do you have on that?

    Ms. Fisher: Well, first of all, I wrote a book about the natural talents of women and how they’re changing the world. But I am also a big proponent of men. And I would say there’s just as many amazing men out there as there are women in every age group. I don’t think we understand men at all. We’ve spent 50 years trying to bust a lot of myths about women.

    Ms. Tippett: About women, right.

    Ms. Fisher: And we’ve spent no years at all busting the myths about men. But I have a lot of data with this “Singles in America” study that — and other data, too — but, that men are just as romantic as women are. I love — there’s an old quote. It comes from a poem. It’s borrowed from a poem by Ted Hughes. And I’ve doctored it a bit, but it’s: “Men and women are like two feet. They need each other to get ahead.” And we are built to work together, play together, love together, live together. And I meet an awful lot of single men in New York City. And they have brains, and they have feelings. They do love, and they want to be loved. Men fall in love faster than women do because they’re so visual. They want more public displays of affection. They want to introduce a new partner to friends and family sooner. They want to move in sooner. And when you take a look at the brain — and I’ve put a lot of men into a brain scanner, as I put a lot of women — it lights up exactly the same way when they’re in love. And that deep sense of attachment.

    I remember, I was recently with a group of women from the major women’s magazines. We were having a business lunch. And there were three women who couldn’t find a man. They were all really good looking, young, smart, educated, going-somewhere women. And none of them could find a man. I said, “You know what? You said there’s no men around.” I said, “I bet all three of you have at least one man in your life right now who would marry you within a week. You’re picky.”

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Yeah.

    Ms. Fisher: And the bottom line is, we’re picky for a reason. We are the ones that are going to carry that baby for nine months. We’re the ones that are going to go through the danger of delivering that child. We are the ones who are going to raise that child. Largely, I mean, the real day-to-day work for the first four years, anyway, in every culture in the world. Now, men are changing diapers these days. No question about it. But still, they don’t do it the way women do. Women have to be picky. But I think we’re going to come to learn that men are just as romantic as women and that women are just as sexual. And that we’re going to cast away these beliefs that men are just fools.

    Ms. Tippett: That’s really great. This has just been so — I haven’t even looked at my notes. Oh, maybe just one last thing. And this is me being — using this as kind of a therapy. [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: Oh, wonderful. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: For myself.

    Ms. Fisher: I’m not a therapist, but I’ll do what I can. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Well, just maybe two more questions. So, I’m in my 50s now.

    Ms. Fisher: OK. I’m in my 60s.

    Ms. Tippett: In your 60s. Yeah. And, I mean, being in your 50s and 60s is just so interesting. And in a way that…

    Ms. Fisher: It’s so interesting.

    Ms. Tippett: Oh, I mean it’s great.

    Ms. Fisher: It is great.

    Ms. Tippett: It’s a little awkward, though, on this. It’s uncertain. I mean, the trajectory of all of this is different. But one thing that I’m aware of myself is I feel like one of the things that comes with — has come with age for me is I look back at my younger self and my love relationships. And I was so — I realize how much of it was about wanting to be loved, and how much of the exhilaration was about being loved. And I want to be more intentional moving forward about, like, the adventure of loving.

    Ms. Fisher: Mm. I had an adventure recently that was very interesting. I fell immediately for a person in my business world. I would never touch that guy. He was very important in my business world. He’s a happily married guy. And there was no way that Helen Fisher was ever going to put a move on him. Never. And I never did. And for the first time in my life, I would — every time I saw him, my heart would pound, or I’d get a dry mouth. I would try to be a normal person. And I realized that I was going to have to enjoy this feeling all by myself. And I would come home and I would lie down and say, “OK, Helen. Just enjoy the feeling of…” He doesn’t know. He never knew. And try to just enjoy the sensation of adoring somebody from the backwoods, from the back pew in the church. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: And it was a different experience for me to not make any kind of move. Because young girls do that. You know, they say, “Ah.”

    Ms. Tippett: Or you’d think that it meant nothing if you couldn’t make the move.

    Ms. Fisher: Exactly. So, but I do think that what goes around comes around. And if you and I and other people just spend some time loving somebody. And it’s interesting how they respond. I mean, it — a man and I sort of left each other a couple years ago. And so now, I don’t have that intense need for him. I can love him in the way he should have been loved all along, with a deep attachment, a real understanding for who he is, and just giving him the time he needs with other people, not being at all upset if I don’t hear from him. Released from that passion, you can finally love somebody in some new ways that can be very comforting. Not only for them, but for you. And then you can build a new kind of partnerships with them.

    Ms. Tippett: It just feels like what we’re talking about is like this kind of maturation of our collective capacity to…

    Ms. Fisher: Too bad I didn’t do it sooner. [laughs]

    Ms. Tippett: [laughs] Yeah, well. That’s how it goes. That’s the maturation, right? I guess, just — oh, finally, I just wanted to note. I did — actually, Lily, my producer, found this blog that you wrote.

    Ms. Fisher: OK.

    Ms. Tippett: I don’t know if you’ve written on it recently, but for a while, and you always signed it, “Sempre ad astra.” Always to the stars.

    Ms. Fisher: Oh, yes.

    Ms. Tippett: And I just — when I read that, I thought, “She’s a romantic.”

    Ms. Fisher: I am.

    Ms. Tippett: “She’s a romantic.” And so I wondered, oh, with this life you’ve lived, and this work you’ve done, how has the meaning of that term, and that thing, being a romantic, evolved for you? Can you talk about how it’s changed over time?

    Ms. Fisher: What a great question. Sempre ad astra. It’s my family motto.

    Ms. Tippett: Oh, it is?

    Ms. Fisher: It’s my family crest. My family apparently goes back to Holland in 1603. And on that family crest, or family tree, it says, “Sempre ad astra.” And I’ve loved it from that moment to this. And it’s what I live. It’s where I live is that term. You’re going to make me cry, so I’ve got to get my act together. [laughs]

    Ms. Fisher: Romance. Ask the question again.

    Ms. Tippett: How — that romantic in you — your sense of what it means to be romantic or your experience with that, does that evolve…

    Ms. Fisher: I guess I’ve just sort of lived it.

    Ms. Tippett: You just lived it.

    Ms. Fisher: Yeah. I just am a romantic. It’s a pain in the neck. I cry at parades. I look in a baby carriage, and it’s going down the — baby going down the street, and say, “Oh, boy, are you in for some rock and roll.” I go into museums and I see all the little amulets and the pendants, and I think, “Somebody gave that to somebody. 100,000 years ago. There’s a love story there.” I love poetry because it captures the passion of people around the world. It gives me a great sense of unity with all of humanity that ever was, and ever will be.

    [music: “Summer Colour” by I Am Robot and Proud]

    Ms. Tippett: Helen Fisher is a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and she’s chief scientific advisor to the internet dating site Her books include Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray and Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.

    [music: “Summer Colour” by I Am Robot and Proud]

    Staff: On Being is Trent Gilliss, Chris Heagle, Lily Percy, Mariah Helgeson, Maia Tarrell, Marie Sambilay, Bethanie Mann, Selena Carlson, and Rigsar Wangchuck.

    Ms. Tippett: Our lovely theme music is provided and composed by Zoe Keating. And the last voice that you hear singing our final credits in each show is hip-hop artist Lizzo.

    On Being was created at American Public Media. Our funding partners include:

    The Fetzer Institute, helping to build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. Find them at

    Kalliopeia Foundation, working to create a future where universal spiritual values form the foundation of how we care for our common home.

    The Henry Luce Foundation, in support of Public Theology Reimagined.

    The Osprey Foundation, a catalyst for empowered, healthy, and fulfilled lives.

    And the Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based, private family foundation dedicated to its founders’ interests in religion, community development, and education.

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  7. How Do I Explain Sin to Someone for the First Time?

    Audio Transcript

    We are back one more time with guest Don Carson, and one thing that impresses me about you is your eagerness to share the gospel on college campuses. Given the difficulty of communicating biblical truth to postmoderns, here’s my question: Is it possible to explain original sin to an audience of non-Christian college students without appealing to biblical evidence? How would you do it? Where would you begin? And do you sense this challenge yourself?

    The hardest thing to get across at a university campus today is the nature of sin, by far. If you start talking about the Trinity or the incarnation or the resurrection of Christ and you explain what you mean as best you can in the time you have, then the people who are biblically literate there will say, “Oh, is that what Christians believe? Wow. That is pretty weird.” But yes, they understand what you are saying and they are not going to push back on it particularly. The people who ask the hardest questions at those sorts of meetings are not the non-Christians — they don’t know enough to ask the tough questions — but the Christians who show up and then try to use that forum to get their theological questions answered, which is not the best forum.

    But if he starts talking about sin and evil then you get immediate pushback. To my mind, one of the best ways of tackling that is to begin with idolatry. Idolatry involves betrayal. It involves the de-goding of God. Begin with the Bible storyline where God made us. And because he made us, therefore we owe him. And to think that we don’t owe him is already betrayal. He knows what is best for us so that sin is portrayed, first of all, as an insult to God, as the de-goding of God, as the erection of other gods as a form of selfishness. I find that many biblically illiterate, contemporary 20- or 30-somethings can understand and sympathize with. They might not agree with you, but they understand it as a category more quickly than sin as transgression of law.

