Seeds Conference 2015 | Breakouts – Thursday

Seeds Conf - Breakouts - Thursday

Thursday brought several opportunities for great breakouts.  Well, literally, there were 3 opportunities to catch the breakouts that looked best for you.  What follows is my recap of the three breakouts I chose to attend today: 

Senior Pastor – Solving the Money Mystery with Pastor Willie George

Let me start by saying this session went in a way different direction than I expected . . . and I LOVED it.  I thought we were going to talk brass tax about strategies for managing money in the Church and how to get into a better financial position as a church.  Instead, Pastor Willie went in the direction of teaching about money in a way I hadn’t really thought about before.

Pastor Willie opened up his session by making an observation.  When most pastors talk about money in church, they talk about how people should give more to them.  However, most people don’t even understand how money works, and not understanding how money works hinders us from being able to deal with people who have the capacity to give in the first place. 

He provided 4 principles we need to understand about money before we really teach about money:

1. God does not give wealth directly to His people.

  • Deuteronomy 8:18
  • Money has to be converted.  It flows as people convert it for services, goods, experiences, etc.
  • When people aren’t sure what to convert (What they have to BRING of value), they tend to not prosper.
  • He made an incredible point here: God can absolutely work in miracles, but its obvious in His Word that He prefers to work through seed time & harvest.  There is a time we sow seeds, and a time we reap what we have sown.  Don’t rely on only miracles, embrace the seed time and harvest.

2. Money flows in channels.

  • There have to be convenient ways for people to get money to you.
  • Malachi 3:10
  • Having lots of different ways for people to give is absolutely essential (In person, Online, Text, Kiosk, etc).

3. God cannot bless your storehouse if you don’t have one.

  • Don’t eat everything that comes in the door.  SAVE SOME MONEY!  Cash reserves are essential for every church.
  • Deuteronomy 28:8 – There has to be a storehouse to be blessed in the first place!
  • Whatever you do, just save SOMETHING.  Even starting with 1%.
  • When money gets tight, look for leaks to plug.  There is typically always somewhere that can be fixed.

4. Develop a 6th Day Project

  • Most people only work 5 days, rather than 6 (like the Bible talks about).
  • You should have a project that fills up that 6th day.  Maybe not only on your day off, but at night, after work, before work, etc.
  • If you’re not putting in the extra time, you’re not going to get ahead.
  • When you make extra money with it, use that money to get ahead.  Pay your bills with your salary and used the extra money to move forward on important things.

Working for the Weekend – Our Creative Process with Andrew Stone, Andy Chrisman & Marty Taylor

This breakout was all about the how and why for the COTM creative process they use to program and execute their services.  They started with their goal for each weekend: Create an unforgettable experience that people want to repeat.  Great place to start.

Then they went through and basically walked through their current process which start with the idea and ends with the service on the weekend.  The graphic below outlines their process:


Its important to note that from the idea, the three departments (Music, Production & Arts, or Video) depart with 3 distinct perspectives (hence, the widening).  From that point, the teams get really broad with the idea individually, then come together in order to get more and more narrow TOGETHER the closer they get to the implementation in the service. 

They start about 9 days out from when the service goes live, or two Thursdays before a service.  I’ll run down what each of these days looks like for them:

9 Days Out – Creative Meeting

This is a meting where they start to work out the details conceptually with the creative team.  This includes people who are broad and big thinkers to start to flesh things out.  In this meeting, they plan on landing on a structure for the service.

8 Days Out – Demo Day

Two Fridays before, the team looks to demo some of the ideas that came from the previous meeting.  This could mean scouting locations for a shoot, testing arrangements of songs, anything they can do in an effort to fail early in the process. This is intentional, because if an idea isn’t going to work, they want to find that out ASAP so they can pivot to the next idea. Read Creativity, Inc. for more info on the importance of failing early.

4 Days Out – Regroup & Finalize

I know, I know, they don’t do anything from Saturday to Tuesday on this, but that’s on purpose.  They want their focus on the weekends to ONLY be on that weekend’s service, and they are also very serious about taking Mondays off to rest.  On Tuesdays, the get back together to debrief (they spent A LOT of time encouraging people to debrief really well) & to determine what they need to do going forward for that weekend.

3 Days Out – Work Day

Wednesday tends to be a big productive work day for their team.  Everyone is full steam ahead shooting to meet deadlines.  Music team is working on prepping people, making charts, getting keys set up, etc.  Production is focused on getting as much information as possible from everyone about what’s going to happen, so they can know how to best manipulate what is coming to the.  Communication is HUGE here.  They also talk through all host segments (welcome, announcements, close, etc) to work out transitions & verbiage.

2 Days Out – Walk Through & Rehearsal

This is a big day for all teams.  Walk through happens during the day where they look at every little detail for the service to get ready for rehearsal.  They consider every transition from every perspective and ask themselves what their people need to know.  They walk away with everything on LOCK for the weekend.  Rehearsals happen that night, and can easily go until late into the night.  The goal here is to GET IT RIGHT.  Love that.  They don’t apologize for how they do it, its just a part of who they are now.

Day Of – Final Run Through

Production is finalizing everything, making sure everything is ready for teams to walk into a peaceful and professional setting.  Love that perspective and heart.  They run everything as if the room is full of people, including transitions, host segments (yes, giving announcements to an empty room), prayers, etc.  

How to Take Your Onstage Communication to the Next Level with Ethan Vanse & Whitney George

There was a lot of gold in this session, and it really is comprised of several tips that you can implement TODAY to help you get better at communicating on stage.  I thought the best way to help you get a picture of everything that was said would be to get a bunch of bullet point nuggets below:

  • Our on stage communication usually suffers because of organizational problems rather than a communication problem.  (i.e. Getting someone onstage to deliver 15 minutes of announcements.)
  • Ask yourself the question: What’s the win or purpose for this person being on stage? 
  • COTM win: To orient people to today’s service and to give people next steps. 
  • Clearly defining the win helps you to give your host something grounded to measure themselves in.
  • Transitions are where you make your money, these are the necessary things that need to be addressed.
  • If your message isn’t interesting to you, then it WILL NOT be interesting to anyone else.
  • Learning to communicate with passion is so important. Passion is sometimes more important than content, when it comes to how its received.
  • You will always be the most _________ of anyone in the room.  Excited, invested, moved, etc.  You are the benchmark. 
  • Own the moment, by sensing the room and people, understanding what’s playing in the room in that moment.  Know what you’re stepping into and what’s coming after you.
  • Give context to things, regularly.  You have to assume that there are people in the room that don’t know things we think are standard.
  • Talk to the back row, meaning the skeptic or the person who’d ready to leave.
  • Stop using insider language.  Minimize christianeese in services, because it can serve to just fill space.   Insider language makes people who are there for the first time that they aren’t a part of the club or that they aren’t included.  Examples: Jokes about staff people, Not explaining what is going on in the service, first-time guest stuff.  When we do this, we send messages we aren’t intending to send.  
  • When you don’t think through your purpose or have a passion for it, you end up regurgitating what you’ve heard before.  How to combat it: Make it personal.  “What would you do if you were inviting a single person to a thing you were hosting?”  
  • Watch yourself back. This sucks, but it’s necessary. When you avoid this pain, you will not grow.  Don’t just watch yourself, but get feedback regularly. You don’t get any better at anything by accident. It takes intentional work. 
  • Find people who don’t think like you. Find great presenters, wordsmithscontent creators, and editors.




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