Healthy Church Growth – Episode 21 – Heredes Ribeiro

Are you leading at your highest level?

What’s your leadership style? In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, Heredes Ribeiro, Creative Pastor at Grace Family Church, discusses how to create a healthy work culture in the church through servant leadership. 

Instagram: @heredes, @gfcflorida


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast. We have an incredible interview for you today and I know they say that a lot but this is is going to be really great Justin and I we’ve just been I literally I’ve been recording for like the past half hour here just talking with Heredes area and when he said he said just just call me “H” and I’m really gonna lean into that makes it easy I’m gonna lean into that Ah, yeah it is it’s it’s it rolls off the tongue a little bit rolls out and it’s really cool. But Heredes you you actually work at Grace Family Church in Tampa? Is that correct?

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, it’s been two years. New to Tampa, new to grace new degree loving it. A winning hockey team. I mean, what can come I know you guys

Mike Mage
Did you guys watch the game? Yes. Yes champs Did you?

Justin Price
I did not watch

Mike Mage
What are you serious? I love I follow the whole series.

Justin Price
Yeah, and a season in my life right now where sports did not make the cut.

Mike Mage
You know, it’s hard. This is this is this is not for just the podcast, but it is so hard to watch all of the sports right now. Yes. Like it’s so strange.

Heredes Ribeiro
Saturday night. Check this out Saturday night. Sports was gone during quarantine. Yeah. It came back with a vengeance. I had the multiviewer ESPN had the UFC fight on Gosh, the heat on I had the lightning. And then I had Miami soccer playing. I was grateful for ESPN plus the multiplayer because I like felt like a sports bar. My house was good.

Mike Mage
Yeah. So I mean, but it’s just it’s like an overflow. It’s it’s overwhelming. Yeah. So that’s just a little sidebar. Yeah. But yeah, so ah, you’ve been at Grace family, which is like is really large church here in Tampa Bay for two years. Give us a little sort of rundown about how you got to grace family.

Heredes Ribeiro
Yes. They found me on the side of the road. my guitar Yeah, it’s your it’s been it’s been a joy man. Such a blast getting to know Tampa. Long story short, I’m a pastor’s kid PK grew up in church in the front Pew sleeping through my dad’s. Right. Like every good church kid. always told myself I would not be in ministry. No, yeah, there’s gonna be some, you know, suit up and grab a suitcase and make seven figures and bled out. Right? That was it. And then God had a fun way to say no, like I’ve exposed the showing you. You’ve, you’ve lived through this for a reason. And really called me at a young age. I think really 19 is when I knew I was going to get be in ministry. I didn’t know how because I was an artist and music and this, how do I do that. And I don’t want to be traditional musician in church, went to college, went to seminary boom, serve that a church in South Florida, Miami, large churches will for 15 years. And the same gentleman who hired me there at the church is then he moved to Tampa. He’s been at Grace for 10 years now. He said, Hey, one day we’re gonna work together one day. And out of the blue. Out of the blue. I knew my time was up down in Miami. Yeah, it season in life. We had four kids, we were kind of looking to grow roots, from everything from family and just thinking of the future as a Hey, what’s in that? What are the next, you know, 25 years look like? And I called him up. He’s always been a mentor. He says, Hey, man, do not call anybody else. Do not talk to anybody else. Give me a week. And within a week, he actually he made up a job. That’s what I tell he made up a job to get three jobs. Yeah. Hey, we’re gonna we’re gonna get you here. Let’s figure it out. And I have been following online and we moved to, we moved to Tampa three months later, we picked up and picked up a family serving as a creative pastor now, which is it’s, it’s a great position really to serve the vision, and execute all things creative. So it’s everything from music, design, digital web, we got tech production, all of that. And it’s a fantastic hard working staff. There’s a 47 on full time staff that that we help lead. And then outside of that they lead about 1200 volunteers who deployed throughout Tampa, all the weekend services campuses, multi, I think there’s 26 services right now on a weekend. And we’ve been doing church online church at the campuses, we’ve opened back up and the whole, I just exciting. One of my first gigs here showing up was no pressure we showed up. And a month later, I was like, well, by the way, we’re gathering for 25th anniversary at the Raymond James Stadium. You got to produce that like, Oh, we still just a

Mike Mage
Small thing.

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, just football stadium. Yeah. So but just it really showed me I did very little and just showed I stepped into a really healthy place. team was in place. And so which asked him so what am I doing what’s Give me that? What’s the task at hand? What am I doing here? But it was really I spent the last two years getting to know the team seeing who’s there. And really dreaming for the next 25 years of where we’re going. Yeah, and what we’re going to do and it’s been it’s been awesome. The team’s great. The leadership’s fantastic, really healthy and super cool and fitting because this is the church

Mike Mage
Healthy church healthy church growth. It’s perfect

Justin Price
That’s so cool. You know, one of the things that stuck out to me when I when I met you H was how incredibly gifted you are at making people feel valued, welcomed, and drawing them in. I think that’s got to be you know, in a position you’re in. It’s a strength you’ve got to lean into, you know,

Heredes Ribeiro
I just like to you made it easy, man. I just like these. So it’s not what everyone I don’t know if everybody can say that. I wish I wish everyone

Justin Price
Cuz I got introduced to you through a text. mutual friend. Yeah, we didn’t know each other and even through texting you were like hospitable. You’re trying to connect, we missed each other and and and we didn’t even really have much of a conversation before we even talked. Yeah, you invited me to a really incredible event with with a great consultant vice president of Disney, which was a private event. It wasn’t like it was open.

Heredes Ribeiro
Correct? Correct.

Justin Price
He was up for your creative leaders. And you’re just like, Hey, come on in. Yeah, absolutely. Just heart that Spirit spoke so much to me that immediately I was like, and anything I can do to help this guy, I want to know that it was it was like a full on immediate appreciation for what you’re doing. And then I got to see firsthand before you even you know, told me what you guys were trying to do. I got to see a culture being formed there. And so, you know, for our listeners, I’m hoping we can really jump into a conversation about what is this culture look like? And why is it taking you so long and

Mike Mage
Sources more than enough. Trying to steer a cruise ship here man

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, I got a friend outside of my staff. So it’s fantastic. And I think it was really neat for you to see firsthand because it did the exact the intentionality of that event. And what we did with hellholes hosted a master class with the with the Disney Imagineer. And it was really for our team. For me, I’m big on if they’re going to work at Grace at this with this team, they’re going to be better for it no matter what. They end up somewhere else. Or if they decide to pursue something that their time we added value to their life that they grew here. So that’s a culture we’re trying to they’re not coming to do something they’re coming to receive, they’re coming to get to the attitude. So we’re starting to the masterclass series just really once a month, where they come and we add value, we treat them to lunch, we’ll bring a guest we got one schedule, she coming up with JD from Hillsong. He’s a worship leader with a song that’s the same. So that speaks to a whole nother demographic for the worship and, and I love bridging for meats, even this because I think I stepped into a healthy strong organization, but very siloed lot of professionals doing their work and their cubicles of sort and just kind of like focused and boom, in and out. And I’ve operated differently. So for me, yes, it’s okay. But I think there’s a new wave and we’re keeping ministry and work from a lot of people. Because it’s very, it’s almost too professional. Yeah, I think it’s and we get to a point where we become so good at what we do and so pro and so that I said, Yeah, no, but I think it’s good. The hustle and the scrappy in the No, let’s just figure it out. Right? Let’s not doesn’t have to cost that much. Yeah. So breaking, disrupting a little bit, taking down the cubicle walls, putting a worship guy next to a designer next to a tech and next to it. And it’s messy, but it’s beautiful. I think it’s kind of a it’s a Jackson poll kind of painting. Oh, wow. It’s all there to pressure. And that’s really, I’ve come to really do that just to kind of connect dots. I want the worship leader speaking into the video, I want the video speaking into the design of the series, I want the designer to have feedback on how the mix of the sound is great. We weren’t used to that I want specialists. But I also want the collaboration for the sake of cultural long term. And what we talked about a little bit, you know, off the record was the ability to lead, right, I think, to be sustainable in ministry, it’s got to be, you know, you got to run with people, you got to do it together. If you’re if you’re running alone, and it’s all on you, and you can’t be gone for the weekend, or you can’t be gone for the day. It’s not sustainable. And again, I can’t say that enough. Like it

Mike Mage
Just sucks.

Justin Price
Because even when you do something really well what are you gonna do?

Unknown Speaker
Right?

Justin Price
And where do you go to shake everybody’s hand

Heredes Ribeiro
And the challenge and the grace. Like I said the leadership’s healthy man, there’s a lot of trust. Grace lives up and I’m speaking like as an outsider, but like, I can only do that for like, maybe like another week or two because I’m coming up on my two year anniversary. I feel like I’m a sophomore now. You know? Yeah. So I healthy leadership. There’s a lot of trust. There’s a lot of and they live up to the name like grace family. So there is grace, Holy smokes it’s people have a second chance kind of vibe. It’s like second, you can fail forward. You can go there’s grace and de de of family now not only from a nepotism and listen, we can make a case for nepotism. For like your i for i work with my brother and my son.

