Archives For church on the move

How to Build a Creative Arts Culture

Kent Shaffer —  March 9, 2012

Taylor Barriger, Whitney George, & Pace Hartfield at Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference 2012, Taylor Barriger of Camino de Vida (Lima, Peru), Whitney George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK), and Pace Hartfield of Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX) discussed how to build a creative arts culture.

Re: Struggles with Multi-Site
Pace: Each campus is resourced differently. The main campus has more lights and action compared to other campuses. But what we try to create are environments that fit each campus.

Re: Excellence on Budget Issues
Taylor: Creativity thrives on limitations. I love Bobby Gruenewald’s quote that “Media is a money hole. You have all you need today to do what you need to do.” So we have kids run our cameras sometimes because they are the most skilled at it. So we took on a mindset of “No limitations.”

Re: Is your band paid staff?
Taylor: No, because we don’t have the budget, and it wasn’t a possibility. We’ve grown our talent. Good musicians are attracted to good music.
Pace: No, our musicians aren’t paid anymore, but they were 3 years ago. We transitioned because no other volunteer was paid.
Whit: We no longer pay our musicians either. We realized it was an honor to serve, and we didn’t want a culture where people expected money every time they served.

Re: How do you get people to be excited about what you do?
Whit: The people’s excitement level will never exceed that of the leader. The people in the audience will never be more excited than the people on the stage.

Re: How do you stay creative with an older creative pastor?
Whit: Your pastor doesn’t necessarily limit your creativity. He may just shift and direct your creativity to look a different way. Creativity doesn’t have to be lights and stage design.
Pace: If you are getting kick back from your pastor, try giving him 3 options instead of one.
Taylor: Sometimes older pastors might not know what is possible, so constantly share what is possible with them.

Re: What if you pastor has a buffet mentality but expects gourmet creativity results?
Whit: Sometimes pastors don’t know how much time and effort it takes to pull things off.
Pace: On the rare occasions when you do have more time, show the pastor what can be done.
Taylor: The leader of the creative team must fight to create buffer between the pastor and the designers.

Special thanks to Skylark Audio Video for covering my travel expenses so that I can live blog the conference for you. They love churches and are currently offering free AVL consulting.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Willie George on Planting Natural Seeds for the Supernatural

Kent Shaffer —  March 9, 2012

Willie George at Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference 2012, Willie George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK) discussed our responsibility to move and plant seeds before something supernatural happens.

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Psalm 8:4-6
4  what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[a] and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,

When God created the world, He gave Adam dominion. But when Adam sinned, he lost dominion. Scripture teaches us that when Jesus came, He stepped into dominion. Now under the new covenant we once again operate in dominion.

Growth is not your domain. Man was never called to grow anything. God is the one that grows things. 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

Genesis 2 says that Adam had responsibilities. It was God who put all the plants and other things into the Garden of Eden. The only tool that God put into the hand of Adam was the planting of seeds.

God involves us in this amazing process of planting and growing. Where we get into trouble when managing a church is we pray for something that God will do things that is our responsibility. You are the one that has to exercise authority and dominion.

God very clearly sets down the pattern that He does what He can but you do what you can do. God wants you to use something that is in your hand, something that you are familiar with. You have to start somewhere. Everything starts small. You have to make the most of what you’ve got.

In 2 Kings 4, the widow did not have anything for Elisha but a pot of oil. Elisha still made her use what she had. When you come to a place of need, you may not have what you need, but you often have a seed.

I never had any money to do anything God told me to do when He told me to do it.
- Lester Summerall

When we want to extend our ministries, we begin to look for a miracle. But it is natural first then the supernatural. God is not looking for a move of God; God is looking for a move of man. The widow in 2 Kings 4 had to move first before God moved. God’s desire is to blend the natural and the supernatural.

We get this notion that somehow the supernatural comes rolling in, but you have to make room for it first. God is the author of efficiency.