    Now obviously in a full-orbed biblical doctrine of sin, sooner or later you have to talk about idolatry and the fall and the transgression of law and a bunch of other categories too: falling short of the grace of God — of the glory of God — and many other things. But if you are talking about a place to start, then what I often do is start with the nature of idolatry and show how idolatry involves not only loving bad things, but loving good things to the point that they become god for you, because that is betraying God and that is making a false god. That means your heart is following something that should not claim ultimate value. And so to begin, I have often preached Genesis 3 at university campuses and the people who give me most stick for it are rarely the non-Christians. They see the point right away. Sometimes it’s the Christians who want me to answer all of their technical questions and who miss the big storyline.

    So that is where I go. Ultimately, if you have enough time in the context of a local congregation where you have both Christians and non-Christians and so on, then you have got to unpack sin in its many, many different dimensions. It is helpful, too, to give some books to people like Cornelius Plantinga’s Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be. For serious readers it is not a bad place to begin. The book of essays edited by Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan called Fallen is not a bad place to begin as well if you are dealing with people who are serious readers. But for people who are biblically illiterate, those books are usually too advanced and in my view it is better to start off with Bible studies that get people into the text and see how the texts portray the glory of God himself.

    © 2015 Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines

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    Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  8. First Time Guest Gifts: 26 Lessons from 33 Churches | unSeminary

    Podcast (audioblog): Play in new window | DownloadRecently I connected with church leaders from 33 churches from across North America and asked them to share with me what they are doing for gifts for their first time guests. This continues in a series where I’ve asked other church leaders to help us learn what is happening at their church … earlier I’ve done posts on church bulletins, adding new services and the “other holy days“. I’m thankful for the leaders who took time out to help us all learn!6 Reasons Your Church Should Give Guests GiftsShow’s Guests That You Expected Them! // Think about the last time you were invited over to a friend’s house … did they get their place ready for you to arrive? Good friends do! We set out a few snacks, have the drinks cooled, light some candles … all signs to our guests that we expected them. You are inviting guests to come to your church and a great way to indicate to them that you expected them is to have a gift ready just for them. As a thank you for taking the risk to come and visit you!First Impressions Count // When people are new at your church they notice everything … the grass growing up in the parking lot, the unclear signage, that funky smell in your kids space … a well thought out gift creatives a great initial experience for your guests. It creates a “moment” that has potential to say a lot about your church. Think through what first impression you want to give to your guests and build your gift around that.Extend the Experience Beyond the Weekend // Why do you people buy t-shirts at a concert when they could probably get the same t-shirt for much less online? Why does every major ride at your favorite theme park exit out through the gift shop? People are looking for souvenirs from experiences that matter to them. It’s a way for them to take a piece of the experience with them back into their “normal life”. When you give people a gift to take home it has the potential to help them recall the positive time they had at your church and implicitly invites them to return.Clearer Explanation of Who You Are // Although when people come to your weekend service they will get a good idea of what it’s important to you … chances are every weekend doesn’t represent the entire picture. A gift for your guests gives you the opportunity to explain what makes your church tick … you can give them an inside look at what it means to be a part of you community. It’s a perfect opportunity to define the “next step” for them as they are just entering community.Invite them to come back! // One the realities of growing churches that they are just better at getting their guests to come back. In fact, the difference between a stagnant church and a growing church is often that stagnant churches only have 1 in 10 guests return while exploding churches are getting 3 in 10 guests to come back. The gift for your guests is a part of asking your guests to come back. In fact, some of the churches studied actually have two tiers of gifts … one for “first time guests” and then a second for “returning guests”. Make sure your gift asks people to come back for whatever it coming up next at your church!Slows Down the Weekend Experience // If you give the gift to your new guests as a part of the weekend service experience then it slows that experience down and ensures they need to interact with someone. They shouldn’t just pick up the gift up off a table somewhere … but they should to interact with some amazing members of your volunteer team who are particularly skilled in working with new guests. This “speed bump” ensures that new people are interacting with even just a few people at your church before they escape out the door and into the parking lot.Quotable Quotes from Church Leaders on First Time Guest Gifts“egifts are often not opened. Not sure if they are going into spam or why. We are looking into a tangible gift card and are open to other ideas.” – Chris McCombs“The first time guests enjoy receiving a gift. We find that the gift needs to have our information on it. We have seen more repeat visitors since we give them all our contact information and not just a random gift.” – Nichole Brown“Our rate of returning guests definitely increased when we got serious about recognizing them with a gift. But truth is, while people seem to appreciate the gifts, I get more comments on my handwritten note.” – Scott Gamel“People are blown away that they have been “mugged” before they get home.” – Doug Bedgood (This church has their guest services team take coffee mugs to the guests’ home during the service.)“What we discovered is that people don’t usually return because they got some cool swag. They come back because of the quality of the service (preaching, music, kids, etc.) and the warmth of the welcome they received. Best thing for us has been the establishment of a VIP reception area for guests. They connect with staff and volunteers there and receive personal follow-up from the volunteers they meet. Our returns on this have been very good.” – Dave BowmanWhen is the best time to give the gift?As I researched the churches that give gifts to their new guests I found that there seems to be three times that churches give gifts to first time guests. Here is a run down of the three times to think about:During the Sunday Experience // Some churches use first time guest gifts as a thank you during the actual Sunday they attend. These churches generally have guest go to a welcome desk or dedicated first time guest area. The advantage of this approach is that the guest leaves with the gift in tow after their experience and they’ve met some members of the church’s team.As a Follow Up After the Experience // Other churches send the gift in the week following the guest’s visit. Sometimes these are mailed or in some cases hand delivered by a follow up team. The first church I served at did this … we had a team of people that delivered home baked cookies the week after the visit! This approach implicitly asks people to come and visit your church the following weekend.A Promised Gift for a Second Visit // Another time that churches will give gifts to guests will be as an incentive to return that second time. Sometimes these gifts are given in combination with the “first time gift” and sometimes they are just offered to the second time guest. By rewarding these guests for coming to your church another time you are rewarding the behavior you want … people to return!From my perspective, the best time to give a gift to a someone new at your church is as a part of their experience. We give our gifts for everyone who is new and hands in a “new here” card. We have a specially trained group of volunteers that help these guests feel extra welcome to the church. We go out of our way to ensure they know what they need to know about our church … and take some first steps to seeing get connected. We want that first experience with us to be a super positive one … first impressions matter!8 Examples of First Time Guest GiftsRather than just talking about what churches give to their guests I asked some friends to send me what they give away. Here are samples from 8 churches … be inspired! You can download high res versions of these images in the unSeminary Members Only section … if you aren’t a member you can join now for free.Christ Community Church // Chicagoland  A pen. Welcome brochure. Free coffee at their coffee bar. Explanation of the gospel.    Cornerstone Church // Moulton, AL  Water bottle full of candy! T-shirt. Book written by Pastor. Note pad. Highlighter. Welcome pack with all kinds of information about the church. // 18 Campuses … mostly in Oklahoma  A Worship CD. A Welcome CD about the Church. Clear directions on how to get plugged into the church. A New Testament. Flyers on various ministries of the church.   New Covenant Church // Brantford, Ontario  A church branded travel coffee mug. Welcome CD about the church. Welcome brochure.    Shelter Rock Church // Long Island, NY Andy Stanley’s “How Good is Good Enough?” Book. Chocolates! Letter from the pastor. Flyers about the ministries of the church.    Triad Baptist Church // Kernersville, NC   A church branded travel coffee mug. A pen. Welcome flyers.   Victory Church // Austin, TX   $5 gift card for their store. Various brochures about their ministry. CD from Pastor.   Tuscaloosa Vineyard // Tuscaloosa, AL   $5 Starbucks card. Hand written note. CD from Pastor.   Conclusions //Start with What Your Guests Would Like! // Remember when you were a kid and your dear Aunt Lucy gave you that out of date sweater that was two sizes too small … you started calling her Aunt Lousy. Don’t do that to your guests! Make your gift something that other people will really want to get! Be creative. Create a WOW! moment for them.This Will Cost Money. // The average spent across all these churches for their gifts was $4.88 … the lowest was $0.75 and the highest was $15.00. First impressions are important as a church and this is strategic resources for you to invest. Figure out what you would be comfortable spending on these items … then budget 20% more. Your guests deserve it … they risked a lot to come to your church and you should reward them.Leverage it to gather contact information. // How can you follow up with your guests if you don’t have their contact information? Use your gift in an exchange to collect their contact information. The fact that they are giving you their contact information means they are giving you permission to follow up with them. Make sure your best people do the follow up with these guests. {Bonus: Check out how one church uses the contact information from first time guest gifts to follow up guests with an email sequence.}Give Guests a “Next Step” // Across the board the churches that seem to leveraging first time guest gifts the best are giving them a clear next step to take. They have a new comers class … or a reception with their pastor … or even just a group of people dedicated to helping first time guests get connected to the church. It isn’t random … their is a clear communication on what guests are suppose to “do” next.What are you learning about first time guest gifts? I’d love you to join the conversation leave a comment!