Mike Mage
Okay, there we go. So

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, so yeah, I wanna I’m building a team that my kids gonna beg me to be a part of. That’s how I see it. I really seemed like that, like, I want my son, Dad give me I want to intern for free. Let me just read it then I feel like I want but there’s a case for also family in the sense that I think in the Todd Henry episode, if you go back, listen to that. He talks And it resonates with me because he talks about in his book, can you fire family? Right? Can’t fire family. Right? Right. You can. And it’s so it’s so there’s a there’s a tension of coming in jack welch back in the day leadership will teach you how, hey, you can retrain somebody you can reposition somebody eventually can remove somebody, how do you Grace is not good at removing people. Okay? Historically, historically, it’s not the case. So it’s really hard to get a go, it’s hard to get fired, it’s hard to it’s not now huge health and stability that comes with that. Also challenges when you’re trying to steward, you know, the budget and the money and the time and the project

Mike Mage
Investment.

Heredes Ribeiro
Also, so you want to, so I think there’s a, if it’s family, okay, so either you’re going to collaborate and grow. Even if you’ve been on the team for 25 years, you’re a founding member. And you know, you’re not going anywhere. Yeah. Okay, but how do you get out of the way so that the 20 year old, where you were 25 years ago, can still step can collaborate can learn from you can so we’re teaching

Justin Price
How can you share what you’ve done and save yours with that. Yeah, that new idea.

Unknown Speaker
Right. And that’s it. So it’s some of it’s just trying to get I would get some experts on staff. I’m just there to extract their mind, put it on paper, extract their knowledge and put it on a on a podcast like this right? Or force them to speak. Some of their personalities are just introverts or they don’t like it. Yeah, no, but that’s just I don’t I can do it. I know how to teach it. I was like, well, let’s teach you how to teach it. Right. So we’re doing a lot of that just so it can translate. We’re six locations. Now. We’re like, how do we do this at 12? How to do this with 20? Yeah, if we’re going to continue to, you know, to take the gospel forward and move this. It’s got its it can’t die with you, sir. So it’s been it’s healthy and good. challenging, because changes change, right? And the only people like change are babies, right? changing their diapers. That’s about it. So, so yeah, but it’s in a lot of fun. And I love it. Like I said, there’s trust from the get go with the leader who hired me, his name’s Alan. And so he’s like, no permission to play permission to. That’s great. And I asked them before coming, so. So give me give me some marching orders. Because I mean, this is the culture. I came from a toxic culture came from very, at a church. I know that’s rare. I know this wherever you’re listening to this right now. I know you have there. And very much like a lot of the popular churches. So on the surface, it appears so attraction Oh, and fun. And her re I’ve been on the back end of that, that, you know, you’re I mean, the HR who had three HR people just to handle the exit interviews every year, a revolving door revolving door. 65 minutes in return. That’s crazy. Okay, it’s sad, sad, sad, sad. And I was on the I thought that that was it. No, you boom, three strikes, you’re out go. No, hustle. But there was this kind of and I think there’s there’s managed tensions a balance, I write productivity I want you know, some some, some folks are just adulting it’s not even about they’re just helping them adults, right in their first job. So you got to have patience. But I’m coming here. There’s great health and that and I asked them coming in I asked them so what’s what’s, what’s my role? My first year, what do I have? Because I’m here to clean house. Is that what you I’m I’m I’m escaped code. I’m the new guy who showed up.

Justin Price
Yeah, we did restructure the departments.

Heredes Ribeiro
We did. We did we did and that and that alone. Yeah, that alone, but he goes, No, absolutely not. We I want everybody in the team to win is that by the end, everybody’s still on the team. So okay, good. Because now’s the time for you to tell me that. You know, meenie miney, moe has got to go. Right? Now’s the time before we and that wasn’t so it’s it’s honest, and truth. Like, no, we want everybody here is here. And those who have gone it’s either been mutual, there have been long dragged out conversations and sincere talks about what needs to happen, which, which I appreciate. It’s never going to be a surprise. You hear that you read about it? No. It should never be

Yeah, but it happens more often than not where it’s just like, people don’t have candid conversations. Next thing, you know, they’re in an exit interview where it’s set. So it hasn’t been you know, sending anybody off. It’s been restructuring. With that comes challenges because people love their titles, love their chairs, love what they’ve always done, love their contact. I even brought the approach. We said, Well, we’ve always used this vendor. So Oh, okay. Let’s just bring three I want I want to explore new vendors. Yeah, I’m the new guy. So I get to ask that question, can we, and just and that show, you know, ruffle some feathers, because now all of a sudden, because it will, but we’re used to they know, I understand. I’m not here to add more work shirt, let’s be efficient. There’s new ways to do this. There’s, you know, we can save some money we can. But great team, and they were to come along, creating the culture again, I want to where people want to be there. So the events, the meetings, I want it to be something they want to be at. And, and we’re getting there.

Mike Mage
So I’d love to one thing that you said like, you know a little bit ago was how when you got to the when you got to grace family, that the church was siloed and I want for the the, you know, the staff was siloed or even even within the creative team. It was it felt siloed and so I just I want whoever’s listening to this to know that like having your church staff be in silos, like that’s something that happens everywhere. Yes, yeah. big church, small church, medium site, whatever. Just the tendency to have these people retreat. To have church workers retreat to the areas that they feel the most comfortable in, is something that happens all the time. And I love what you’ve done. And you’ve been almost proactive, definitely active, but almost proactive and intentional about disrupting that and trying to, you know, shake things up a little bit without, you know, obviously calling into question people’s jobs and all that kind of stuff, but do the thing. You know, you come in and you’re looking at stuff with fresh eyes. I’d love to like, what are some, maybe some practical things, you know, as far as like, obviously, you know, shuffling people around where they’re sitting, you know, that kind of stuff. What are some other things that you’ve done to really help improve your culture? at Grace family?

Heredes Ribeiro
A lot of the practical office stuff? Yes, I think we’ve read books about that stuff. Some have been dismissed already. Like, what Pixar and Google were doing. And you know, with the open air, all that Yeah, and some have been debunked, or they work somewhere. Like that’s the most inefficient thing we’ve ever done. Depending how you read. For me, it’s it goes back to relationship. It’s all relationships. Okay. I know that they’re not all going to connect to me. I may not be their cup of tea. Yeah. And I tell everybody, listen, we don’t all have to be best friends. We’re all going to be friendly, though. Okay, so there’s that. Number one, we have to be best friends. We have to be, but we’re going to be friendly. And friendly means okay. It’s not. If you have an issue if you don’t like that person. Let’s cut the gossip. Let’s cut the end call that out. Because sometimes even within a team like you forget that it’s like you’re supposed to be a team and if we’re not, so bringing that unity Valley constantly of like, so that its relationship for me very practical is this. I literally had everybody over the house. I’m serious about this is my wife, these are my kids. Let’s talk live. Yeah, let’s pop open the fill in the blank. Yeah. And you know, and just hanging it’s so getting to know the past, what they do who they are, and then having so for me that was key because I think again, larger organization and that’s work right? No, no doubt I enjoy it. And it’s social for me. Yeah, it’s also work. I only have 30 days a month. Yeah, I can squeeze in blank and I still have need to have a personal relationship with my wife still raise my kids. Yeah, it’s so very intentional about that. So we have the grill outs where it’s a few folks we have the one on ones with some of the very intention about socially connecting and sincere I want to know how they’re doing how live what they enjoy what sports again, sports are back now. Great social tool just to get together. Yeah, it’s about the game, but it’s not about the game, right? It’s about you know, it’s hang. So for me was just that flip but we weren’t used to that I was used to that. It wasn’t the midazolam people thought it was work so it’s funny because when I say hey, guys gonna come over the house I get in business to do this often writes happy hour. You just hit a happy hour right after work. And and the what the CEO or the supervisor then they know all around me, but they know what they’re doing right there. Boom, their social. Church staff sometimes doesn’t know how to do that. Well, it’s not funny.

Mike Mage
Yeah. I feel like that’s something we should be the best at. Right?

Heredes Ribeiro
It should, I think.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Especially working at a church you know

Heredes Ribeiro
And that’s the interesting part. Because I think because and I don’t know what in your Enneagrams y’all are what you know what personality, but pastors leaders, because they’re always with people, and it’s about people and boom, there comes a point where you’re just like, right Yeah, you got it I’m done. And so I think it’s managing energy of like making time for those I mean, those closest to those you’re leading I mean that time for those and caring so that that was that was key just a social getting to know it right off the bat. I spent the first year doing just that

Justin Price
Yeah, practical. Yeah, top on that point. Yeah. If I’m, if I’m in a church, I’m leading a team of volunteers or I’m leading a staff, how many times a week Am I doing something social? Looks good. If you’re if you’re teaching your your staff right now, you’re talking to yourself right now. How many times a week? Are they trying to do something social? Yeah.