We are in a partnership. God could just as easily have turned air into wine as He did water into wine, but He said get the water jugs. If you are waiting for God to move in the checkers game, He may have already moved, and it is your turn (and God won’t cheat and go twice). You need to do your part and make room for increase before it comes.

Special thanks to Skylark Audio Video for covering my travel expenses so that I can live blog the conference for you. They love churches and are currently offering free AVL consulting.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Willie George on Why, What, and How They Changed

Kent Shaffer —  March 8, 2012

Willie George at Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference 2012, Willie George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK) discussed why Church on the Move changed, what they changed, and how it changed their people.

I (Willie) cannot tell you how to run your church, but I can tell you what Church on the Move has done. There are many remarkable churches that do things different than us. There has never been a finer hour for the local church.

The more success that a ministry has in reaching one generation, the harder it is often for them to change in reaching the next generation. It is so hard to give up an old strategy, especially one that has brought you everything you have.

1 Kings 17:2-15 (ESV)
2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

A God ordained strategy may be something God tells you to do for awhile, but it may change. A lot of us are afraid to change because we are afraid to lose some people, and the people we gain, we aren’t sure how they will pay us back.

There are unreached people in your town who have little or no resources right now that will become the biggest supporters of your ministry. Don’t look for big donors. Look for people with a willing heart. Resources aren’t the problem – it is the willing heart.

Other churches in your city aren’t your enemy; recreation is the enemy. There are more sinners in the city than your church building can hold.

There are people out there that we have the ability to reach, but you are going to have to change because your people are going to change.

When you enter transition periods, Christians start to act like teenagers and become restless and no longer like things. They say, “Pastor’s preaching has lost the anointing,” when reality is nothing has changed. So many believers jump from place to place to place to place because they try to recapture the feeling they want, but they run at the first sign of transition even though that transition will take them to the next level.

Some churches are structured for failure. Our church was!

Why We Changed

Our church culture had placed more emphasis on abundant life (life enhancement) and emotional release for the believer than we did on reaching the lost. The people we had were the focus of our ministry, but today the people we don’t have are the focus of our ministry.

We emphasized a wide variety of ministries when we needed to make the weekend service the main event.

What We Changed

So I (Willie) had to change my preaching to deal with different issues. We very often preach on things that there aren’t a hunger for. Teach people about marriage, kids, money, hard work, etc. We began focusing on the local church is the hope of the world because Jesus cannot work in people’s lives without the work of the local church. You have to realize that your church is an answer for people. We didn’t change our doctrine but rather how we were communicating.

We shortened our services by talking faster and eliminating needless transitions. We cut endless announcements in the service and communicated them preservice via screens in the auditorium and lobby.

We created a healing room next to the auditorium where people can go before or after the service rather than taking up time during the service.

We realized our offering talks don’t make the giving go up at all, so we cut those. Once a quarter, we teach on tithing and that is when giving goes up.

We coordinate every part of the service to tie into the message.

We got rid of unfriendly people. No more ushers that look for telling people what they can’t do. They made our church an unfriendly face. You have to check up on yourself and see hw you come across.

You must critique your preaching. Go back and listen to your preaching.

Make the weekend service the main event. Everything revolves around the weekend. When the vision for Sunday is weak, a host of auxiliary ministries will spring up that choke the weekend ministry. Our ministers were too focused on areas that weren’t really the DNA of the church. The more you narrow your focus, the more your impact will grow when you swing the axe.

Give your people bringvitations, and create a service where people think it is safe to bring their friends.

Try to explain yourself and why you are doing what you are doing. And justify your changes by celebrating your victories (sometimes it is a testimony). Build a culture of testimony in your church. And everytime you tell a story, ask for a story.

How This Changed Our People

There is a misbelief that if we are doing things right, that everyone will stay until the end. This doesn’t mean you should drive people off, but it is good for people to come and go.

