The staff at Discover Point decided a long time ago that we would be bi-vocational. Meaning that we take small salaries (some of us free) and all work second jobs to support our families. Our Lead Pastor owns a advertising business. Admin Pastor is the Director of the Math Department at a local high school. The worship arts pastor is a Hotel manager. The other worship leader is a big wig at Georgia Power. The Volunteer Coordinator is a sales rep for a Styrofoam company and I am the IT guy at a shelving company. The reasons behind the decision were to some degree money but for the most part it had everything to do with reaching people. I can plan and create graphics at night. As we grow I can find more and more volunteers willing and able to do the work. We have staff meetings via Skype at night. I can't develop relationships with people while I am sitting at a desk at church making graphics or videos surrounded by other Christians, at least not like the ones I make at work everyday. Or the young lives Jeff touches at school every day. Now that said will we always be that way, probably not. As the church grows different positions will be needed on a full time scale. What's funny is that as we as a church are about the embark on one of the biggest risk (almost tripling our rent), during one of the worst economics time periods we have not had any issues making ends meet. Does it help that our staff takes very little salary. Yes! I am not saying that all church plants should not pay their staff full time. Your church has to do what God is leading you to do. But isn't it funny that a decision made by our staff to reach people is having such an impact now. We are thriving in a time where other churches are laying staff members off (huge churches). Don't get me wrong I am not thumping my chest. I am not saying God is punishing the churches who are feeling the economic crunch. I'm just saying God is good and by following his direction we are moving into a new building where we can reach even more people.
Okay so I have decided to simplify my life. Well just a little I cut down my Google reader feed list down from 330 feeds to 176 feeds. That may not sound like a lot but it has made a huge difference in my day. I only have to scroll though 400 post a day as opposed to 2000. They add up! Well that said I am also going to try to schedule out this blog. Please note the word try. Every Tuesday I plan to write a top ten list of my favorite things. So today will be my top ten blogs. These aren't feeds I will cover that next week but these are actual blogs that I read.
1. Leading Smart - Tim Stevens This guy has a great blog and if you have never read his book "Pop Goes the Church" you need to.
2. Visual Worshiper - Cameron Ware I only wished this guy posted more but when he does post it is thought provoking. His visual work is amazing.
3. Already been chewed- Barton Damer The intent is to help you serve up something fresh on Sundays because nobody likes to be fed something that has Already Been Chewed. That says it all
4. Life Hacker The best general tutorial site on the web period.
6. Engadget Of the 4 big tech news websites this is the best.
7. Stuff Christians like- prodicaljohn aka David Caruso This guy puts a funny yet real spin on things. He's a great read
8.Raggamuffin Soul- Carlos Whittaker Creative Arts Pastor Coordinator/ Cool guy or whatever his real title is for Buckhead church here in Atlanta. One of my favorite reads.
Worship leader Ledges- David Collinsworth This is my Worship Arts Pastor. I like to get into the head of musicians. I like to know what they think. That's until I actually know how they think and then I really don't want to know. His thoughts interesting and when he actually makes a post it's fun to read.
I love social media. I am a Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Blogger addict. I love to talk to friends, meet new people and share my thoughts with complete strangers. I spend hours trying to figure out how we can market Discover Point through social media. What I found is that you can't truly market a product effectively on social media sites. You can however market ideas, personalities and brands. Social media is a huge tool for the church that few have yet to tap into. Heck I spend hours ever week trying to figure out how to use social media more effectively for kingdom building. I know a lot of churches that have the misconception that is not the place for the church. It's too "of the world" "Facebook is the devil" and that could not be any further from the truth. With Facebook twitter and even this blog I try to connect with people where they are and this day and age a lot of them are right in front of their computers. I use the church Facebook group to not only connect people within the church but to show people outside our church, searching for something, the personalities of people in our church. We are a friendly fun, loving, down to earth crowd. We love technology, creativity and innovation. Using Facebook and this blog and twitter I try to share our "brand" our personalities with people so people will feel more comfortable being at church. I want to shake the awful preconceptions people have about church. I guess what I am saying is use social media for all it is worth. Its the best free marketing your ever going to get.
Okay I love to read blogs. I read them all the time. I love free stuff, tutorials and different opinions on subjects. I want to share all the cool things I find but I cannot email every link I come across to every one. Well I came across (and I know this is not new) my Google reader shared page. On this page I can share all of the interesting post I come across. Check it out Here. Subscribe to the feed and if you have not yet sign up for Google Reader!