Heredes Ribeiro
So I’ll break I’ll break it down the intentionality that’s not what’s on the calendar right now is this. For starters, there’s a fun lunch once a month that they fun love. That’s not a class that’s not teaching. That’s not that’s just we, we raffle depending on the team and MVP, we’ll choose where we go. Where it’s lunch paid for, we go off on location to go eat somewhere here. We’ll get armature works. We’ll go to Sparkman we’ll go somewhere. So that’s once a month, we intentionally tell everybody you are not to hang with the person you sit next to at the lake or wherever. So it’s a cross pollination of things that’s happening officially. Every other week. It’s per department. Okay, so we cross departments. So that happens, they’re very intentional during worship, those are Tuesdays. Those are Tuesday, lunches that have manufactured won’t happen today. So that’s very intentional. Cross departments outside of that, once a week, is when we’ll do the social outside of like work hours. Okay, once a week. Now that’s See, I’m intentional about who, okay, and then once you’ve come to the house, or we’ll go to an event or we’ll do something, probably two couples at a time or three people. Then I’m asking them to do the same with other people with other people. And for them, so and then it’s really practically speaking it’s code. Some of its gonna be is it’s personal. It’s like it’s my personal investing. In a relationship, some of it is it on the church? Is the church paying for this meal or not? We talked about leveraging what’s already there. So I’m not a big sports guy. I’m a social guy. Yeah. So for me, I love if there’s sports, there’s a game going on. I don’t care who’s playing. I’m gonna fire up the grill. I’m over, boom. It’s just more of just come, hang Come hang. So it’s just really about leveraging what’s already there. If they’re going to gather anyway. Yeah, make open. So we we’ve been intentional about that. That’s how I’ve led so for me, it’s been natural to do that. To a whole, I would say 40% of our team. That’s rare, bizarre. They don’t even like, it’s their personality. They’re just, it stresses them out. Yeah.

Justin Price
And I think we can think of people like just like, Oh,

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, it’s good for me to be aware of that. Because I never wanted to put them in a position of like forcing them to have to. It’s funny one time. The first time I did this two years ago. We were so like an on the clock culture. Oh, so if I go to the barbecue for an hour, does that mean I have to I can clock in later tomorrow. Yeah. And I’m like, dude, we’re just gonna have to come. We’re just gonna have fun, right? Free food. We’re just gonna have to go. But then I also wanted them like, Okay, so then in my mind, okay, how do I create something that they want to be at? Yeah, so it’s not even a question. It’s like, so those, I’m always thinking about that. So I hope that answers a little bit of the question.

Justin Price
And that’s, you’re talking about something? Every creative team deals with? Yeah. And that is? Does it make your staff better? Yeah. Should you be paying for it? I asked my director of operations this all the time when I asked for a new expectation on the staff. I go, am I willing to pay for it? Right? And why not? That’s good. Do I value it enough to pay for it’s good to pay them to be there for it? Is it data borne? Or is it just like, I’m a social guy that loves social stuff? Yeah. And I actually like hanging out with my team, right? It’s actually a requirement for me to hire you as liking it. Yeah. And so it’s like, it’s super, super awkward when when it’s like, they don’t necessarily want to, you know, hang out with me for free. But if I value it enough to pay for it,

Heredes Ribeiro
So you know, here’s, here’s something I learned. And I’ll put them on the spot. They won’t listen to the Listen to this. I’ll make up No, no, no, no. Our tech guys. on the clock. Thank you credit. You’d be surprised very hilarious. Our chat our tech guys. Yeah. 17 tech guys in the team. Yeah. And it’s funny because the good tech guys typically an introverted anti social leader, will make some really good at their job. They hate social gatherings every time we do the game, or the big or the hype kit, and it’s so for them, I realized that going to the movies with them. Yeah. That’s it. Yeah. Sure. Buy a popcorn, a coke. We talk shop on whatever violin or Avengers movies. That’s our love language. Yeah. And we interact for 10 minutes is just enough. Right? That’s it just understanding the love language to also know that I will say this. Also a communication, right. So it’s working with communication. And I’ll say, between the tech guys or worship leaders, typically there’s a lot of tension there. What’s typically worship leaders 20 years old, they’re young. They think they know everything. And it’s right in this segment. I’m speaking from one as one or don’t say, Yeah, exactly. But I think even from they know about, you know, they’ll tell the pastor what to say. They’ll tell the lighting guy what to do. The tech guy doesn’t want to hear they’re the experts. Like No, I’m I have the better view here. Yeah. So that community so for me communication, that’s a good example, is leading with questions. Yeah, I say so what happens a worship leader, hey, the lighting sucks, like, okay, you failed already. You’re not gonna accomplish anything. Or the tech guy saying, hey, you’re not standing your spot, and you sound horrible. Like, that’s not good. So leading, or they don’t like something or if a tech doesn’t like a song, or if they don’t like, whatever it is, whatever

Justin Price
My favorite one was. When worship leaders messed up the lyrics, the tech guys loved.

Mike Mage
Oh, yeah, they just have a notch. On the mixing table,

Justin Price
You could see it, there was some Sundays where they were, I could visibly see Hi, fi.

Heredes Ribeiro
And that’s and that’s such a subtle, like, the lyrics, but what happens if that’s not talked about in a healthy way? Yeah, that creates an undercurrent, like us, you know, pointing out because everybody’s gonna fail, or the mics not gonna go on or they miss lyrics. So even that that’s happened recently. They missed the lyrics. How do you fix that? I’ve taught the tech guy say, Hey, guys, when that happens? No, that’s the highroad go and say ask them hey, what can I do to help you? Yeah, like not like not missed out or something? Or did I miss something like, lead with a question? What can I do to help? I leveraged it as a tool, because it’s like, Guys, we have to have conversations about this. Not just let it slide, because then it builds and eventually we were lying to each other. We’re in a place we don’t like anymore. You can’t like

Mike Mage
That ends up being like you push it on. A couple months and that never becomes about that type of thing that it was. It always snowballs into something greater. Yeah.

Justin Price
So it’s we just it’s questions to say, hey, help me hear your heart about to say like, what’s your vision behind it? But show me some comparisons? Can you show me something else? Ask questions ssss until you understand it, or you’ll still learn a place that no, you know, I just can’t attach to it. But yeah, so that’s another practical thing. I think you made my wall of shame. In my office, I carry a Polaroid I have a Polaroid camera. I think you’re in my phone. Have you? No, you’re not you haven’t. Have you been in my office yet? No. Okay, so your next your next? I thought you did for some reason I thought you did. But I’m in my office, I have a Polaroid. So if you step into my office, or in the front, if you step in my door, the first thing you do, I take your Polaroid, you sign it, and it goes behind my door. So I’ve got about 100 now on the wall. And for me, it’s daily, I walk in there and text them and say, Hey, thought of you pray for you today. But it’s a simp simple, subtle nugget. But you see that it helps me stay disciplined. It reminds them and it just does this right. So so it’s little things like that. Yeah. And then social networking. We know. You know, I don’t know if you’ve seen the social dilemma yet. Have Okay, so watch it. I’m having like, I’m having like, 5050 their data will drop in their days like no, I’m gonna use and average it for the kingdom which we should we need to

Mike Mage
Yeah, well, I think what’s really cool about a lot of what you’re saying and even just going back to like the worship leader tech battle that will ensue between now and like the time you know, the new heavens and new earth

Justin Price
Episode to just focus on the worship leader.

Heredes Ribeiro
Easy. Oh, and then you could do one on just design wars. Like, like lead pastor. Oh, my gosh, you know, wanting more. Make it pop

Mike Mage
You guys can’t see this. But Justin is doubling over.

Justin Price
It’s playing for us. There’s another I’ll say it because our pastor will own this. Like he’s the. He’s the man of all men. Like he’s manly, man. He’s awesome. So every design to him is too feminine. Every design.

Mike Mage
If he doesn’t have beef jerky and a flannel. It’s just not there.

Heredes Ribeiro
Where’s the bacon?

Mike Mage
Exactly

Heredes Ribeiro
Where’s the basis? We bring Christmas designs? Like, ah, you know, we know we already know. That’s a great tension. So so we show it to his wife first. That’s the that’s the that’s the rule.

Justin Price
I am going to totally sidebar this. I want to talk to you about masculine design in the new era. Because 20 years ago, there was this conversation that came out of church out in California that said you have to design for the men, right? Or decision makers. If you have the men you get the whole family except today, the divorce rate in the single mom rate is higher. Yes. In the family unit with men. Sure. And if you and we have all these churches who are still grew up in that era, yeah, they’re just doing masculine design. And so if you do feminine design, we’ve now seen this in the last two years where we’ve done feminine design for different campaigns and things like 200 300% better. It’s crazy. Wow, for feminine design. And like I’m not just saying better reception, but actual growth. Wow, that’s great. So because they’re bringing their families or they’re bringing their boyfriends or whatever, but it’s like we we’ve been like hanging on to this very masculine total side. Yeah, no, no, but that’s that’s it.