When you make the weekend special, your people are motivated to invite all their friends. Highly motivated people will have a bigger impact than any type of media coverage.

The changes helped bring people face to face with God.

Isaiah 6:1-5 (ESV)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train[a] of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”[b] 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Worship is bringing people face to face with God.

Special thanks to Skylark Audio Video for covering my travel expenses so that I can live blog the conference for you. They love churches and are currently offering free AVL consulting.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

At Seeds Conference, Andrew Tremonti of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK), discussed teaching 4 and 5 year olds.

Sometimes the biggest challenge to teaching is kids’ imaginations.

However, you can use their imaginations to your advantage. Kids are going to use their imaginations. So rather than letting them daydream, ask them to imagine with you. Take them new places.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

How to Build & Lead a Creative Arts Team

Kent Shaffer —  March 4, 2011

Whitney George at Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference, Whitney George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK), Pace Hartfield of Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX), and Marty Taylor of Northland, A Church Distributed (Orlando, FL) gave a behind the scenes discussion of how they lead their creative arts teams.

WG: It is not so much about what you do as who you are. What are the personalities like that make up your creative team? Those personalities will shape your art.

MT: Each week, we focus on some specific attribute of God and we connect that attribute to some type of call & response for the church to act on that week.

MT: We don’t ever buy anything just because it’s cool. We buy something because it will help the message.

WG: You don’t do all the lights for the sake of lights. You do it to create environments for worship. God did the same for us when He created a beautiful environment for us to worship in.

PH: And sometimes creating the environment means turning the technology off. Sometimes that is most powerful.

WG: It is about using it in the right way. You always want to keep at the heart of what you are doing, “What am I trying to say?”

WG: When we opened our new auditorium, we asked, “What is the appropriate response?” We thought up a lot of crazy ideas but decided that the appropriate response to launching a new auditorium is worship.

MT: We find out 6 weeks out what a weekend will be and start planning.

PH: We plan 10 weeks to a week out, and sometimes start planning 6 months in advance. We start with whomever will be teaching. Ed Young Jr. will do a mind dump and journaling, and the create planning team will read it all. Then we meet as a group to talk it out. We leave more on the cutting room floor then in the final sermon.

PH: To as best you can, match the leadership style of your pastor. When your pastor feels that support, he will trust you more.

WG: I have to remember that God didn’t call me to run Church on the Move. He called me to serve Church on the Move. You have to make sure that mindset is aligned if you want to be creative.

WG: One of the main things about collaboration is that when start going up, you will see the fruits of that, the disjointedness, showing up on stage. The tech guys and the media guys and the worship guys need to be able to speak into the lives and process of everyone around them.

WG: During rehearsals, we have someone always watching it who is not doing it. That kind of feedback in the time you are putting it together is critical to a great worship environment.

PH: We always have to keep one hand free to adjust for what God wants. You have to be careful to never spiritualize your laziness. Don’t do things on the fly. God is in the details.

MT: I think the approach is greatly affected by how you view the video and the lighting and everything. If you look at the lighting as just another tool, as another worship leader, then it helps to evaluate if it is working together.

WG: Stop thinking of worship as one thing and lighting as one thing and production guys as one thing. They are all one thing together. They are all communication.

WG: Honor and serve. Start honoring the sound man. He is as much of the process as the person on stage. Serving them means respecting their process and putting yourself in their shoes. That relationship is essential.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Willie George on the 4 Absolutes of Leadership

Kent Shaffer —  March 4, 2011

Willie George at the Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference, Willie George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK) discussed the four absolutes of leadership.

There are certain things that are principled, and this is one of them.

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)

This is about building a team. This is about structure. It is only two verses, but they list five layers of leadership.

  1. Jesus Christ
  2. Apostle Paul (who was taught personally by Christ)
  3. Timothy
  4. the faithful men who served Timothy
  5. the others taught by the faithful men

STEP #1 – Every leader has to be strong in grace.