I stress the the creative team at church the importance of being original. I am in love with the idea of "creating culture". Therein lies my problem. I think sometimes I get so caught up in the trying to create something new that I forget that truly there is only one reason I am doing this, to help lead people to Christ and to help them grow in that relationship. God has been working on me lately about the reasons I do what I do. Why do I create graphics and websites? Why do make videos? The answer is because people need Jesus and if what I do helps just one person come to Christ then I have done my job. My job is not to put together the most creative, spectacular , audacious worship service possible. That said, I think we should always be creative and we try to be original but that should not be our focus. It's okay to copy what another church does as long as you adapt it to your culture. It is okay to use a sermon series from life church. Tim Stevens from Granger wrote a great piece on this in the most recent Collide Magazine. In it he simply says become a recycling expert. In other words learn to use other people stuff in different ways. I think he is absolutely right! Now I not going to go steal someones idea that doesn't want me to that's not what I am saying at all. I just think it is a great idea to adapt good ideas of others creatively to fit the needs in your church.We are a small church with a small budget. Everyone on staff works a full time job outside of their church work. We all have families. Its okay to recycle creatively. Am I crazy to get away from the idea of original thinking? What do you think?
Okay so I know only a few people read these blogs but I thought I would promote a few new blogs that I think you should check out. 1. Is the Parker rd Blog: The Parker rd Blog is about the new Discover Point Church Building project. Philip will fill you in on all the recent updates with the new building. Check it out Here 2. Is Running into Grace by Brien Duke. Brien is a good friend and growing worship leader. His thoughts should be interesting if he post enough. You can read Brien's blog hereSo check these out and let me know what you think.
I must admit that I am an avid blog reader and Google fan boy. I use Google to find all sorts of nifty (did I just say nifty?) gadgets and sites that I would not have found other wise. One of my favorite Google inventions is Google trends. If you have never visited I suggest you do. What is Google Trends?
It is a site where Google shows what the hottest searches are for that day or you can compare how popular keywords are by a date range. The reason I think this is important is because I think it is important to have your finger on the pulse of culture. We as a church need to know what people are searching for on Google and use that. Why would you do a sermon series on "Thunder Cats" for instance when only a few people even still know or care about "Thunder Cats" ( I loved Thunder Cats). I mean you have to know your audience. If you have a bunch of 26-32 year old guys in your church by all means do a Thunder Cat series. What I am saying is the church needs to pay attention to what is trendy and use it to connect. Don't over use it and look cheesy either. Just because "LOST" and "24" are hot right now does not mean you should do a sermon series on them but maybe you could use a clip from one of these shows to drive home a point in your message (rather than a clip from "The Wonder Years").
World of War Craft (WOW) is hot right now, it's a video game for those of you who don't know. How awesome would it be to open your church during the week to teenagers and supply them with a few computers to play video games. Open the doors before a Wednesday youth gathering and let them stay for the gathering after playing games (thanks Jim for the idea). Be smart, study, and don't assume you know what is popular and what is not. Don't just use Goggle trends! Build relationships with people, ask questions, find out what is important to people who you know don't go to church. Don't assume that because you like a certain type of music that everyone does. Don't assume that your way is the best way because that's they way you have always done it. Don't just pander to your current audience. Broaden your mind and change the world.
At 4:30 Am I woke up to 20 cups of yogurt opened and dumped on my living room floor. It looks like something from Alice in wonderland. There are Purple and Pink all over the floor. If we had Connor first we would not have any more children. When I walked out Connor ran behind the couch and tried to hide. When his mother ask him if he got punished he just said "No I hid". I did not even clean it up this time. I just punished Connor and Brady and sent them to sleep with me. Does any one know a good carpet cleaner?
This is the second part of my list of things I am most excited about with the new building. click here to read the first installment.
5. Better Video, Audio and recordings One thing I have dedicated myself to in 2009 is giving Discover Point a better Internet presence. I want to spend some time making our youtube, vimeo and podcast the best it can be. Yes we will have better recording equipment and that will help with the audio but the video is what I am most excited about. We will have more lights and better control of our lights. So we can shoot better video e page and more consistent video. This will make our Youtube page so much better.
4. Talented People This one is just a guess on my part but I think we will see an influx of talented people join our church. People with talents in drama, media, music, technology and talents we don't even know we need yet. I love the current volunteers but they can not do it all and I refuse to let volunteers burn out. I am excited to see what talent God is going to bring to us over the next year.