There’s some data behind this. That’s actually like, pretty amazing that all these churches are very masculine. And they maybe that might not know,

Unknown Speaker
That’s, that’s a good question to explore. Let me ask you this. And this will stay on the sidebar for a little more, make sure it’s okay. No, it has has the has masculinity changed? Yeah. Right. Because because it has masculinity become more feminine?

Mike Mage
Well, I think it’s another episode. Yeah. Well, like that’s a it’s a complex thing. I think that that it needs like, it’s like 15 issues are addressed in that whole thing. Because like, I think that there’s something to that, like where design in and of itself, has gotten, like the idea of masculinity has taken almost a negative connotation, because of toxic masculinity for like, good reason to certain extent. And like, the idea that even just like the thought of like, you design something for a male, because he’s the decision maker in a house and he’s gonna be the one if you get him he’s gonna bring the whole family. Like even right now hearing that, because like, I’ve heard that before is that is a model that people 10 even 10 years ago, I heard at a conference less than 10 years ago,

Justin Price
People still say that Yeah, leave that

Mike Mage
And like, but even that it’s it feels so weird. Yeah, no. I mean, that’s fascinating. We should still have

Heredes Ribeiro
This is the episode with ideas for other episodes. This is

Justin Price
A pastor This is one of the healthiest examples I’ve ever had my last church that I was on staff as a creative director for had a pastor who was very, very focused on actually building a healthy culture. I think he he I have given him credit multiple times for inspiring the sharing of some of the things, very, very healthy culture not perfect. There’s no perfect but very healthy. And I remember the first time I’m the creative director at this mega church walking in first sermon series. Now I’ve been at a bigger church in Tennessee. And I had worked directly with that pastor, as the creative director did the sermon series. And I would, you know, talk them through same kind of get the same kind of feedback. He was very, you know, specific about it. And I remember walking into Kurt, I’ll give a shout out to pastor Kurt Parker burger. I walked into his office, and I said, What do you think about this? And he’s like, looks great. I said, but what about like, the font? Or the color is whatever he goes. He’s like, Justin, he’s like, I don’t I don’t know the first thing about he goes, it. I shouldn’t tell you, our creative director. Well, you hired Yeah. And he’s like, he’s like, he’s like, you’ll never ever hear me tell you what fonts to choose. He goes, That’s not a healthy organization. Yeah. Hundred percent that I mean, he got my loyalty. He got us to today, you know, for leading that was great in that way. And that he ever did he hold true to that. He really did. He did never never like he did he have never won. Wow, not once did he shake Now again, I’m not saying he was perfect in every single breath you ever did. But when it came to, if I was suggesting something creative in the church doubled. I mean, it was successful. So it wasn’t like I was screwing up. And it was failing. Not everything. I failed. never make a mistake. And he would correct it. You know, if we saw something that we did, that wasn’t good, you know? Yeah, they made a lot of in service production mistakes. Yeah, ideas that didn’t land. But when it came to design, especially, or even if it was an idea, that was plausible, it was like, let’s do that. Let’s try it. If it failed, we could all say it fail. Yeah, we know. And it sucks, right? Yeah. So Kurt, he that’s cool, too. You know, he will still say today like, Hey, hey, don’t ask me what font? We can joke about that?

Heredes Ribeiro
I think Steve Jobs right that is he the one giving credit quote. So that was like, why hire No, something like this. totally gonna butcher this. What is it? Like the biggest mistake in leadership is hiring smart people and then telling them what to do? Yeah, right. It should be it’s the opposite. Like, no, you hired the best people and let them tell you what to do.

Justin Price
It doesn’t sound like something Steve would say,

Heredes Ribeiro
No. Yeah, he would say no, you do what I say.

Unknown Speaker
Abraham Lincoln.

Mike Mage
Somebody said, somebody said, Yeah, well, I do think too. So like that sort of leads into something we were talking about, before we really started recording was this idea of you and Justin, were having the conversation. And then all three of us were kind of talking about it to about what does it look like to influence from behind the scenes. And sort of, you know, like, what pastor Kurt was, was telling you, Justin was like, he, he hired you to do a specific thing, that he wasn’t going to vote, he was gonna let you do your thing, he was gonna let you lead. And in doing so he was leading you and influencing you to do what you were supposed to do. And so we were talking about, you know, like, not be leading and not stepping on the platform. You know, I’d love to hear from you, ah, kind of, what do you look for in people? How do you know when it’s the right time? To sort of hand people that influence or to, you know, say like, Alright, this is this is your moment, like, let’s see what you got kind of things that make sense?

Heredes Ribeiro
It does. Yeah, it does. And it’s obviously going to be different for for everyone, I think it’s always, it’s in seasons, it depends on the team on the style on who you’re, I think you always have to lead from the middle. Now, even if you’re CEO, you’re always leading from the middle. And what I mean by that, and this is not an original idea. I don’t know who I’m stealing this from, but it’s just the idea that if you’re a CEO, you’re still you’re still following your board, the investors, the stock you’re looking, but and you’re also listening to those. If you’re not a CEO, if you’re at the bottom, if you just got hired and you’re the intern, you’re still listening up, but you’re also listening down, whether you’re buying the coffee, and you got to eat. So you’re always from the middle. So I think staying in that middle is always important, no matter what, that’s great. And listening up, but also and kind of a 360 deal. I would say it. So listen to your leader, right? Number one, follow that vision, because you may your leader may be saying something different. And you’re trying to do this as I think get clarity. So you’re aligned with the vision to have to say that, oh, go by want to go back to the design conversation, let’s say using that as an example. Kurt says no, I’m not vibing I want a different design. Okay, so then you have to give it to somebody else or didn’t you? At what point do you or are you the only one where he trusts you? But he doesn’t trust somebody else? So he’s just giving you the design to do but you’re like No, but I want other people to explore it like no, but you’re hired to do that. So I want you to design that like No, but I want this Give it a try or this younger person, they’re gonna have a difference. Like No, you’re. So I think that’s why it’s important. If your leader has buying that you’re, you’re gonna lead you’re gonna delegate, you’re gonna empower, which means there will be fails, there will be mistakes, there will be things that are trial and error. Right. So it’s the get mo principle, right? Good enough to move on. Yep. If you’re if your culture is okay with a good enough now, it’s not a settling culture. It is a difference. Does difference like set up? It’s just good enough.

Mike Mage
Yeah, but it’s moving. It’s moving. Correct?

Heredes Ribeiro
Yes. I think yes. To move on. And there’s growth, there’s conversation. So for me, it’s the old adage of, you know, the I do you watch. So have somebody right there with you. Start by doing set the bar. Here’s how I first six months I Grace? Okay. I was on stage every week. Yeah, doing announcements. Just to shift the culture one because we had a different culture with announcements. And I was like, we got to break this. No way. No one asked my questions. I was like, hey, what um, what do you what do you think about announcements? What did you get out of it? Like, do you think people are people I was asking questions? What did people sign up for that thing? Yeah. Oh, the person who shared it didn’t know the people in the back didn’t know like, what are we doing? Yeah. Again, it’s good. Good, healthy big trick, right? This is not but so we just say we should have some fun with this or let’s try different art Have you thought about bringing so I just kind of set the different model was up on stage setting Okay, now and then we started bringing people we’re doing it together. Now. Not anymore. Now. We have different people. We built a host team across the campuses. But we set the bar so I do you watch right then it’s like hey, you come you do I watch right? Yeah, and then and then then it breaks out we’re like hey, you do yeah, I’m gone right? bring somebody else to watch Yeah, and just keep that sounds so simple. so cliche Yeah, but it’s really that right? And I tell the guy everybody like this literally this morning conversation and everyone say nobody nobody’s taking time off really well this year. Yeah. Right PTO like so. They haven’t because of course

You know, the six months Yeah, exactly.

Mike Mage
I think you’re right set people involved in some sort of creative ministry. He didn’t get this.