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  9. George Mekhail on sexuality, inclusivity & the future of the church | unSeminary

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    Today I’m excited to have my friend George Mekhail from EastLake Church again. He’s talked with us before on opening multiple campuses, and today he’s back to talk with another topic his church has recently faced.

    About EastLake

    George is always thinking about what’s next in life, society, and church. He’s been with the team at EastLake for four years now and has helped the church face one of the biggest issues in today’s society—accepting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. EastLake was recently featured in an article in Time Magazine about this topic. Through this process, the church has strived to make themselves known as “church for the rest of us.” Everyone is welcome and you can come as you are. EastLake currently has five locations in the Seattle area.

    But this has not been an easy issue to face and George admits that the church has made a lot of mistakes. Here are some of the things they’ve learned along this path:

    Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. // The biggest question was how to get people connected to the message of Jesus? The wake up call for George came when a friend of his and member of EastLake told him that she was dating a woman. He could see the fear in her eyes as she told him this and he realized she was afraid to be herself at the church. The church was creating hurt and pain, and he felt the Holy Spirit telling him that they had to change this exclusive mindset. The Holy Spirit led them to move forward in letting people know they could come to EastLake and be who they were without hiding behind a mask.

    Church has to be a safe place. // Whether it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” or exclusion, church has created a lot of baggage in people’s lives. At EastLake, they felt that wasn’t part of Jesus’s message of love.

    It is a very polarizing topic. // During his experiences with EastLake, George has seen how divisive the topic on sexuality is within the church. Once they came out with their stance on being open and loving to everyone regardless of sexuality, there was a lot of feedback both positive and negative. The major point that EastLake has tried to spread is that people aren’t allowed to be hateful, even if they disagree with homosexuality.

    There is no formula. // George admits that EastLake made some mistakes in how they moved forward in this topic. He’s also talked with other church leaders whose churches have also gone through this and heard about their mistakes. They’ve learned that there is no perfect formula to follow. The church can make their own expectations about how they want everyone to react, but nothing is going to go as you think it should. Through it all, just keep moving forward and follow where the Holy Spirit is leading you.

    It will be painful. // This isn’t an easy subject to face. As George tells us, you don’t know how deep rooted this issue is until you start facing it head on. People will walk away, friendships will be broken, and churches will lose membership and money at first. But George believes that in the end, churches that are exclusive will be the ones that get hurt the most. And Jesus taught love, not hate, so that’s the message we need to follow within the church as well.

    For pastors or other church leaders wondering how to move forward in spreading Jesus’s message and opening the hearts of their church, visit EastLake’s website on this subject at, which contains helpful videos and resources. You can also reach George by email at or visit EastLake Church’s website.

    Episode Highlights

    00:33 // Rich introduces George and welcomes him to the show.

    01:08 // George introduces himself and talks about EastLake Church.

    02:38 // George tells us the average attendance at the church’s locations.

    04:36 // George talks about the church’s journey in relation to the Time Magazine’s article.

    11:18 // George talks about the resources available – Together In This.

    12:38 // George talks about the process they went through to change as a community.

    16:15 // George talks about the challenges experienced during the changes.

    18:21 // George talks about expectations, learnings and the impact of the changes.

    21:07 // George encourages churches to act on their convictions.

    24:03 // George talks about the impact these changes had on their staff.

    26:06 // George advises church leaders to “Be in a relationship with people.”

    28:05 // Rich makes reference to Jonathan Merritt and his book A Faith of Our Own.

    29:16 // George offers his contact details.

    Episode Transcript

    Rich – Well hey everybody, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. My name’s Rich, the host around these parts, I’m so glad that you’ve decided to spend some time with us today. We are in for a fascinating conversation, one that I’ve been looking forward to for a few months, super excited to have George, a friend of mine from EastLake Church on the left coast with us. George welcome to the show today.

    George – Hey thanks so much for having me again Rich, it’s good to see you.

    Rich – Yeah. George has been on the show in the past and recently, well I guess it’s not recently anymore, I saw their church popup in Time Magazine, in an interesting article and so I wanted to get George’s thought on that and here we are in the summertime talking about this. But George, before we jump in, I thought you could give us kind of, for people who haven’t listened before, a bit of a history of EastLake, kind of your story, what’s your piece in the puzzle and then give us a sense of who EastLake is.

    George – Yeah sure. So, let’s see, I’m married, I have two amazing children, one’s actually turned seven today and one’s five. So yes, most of my passion is spending time with them obviously but I’m a futurist at heart. I love to think about what’s next, what’s next for the church, what’s next for society, working, where is all of this going, what are we doing here? That’s where I spend a lot of my brain space, but I’m the Executive Pastor at EastLake, I’ve been on the team for about four years. My wife and I have been a part of the community for about nine years and it’s been an incredible place for us, it’s an unbelievable community. A lot of our friends we’ve met through EastLake and it’s just been a fun ride.

    So ten years now it’s existed. EastLake is a place where we like to say that it’s a church for the rest of us and it’s a place where everyone’s welcome. What we try to replicate is just an authentic place where you can be yourself in the truer sense and not have to put on your smiley church face on Sunday, but really just come as raw as you are and as broken and vulnerable and with all the mess of life. So that’s, I think, the best descriptor of what’s the essence of EastLake I guess.

    Rich – Nice. So you’re a multisite church, I know some people are always nickels and noses, they want to count all of that stuff, so give us a sense of the scope of your ministry, that kind of thing as well.

    George – Well, if you’re asking about current reality?

    Rich – Yes.

    George – We’re five locations all in the Seattle area. Combined, today we’re averaging 23, 24 hundred people combined at all locations. At our peak in 2013ish and even before we were multisite we were touching 5 thousand people on a Sunday itself.

    Rich – Nice.

    George – Things have changed quite a bit.

    Rich – Cool. Well this is going to be great. One of the things I love about EastLake and I said this last time you were on the show, I think Churches from across the country need to be learning from churches like yourself that are in communities like Seattle, around that part of the world, that are decidedly post-Christian in communities. Nobody wakes up… my impression, I feels a certain amount of kindred spirit because I feel the same thing here in Jersey, people don’t wake up on a Sunday morning feeling guilty that they’re not going to church, it’s just outside of their radar. It’s not even a category that they consider and so EastLake is one of those churches that for years I’ve been a fan from afar and said, “Hey you should really follow them, I think they’re doing a great job.” You’ve really been a welcoming community to folks and I’ve seen that and it’s been encouraging to see and so I’m excited to jump in today.

    Really recently I would say, in the last year or so, you’ve taken a stand as a church, a more overt stand, of welcoming people regardless of their sexual orientation and today I want to jump in and talk about that, because I think you’re one of the few kind of churches I would label evangelical, not in the like gun-toting, rightwing, evangelical sense but in the sense of people who want to tell others about Christ, who are passionate about, how do we get people connected to the message of Jesus. It’s been interesting to watch from afar, kind of that process as you’ve reached out, specifically to try to articulate being open to people regardless of where they’re at from a sexual orientation point of view. So tell us about that, give us a bit of the story of what’s happened at your church.

    George – Yeah I mean it has been a journey for sure and it’s a journey that continues I would say, as far as what we’re continuing to learn and what this topic means right now and then the church specifically. But ever since I’ve come on staff four years ago, this has been an unresolved, I would say, conversation among our team and our Senior Pastor Ryan, he’s been processing for like five plus years now.

    So it’s one of those things that has liked emerged out of who we are. I wouldn’t even describe it so much as like a decision point necessarily, as much as it was a revelation. We really do believe that we’ve been following and continue to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in this, not just in some like mythical weird way, but in an actual like, what’s unfolding right before us, the humanity that we’re seeing, the people who were called to pastor, the pain that we see that the church has caused that we’re not and haven’t been exempt from, just sort of came to a head in the last six months or so.

    So that’s been like the big picture journey, as far as what’s happened. Recently, so you mentioned the Time article came out in January and even before that, a couple of months before that, a gal at our team, who had become a very good friend, she let us know that she was dating a girl and I think that was the thing again. We’d had conversations years and years before but I think that was the moment of like, “Okay, this is over, this is done,” because really what it came down to was her having been a part of those conversations and having close friendships with myself and with Ryan and with a lot of our senior leaders, but when she came out to me specifically and her life, she was terrified, she was afraid that I was going to fire her.

    She leads music at one of our locations and this was a Saturday night that she came out to us and she literally thought in that conversation that she wasn’t going to be singing the next day and that broke my heart, that was a wakeup call for sure. If my friend doesn’t feel safe to be who she is here and knowing her and seeing the fruit of her life, it makes the issue pretty clear, I guess is the way to describe it. I know for people that come from a traditional background, like myself, I grew up Coptic Orthodox, which is about as traditional as you can get.

    Rich – That’s traditional with a capital T.

    George – Yeah exactly, it’s a hard thing, like you know, “What about the bible? What about these versus?” [Inaudible 00:07:20] and all those questions are important and they’re ones that we have worked through and come to a sufficient place of conviction and repentance really. I think that’s where the conversation really gets lost, there’s no one who really spends time talking about that piece. It’s not a matter of, “Okay I guess this is where culture’s going and this is what we needed to do as a church,” at all, we need to be really, really thinking about our biology between brothers and sisters, the harm that we’ve done, and be in a state of repentance right now and that’s where feel like we’re at.

    Now this isn’t something like, yeah we’re over that now and we have all the answers and this is the future, as much as it is like, no this is a problem, like we’re creating hurt and pain. So that’s where we’re at.

    Rich – Now before this would you describe… now I feel like there’s a position that a lot of churches are in where it’s almost like the old ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ kind of mentality, where there’s just a certain vagueness around what either our practice or our belief on this particular front. How would you describe before your took some steps, leading up to this day, obviously she knew, this is a perfect example of here’s a young woman or a woman in your leadership community who clearly saw up close the ministry of your church, knew that you were a grace filled community, a loving community, but there was something that was being articulated that got her to the spot of believing, “Now this could actually go really bad for me.” So how would you articulate kind of how you were before this shift?

    George – That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say don’t ask, don’t tell was our operative, though as a bummer as it is right now for me to admit that was a part of what existed. The way that it ended up playing out was case by case for us and frankly there just weren’t a ton of examples. There were a couple that I feel like we handled them gracefully in the sense like, we brought on an intern who identified as having same sex attraction prior to this, but yeah, it was always in conversation, it was always in relationships. There was no policy statements, there was nothing that was like articulated on our website about like our stance or whatever, so this shift was sort of confirmation of what’s always been there.

    I think that what’s important about it is that it’s not enough to not say anything, as far as we’re concerned. It has to be said that this is a safe place because people… there’s just so much baggage that the church carries, the unspokenness of like, “Hey you can lead, you can come here, we love you but here’s your lead and here’s how much you can do or you can’t work here, you can’t lead a group,” you know, all these sort of, whether it’s don’t ask, don’t tell or it’s, you know in some of the more conservative churches, more of just an exclusion. The opposite of that I guess is saying out loud the opposite, “You’re welcome here fully affirmed, you can lead just like anyone else can lead.” There’s no limitations on her leadership and so that was sort of the necessary next step that we saw, which is what lead to our first statement in January.

    Rich – Okay so now I’m sure there’s people who are listening in who are like, “Rich but you’ve got to ask about all of the theological distinctives,” and would love us to dive into that conversation.

    George – Sure.

    Rich – Today what I want to focus on is how you processed this change as a community, so what you did. This is a significant shift and kind of the impact from that, but if people want to dig into that conversation, is there a resource on your website or a particular message that you could point people towards? We’ll link this in the show notes, but where would I point people if they want to dig into that particular issue?

    George – Yeah, no it’s great. So after we made the announcement in January we hosted two different events called Together In This and we created a website that has all the resources, books, articles and even the video talks from both of those messages. It’s actually a phenomenal resource, it’s So if viewers want to go there I think they would be very well resourced.

    But specifically for church leaders, I guess if there’s a church leader who is sort of in the throes of this conversation, trying to figure out how to lead their community and there’s a lot of them is what we’re finding. One of the things that we’re learning is that there are a lot of pastors who are privately wrestling with this and trying to figure out sort of what’s next, but I would say to those guys or gals call me. I’d love to talk to you, it’s an important work that you’re embarking on and Iove to help however we can. Shoot me an email, give me a call and I’d love to have a chat.

    Rich – Very good. I hope people take George up on that, he’s a very generous guy for sure and I will link to that resource in the show notes so people can, you know, just to dig in a little bit deeper if they’d like to process that side of the equation, but let’s get back to what actually happened.

    So you have this, you know fairly dramatic kind of coming out experience with a key staff member, what happens next? How do you kind of… what steps did you walk through to process this change as a community?

    George – Yeah so it came really before that. I think in 2014 we did several messages just about a general theological shift. I mean, a lot of this frankly is centered around the bible and how you approach the bible and so we did several talks around, a lot on just how to view scripture through the lens of Jesus and the crucified Christ, being the ultimate revelation of the holy and loving God. God’s not angry with us, that God is for us, that God wants to see things renewed here on earth as they are in heaven.

    It seems subtle and it seems like Christian language, all that kind of stuff, but it’s a radical shift. When we start really, really thinking about the implications of that, what does that do about how we view war and violence and how we view the other and how we view even other religions.

    So that was a journey that was started in 2014, and even a little bit before that, but really sort of more directly in messages that we just put out in 2014.

    That was one thing, the other thing was we released a video, an ethos video that we started to play before every message on a Sunday in the Fall of last year, that had things like, you know, married, divorced or single here, it’s one family that [Inaudible 00:13:56] a beautiful ethos statement that we borrowed from a church in Denver called Highlands. But one of the lines in it is, “Gay or straight here, there’s no hate here.” So that was kind of the best subtle like indication of like, “Our leadership is sort of here and so on.” Then private conversations with key leaders that are in our community.

    So there’s a multifaceted approach to this, but I say all that and I guess I would cap it off with, we did not do it perfectly in every way, far from that. I mean the Time article, the way that ended up working, it’s like we put out a press release and then surrendered to do an article.

    Rich – Right.

    George – They called us and we gave the interview. After the interview it was like, “Hey this is going to go out on X date,” or whatever and it actually ended up getting ahead of us. So by the time our article ended up coming out, a week before we were able to do a message for our church.

    Rich – Oh well.

    George – So I probably wouldn’t do it that way again if I had to do it over but there’s a lot of second guessing and like, “Oh we should have done this,” and all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day I think what we’re learning is that there’s people who care a lot about this topic specifically and it’s very polarizing and it’s actually one of the sad things that I’m seeing in all of this is just how intense it is and how dividing it is. I don’t think it has to be that way.

    We didn’t say to our churches, “Hey you either need to agree with us or you need to leave,” that would sort of be disciple to the point of inclusion. It’s like we need to include people that we disagree with and they’ll disagree with us too. So we’ve tried to make it a point that you’re welcome here regardless of how you view the bible, how you view scripture, what your opinion is on this specific topic. The only thing that you’re not going to do is be hateful, you know, we need to journey together and we need to have space and dialog and respectful conversations. So that’s been the shift.

    Rich – Now I would suspect that there was, and maybe I’m wrong, but I would suspect… So this Time article comes out and then Ryan ends up getting up, you know unfortunately sometimes it happens with the press right, you know, stuff can get away from you pretty quickly, but Ryan gets up and preaches, I’m assuming that there’s somewhat of a tsunami of feedback that comes into the church. Tell me about that process and how did you deal with it.

    George – That’s a good way to describe it, I would say it was definitely a tsunami of positive and negative. I think the people who are most supportive are really loud and the people who are most against it are really loud, then there’s this big subset of people on both sides, in the middle that just sort of don’t say much, you know, they leave quietly or they stay quietly. But the extremes are intense, that’s for sure, the feedback both from within our community and outside our community was at times overwhelming, I mean on both ends of the emotional spectrum.

    So it’s been a very challenging but fruitful and rewarding season, you know. One that I don’t regret, I wouldn’t trade for anything. I wouldn’t want to do it again, I would want to like start from the beginning and do it again but I think it’s been the most life giving season of my life and of my ministry and I think our leadership team would echo that.

    So has it been difficult and challenging? Absolutely, it’s been trialing, there’s been times when we’ve been like wanting to give up and throw in the towel or whatever, but it’s definitely worth it and where we’re headed and the church, the people that are still here and the people that want to continue to build this community with us are what motivates us to keep going.

    What we didn’t do is put out a rainbow flag out front and become a gay church, right because our gay friends don’t want that either, they just want a church what they can go to and be normal and be with other people worshipping and trying to figure out what it looks like to join in the renewal of all things here and now. So we’re excited to build that community with these people and hopefully be able to partner with other pastors who are trying to do the same. So it’s a beautiful time, we’re excited.

    Rich – So if there were a few things, you know two or three things that you would say, “Okay there’s maybe some stuff I would do different next time,” obviously thinking there’s probably people listening in today that are trying to think about what they would do in this scenario, what would you have done different?

    George – Yeah, it’s hard to say because through this journey we’ve gotten a chance to meet a couple of other great leaders who have gone through this process and sort of exchanged notes with them and the things that we said, “Hey we would have done this differently,” we actually did but the result was the same.

    Rich – Okay.

    George – I think the biggest thing that comes out of the lesson there is that there is no formula really to this that’s clean.

    Rich – Right.

    George – I think that’s how you know that it comes from a place of conviction versus strategy right? The big accusation is, “Hey you’re just capitulating the culture,” or “You’re trying to be politically correct,” or whatever and it’s like that’s dumb, because first of all, in order to be politically correct there has to be a benefit to you right? Politicians don’t flip flop on issues because of any reason other than they’re going to get more votes or they’re able to raise more money.

    So it’s not like by doing this we’ve made a ton more money and we’re growing, no the opposite in fact, the church is down about 35%-37% budget wise and around the same number attendance wise. So there’s no direct benefit to this other than it’s right, other than we believe like we’re following our convictions.

    So I think by the very nature of that truth, there is a just a realization that there’s no formula. So I think I would have done that differently in that I think we tried to sort of control it, the outcomes and have certain expectations at the organizational level, the staff level and even at the congregational individual levels, like there’s certain people you know that, it’s like, “Hey I think this guy will do,” or whatever.

    Rich – Oh right, right, right.

    George – So I would say having those expectation of anyone or anything to fall into place or not fall into place was probably the biggest mistake, because you’re just going to be let down, because you just don’t know how deep seated this is for a lot of people and people will surprise you.

    Rich – Yes so you kind of hinted on there a little bit, it sounds like you’ve had a bit of erosion of attendance and finances and you talked through that piece. I think we can live and I can be accused of this, you know I sometimes wonder, I think when I get before Jesus he’s going to sit me down and say, “Hey so you spent a lot of time worrying about getting more people to attend your church,” and you know, I think there’s going to be part of it, I can picture him saying in my imagination, “You know there’s a part of that that was really good, I appreciate you trying to reach people and then there’s some of them that maybe wasn’t so good.”

    So I have the humility to realize that but I think there’s some church leaders that are listening in, they hear that, they hear you throw out that stat and for that alone they would say it’s just not worth the risk. So could you talk through that a little bit for us?

    George – Yeah and this is something that I think about a lot because it is such a bummer because it is a reality and it is a hesitation for a lot of the folks that we talk to and the intension and the motivation behind it is pure right? Like these guys are thinking about their livelihood, their families, their staff and their families and the implications and the stakes, the stakes are high. So on one hand I get it, I understand that it’s a huge risk.

    So on one hand it’s like how deep is the conviction, what is the motivation and how well are you pastored to sort of weather a storm that will come? Because a storm is going to come, you’re not going to grow, you’re budget’s not going to grow, certainly not immediately. What’s going to happen immediately is that it will be painful and people will lock away and people will accuse you of things that you didn’t do and people will speak poorly of you and you’ll friends and you’ll lose money and all that and that sounds terrible right? Like on the surface it’s not a very attractive… which is again why the whole notion of political correctness is hilarious.

    Rich – Right.

    George – But if there is conviction there, I think first of all that has to trump, which isn’t to say, “Hey just shoot from the hip and be like, “Oh I’m convicted, I’m going to go,” it’s to say still figure out what strategically you can control at some level, you know, have money in the bank and make sure that you’re staffed appropriately as is, all that kind of stuff. They’re all practical things that you can do to prepare for this and I think and I think it’s optimistic view and a long vision, I said I’m a futurist. So looking ahead I think that eventually churches that are exclusive will be harming themselves more, it will cost more essentially to be exclusive than less versus. So there will be a tipping point right, and actually after that tipping point happens I think it will be a lot easier to accuse churches that have come out as affirming after the fact of cultural capitulation because it will actually be beneficial at that time.

    Rich – Right.

    George – So I guess I would say, don’t wait for that. If it’s conviction it’s conviction and at some level, if you have good leaders around you and you have people who are doing their best to follow Jesus, they’ll come. That’s been one of the most encouraging things about this, is our incredible team and how inspiring it’s been to sort of watch them lead in this season.

    Rich – Yeah just on the practical side, one of the things that’s so… This comes a bit from an Executor Pastor point of view what I’m about to say, because I had heard that there was maybe a bit of contraction there. So I went on your website and looked at your staff listing and I’m like, it seems like they still employing a lot of people.

    George – Yeah.

    Rich – Did you end up having to contract a little bit or where you able to kind of weather the storm financially so far?

    George – Yeah, so we’ve had to cut in a lot of different places. One of the big implications of this, just on a practical level for us is that we’ve had to close one of our campuses in Monroe and for a couple of different reason.

    One, it was already sort of in our most rural remote communities, a beautiful community, amazing people were a part of it, but it represented an asset that we had equity in and so we are in the process of selling that, so that we have a little bit of cash to function with and our campus pastor at that location was transitioning.

    So it was sort of in the midst of this season, where we were trying to hire someone and sort of reboot any sort or energy and that just seemed untenable. So as a result of that our… a couple of other things, two or three other staff, who were either offered other positions or I think one of the positions ended up being eliminated. So that was really the most negative staff implication that we’ve had to move through, through this transition.

    Other than that though, things have a little bit self-corrected. We’ve had just like random things. A couple of members of our team got opportunities in other places, other states, just sort of disconnected from this issue. So things kind of worked out in that sense from a staff perspective where we’ve been able to [Inaudible 00:25:29] amazing people on our team came forward and took voluntary pay cuts to weather this, which is just unbelievable. It’s really, really inspiring to be around these people. So we really feel like we’re doing this together.

    Rich – Right. Well just two last questions. What would you say to another church leader, we’ve kind of talked a bunch about this, who is maybe wanting to be more open but is feeling caught in that zone? You know, I’d say reach out to you, that’s a great thing to do, listen to your story. Anything else you’d say to a church leader that’s out there today who’s thinking that?

    George – I think the more that you get this “issue” out of the clouds and out of hypothetical and out of like the talking about it or them, even worse and the more you can humanize and just be in relationship with people and ask them their stories, that’s really where the change happens, that’s more than any like book or video that you watch on that Together In This website or whatever, those are going to be helpful resources and tools and they’ll give you handles. But the relationships that you have with real humans, who are doing their best to follow Jesus and to look them in the eye and sort of, I guess, decide what as a human, what do you do with this person? The answer becomes pretty clear as a follower of Jesus, it’s you love them and what does that actually mean, how does that play itself out?

    So for me, I guess the moment in which that reality came to a head was when, I think the perceived decision, like in hindsight, as my friend tells the story, is that she was feeling like she was going to be fired and that didn’t even cross my mind, like I was going to fire her, it’s ridiculous to think about, but the fact that she was thinking about it shows that there is an impasse there right?

    So I guess most people don’t have to come to that place of decision, they can have a theological idea about something that doesn’t have any practical implications in their real life. So for those people it’s a lot easier to sort of have a traditional view on this, but it gets really messy once you’re in a real loving relationship with people.

    Rich – Well George I really appreciate you coming on the show today and talking through all this. It’s been super helpful and hopeful insightful to people who have been listening in. A couple of years ago we have Jonathan Merritt, he’s an author, come and speak at Liquid, it was a great day and we got talking about this particular… he wrote a great book, A Faith of Our Own which is a fantastic book, if you haven’t read it you should read that.

    One of the things he said that stuck with me from that day, because he’s kind of a polestar, he is kind of a cultural, he’s trying to kind of take temperature of the culture and one of the things he had said when asked about this particular issue is he said, “You know, in 30 years from now people are going to look back at exclusionary churches in the same way that people look back at folks on the side of the civil rights argument that didn’t end up prevailing in the end and saying why were those people even there? Where there were Christians that actually didn’t want civil rights to pass through, who are those people and what were they thinking?”

    That stuck with me where I’m like, that is something we need to wrestle with for sure. So my hope in today’s interview, as people have been listening in, that it’s been thought provoking and you know, even just what you said there at the end, that we would put a face on this issue even if it’s just, “Here’s another church leader who’s trying to wrestle with this.” So George I really appreciate you being on today.

    If people want to get in touch with you or with EastLake, how can they do that?

    George – Yeah, shoot me an email, and I’ll do my best to get back to you and support you. So if you’re on that journey definitely don’t hesitate to reach out, I know it can feel lonely in that place, so we’d love to be a resource if we can.

    Rich – Thanks so much, I appreciate that.

    George – Thanks for having me Rich.

    —Huffduffed by theprd

  10. Chris Vacher on Nurturing a New Worship Venue at Your Church | unSeminary

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    Welcome to this Thursday’s edition of the unSeminary podcast. This week I’m super-excited to be talking to Chris Vacher, also known as Chris from Canada, who is an excellent leader at C4 Church, east of Toronto.

    Chris got this week’s session started by filling us in on his ministry at C4. The church was founded 30 years ago and has changed locations twice, both times moving eastward, or more into the suburbs. What that means, is that C4 is now deeply entrenched in the Durham, Pickering, Ajax area. There are about 500,000 people in that location.

    Those of you who are familiar with suburban ministry know what that means: Most people who live in this area are commuting into the city of Toronto. That translates into crazy schedules and not a ton of “community” focus.

    C4 has been in their current location since 1999, and Chris was brought on staff as the Worship Pastor about 18 months ago, and then last summer became the Creative Arts Pastor. That means he oversees almost everything that happens on Sundays: the music, the creative communication, all of the design, video, film, and all the production.

    C4 has about 2,000 people, which is a BIG number for a church in Canada! Not many churches of this size exist in Canada, so C4 looks for people to learn from, both within and outside the Canadian borders.

    This background information brings you up to speed on the topic for today:

    How do you deal with such tremendous growth?

    Toronto is a huge city, which sometimes surprises people. It is, in fact, the third largest metro area in North America, so when the Vachers moved from the West side to the East side of the city, it wasn’t like moving across town. Chris and his family found themselves having to learn how to “do life” and how to lead ministry in a whole new way.

    One of the first things on Chris’ plate was helping to decide what to do when a church building is maxed-out. Chris explains:

    We were having one service in our main auditorium (about 900 seats) and we were full!

    C4 has a God-given vision to be a regional church of 10,000 people, and it’s impossible to be that church meeting in one service in one location. They had already decided to be multiple services church in multiple locations, but when Chris arrived, a year and a half ago, they had already hit the first barrier to that vision. What were they going to do?

    Hold multiple services?

    Open another location for services?

    Start another venue in their current location?

    C4 made the decision to do multiple venues in their current location. Here’s how they narrowed down the three options and arrived at that decision.

    Three options: One decision

    Multiple Services: C4 was currently holding a 10 am service. Should they add an 11:30 service or an 8:30 worship time? And if so, typically you would replicate everything. You would offer kids programming twice, the pastor would preach twice, etc. Or you could offer two different styles of worship: Traditional and contemporary or café-style, but basically still the same content repeated twice.

    Second Location: This may be a more common and more effective way to reach more people. Worship could be set up in a school or other church building.


    C4 had a fellowship hall in their building, not huge, but they used it for wedding receptions, Junior High ministry events, etc. They considered converting that area into space that could be used on Sunday mornings at the same time as the main service, offering a second venue.

    The reasons that drove C4 to decide on the multi-venue service were this option was much less risky than opening a new venue off-site. They could control the content that was offered, they would not have to pay rent on a second location or buy lots of new equipment. They would not have to ask people to leave an environment they were comfortable in.

    Also, C4 felt they were not ready, volunteer-wise, to duplicate services to add a second service. To do that would take a lot of volunteers, and they simply were not prepared to staff two services with volunteers, mostly in the areas of kid’s ministry and hospitality and connections.

    Auditorium B: Not Amateur Hour

    Chris was very quick to point out that what went on in Auditorium B was in no way “less than” what happened in the main auditorium on any Sunday. The praise band was live and not “Junior Varsity.” The worship leader was “live.” The welcome and transitions out of worship, the announcements, the offering, congregational prayers and close of service were all “live.” The teaching was live by video.

    C4 asked people to volunteer to attend worship via RSVP in Auditorium B for 10 weeks. They made the ask vision-driven by announcing, “We’re full. There’s lots of people coming and we have to make room.” Baptisms, Communion, Easter were all held in the multi-venue site just as in the main auditorium.

    Auditorium B ran for ten weeks: March through the spring. In the summer, they went back to just the main auditorium, as attendance was down. In September, C4 reopened the multi-venue, but by October, both venues were full! In December, they had to launch a second service in the main auditorium, so they are currently at 2 services in one location, instead of 1 service in 2 locations. But! They are starting to get full again!

    C4 is starting to talk about off-site venues, but they still have Auditorium B as an option.

    What about you?

    If you are thinking about the need to add additional service times, an off-site venue or adding an on-site venue, here are some things to consider:

    How do you feel about video teaching?

    Estimate your costs

    Estimate your risks

    If you’re interested in knowing more about C4 church and their exciting growth and ministry, visit them online at or you can find Chris at

    Episode Highlights

    00:36 // Rich introduces Chris Vacher to the show.

    01:09 // Chris introduces himself and talks about C4 Church.

    02:58 // Chris talks about the growth of C4 Church and their decision to go multisite.

    06:31 // Chris talks about electing a multi-venue as opposed to a second service.

    08:54 // Chris talks about C4’s second venue, auditorium B.

    12:56 // Chris talks about the process of transitioning people from the main auditorium to auditorium B.

    15:05 // Chris talks about the initial issues with space in auditorium B.

    16:22 // Chris talks about C4’s process for learning.

    17:26 // Chris tells how seasons impact the venues.

    19:01 // Chris talks about the impact of the Add and Multiply campaign.

    20:43 // Chris highlights the attendance split for the two services.

    21:37 // Chris and Rich discuss video training.

    24:49 // Chris talks about being a chicken owner.

    26:11 // Chris offers contact details.

    Episode Transcript

    Rich – Well hey everybody, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in, I hope you’re having a great Thursday as we count down to this weekend at your church. I know you’re super busy, there’s a lot of things you could be spending your time on today and I’m just privileged that you would take some time, honored that you’d take some time to spend with us today.

    I’m super excited to have Chris Vacher with us today. He’s from C4 Church, a friend of the podcast, he’s been on before, east of Toronto, welcome to the show Chris.

    Chris – Hey man, it’s great to connect, always fun talking with you, whether it’s in person or over the internet or podcast, however it is, to spend time with you.

    Rich – Nice, well it’s going to be good to talk to a Canadian today. Chris’s handle is chrisfromcanada, all over the place, so it’s always fun to interact with Chris. Chris is a great guy, a great leader and so why don’t you give us a sense of C4? Tell us a little bit about your ministry.

    Chris – Sure, so C4, we are in the eastern suburbs of Toronto and the church was founded about 30 years ago. We’ve moved locations a couple of times and both times we moved we moved eastwards, so more into the suburbs. So we are deeply entrenched in… So Durham region, Pickering, Ajax would be Oshawa foresees about 500 thousand people in this region. Most people would be commuting into the city of Toronto and so a lot of people who do suburban ministry familiar with just crazy schedules and not a ton of community. So we’re kind of right in the middle of that.

    We’ve been in this location since 1999 and I’ve been on staff here for a year and a half. I was hired here as the Worship Pastor and then last summer became the Creative Arts Pastor. So overseeing all of our worship, everything on Sunday, our music and then all of our creative communications, all of our design, video, film, anything anyone would see and then also our production as well.

    We’re a church of about two thousand people, which people who know ministry in Canada, 2 thousand’s a big number for a church in Canada, there’s not a lot of churches of that size. So we look as hard as we can for people to learn from me that are in Canada or other places, because we know there’s people ahead of us making some really good decisions and we want to learn from them as we just… and do everything we can to reach more people for Jesus in this region and see God do some amazing, amazing things.

    Rich – Absolutely, C4 is a great church. If you’re not tracking along with it you really should. They’re doing all kinds of really interesting things and I think are great communicators and just doing good stuff for sure.

    So now you guys, as you’ve been growing, which is a great problem to have, it’s a gold-plated problem, why don’t you describe some of the bumps along the way? How have you dealt with that growth?

    Chris – Yeah, so I came here a year and a half ago and we were new to this region, new to this area and if you don’t know Toronto people are often surprised when they find out how big Toronto is. Toronto is the third largest metro area in North America, we just passed Chicago last year I think. So it’s a huge city and we moved from the west side of Toronto to the east side of Toronto, which is not really like moving across town, it really is moving across the province.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So we came to a new area, a new place, meeting all kinds of new people, learning how to do ministry in a new way. I personally had to like get up to speed real quick and figure out how to do life and do ministry in a new context with new people, leading in a new kind of church and one of the things that was on our plate, sort of right as soon as we came here, was we were doing one service in our main auditorium, about 900 seats, and we were full, maxed out. We have a vision here at our church, we really believe God’s promised lots of things to our church. One of the things that we’re going to be a regional church of ten thousand people. It’s very unCanadian to say to put a number on it.

    Rich – Yeah very unCanadian.

    Chris – But we really believe, we’re speaking to our elders and to our leadership in lots of different, very specific ways around that number of ten thousand. So obviously we can’t be a church of ten thousand meeting in one service and one location.

    Rich – Yeah right.

    Chris – So we had already decided, a while ago, that we were going to be multiple services and multiple locations. So I came here a year and a half ago and we were sort of already up against that first barrier; what are we going to do? Are we going to do multiple services, are we going to launch another location or are we going to do something different, maybe another venue, you know, a building?

    I guess this is what we’re going to talk about today, so what we decided is, we decided to do multiple venues. So I’m sitting in what we call our auditorium B, this is our stage drop behind us.

    I guess the three options on the table were, do we do a second service? We were doing a 10 o’clock service time, so do we add an 11:30 service or do we add an 8:30 service, which basically for people who don’t do multiple services, the typical way would be you just sort of replicate everything.

    Rich – Yes.

    Chris – And you offer kids’ programming twice and it’s the same service content twice and the preacher preaches twice or you would do different styles; traditional and contemporary or café style or something. But basically the same content repeated twice or do we launch a second location and you guys are pros at that, multi-site churches becoming, I think, a more common way and a more effective way to reach more people. So do we launch a second location and then meet in a school somewhere or use another church building and we [Inaudible 00:05:46] for another spot? Or do we do multi-venue, which we had in our building a fellowship hall, you know, which is a room, it’s not a huge room, it’s a room that we actually used it for our junior high ministry on Sunday morning and for alpha and for wedding reception dinners, there’s a dance floor in the middle of the…

    Rich – Nice, that’s fantastic.