Now grace means a lot of things The willing presentation of excellent ministry before and sometimes even without a reciprocal response from the people who are ministered to. Children’s ministers and missionaries understand this process very well.

You may not get a thank you from the people you minister to. But God has the most amazing ways of payback. You don’t always get payback the way you think you want it, but God’s payback is always better. You have to learn how to be strong in grace.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.
Colossians 3:22 (NIV)

This means you need to be willing to do ministry with low pay if necessary. Ministry costs money. And the numbers only get bigger. The challenges only get greater. You need to get to the point where you do things because you love people and not because of the immediate reward.

STEP #2 – The leader must communicate vision.

Not everyone does this. The difference between success and failure is often subtleties.

The Kingdom of God is not motivated or energized by need. The Kingdom does not come by need but by faith. And faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Need is not a great motivator, but vision is.  Think of vision as a blueprint. Blueprints don’t slow the work down. They speed it up.

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
Habakkuk 2:2

The Bible is a big book of strategies, and those strategies are almost always inadequate. Grab a rock and a sling and face a giant? March around a wall seven times then shout? There is no vision without strategy.

STEP #3 – The leader must delegate to faithful men.

No matter how gifted a leader may be, he will never fulfill God’s will on his life without helpers.

When you release a faithful person to help you, there is always a reciprocating response. That faithful person releases you to do what you need to be doing. Don’t ask God where your helpers are.

Among the twelve apostles, there was not one single volunteer. Every one of the disciples were picked by Jesus while they were doing something else. That is what we have a responsibility of doing. Don’t wait for volunteers, you must draft people. But you must qualify the people you pick.

Test their faithfulness. The more successful your ministry is, the more careful you must be to qualify them. Success brings opportunists who are not faithful to the same thing that drives you. Test faithfulness in three areas.

  1. They must be faithful in the little things.
  2. They must be faithful with money. Do they tithe? Are they responsible with the church’s money?
  3. They must be true to the original. You do not have the license to do your own thing in someone else’s ministry. Your responsibility in to honor the spirit, the ethics, and the habits of the leader.

Model it. Show people how you want it done.

STEP #4 – The leader must remove workers who are not able to continue.

Starting out, you may have to take any help that is willing. But as you grow, you need to raise the ability of your people. Part of having the ability to do something is the ability to recognize whether you can or cannot do it.

A worker who lacks ability to do his job, will hold everyone back. When you fail to release a worker because you are worried about how they will make it, you are robbing them because they have a place somewhere else in the body of Christ.

You have to learn to change some of your people. A good leader has to remove people who are faithful but not sufficiently able.

No matter how bad, how hard, you want to do something… the key to it is the people.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Gabe George on 7 Steps to Great Volunteers

Kent Shaffer —  March 3, 2011

Gabe George at Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference, Gabe George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK) discussed 7 steps to great volunteers.

If you want to develop great volunteers, follow these steps.

  1. What is your mission?
    For us, children’s ministry is about the kids. If any decision conflicts with that statement, the right answer is clear.
  2. Get your systems in order.
    If you want people who are sharp and capable, you have to have your systems in order. If people come to serve and see gaping holes in how you do things, they may defect not because they don’t care but because it looks like you don’t. Volunteers like to know their place. Systems provide that. Church needs to be safe. Systems provide that. If you don’t have systems, you are asking for it.

Those are two things that I think must be done before you ever ask for volunteers. Here is what you do after you’ve got the basics covered.