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, no as a matter of fact, some work double time. Adjusting. So I’m encouraging them So guys, we have to blur I don’t want everybody on Christmas week to turn in their time off and we have everything that can happen. But but it’s Yeah, it’s been an ongoing just reminding them of like, you should prep like Prepare to be gone next week. Don’t ask for PTO. Just Prepare to be gone. still be here. Right. Prepare to be gone. And again, my my leader tells me that hey, I want you with a cup of coffee on the weekend hanging out. My insecurity screams I’m like, dude, they’re gonna think I’m getting paid too much. No, you’re not. That’s not that’s so it my insecurity screams like, they’re gonna think I’m doing nothing. right that the members the past that whoever. But but it’s getting over that. Yeah. Because if you look busy, and you’re acting like, oh, hustled and from, it’s too much energy, it’s not good. Modeling even for for and you miss opportunity. I think at the end of the day, you lose margin on connecting with people on see on meeting the needs. Yeah, I may be able to get to pray or connect with somebody that if I was hands on, and putting out the latest fire, now that’s gonna happen, you’re gonna put out fires, you’re gonna create margin for that. But always prepare to be gone, prepare to be gone. And I think there’s great security that help your leaders say, hey, I want to prepare for that. Do you have my back or in the back of your mind? When you’re gone? You feel like, man, they’re doing a good job. Do they need me? Me, I may, I may lose my job. You got it. You got to fight that, like fight insecurity personally. Talk about it with your leadership with your team. So they know like that was perfect. No, it’s great leadership that you’re gone. And it’s still raving. so cliche, I know, but

Mike Mage
Because, like, I feel like one of the biggest things I hear from people, you know, whether it’s through this podcast, or whether it’s just in conversation, especially at smaller churches, you know, they look at, you know, bigger churches and say, like, Oh, well, it must be nice for you that you have so many people and, and all kinds of like, well, like, I’ve, I’ve had to actually work at that, like, I’ve had to, I’ve had to help develop people. They’re like, well, we can’t do that, because we’re a small church. And so, you know, it makes me like, how much of it do you think is that, you know, under resourcing, but like, how much of it do you think is like, there is some sort of like, insecurity that happens for you to step off stage, like, I totally resonate with that, like, it’s, it’s really hard to give away something that you have spent a long time of your life doing. Unless you you know, you really start changing that thing. And I think we when we were talking beforehand, you said something like job security comes in, like your ability to like lead people right not to do thing, correct?

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah. Well, especially in church. I mean, if we’re called to go into the world, make disciples. that’s a that’s a tall order. Yeah, that’s beyond this, this stage and this set on an hour on Sunday. So for me, it’s always the person who’s on our biggest stage or our biggest, it’s like there’s still something bigger the next volunteer maybe the next hire we make Yeah, for the next campus that are even know where it’s at where it’s going to happen. So it’s always for vision thinking of like, that’s how I remember my first year here. The entire team for our new campus was already developed and in place. Yeah, the campus hadn’t been open yet. Right. Right. And it’s great leadership here to see that the people from within who had been developed shadowing Yeah. And then that team would go around campuses. Okay. They would go around campuses training, they would take over for two weeks. Yeah, take over try. So it’s that pipeline that once you get, it’s hard to start, it’s just once you get the wheel, you get a few wins under your belt, you get the peace, your security level goes up, because you’re not like, okay, I came back, they still like me or love me, right. But there’s artists and creators want to be liked and loved and all that. There’s all that. Yeah, it’s just it’s innate. But I think it’s just fighting that and having the conversation with your leader. permission. Yeah. permitless. I get an example. I’m gone this weekend, I’m going to be out. It’s my father’s 60th birthday. We’re going to be traveling we’re going to go I over communicated, everybody’s in place over communicated that I’ve gone to this and that. And it’s like, he was celebrating dude. Amazing. But he didn’t care. Right. He didn’t really care. But he was like, dude, thanks for let me know. Yeah, it’s awesome bonus and that everything, but I just say hey, just make sure this and I, we over communicate it because there’s still this for the leader or for the person. Even for you. There is the value of presence. Simple presence. Yeah. I mean, I may not, it looks like I’m not doing anything. Right. But your presence still matters. Okay. It’s why wouldn’t basketball team or anybody if they’re injured or they’re not playing? Yeah, they’re still on the bench. They’re still there. They’re the biggest cheerleader there. Boom, they’re not dunking it. But they’re huge value. Yeah, huge. So I think there’s still don’t i don’t want to underestimate the value. I’ll just be gone. disappeared. No, no. Your presence so that mentorship, encouragement, spiritual covering, you name it. So I think we need to understand that because sometimes a lot of people like to lead up behind the scenes, but they’re so behind the scenes that they’re leaving all their influence on the table like they’re, they’re not present. Yeah, just to just eye contact with somebody or to say, hey,

Mike Mage
They’re involved. That’s it. Yeah. So so

Justin Price
They got their cell phone in their hand instead of a coffee cup. And

Heredes Ribeiro
That’s it. That’s That’s who conviction. Oh, no, you know, for sure. Because then you get so busy even there, right? We think it’s here. But you’re, you’re missing and I looking up to see like, dude, social life is happening. You’re just trying to

Mike Mage
I do think I mean, that’s a good life lesson in just like a presence image. Yeah.

Heredes Ribeiro
Totally, no, sorry. I have a example that I texted my buddy one was in front row. And he was on his phone the whole time. And I was roasting him. Yo. Now he was taking notes, because now we’re like, we’re trying to go all digital. We’re trying to go like this. So it’s a perception thing it is, but he looked like he was totally disconnected. I was totally, he was thinking, Oh, but I was like, dude, you freaking love this. Like, everybody can see you on camera. Boom, you’re like, and you’re and you look totally.

Mike Mage
But as a leader, though, that’s like you do have to, you have to think about those kind of apps. You can’t tell you’re on camera. Yes. And if you have hundreds of people looking at you, you can’t tell every single No, no, I’m taking notes.

Heredes Ribeiro
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. No, yeah, it matters. Yeah, I do think just asking the question, because I do think I have my brother’s a worship leader. I asked him, Are you gonna be doing this? 10 years from now? Yeah. So what are you doing for the 10 years from now? Right now? It’s not I don’t want to like scare him. I don’t want to put sincerely thinking like there’s it’s like athletes, in some ways. It’s like an athlete. Hundred percent. There’s a lifespan. Yeah. Oh, no, some will disagree completely. And say, No, I can I’m gonna I’m gonna still do this. And that’s fine. If that’s the culture, that’s what you want to do. Yeah, that’s the type of church. We’re where I’m leading where we’re coming from, if we’re going to really invest next generation, if it’s a sound style thing, if it’s just an energy management rate, where, yeah, I can jump up and down or clap like I used to, I’ve got to be more whatever it is. So I think it’s been real about this conversations expanding even the rope. The guy who is my boss now, was my worship leader, hire me to come did worship. I’m kind of in the same path. He is. He hasn’t been on stage in a long time. Yeah. He, but he still has impact and influence on every song decision of everything we do. And he’s leading at a high level, but he doesn’t have to, and still fulfill to see again, the the disciples and the young ones growing and doing it and failing and messing up. Yep. And he sees the fruit of that. But it took a transition. I mean, he’ll tell you, he’ll tell you that it took a while for him even to land and settle.

Justin Price
Yeah. And once in a while. There’s the itch of like, man, if I only got up there, I can do it. You know, I can get it done. I love this conversation, because I asked you to come on and talk about raising the tide in the culture of the creative team. And there’s not a linear path. Yeah, this isn’t like this is great. You you immediately came in and you’re just like, it’s messy. It’s messy. It’s messy. Jackson Pollock. Yeah. And I think if the listeners can if you guys can take away. One thing is to hear that there are a lot of opportunities. There’s a lot of different things. But I did hear one thing that I think we’ve heard 100 times it is cliche, it is common thing, but it’s important that you don’t dismiss it or or pass over because you’ve heard it before. And that is if you want a healthy culture, you do have you can’t skip communication. Yeah, that’s a core piece of everything we’ve talked about. Whether it’s how you train, invest with social, it’s how you communicate and be friendly. Everything that you have said has all been stemmed on communication. And ultimately, the better communicators we can be the better. We can handle hard situations better we can handle fun times. Yeah. I love that. I love that you even just broke it down to there are you know, it’s messy? Because sometimes it’s 10 minutes, it’s been willing to only say 10 minutes. Yeah. Before a movie and take someone to a movie. That’s it. Is there an introvert? Yeah. And it’s so good. Because I’m like, I’m like, you and I have a similar personality where I’m like, I would never go to the movies. Like, I want to hang out.

Mike Mage
Exactly. You got kids, you know. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Justin Price
But I would love to hang out at your house during a game and just talk through the whole game. Yeah,

Heredes Ribeiro
Exactly. Exactly.

Justin Price
I think it is really, really incredible to have a conversation like this, where I’m like, hey, how do you do this? Right? Education is not in thing.