3. Better Children's Program This could be number one for me easily. We need a facility where are kids are allowed to be free and creative. Where they can have fun and learn at the same time. Out new building gives them that. It will be set up like a city square. There will be a kids theater, a huge crafts area, an awesome nursery and plenty of class room space. This will be one of the coolest kids areas in East Atlanta. We will see so many kids come to know Christ here and I guess that is the most exciting part of all!
2. We can serve the community better We will not be using the building very much during the week so the plan will be to allow the community use it. Whether it is a place where businesses can do lunches or a place where teens can come and play games I love the idea of opening our doors to help the community. Also our Projects series will take full effect this year. Getting out in the community and just helping people have a better day. It is truly an awesome thought.
1. We will reach more people for Christ. I think this says it all
Hey guys the new website discoverpointchurch.com is Live check it out and tell me what you think. By the way I could not have done this without Greg King, Lisa Collinsworth, David Collinsworth, the entire creative team and of course my wife who put up with me working on this thing all of the time. Thanks Guys!!!! Please send me feed back on the site even if it's not good. I can take it.
This post will include points 10-6 the next will include the rest
10. No more set up and take down Now I will admit this is a little selfish. I have been setting up and tearing down for 3 years and I am tired of it. Has God used the set up and take down to teach me things? Of course he has and they have been valuable lessons but that does not make me any less excited about not having to do it. Will there still be some set up? Sure, but it will be done during the week and we will be able to plan and test things before 10:30 on Sunday morning. Which leads me into my next point
9. We will have the ability to plan and test better I like for things to be planned and tested when it comes to the services. Right now because we really can't set up during the week all of our testing is done on Sunday morning after we spend an hour or so setting up and another 30 minutes with the band and then the rest of the time I am fixing all of the minor issues that come along with being a portable church. I want to be able to walk into our building after work on a Tuesday and begin testing and tweaking videos light ect.
8. The switch to Mac and ProPresenter I know that this has not been finalized in the budget but it will happen soon. The computer we are currently using is on its last leg (although it has been a wonderful computer and we will find a way to use it until it dies) I am tweaking and tuning once every 3 days or so. I am a HUGE Mac fan. They are just better computers (I am not going to get technical on you guys). The other change is the one I am more excited about is the switch from Media Shout to Pro Presenter. The other week me and Philip were going over what was the bear minimum we need to get into the new building. One of the guys who was there ask me if Media shout could give me 85% of what Pro Presenter could? Sure but it also gives 100% more head ache. I have had the opportunity to play with Pro Presenter over the last few weeks and I love it. Again I am not going to get technical but the programing is so clean so well written and so user friendly. I have also been looking forward to the ability the Play .mov files cleanly without going through the headaches you have to deal with with playing them in Media Shout.
7. Live Drama I know this sounds kind of corny but I love well done live drama and I would love to see more of it in a church like Discover Point. Now I am not talking about the corny half done not practiced stuff. I am talking about well written, well rehearsed, done by talented people who love it too kind of drama that can be sooooo powerful. I am praying that the right person will step up soon and lead this ministry.
6. Better Acoustics When you have been in the acoustical (if that is a word) nightmare that we have been in for the past 2 years (The place has been a blessing but the acoustics are dreadful) you get really excited to be in an environment where you have tons of control over your sound. We've got a tom of ultra dense Styrofoam padding for our walls and we will have a drum shield which we have sorely lacked over the last few years. It will sound incredible.
I will list the next 5 tomorrow please let me know what things you are most excited about moving into the new building.
A friend brought up an interesting question the other day. Does it look bad for your worship leader to wear shorts on stage? Does it look unprofessional? At a church like Discover Point does it matter? We encourage our members to dress casually because it is more important to us that they are there than what what they wear. During the summer its not uncommon to see 10 people in T-shirts and shorts. Now for the record my friend is not suggesting that we wear 3 piece suits. All he is suggesting is that worship leaders (even at a church like Discover Point) should always wear pants (jeans). Nice T-Shirts are okay but no shorts. Everyone who attends could still wear shorts or whatever just not the people on stage. I guess my question is if we are trying to look professional who are we trying to look professional for? Part purpose of Discover Point is to reach by relating (that's paraphrased). Who are we relating to by not wearing shorts? 30 year old professionals? That is a large demographic. Would we alienating or turning off people if we decided to adopt this standard? I know that people feel comfortable with the people on stage if they relate with them but in that case we are some how changing someones view with either choice. I know it seems like I am making a big deal out of this but I am just trying to give you guys all of my thoughts. Is it a big deal if the people on stage wear shorts? No? But I would like to know what the 3 people who read this blog think.