Craig Groeschel on Innovation

Last week I was part of the team that represented Salem Church Products at The Resurgence Conference in Orange County. I know – Southern California is rotten and terrible, but someone had to do it.

We had the opportunity to hear some really great speakers like Miles McPherson, Greg Laurie, Rick Warren and Craig Groeschel (to name a few). Craig Groeschel’s talk was on Innovation, and I think his outline is worth sharing here.

Pastor Craig is the lead pastor at LifeChurch.tv, and if that name doesn’t ring a bell, you probably know (and love) their smartphone Bible app, YouVersion. They get a lot of funny looks when people find out that a church (gasp) would be the ones to create a Bible app – as if the church is never that innovative or forward-thinking. He argued that the local church should be at the fore of innovation, and gave an outline of the best environment for innovation:

Limited Resources + Willingness to Fail + Increasing Passion = Exponential Innovation

Limited Resources: People often like to use their scarce resources as an excuse for why they’re not doing X. Craig argues, however, that it’s always in that space of limited resources that true innovation happens. God gives you exactly what you need for the task He has for you: never more, never less. Take what God has given you and create.

Willingness to Fail: We’re really scared to fail. The last thing we want is to show up to our staff meeting or appear before our Elders with mud on our face after an epic failure. It’s paralyzing. But it’s always out of failure that God shows up in big ways. When we know something doesn’t work, we get up, learn from the mistake or misstep, and try again, often much better equipped. Most successes come from a long string of failures, and you won’t get there if you don’t go through them.

Increasing Passion: True innovation comes out of real and growing passion. Olympians become incredible athletes because they want it – more than anything else. They’re singularly focused on achievement in their sport, and they pursue it relentlessly. Before innovation can explode in your church or ministry, you have to identify what drives you and chase it with an increasing passion.

Exponential Innovation: When you have exactly what God has given you for what He’s called you to, when you are willing to fall on your face, and when you have identified your passion, the field is ripe for innovation.

I’m not near the communicator that Craig Groeschel is, but I hope that his thoughts are encouraging to you as you pursue innovation and creativity in your context.

You are Not Alone. Build Your Network.

I sat on a Tech Q&A Panel yesterday at the Unite Worship Conference in Atlanta. I was honored to share the platform with some really great folks who love the church and pour themselves into helping churches communicate with excellence.

One of the guys in the room asked us: “Are there folks out there who will give me honest advice about my AVL setup without simply trying to sell me something?”

David Leuschner, the Tech Director at Gateway Church, provided a great answer that I think is worth sharing here. He said (I’m paraphrasing): “Absolutely. Other Worship Leaders. Other Tech Directors. Other church sound guys in your area. Build your network. Invite them to your place to see what you’re doing well, and go to their place to see what they’re doing.”

What a great answer. So often, especially in the Church, we think that our problems are unique to us and that we’re the only ones who have ever struggled with [fill in the blank]. Or worse, we have too much pride to ask a colleague for help. But the truth is, we’re a big cloud of witnesses who are all trying to figure this out and do our best as we go… and our loads are lightened significantly when we ask the guy walking next to us how he did it.

Church work shouldn’t be an arms race. Ask the other guy across town how he did it, and share your successes with him. You’re not the only one laboring in the Kingdom, don’t try to do it on your own.

So that problem you just can’t solve? Quit reading this, pick up the phone and call your counterpart down the street and ask him to coffee.

You are not alone. Build your network.

Fostering Community :: Church Technical Leaders

In one way or another, you’re probably involved in the “tech” ministry at your church. If you haven’t joined the network at churchtechleaders.org, you’re truly missing a great opportunity to be served and to be connected to folks just like you. We absolutely LOVE the work that they’re doing. The following is a post from Bill Swaringim, a member of their leadership team and TechArts Director at The Crossing in St. Louis. Take a listen to his heart and join the movement!

Spend any time on Twitter or Facebook and you will undoubtedly be met with Instragram pictures of beautiful nature scenes, skylines and even some cute baby toes.  It is hard not to be amazed by God’s creativity.   Genesis 1:26 says Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature”.   Not only did they have the first ever brainstorming session, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created together.

Yet, we try to work and create in isolation.  Too many times, church artists spend their time alone – creating video for the service, planning stage design, focusing lighting, or setting the stage.   Even if you are not physically alone, being misunderstood by leadership or clashing personalities can leave you feeling isolated.

We have a God created desire to share life and be connected with others.  Having that support, especially in ministry, is vital.   I have longed for a community that I could bounce ideas off of, experienced technicians that could speak to the effectiveness of gear, creatives from whom I could glean inspiration, ministry leaders that could share how they developed their ministry and volunteers.   A community where I could give back and contribute in the same ways.

Church Technical Leaders is a community of volunteer, part-time and full time church technical and media artists from across the country and around the globe.  This community thrives on fostering relationships amongst its members, facilitating peer learning, and encouraging synergy through the sharing of ideas while wrapping its arms around all serving the local church through the technical arts.

Church Technical Leaders is a resource that is helping change the dynamics of church technical and media ministries.  I invite you to check out ChurchTechLeaders.org and the resources that are developing there as well as join the online community.  The online community provides space for you to connect and engage in community – the way God has wired us.