Heredes Ribeiro
It’s intentionality. Also, at home. So I’ll start here, because you guys are all married. A lot of family leaders. be in alignment. Also, when it comes to social with family and your spouse in the calling. They’re in the kids. And because it crosses over. It’s all in so and what happens? Now the beauty of it is this, like, my kids now have six grandparents adopted grandparents, because they’re part of the team, right? My kids are getting more gifts now than ever gotten in life because they, they so it’s a beautiful thing. It’s also messy, because there’s some days that it’s just boom, and they feel like oh, there’s always people over there’s not. And there’s always something we have to manage that. Yes. sacrifice your family for the sake of building this team. Dream Team negative. Yeah. First Team is, is your home team absolute. So that’s priority. And I have a large one, I get a four boys for kids. My wife’s incredible married for 17 years. She’s awesome. Shout out Marcy. But it starts there. And the communication there. Their times like, Oh, yeah, they forgot to tell you. How many times have I failed? Now we’ve got we’ve got we’ve got we’ve got better calendars. Now. We’ve got better systems now to help. But start there. Because then if not, you’re working upstream, you know, swimming upstream with this, like, so then they show your team shows up and you and your wife are like, not that this has ever happened, Marcy. But we’re like at odds and fighting with the themes, great culture ability. But authenticity, right vulnerability, that’s it. But they’ve seen it, they’ve seen this, you know, screaming our kids, you know, celebrate our kids. So there’s beauty in that. Yeah, there’s beauty and all of that, just making it. I will say this the shade too. But for me wrapping it up. Patrick lencioni, two years ago had a big one on and I think it’s this book. The motive,

Mike Mage
Yes. his newest one’s fantastic, dude. Fantastic. Okay.

Heredes Ribeiro
But his idea is just and it’s really key because we forget sometimes he says, Well, sometimes there’s servant leadership. And that’s his one style of leadership. He’s like, no, that is should be the only style of servant leadership Jesus came to serve not to be served. So for me, it’s that like, for me, it’s not like, people say, Oh, you’re just very, one of my friends calls. Like you’re just very intentional strategic about grilling and doing this thing. It’s like, okay, you can call it that. But I enjoy it. I love serving people. I it’s fun. In the process, I get to know it. So I don’t know how else not to rush should be like, you don’t know, our days that I’m tired. And it’s like, Oh, sure. Yeah, so can we all but most of the time, that just should be your default. Sure. Like if I we had a guy and one of the designers they just bought a house. They’re about to move. It’s their first home. It’s okay, so we took half the day I told the team Hale, we bought boxes, we’re helping a move. It’s great. We’re doing this Yeah, drop the project. What’s like the ROI now? It’s not like I can think strategically if we do this, I’m gonna extend his lifespan in our company by No, no, if that happens, rate I know will happen because guess what, but the energy abroad, the chemistry, guess what we serve them, they didn’t have to pay or outsource. We got 10 people together. So that start there if we can do that, and they know Guess what? They’re gonna outwork. They’re gonna do whatever. And then when you have to call that Friday night, but that change is not that big a deal. Right? Because they know you’re in it together. So servant leadership is key. It’s, it’s in the Bible, Patrick lencioni. Great book. Great, great talk. But think Leadership Summit spoke about it. Fantastic. So

Mike Mage
Yeah, well, that’s in to, you know, like, the thing communication, like, that’s a big thing. And I wrote down here too, but like you, you’re very comfortable leading out of your own personality. And I think, you know, for whoever’s listening to this, maybe you’re not exactly like, ah, and like, Oh, well, I don’t know, like, that doesn’t really seem like you know, something that I would do you know, I do think you know, the principle of servant leadership like that needs to be in in through everything that we do. But it doesn’t necessarily need to look Yeah, exactly like what he is doing. It’s it’s the self awareness of who you are who God has made you to Be and people resonate with that and respond to that. Yeah. If you can be vulnerable and, you know, personable to other people on your team and throughout the church like, is the thing Craig Groeschel says? Like, it’s not, you know, no one wants to follow a leader who’s always right. But who’s always themselves. It’s good. And, you know, I think that that’s you you are, you’re harnessing that for your church and for your team. And whoever’s listening to this, I mean, learn about yourself, like how do you leverage what you can do and what you enjoy doing? Because odds are, people are going to enjoy it with you, whatever you told him. So another thing again, thanks for having me. I enjoy I’m learning as we’re talking. Yeah, I’m like making notes for myself.

Heredes Ribeiro
So I appreciate you know, you guys inviting me one thing even to that because you’re right, I hope there’s not more you know, enneagram sevens are pulling everybody’s just we need the diversity of personalities to keep the you know, the balance in this world. But so lean into that I think that’s fantastic advice to to lean in. You don’t have to be you know, like that other or now there’s places right where you need to be challenged like an introvert. Okay, let’s let’s challenge this step by exactly totally and just like the extrovert needs to tone it down. Yeah, stop talking. Relax, chill. So there’s a place for growth in both we we’ve done something that was new to me and it’s been working real. When money’s a challenge. Let’s say I don’t have budget personally or as a church to buy meals fit that’s okay. Or space my house I can’t boom, spent that that though. I’ve gone through all those seasons. Find a space that’s a third space, find the lobby of the church find a picnic or a park. Yeah, have everybody bring their own lunch, schedule it and workout, right? And we’ve done where like, I don’t want to lead out. So we’ve done a book study where it’s a collective book study. So I’ll start with the book. We will literally do like elementary chapter reading like we’ll sit down the chapter will read out loud for 20 minutes, we’ll talk eat but then I signed the book and I’ll hand it to your tag. Next week. That person brings that chapter they read it simple. Yeah, I don’t have to prepare for it. Yeah, okay, I’m reading a book together the questions in the conversations we agree or disagree together on the spot Yeah, they brought their luck simple simple just we started doing this with our kind of our lead team of lead just to kind of keep it I didn’t want to add one more thing I saw that we were doing lunches say hey, let’s kind of let’s channel this together because I want to respect on what the season now where I’m asking them to do that so they’re less than my house now. Because I want more people their houses sure and more of that so that’s some being strategic of when I get time with them so we’ll do they get away so sometimes I’m like boom during the day football which pick them up eight meters and picking you up let’s go Yeah, so we’ll so midday will draw to left just to leverage that and still get time I think it’s key important and we’re getting next week we’re doing a retreat with worship leaders that they get away with being very intentional that time together is key is key is key. And it just seal Okay, thanks for having pre shot hopefully got a title. I don’t know what this is gonna be.

Justin Price
So many good practical things. Thank you so much. Yeah, thank you guys. You know, I know we don’t you don’t claim to have it all figured out. No. It’s been fun, man. A super helpful for people to hear you know, what you’re, you know, processing through and what does it take to really move a team and improve culture? Yep.

Mike Mage
Well, where can people find you on the internet? The internet’s if they want to follow you.

Heredes Ribeiro
I am online. It’s Heredes everywhere. So heredes on Insta, Twitter, Facebook.

Mike Mage
Your name is so cool that you can just get it done.

Heredes Ribeiro
But thanks for having me again. Guys. This has been a joy. It’s been awesome.

Mike Mage
Awesome. Awesome.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 20 – Justin Price/Mike Mage

Are You Burned Out? –  How to Refuel as a Creative in Ministry

Is your self-care reservoir low? In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, Justin Price (@techjustinrp), the founder of Vers Creative (@vers_creative) and Mike Mage (@mikemage), worship director at Bay Hope Church and host of the Healthy Church Growth Podcast discuss how to avoid burnout and find inspiration in hidden places.


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage  

Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast, we are so glad that you are here that you have joined us to be a part of this episode of healthy church growth. My name is Mike, I’m one of the hosts here. And real quick before we jump in, and before we get started, I just want to say thank you so much for engaging with us, thank you so much for sharing for subscribing. For you know, hopping in on the comments on our Instagram and on Facebook, it’s so great to hear from you. It’s so great to, to be in this together. And to talk to talk about these things together today. Justin and I were actually going to do just sort of a discussion together. And I was talking with Justin earlier today, and was kind of just, you know, thinking about where the church is, and obviously, you know, Justin, you have the, you have the ability running a creative agency to sort of intersect with the church. And, you know, sort of really interject or inject your creative marketing and creative principles into the church and help out churches that way. I honestly, I have the privilege of working in a church. And especially, you know, with 2020 this year, it’s just obviously been a weird year for everybody. And getting a feeling and a sense from a lot of the people that I work with a lot of people that I’m friends with that work at churches, it’s just been, it’s been a hard year, I feel like people are starting to get kind of burnt out maybe starting to get you know, kind of feel aimless, kind of like they’re wandering in sort of unknown territory. Justin, have you? Have you kind of felt that with sort of the the people that you’ve been interacting with in the church?

Justin Price  

Well, sure. I don’t think it’s just a problem that’s inside of the church, I think everybody is, is certainly feeling a sense of weight crossed. What is happening culturally, in our in our entire world. And I don’t just mean, you know, the big topics, there’s been some huge shifts with technology. There’s been some huge shifts, with workplaces, there’s been huge shifts economically, there’s been huge shifts, obviously, with illness and our health. Everything has been so upgraded that I think that that everybody is struggling to figure out in the heaviness and the heavier seasons. How do we, how do we get creative? How do we feel inspired? Sometimes I think that we feel like it is hard to be inspired when things are not going well. I don’t know. Have you ever heard that or thought that it’s like, I can’t really be inspired right now. Some so and so is going through this in my life? My mom is sick and in the hospital? Oh, yeah. So I’m overwhelmed with that. And I think, really, really great creatives naturally pull those difficult times. And you’ve seen this now for the last like six months, I’ve seen some of the most amazing worship songs like some of the most raw and real and we you know, we both posted yesterday. Yeah, on current song, it’s like, what it just, I feel like he just really stripped a lot of christianese out and it’s just like, such good theme of life. Hey, you know what, I just know that you’re gonna be God at the finish line, you know, in the middle, I’m not done. We’re not done. God’s not done. But he’s still gonna be there. He’s still gonna be got to the finish line.