  1. Cast the vision.
    People don’t respond to needs. They respond to vision. Vision captures people. When you are dealing with volunteers, you must cast the vision often, often, often. A  lot of our vision is systems.
  2. Have a code of ethics.
    A code of ethics is a list that covers anything that is a deal breaker about serving. And we have volunteers sign the code of ethics in front of a pastor. You determine what this is for you. Clear guidelines make it easy to enforce expectations.
  3. Deal with problems.
    You can not be afraid to deal with problems. And problems come from people. It is difficult to look at someone and say, “I’m sorry. This isn’t working.” As Joyce Meyer says, “Do it afraid!” if necessary. You need to realize that you are part of something that is bigger than you. You have to be bold.
  4. Put them in the right spot.
    Volunteers all have different kinds of gifts. You have the ones who want to stay behind the scenes and the ones who want the microphone. The funny thing is not all of the people who want the microphone should have the microphone. Our kids are not lab rats for you to develop yourself as a speaker.
  5. Be followable.
    There is one thing I’ve seen a lot of in children’s ministry, and it is the guy in the room that others can’t relate to and say, “Well, he is the kids guy.” You don’t have to be corny. You can teach with authority. Just because you teach kids, doesn’t mean that you have to act like you are a child. There is a place for that, but more importantly, you need to be followable. Children’s ministry needs leaders. Children’s ministry needs men (and I think the women agree). And if you want men to volunteer, you need to act like a man. I’ve learned that you can reach kids better if you just act like a man. So ask if you are someone who can be followed. You can’t just be a friend.

That is how we do it at Church on the Move.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Whitney George on Building a Culture of Creativity

Kent Shaffer —  March 3, 2011

Whitney George at Seeds Conference

At Seeds Conference, Whitney George of Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK) discussed building a culture of creativity.

When most people think of creativity, they think of artists. But really that is an incomplete definition because you can be creative at anything – mathematics, engineering, parenting.

Creativity at its core is really nothing than solving a problem of some sort. We all have the capacity to be a creative person.

But creativity for artists comes with unique challenges.

As artists, our challenge, our problem, is one of communication. If you think about it, all art is communication. Often, it communicates feeling.

The power of the arts is it can take you places that you didn’t know you can go. It can communicate things that you otherwise cannot.

When you think about the Great Commission, our responsibility is to communicate the gospel. And as artists, we communicate the gospel through the arts.

So how do you build a culture of creativity? Ask yourself these four questions:

QUESTION #1 – Have you given the right people a voice?

If you want young people to buy into your church, give them a voice.

That doesn’t mean ask anyone. Find a young person who has a relationship with your church and genuinely cares. You don’t have to take every single suggestion. But it matters to listen. When you show that you care about what they think, then they will go to town to work for you.

If you want to build a culture of creativity, you must continually find new people, give them a voice, and give them an opportunity to serve. Like attracts like, so get great people.

QUESTION #2 – Have you got the right people on the team?

The idea of the lone genius is actually a myth (research proven). Creativity always works best in groups. Where people often have pitfalls is not willingness to do something but rather choosing the right people for their team.

Avoid These People

  • Avoid people who cause tension.
    Tension is the biggest enemy to the creative process because tension makes our guard go up. Sometimes the senior pastor creates tension because of his position of authority.
  • Avoid people who dominate the conversation.
  • Avoid people who don’t participate.
    If you aren’t going to engage the conversation, there is no point in you being in the room.
  • Avoid people who always agree.
    You need people who will ask the tough questions.

Get These People

  • Get people who have a selfless heart for the church.
    They may not have the best ideas at first, but they give themselves. You want people who use their talents and gifts to build the church and not people who use the church to build their talents and gifts.
  • Get people who have familiarity with each other.
    Familiarity breeds comfort with each other.
  • Get people who move the conversation forward.

QUESTION #3 – Have you put in the time?

There is nothing sexy about creativity and the creative process. There are hundreds of decisions to come up with a result that looks like a genius idea. Creativity works in really small sparks.

Creativity is horribly inefficient. That’s okay. It is like that for everyone. When people do anything very well, they make it look easy.

QUESTION #4 – Are you ready to just do it?

Don’t get hung up wondering “How?” Just do something. Take the first step.

What God has called you to do, He has also given you the grace to do.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar