I'll be absent from this space for the next few days. Thanks to everyone who's sent E-mails and tweets. Talk more soon!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I spent an hour in the sanctuary fixing the projector."
You can read more of this wonderful stuff here.
Monday, September 22, 2008
"The local church rarely gets serious about change until they run out of money... We're preoccupied with paying the bills, not reaching unchurched people. What does that make us? "
The Andy Stanley leadership podcast is available on iTunes
LeaderMan: Wants a platform on which to say something. Servant Leader: Has something to say
LeaderMan: You almost feel you know his family, because he’s your Leader. Servant Leader: You allow him to influence you, because you know his family
LeaderMan: Wants you to know he’s a Leader. Servant Leader: You’re not sure he knows he’s a leader.
LeaderMan: Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church. Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path.
LeaderMan: A great speaker, but self-described as, “Not really a people person.” Servant Leader: Makes himself a people person
LeaderMan: Helps you find where God is leading you in his organization. Servant Leader: Helps you find where God is leading you
LeaderMan: Gets together with you to talk about his vision. Servant Leader: Just gets together with you
LeaderMan: Resents “sheep stealing.” Servant Leader: Doesn’t get the “stealing” part, since he doesn’t own anyone to begin with
LeaderMan: Wants the right people on the bus. Servant Leader: Wants to find the right bus for you, and sit next to you on it
LeaderMan: Shows you a flow chart. Servant Leader: Shows you his whole heart.
LeaderMan: A visionary who knows what the future looks like. Servant Leader: Knows what your kitchen looks like
LeaderMan: If it’s worth doing, it worth doing with excellence. Servant Leader: Not exactly sure how to even calculate “worth doing”
LeaderMan: Talks about confronting one another in love. Servant Leader: Actually confronts you in love
LeaderMan: Impressed by success and successful people. Servant Leader: Impressed by faithfulness
LeaderMan: Invests time in you, if you are “key people.” Servant Leader: Wastes time with you
LeaderMan: Reveals sins of his past. Servant Leader: Reveals sins of his present
LeaderMan: Gives you things to do. Servant Leader: Gives you freedom
LeaderMan: Leads because of official position. Servant Leader: Leads in spite of position
LeaderMan: Deep down, threatened by other Leaders. Servant Leader: Has nothing to lose
Just a quick Happy Birthday shout out to my buddy Greg Atkinson at Bent Tree Community Church in Dallas. He's also the amazing mind behind ChurchVideoIdeas.com. You, my friend, are an inspiration and I am looking forward to seeing where God tosses you next!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Conferences and trade shows are a great tool for anyone in ministry, because of the way they can recalibrate your "reality meter." I get a much more clear view of "my world"... by getting away, interacting with peers, and getting a broad overview of the field on a more national level.
MinistryCOM 2008 was, for me, a home run. Outstanding keynote speakers. Not a single one that didn't hit it out of the park. I enjoyed serving on the production team, led with skill by Mark Bennardo. It was great to reconnect with Dawn Nicole Baldwin, and to meet and spend some time with Mike Foster, Jon Acuff and Scott Hodge. The breakouts I attended were very strong. Ann Jackson nailed a bunch of people in the room, and you should pre-order her book "Mad Church Disease" today.
It was also just really great to connect in real life with folks who I have known online, or maybe just known their names, and to reconnect with folks I've met in the past. And, I want to thank Michael Buckingham and Jeff Wilson for being so supportive. I count you guys as friends.
Thanks also to Terrell Saunders, for having the vision, and taking the risk in producing a great event. Your reward is well secured, Terrell. Thanks, and see you in Chicago in 2009!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Jon is the creative mind behind one of the funniest blogs blogs that I read, Stuff Christians Like. He has a laser eye for the funny, "inside baseball" church stuff that we all get caught up in occassionally. He also probably owns stock in M&M Mars, given the gross tonnage of skittles he threw off the stage. Jon spoke on "small phenomena" and the power of story.
Tell your own story. We are called to the spirit and power of truth. "Honesty is more important than talent." Technology and new mediums give us access to more talent than ever in the history of the world. Still, we lack honesty.
Honesty is contagious. When you tell your story, others will jump in to tell their stories too. "When you go first, you give everyone in your community the gift of going second."
Make your stories bigger. God wants to use your whole life to tell your stories. We take things off the table because of our own insecurities. Then we try to "shine up" the stuff that's left. Don't bother. You're already famous in God's eyes. That's enough, and that alone makes your story as big as it can be.
Get messy. The best stories are sloppy! They often get that way other people enter into your story. Let them in. That's not easy, but remember that God doesn't need us. He loves us. He can work through us, and without us at the same time. Our "failures' are not necessarily his.
Tell your story. Start tonight.
"We took an 80 year old church with blockages in nearly every artery and performed open heart surgery with very little anesthesia."
As a church communicator: "My job was about translating and clarifying the vision, so that people could get it." The vision will not succeed if people don't get it. Most pastors need someone by their side to help do that."
Communicators can best help to create alignment between the vision and who the church is, and is becoming. Doing that requires asking 3 critical questions.
Who is God calling us to reach? You cannot "reach everyone."
What is it going to take to reach them? What do we need to STOP doing to reach them? 90 percent of change involves stopping things we are currently doing. Simplify and put more focus in fewer areas.