Mike Mage  

Right. Right. Well, it’s like the one thing we can stand on right now. Exactly.

Justin Price  

Yeah, we need to and but I feel like really great creatives, you know, they, they find a new sense of inspiration. They pull in, they can, they can translate, and they can follow it. And oftentimes, the idea is, like, naturally that can happen, you know, naturally, we can be more in tune with that and be, you know, artists can sometimes be more in tune with that. And really pull from it. But then there’s a lot of other people who are not, they’re creatives, but they’re not necessarily artists. And so, you know, we said this might be really interesting, just to talk about what are some things for those of us who are not naturally just inclined to, you know, see something bad and be like, Oh, that’s, I’m inspired to do X, Y, or Z, you know?

Mike Mage  

Sure. Well, in what’s funny is, I feel like in 2020, over the past, you know, six months or whatever, everybody, especially for me, and so this is coming out of, you know, my personal experience, but I’m sure it affects a lot of different people in pretty much the same way. But there’s a lot of people that are now put into situations where they have to be creative, and not necessarily like you’re saying, like artistically creative, but they have to problem solve for problems that they didn’t even know existed or, you know, that the past six months has really accelerated to being in the forefront. And, and so, you know, as you and I were sort of talking about this beforehand, you know, inspiration And kind of feels like it hits us from out of nowhere. And in a know, you’re kind of saying like, it’s almost feel like when things get tough, it almost feels like we’re not even open to it. So like, so even when things are good, it feels like it sort of just smacks people upside the head, when really, that’s not how inspiration works at all, you know, like it is it is a muscle that you have to work. It’s a, it’s something you have to cultivate. And obviously, for you working in a creative agency, and you know, being a part of music, and videos, and all that kind of stuff, and me sort of being in the same realm to a certain extent, but in the church, I’d love for us to just to kind of strip away maybe some of the mystery, behind inspiration at all. And so I know you had some good thoughts about this. And so I mean, I’ll just, I’ll throw it to you just, you know, to get us started here.

Justin Price  

Thanks, Mike, I want to unpack this like three dirty secrets, that if you’re not a seasoned creative, where you’re not flexing that muscle and you haven’t, maybe you’re in year one or two, or even three into your role as a creative, you’ve been through college, you’ve maybe not been through college, either way, you’re solving problems. But you’re not, you haven’t been through enough seasons, maybe to be able to give yourself the grace on some of these things. And so I hope these are really helpful to maybe take some of the pressure some of the weight off of your back, and to maybe say, hey, it’s, it’s okay. If you follow some of these principles, these are definitely not the building blocks to all, you know, the end all of inspiration. But yeah, they’re three dirty secrets. The first one is kind of kind of a big one, one that I probably 12-15 years into being a creative kind of a was exposed to. And this one is this, developing your taste comes through exposure of quality. And so the secret here is that you’re actually not born with taste. You’re born into it. And what that means is that you’re really the culture that you’re brought up in, the way that you are exposed, the things that you’re exposed to, the quality levels you’re exposed to. Those really impact your taste. And so you know, when you say like, hey, that that’s a great designer, what makes them great? Well, there’s like one, there’s principles of design. And if you’ve never been exposed to good design, you only can emulate what you have been exposed to, like, Sure, it’s not a natural occurrence that you just are really great. And that is something that I don’t think a lot of people talk about, I think that you just think like, oh, man, Mike’s really great songwriter. And when you talk when you actually talk to most great musicians, their parents brought them up playing good music, like, right, not just jazz, or not just classical or not just like the best musicians in the world, but like, oftentimes, like with pop musicians, their parents brought them up, like listening to some stuff with some really freaking good hooks. You know? Yeah, totally. Some really good funk, some really good. Whatever it is, like, ya know, it’s taste is developed by your exposure to quality. Yeah, you know, and so it’s actually kind of like food, too. It’s like, you don’t know how to make something you don’t know if something tastes good or bad. The more things that you try and taste the more places you go the different cultures, you taste those foods. Sure, you can start to develop a palette, right? Yeah. But like, if all you’ve ever eaten my wife, my wife like grew up, like just eating bagels. And like five meals, her dad was like, he did not. He didn’t like anything. So they had like the five meals they recycled every week. And when we started like, dating, I’d be like, hey, do you want to go get some Vietnamese? And she’d be like, That’s gross. I don’t like that. The reality is, is she still doesn’t like it today. But but there was a lot of other foods that she did get to try that she told me she didn’t like, and after getting to try and getting exposed to good quality versions of those foods all the sudden, like, Oh, I like that I’m attracted. So it was that exposure to that quality. So I think that’s a huge one for me.

Mike Mage  

Well, and I do think too, like there’s something it’s it’s naive, obviously. But I remember going through college and in the music school, and thinking about why in the world do I need to learn about all this theory and all of this, you know, I’m never going to use this stuff. Yeah. And it’s, it is some of y’all think that Yeah, right. Okay. It’s gonna say some well in and honestly some of it’s true. I didn’t mean to learn some of the real like ridiculous 20th century music theory stuff, but like a lot of that bedrock in the foundation of it, if I didn’t learn that, there’s no way that I would be able to know how certain things are supposed to fit together so that when I go to sit down and write something, I have like some sort of starting point, because I do think that’s part of the reason so many people feel like they’re feel like they’re stuck is because they don’t even know where to start from. And so, you know, you, if you if you open yourself up, and you start developing your tastes, with quality influences, you know, like, you’ll, you’ll really start to, you know, at least find a place to start. And yeah, I mean, like, emulation is how everybody gets started. And, you know, like, you think about stand up comedians, you think about artists, you think about musicians, whoever, you know, like it is, it’s, it’s literally the places I mean, I mean, I remember, as a long time ago, but when reason came out, or when it started to become like a real big thing in the worship, when in reason, if you don’t know, it’s like a mini sequencing, you know, electronic music platform that you can have on a computer. And I remember the David Crowder band used to give away the reason files. And the only reason no pun intended, that I knew how to actually use that program was because I literally just would sit and I would go through each individual instrument, absolutely see how it was routed, see how, you know, it was mapped and all that kind of stuff. But I was just I was that’s in like, I use reason all throughout bellary studio albums. And so like, but but because I opened myself up to that.

Justin Price  

So it was Crowder files were so good. I remember, I was running a recording studio when he released those. And it really unlocked a lot of like new ideas and thinking, yeah, you know, and right to that, to that measure, like at every studio I’ve ever gone to I go to a lot of sessions early on to just see how other engineers would set up their session, you know, what’s their what is their chain? You know, right? Is this like sidechain compression thing? Like, what is that? What’s the mask? Oh, man, there’s a two inch tape session happening over here. Like, let’s go see the difference between that. And why does that sound so much better than mine? You have my whatever, Digi Oh, three. It’s important for you, you know, I wanted to give you guys some practical things that that we fall into, as you know, being paid to do this professionally by so many clients and having so many was a principal, having so many other staff that depend on me to be a source of inspiration. They depend on me to guide it at least if nothing else, you know? Sure. Yeah. I have found that. Inspiration is everywhere, you know, and like, everybody has their own voice and their own style and things like that. But you have got to you have got to be okay with just being comfortable with the things that you’re comfortable with. And so I was gonna say like, find your inspiration where you find rest. Or you might even say it, like, where you’re where you really like the vibe? Yeah. So whether it’s visually or musically or whatever. Sure. Sure. Start there.