    Chris – But could we convert that into a space that could be on Sunday morning at the same time as our main service, on Sunday morning, a second venue?

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So we made the decision to do that.

    Rich – What drove that because I think the kind of more traditional route would be, let’s just add a second service? What was it that led you guys to elect, okay no, actually let’s do it in a second venue? Then we’ll talk about what the venue actually is.

    Chris – Yeah, well there would be lots of things and people have, if it’s a new concept they get freaked out, “We’re not going to be one church anymore. We’re not going to see people anymore. How is the pastor going to go back and forth from room to room? What about worship?” But at the core, and these wouldn’t be the only ones, but I would say these would be the two things. One pro multiple venues and one against multiple services.

    Rich – Okay.

    Chris – So the pro for multiple venues was vision driven because we knew to be a regional church of ten thousand people, we were not going to be one service in one location. We had already made that decision.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So it was just like, at some point we have to do multiple venues.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – Man if we did a venue onsite, that’s way less risky than doing a venue offsite. I don’t know what the percentage would be of offsite campuses that fail at a first shot, but we thought, man if we did an onsite venue, we can control the experience, we’re not paying for rent, we don’t have to pay for a ton of equipment, we did have some startup cost, we’re not going into a new neighborhood or a new location, we’re not asking people to leave what they’re familiar with. So that was the first thing, it was really vision driven, onsite, safe venue.

    The second one which is sort of against multiple services is, we weren’t ready at the time to duplicate some of our volunteer teams and that would be mostly in kids and in hospitality or connections.

    Rich – Okay.

    Chris – So to take our full kids’ offering, we do from birth from up to grade four for kids and then grade five up to grade eight is for junior high in the morning. That takes a lot of volunteers on Sunday morning. Greeters, ushers, all that stuff and we felt to ask people to serve two services on a Sunday with three year olds, it’s not going to work out.

    Rich – Yeah exactly.

    Chris – So those two things, where we felt at the point we were at we weren’t ready to double our serving teams and we knew we were going to eventually be multiple venue. So those two things working together were sort of like, “Man let’s try this.”

    Rich – Let’s do it. So what does it look like? Can you kind of describe what’s happening when you say multi-venue? Obviously it’s a smaller room, what is the experience like if I came to that venue?

    Chris – Yeah, so our main auditorium, about 900 seats, about 200 in the balcony, so a good sized room. We put a ton of energy into our Sunday morning. Sunday morning is our main event for us. We say like every Sunday is the Super Bowl, it’s a big deal for us. We didn’t want our second venue, or auditorium B to be amateur hour. So what we talked about is we have live worship, live hosts, live teaching by video.

    Rich – Okay.

    Chris – Live worship, live hosts, live teaching by video. Our auditorium B seats about 220 people.

    Rich – Wow that’s good.

    Chris – We spent some money, like we put in this black curtain, there’s a TV above my shoulder here.

    Rich – Yeah.

    Chris – There’s two screens, you can see the ‘Kingdom King’ that’s a neon sign, it’s turned off right now.

    Rich – Nice.

    Chris – We love neon and Kingdom King is our annual theme. It’s a stage element that was present in our main auditorium that we brought over to auditorium B, we found that was really important.

    So we have a live host, a host for us on Sunday morning does our welcome, does our transitions out of worship, announcements, offering, congregational prayer. They also do the close of the service, so there’s three segments for the host.

    So we have a live host in the main auditorium and in auditorium B. A live worship, that was really important for us, that’s sort of a key part of the C4 worship experience, it’s not coffee house, it’s not acoustic. We were actually really careful, it’s actually not the quiet venue, it’s still loud in here, in this room. So one week I might be leading or one of our worship leaders will be leading in the main auditorium with their team, the next Sunday they’d be leading in auditorium B. It wasn’t the junior varsity team.

    Rich – Right, right, right, right.

    Chris – That was really… because we were asking people to give up their seat in the main auditorium and come to auditorium B to make more room for new people in the main auditorium.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So we didn’t want to dumb down the experience and say like, “Oh you know, sorry we couldn’t give you the real deal, here’s the leftovers.”

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – Then live teaching by video.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – That was a language decision where we didn’t say video teaching but we said live teaching by video and we did it, I mean literally as easily as we could.

    We have one camera in our main auditorium. We already had it there because we had a one camera podcast where we just video the service. We had some tech guys, I’m not a tech guy, but I know what I want for a final product. There’s a cable that comes out of the camera that gets sent from the big room to the small room and then we use ProVideoServer, the guys that make ProPresenter. So if people are familiar with using ProPresenter from Renewed Vision, they have a sister product called ProVideoServer. We looked at all kinds of solutions like PVRs, security camera software, we scoured a way to do it on the cheap. ProVideoServer isn’t cheap but it’s not… you could spend a lot more money than what you’d spend on ProVideoServer but we found that it was the right solution.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So we have, in our tech booth and auditorium B, one Mac mini that runs ProPresenter, one Mac mini that runs ProVideoServer. So the teaching feed comes into the ProVideoServer, Mac Mini goes into our switcher and out to our projectors. We don’t get tricky with multi cameras, all that stuff, it’s literally just one camera feed being sent over from the big room to the small room.

    Rich – So what happens? So obviously you invested a bunch of time, effort and energy. I love the language stuff there, I’m sure people picked up on that, because I think you can… I’ve stubbed my toe on that stuff in the past, if you don’t think that stuff through, there’s unintended consequences when you use, you know, language like video teaching or whatever you can end up there. So what ended up taking place? Did it work? Did people..? Because that’s going from the main room, even though it’s only… I’ve been in your building, it’s probably 200 feet or 100 feet, it’s close but emotionally that’s a big difference, what happened?

    Chris – So what we did is we had the opportunity to make it visionary and to say, “We’re full, there’s lots of people coming.” You can feel it right? You can feel the pain. We had just gone through and Easter weekend where we were jammed out, we had people… sorry a Christmas where we had people in the isles, it was packed.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So we went to people early in the year and said, “It’s full, you know that there’s more people coming. We just have to make more room, we have to make more seats.” So we actually asked for 150 people to RSVP.

    Rich – Okay, nice.

    Chris – We used that language, you know, we said, “Just like you would make a reservation for a restaurant we want you to RSVP and we are asking for ten weeks.” We launched a trial and we told people, we invited people to help us learn. It goes back to this, you know, it’s better to fail onsite than offsite. “We know this is our future so please help us learn this. We need 150 of you in auditorium B every Sunday and here’s the first date.” We did a dry run the Sunday before. The dry run Sunday, we had our highest attendance ever.

    Rich – Oh my goodness, wow.

    Chris – Not a coincidence, we’d been planning for it and in talks for a long time and March 23rd 2014 we had our highest attendance ever and coincidentally March 30th was our first Sunday where we opened up a couple of hundred more seats.

    Rich – Wow.

    Chris – So we ran for ten weeks and numbers would have varied between 110 to maybe 230 up and down, it never felt empty at the service.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – The seasonal pattern followed the way it did in the main auditorium but essentially that’s what we did. We just asked people to step up and to say yes to make more room in our main auditorium.

    Rich – So if you only have 220 seats and you’re pushing up against 230 some weekends, what happened then? That seems like, okay it’s working, like it’s great, again it would be great if it was, “We averaged 150 and just kept going,” but it sounds like you were pushing up against that.

    Chris – Yeah so the first couple of weeks we setup we actually… I said we could seat 220, we actually setup about 250 chairs.

    Rich – Okay nice.

    Chris – So the first Sunday it was rammed in here, it was hot, people were squished in and we thought, “Man nobody’s going to come back if the experience is like this, so let’s actually take away chairs. We’re still opening up more seats than we need, so let’s take away some chairs, so that when this room is full, even people who want to be in auditorium B, they will feel good about that even if they have to sit in main auditorium.”

    We did baptisms in here, we did communion in here, we did Easter Sunday in auditorium B, we felt like everything that we would do in our main auditorium, we should replicate that in auditorium B and not have it feel like a secondary experience.

    Rich – Yeah I think this is a great. For churches out there that are thinking about, particularly you guys that are thinking about multisite and I know a part of the punchline is you’re going to end up launching another campus here.

    Chris – Yeah.

    Rich – But I think this is a great first step because you’re learning there, there is a part of it where even just whoever’s doing the teaching, being in front of a camera, learning what that’s like, you know, learning to kind of how, how do they deal with that, that’s all win all around.

    Chris – Yeah.

    Rich – That’s fantastic.

    Chris – And we didn’t just say that we wanted to learn, we actually, like we were really intentional about it. So every Sunday we had… we don’t do comic cards a lot here at C4, we did comic cards on the seats, every seat, every Sunday.

    Rich – Interesting.

    Chris – And the first five weeks it was literally just rate the experience.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – “Did you enjoy being in auditorium B for the service? Yes or no?”

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – “Did you enjoy watching the pastor onscreen?” The sort of valuations, some questions were one to ten, but basically it was the experience. The second half of those ten weeks, the last five weeks, we started asking missional questions. “Would you invite a friend with you to attend a C4 venue like this?”