Are we willing to pay the price? When you start turning your focus to reaching the people that God is calling you to reach, not everyone is going to like you. That is a question first for the leader. It will cost him or her the most. If they are not willing to pay the price, forget change.
Everything matters... even the small things when you begin creating alignment. Creating alignment leads to creating culture. Culture is created in the details: What we chose to celebrate. What we allow to have influence.
Language is important. Clarity in communication will help people understand the whys behind the whats.
Dawn Nicole Baldwin in principal in the marketing and branding agency Aspire One, working with some of the big dogs in the church marketing world. Her are just a few nuggets from her keynote on Thursday.
"Marketing is no longer a one way conversation"
"'How can we get people to our event or home page is not the question. Ask instead 'how do we want to change the relationship we have with this person today.'"
Just as Google brings web visitors to many different points of entry on a website, churches have many entry points. Look for those points, and see them as opportunities to change your relationship with that person.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Shamu at Seaworld is a great show... but don't think that Shamu is a Killer Whale. Shamu has been tamed and put in a tank. A killer whale is out in the ocean, fulfilling its destiny. To be killer whales... and not Shamu in a tank... we need to:
Be out in the ocean, not in the tank.
"We need to be connected to culture, connected to the real world."
"We are not called to critique culture. We are called to create it."
Overcome Our Fears.
"Push through the fear. That's where faith happens."
Action is not just rewarded, it is demanded!
HT Mark Bennardo for the photo!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I am on my way to Oklahoma City, really looking forward to hanging out with some of the best church communicators in the business. If you are anywhere within driving distance of OKC, you should be at MinistryCOM. I'm helping out with production of the conference this year, but I am still planning to blog at least the main sessions. Probably won't be "live"... but look for wrapups every day. Come on down to OKC if you can!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Cynthia Ware is a new acquaintance of mine who spends a lot of time exploring the connection between the church, and the use of technology in our culture. She offered ten insights and challenges the church faces, particularly relating to how technology is used by our culture.
- Accept the Virtual World’s significance (MySpace is the most visited site on the Internet)
- View online expressions of Christianity as valuable extensions of real world faith
- Embrace the opportunity for Church without borders (time, geography, etc.)
- Welcome the presentation of God’s Word in the vernacular of current culture
- Respond to the globalization of the planet with hope not cynicism
- Develop and maintain an online presence purposefully populating cyberspace
- Establish virtual outposts for evangelizing, preaching, equipping & training
- Create interactive portals for experiencing Church (streaming media)
- Practice spiritual disciplines in the global online conversation
- Encourage strategic investment in the iGeneration
Just like criticisms of the use of video to deliver teaching in worship have proven to be specious, we need to get beyond questioning whether worship in the online world is really "church"... and understand that it is where our culture is living life.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I've been sick for about a week. There are real, content driven posts ahead. In the meantime, this is entirely Todd's fault. If someone else has time, I'd love to know the back story here.
UPDATE: I totally found more of them. They're from The Way International, a cult, and they pretty much look like it. Check out "Kreepy the Keyboard Player" on "The Truth We Live." Stepford??? Or maybe he's that weird little rat dude that sat next to Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi? Your call!
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sony is running some nice rebates on their HVR line of HDV cameras. You can score a $300 to $500 rebate, depending upon the camera you buy. We have their HVR-A1U, and it is a remarkable little camera that you can pick up for less than $2000. I've also used the Z1 and it's amazing as well. Qualify for the Sony rebates on their website, right here!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Ever wonder how Pixar Studios manages to hit home run after home run with their animated features? The Harvard Business Review has a fascinating piece by Pixar president Ed Catmull on how the nurture organizational creativity.
According to Catmull, it is all about smart people, NOT the ideas:
"If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up; if you give a mediocre idea to a great team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something that works."
Pixar’s operating principles focus entirely on the team.
1. Everyone has the freedom to communicate with anyone.
"The decision-making hierarchy and communication structure in organizations are two different things. Members of any department should be able to approach anyone in another department to solve problems without having to go through “proper” channels. It also means that managers need to learn that they don’t always have to be the first to know about something going on in their realm."
2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.
"We make a concerted effort to make it safe to criticize."
3. Stay close to innovation in the academic community.
"Connection is worth far more than any ideas we may have revealed: It helps us attract exceptional talent and reinforces the belief throughout the company that people are more important than ideas."
HT to Scott Hodge for pointing out the article.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Sorry for the quiet this week. Things are not conducive to consistent writing at the moment. I have about a half a dozen posts in development, and am a bit frustrated I haven't been able to make time to get them fleshed out. Here's a quick hit, though.
Make some time week after next to get to Oklahoma City for MinistryCOM. It's worth the time, and the trip. It's the very best place you can be if your passion is communications for the church.
If you will be there, drop me a line. I'd love to connect.
Friday, September 05, 2008
My brother Gordon is at it again. This time, it's a mouse, the Communion table, and a scene that would send my mother into an hysterical cleaning frenzy. Gordon says it was really a blessing. I tend to agree.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Customer: “I need some help with the animal watering troughs.”
Me: “Sure, they are outside. Let’s go look at them.”
Customer: “Can I see if I fit in it?”
Me: “Um, ok.”
(The customer climbs in.)
Customer to companion: “Ok, now you get in too, see if we will both fit.”
(The customer’s companion climbs in.)
Customer: “Ok, this will work, but do you have any nicer looking ones, without dents? We are using it for a baptismal font.”