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – “If there was a C4 venue like this closer to where you lived, would you choose to attend that venue rather than our main service?” It was really interesting but we were really intentional about asking for input and trying to learn and man we learned a ton.

    Rich – Very cool. Good so then does it continue to run today?

    Chris – No. So we ran it for that initial ten weeks, end of March until whatever, May.

    Rich – Yeah.

    Chris – Then, like a lot of places do, summer attendance changes and so we went back, just to our main auditorium for the summer. September hit, we relaunched auditorium B and by September we were out of a learning mode. So now this is like a full-fledged venue for us. Please God we continue to grow so that by the time we got into October/November, we were staring to fill up again our main auditorium and then the question started to ramp up, “Okay now what? Now what do we do?”

    Rich – Right, right, right.

    Chris – So what we decided to do was in December we launched a second service and so we went from one service time in two locations to two service times in one location. So right now we do 9 o’clock and 11:15 in our main auditorium.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – We’ve been doing that since December, it’s now middle of April, it’s starting to get full.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – We’ve had record attendance multiple times.

    Rich – That’s great.

    Chris – We’ve done that, so we know we’ve got auditorium B as a release valve, as an option for us, even just for one service. We could do 9 o’clock in two venues, 11:15 in our main auditorium, maybe vice versa and then we’re also still in big conversations and planning about this offsite venue as well.

    Rich – Very cool. So was there anything that you learned from launching the venue that then you kind of took and applied that to going to multiple services?

    Chris – Oh yeah. Well I guess I said one of the reasons we didn’t do multiple services back in the spring was, part of the reason was our volunteer teams, we didn’t feel like we had capacity to double our teams in hospitality and kids. By the time we got through our ministry last year we felt like, “Okay maybe we can now ramp this up,” and so we did a big campaign that we called Add and Multiply and that was our lingo for going to two services. We told people we’ve added a venue and now we need to multiply and do a second service, because the communication around that always gets tricky.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – Especially because we were asking everyone to change. We had a 10 o’clock service time and we didn’t have a 10 o’clock service anymore, we were going 9:00 and 11:15. So we were asking everyone to change.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So, “Man don’t tell me what to do, I’ve been coming to church for 10 o’clock since…” “No you haven’t but…” So we use that Add and Multiply, we’ve added a venue, now we need to multiply into services and we use that same language for serving.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – We were asking people to add to their serving, you know, “You might serve occasionally, would you consider serving regularly?” Then we said we also need to multiply our teams. “If you have never served before”, like you might say, “this is the perfect time.”

    Rich – Yeah time to get in.

    Chris – Yeah it’s the perfect time to get in, and so we use the Add and Multiply for the venue and service time but also for our volunteer teams and man the response was massive, it was awesome.

    Rich – Nice, very cool. Well just for curiosity sake, how did the kind of attendance split out between the two; the 9:00 and the 11:15? Where did that land for you?

    Chris – Well I think everything… I think the general accepted is like you’ll see 60/40.

    Rich – Yeah.

    Chris – So 60 at the earlier and 40… So we’ve been around there.

    Rich – So wait a second. 40 at the second? Your second service is smaller?

    Chris – Yeah, our second service is smaller.

    Rich – Very interesting.

    Chris – Part of that I think is weather, we’ve had a brutal winter. So it’s now nicer weather, it’s starting to, it’s actually starting to even out in our adult numbers but our kid numbers are still 60/40 at the earlier.

    Rich – Okay, interesting.

    Chris – But our adult numbers are yeah, pretty even.

    Rich – Great, so you’ve created a bunch of space at that 11:15 service, which is great.

    Chris – Yeah.

    Rich – That’s fantastic.

    Chris – Yeah we’ve created a bunch of space but we’ve had some Sundays where we’ve been pretty full.

    Rich – Yeah.

    Chris – It’s awesome.

    Rich – That’s incredible.

    Chris – Yeah.

    Rich – Nice, well is there anything else you want to share, just around all of this, around multiplying venues and service times before we move on?

    Chris – I guess to say like, if you’re thinking about it, go for it. There’s conversations you’ve got to have like, “How do we feel about video teaching?” I think pastorally you should wrestle through that so that you’ve got… if you’re in pastoral leadership you should wrestle through that, so you’ve got a handle on it, because people will ask.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – It cost less money than we were expecting it to, to do it well.

    Rich – Interesting.

    Chris – It costs money, it’s not free.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – You could do it for free or for really cheap, but it’s worth the investment because we had a couple of hundred people and they were choosing to be here. On Sunday morning, sleep in, work on the garden, go to kids’ soccer, whatever it is, they’re choosing, the least we can do is create a great environment and a great experience for them.

    Rich – Right.

    Chris – So invest in the experience for people when they come and it costs less than we thought and the other thing would be, and this has been proven but it was a good learning for us, like video teaching works.

    Rich – Right, right.

    Chris – It really works and the clincher for me, we had a Sunday, one of our first Sundays in auditorium B, our pastor, he loves to tell stories, he’s got little kids and suburban that’s great, he tells stories about his kids and the goofy things they do. He was talking about going to the grocery store and saying like, “You know the grocery store and my kids doing this…” and he says something like, you know, “Who’s ever been in that kind of situation before?” and in auditorium B…

    Rich – People put their hands up?

    Chris – Yeah people all across the room put their hands up and that for me was the clincher that they were watching on video but they were interacting the same as they would in a live experience.

    Rich – Yeah it’s so true. Yeah I’ve seen that in so many different venues where people assume if… everyone has a reason why it won’t work in their community, you know, like I’ve talked to folks in California and they’re like, “Well you know, this is the entertainment industry, it won’t work here.” They are like they’re in some part of the country where they perceive that they have a higher level of intellectuals, “I’m not sure this will work.” Or it’s the other way, it’s like, “Well this is like Bluegrass Country, it’s not going to work here.” But generally it works, it works as a strategy for sure.

    The other thing I love, I hope people just underline this as we kind of wrap up, is I love that, I think, so many churches get to the point where you got to and they get paralyzed and don’t find a way to multiply and actually that limits the work of God in your church right? Which I know is a scary thing to think about but it’s true right? If you don’t… there’s a part of this that’s like a faith step where it’s like, “We’re going to try this thing and see what happens,” but it is possible for us to slow things down, to slow down the momentum, you know, we’re feeling.

    Chris – Yeah.

    Rich – Well Chris, I really appreciate you being on the show today. Thanks for taking time out. We’ve come in about 25 minutes, so we’ve had a great conversation, but one thing I want to ask you about before we leave, is I follow you on Instagram and I’m following you on Twitter and what is this about chickens? What is happening in your life with chickens?

    Chris – So I have a wonderful wife, she’s amazing, we’ve been married for 12 years and she’s a country girl and we have four kids, we have two dogs and a cat, so it’s not like we’re looking for more things to do right?

    Rich – Oh my goodness.

    Chris – I don’t know, I mean chickens, it’s something we’ve been talking about for a few years. There’s something, I don’t know, there’s something kind of romantic about like…

    Rich – Raising some chickens.

    Chris – A little backyard, raising some chickens, having some eggs.

    Rich – Yeah.

    Chris – Although we’re a suburban church, our house isn’t in a suburban neighborhood, we live a little bit out of town, we’ve got a little bit of property.

    Rich – Yeah.

    Chris – So we’ve been talking about it for a few years and the time was right and so yes, we are now officially chicken owners.

    Rich – Fantastic.

    Chris – 16 little chicken meatballs arrived at our house last week. The kids are fascinated, the dogs are fascinated, the cat, like she’s terrified.

    Rich – Right, right, right. Well particularly as they grow.

    Chris – So they’re in a big rubber container in our living room for a couple of weeks, then move to the basement for about a month, then we’ll kick them outside. You’ll love this because, I mean the real reason is so that my kids can have a job and sell eggs and make some money so that we can go back to Disney.

    Rich – Nice.

    Chris – That’s the real reason, I know you’re onboard for that.

    Rich – That’s great. Well Chris I really appreciate you being on the show today. If people want to get in touch with you or with C4 how can they do that?

    Chris – So me personally: chrisfromcanada everywhere, so chrisfromcanada on Twitter. chrisfromcanada on Instagram. Periscope, are you Periscoping?

    Rich – I haven’t, you know, I’m an android guy. I was looking for it but I don’t think they have that app yet.

    Chris – Ah, sorry to hear that, I’m sorry to hear that.

    Rich – I know.

    Chris – You can do a whole podcast on Periscope, it’s awesome.

    Rich – Yeah it’s cool.

    Chris – So people can track me that way and I love connecting with people all over the place, mostly because I learn so much from people who are doing stuff differently from me. So I love to connect that way. C4: is our main site and then on social media it’s c4churchdurham, we’re in Durham region, so c4churchdurham on social media. is our website.

    Rich – Nice, well thanks so much Chris, I really appreciate you being on the show, taking time out, I know you’ve got a lot going on but I really appreciate you taking time to be with us today.

    Chris – Anytime Rich, thanks man.

    Rich – Thanks, bye.

    —Huffduffed by theprd

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