Mike Mage  

Yeah, well in like this is, this is so funny, because I do feel like this is where again, people get really stuck because you start comparing yourself to other people. And it’s literally it’s taken me until, you know, like, relatively recently, to be okay with the things that I can that I can that I can create that that almost just like flow from me. And that’s not like super hard for me. Because it’s almost I almost feel like, like, well, I’m sick of hearing what I do. Yeah. But like I almost I’m having to like shift. And we were talking about psychology of things a little bit before this. But I have to shift the psychology of the things that like that, that I can create, because, you know, honestly, like it, it helps to like show it to other people. And when people like reinforce like, Oh, that’s pretty good. I was like, Oh, I guess I guess that is good, even though like I feel like it was so easy, and all that kind of stuff. But the things that I’m naturally inclined to do. That might be really the way that I’m wired. And if I really lean into that, you know, that might be like this, a new fresh expression, within whatever creative community that you’re a part of, and it might be exactly what some people need. So it’s hard to to not get hung up on that, which I know sounds really weird. But each person has their own specific voice and their own unique wiring. And you can only be yourself so

Justin Price  

alright, so that let’s just say this yourself can develop better taste. yourself can start off not liking Vietnamese food. Can can end up enjoying the best Vietnamese food. If you expose yourself to good quality and good quality for you and exposing yourself to everything in the world is not possible. Most of us can’t afford to expose ourselves to all the great quality in the world, whether that’s art or music, or food, or whatever it is culturally. But just keep exploring, keep being curious. And then when you find the thing that you feel comfortable and just own it be you be that version of you and say that is I’m going to develop my taste is me, even if I’m copying other people, even if I’m inspired by other people’s work, and even if I’m copying, you know, specifically unpacking David Crowder’s reason files, if I do that, and it feels good to me, and it makes sense to me. And now the sudden like, the guy who couldn’t figure out how to ever make that sound before now knows how to make that sound. And I love the sound on those little things that unlock just be okay with owning that thing, that’s you and then sit in that space, and be able to know that finding inspiration for you is you being able to also rest and find that vibe, there’s some freedom in that because I think sometimes like we follow inspiration needs to always be the uncomfortable tasting Vietnamese for the first time. I think your last point kind of ties in really well to my next dirty secret. Okay, this one is really simple. And it’s something that people say a lot. And that is, you know, that great, you know, creatives steal, you know, and I just, I just want to twist that just a little bit like, okay, so when you’re looking for your inspiration, stop stealing from your next door neighbor, super awkward if you steal the bike out of your next door neighbor’s garage, and you go riding down the street, right? All the sudden, they’re like, you know, hey, that’s our bike. That’s really lame, yet. I mean, and No, nobody in that listens to this podcast would do something like that, obviously.

Mike Mage  

But yet, we have the best listeners. Yeah, they would never do that

Justin Price  

yet. I see so many churches, steal the creative. All this church just did this. And they were like one mile apart. In this one community in Tennessee, do this thing. And it’s like, yeah, it’s 20 years old, and they just have been stealing from you guys have missed the boat. Yeah, it was happening in London. And so I just say this, just leave the country. Don’t even don’t even leave your city. Just leave the country. And that is. So it’s definitely steal your ideas. You know, definitely look at how other people make it. But try to push your exposure outside of your close local bubble. And that means verticals, to churches, do not steal from churches, don’t steal from other churches, look at what’s unique to you, and your location and your geographic and find other verticals to steal from. right for me a big unlocker as a creative at a church was to start stealing from hospitality. If you have not followed anything from Ritz Carlton, you need to turn this podcast off and go find out. Yeah, but I mean, that was a huge on locker and to the point where like when we we had an opportunity to really expand some things instead of hiring like, so most people like hire church furniture people, like there’s literally like sales reps that sell chairs, right? Right. Like I don’t want to buy church chairs, I want to buy hospitality chairs, I want our lobby to be quality and comfortable. And I wanted to set this mood when people walk in, I want I want the same quality of carpet that these people wish they had, you know or wanted, you know, want to have that kind of experience when they go for a resort if they could have they go to church on Sunday. What a great experience they can leave with. Right not saying, well, gods are over the top. But sure, steal from those principles and don’t just stay in your market and your vertical.

Mike Mage  

Right. Well, I yeah, I think it’s a it’s a it’s a super important to open yourself up to as much inspiration as possible, even if it’s so like, for me, I’m a worship director. But I really love to watch TV shows and movies. And to see how, how they use music as a way to influence people’s emotion to be able to connect what is actually happening on the screen. And because if I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a movie without music, but it’s it’s terrible. It’s a horrible movie. There’s a reason it’s in there. And they’ve been you know, that that idea has been around for you know, hundreds of years, even back operas and all that kind of stuff. I mean, like the music influences what is happening. And so for me as a worship director, like I don’t necessarily want to just listen to songs. I want to know how to be able to use music in a way that can really connect people. So to me there’s there’s a very thin line between looking at other churches. is in what is working well? And is it that’s different than like stealing things? Does that make sense what I’m saying, I feel like there’s a, there’s there’s ways that we can look at churches and be able to understand why things are working. But it doesn’t mean that we necessarily have to steal the exact thing that they’re doing. It’s almost like we have to interpret what it works, and put it and if we develop our taste and quality and all that kind of stuff, personally, we filter it through that, to be able to make those underlying principles be able to sort of raise the tide of, you know, what we’re doing. Does that make sense? I guess not churches, I mean, like in other other outside of the church as well. So like, I love that idea of looking outside the church. That’s not I didn’t mean just churches. Yeah,

Justin Price  

I mean, obviously, you we talk a lot about like, take the take the heart, apply your heart to other great ideas. So either take the idea and apply your heart to it, or take the heart and apply your ideas to it.

Mike Mage  

That’s a really great, yeah, I love that. Well, cool. Well, I really do, I think this is this is super helpful. And in a really great topic to even, you know, discuss in a time when it feels like people are just void of inspiration, whether they’re burnt out, or you know, just because things constantly keep changing,

Justin Price  

I’ve got one more. So the third dirty little secret is that being a creative professional, does not make you an idea spring. And so what I mean by that is that creative professionals are a whole lot more like reservoirs than springs. So we’re often tapped for the source of an idea, or to problem solve something, we’re given a problem every Sunday to figure out how to take people and hopefully take them into a place where they are growing in their relationship with God. And so yeah, we got to figure out a new way, a fresh way to do that, we got to keep bringing water from that spring, and people just keep assuming that we can continue to keep producing it. And when we don’t, they get super upset. But the reality is, is you have to know that you yourself are a reservoir reservoir has to be refilled. And it also evaporates. So there’s an evaporation rate. As you are also using it, you are also getting rid of it. But but just not using it. Right, by not filling it all the time, you are really really jacking yourself up. And so as a practical tip, I would just say, if you can do one thing for your own health, for your mental health as a creative professional, you have got to put temperature checks weekly and monthly, and making sure that you are refilling wheat. So we I’m the principal at an agency. And right now, we are lucky if we produce more than 50% of the time, then we pay our staff, sure to just want you to like get

Mike Mage  

pretty good. That’s pretty good.

Justin Price  

Yeah. 60 is like the sweet spot, you know, but there’s plenty seasons, plenty of seasons, especially when there’s high change. where 50 40% is all we can produce. Where’s the other time going? It’s not all spend just like, you know, doing podcasts? It is? It’s it’s spent refilling because you cannot produce there anybody who looks at their staff hours and a lot and says, Well, I have 40 hours per person and minus staff meeting and minus Bible study that we expect him to do on Thursday and minus practice and rehearsal. And so now, you know, Joe over there, he’s got like 30 hours, give or take to do videos, Why could he not produce a 30 a great video in 30 hours, every single week? And then, you know, two to three videos every every once a month? I’m gonna double up on him. Why can’t Why can’t he did 30 hours? You know, I mean, tease Yeah, that’s the expectation we always have. It’s like Joe’s got maybe, maybe 10 hours after he handles the rest of the relationship gets interrupted 1000 times. And even in a healthy work environment, he should realistically be working, maybe producing about 15 to 20 hours worth of actual good quality, productive, creative that is fresh and good. And we’re not doing that. Like the culture The church is not doing that. A lot of creative agencies don’t do that a lot of creatives don’t do that. And then the word burnout is so relevant in our industry, because we set really unrealistic expectations for refilling the reservoir and we just expect these creative people because they love it that they’re going to be springs or or we like to just plan a card of like well because this is a cool thing to do like because this is like because this feeds your soul to do it that you can refill on your own time which by the way, man you should refill on in your own time, sure, for your own sake, for your own fun. But yeah, um, yeah, that, that refill, if you’re not checking into say like, did I refill Am I doing it, then you are going to burn out, you will run dry, you will be frustrated, you will be empty with ideas and your ideas will suck. And it’s not because you suck. And it’s not because you’re a bad creative, it’s because you didn’t take care of yourself and refill that reservoir. So there it is. The third dirty secret. nobody really wants to hear that. I’m giving you permission. That is an industry standard is 60%. In the creative industry, for professionals who do high quality work, if you produce 60% of the time that you work, that is good.

Mike Mage  

Yeah, your top the top of the line there exactly. Well, man that that is so precious for what we’re what we’re in right now. And then just in general man, I just I really felt like you just you’re pushing on a bruise a little bit, because I find myself convicted of that expecting more of people. But I also find myself being represented in what you’re talking about. And, you know, I think we especially in the church, man, you are like, Man, it’s it’s a it’s a it’s a thing people try to do all the times like, well, you’re, you know, you’re doing your part of like the kingdom, you know, you’re doing things that are changing people’s lives. And you should love this and yada yada, you know, you should really be motivated to do this. And while that’s true, we are still only people we’re not like you’re saying idea springs, basically, we’re not stinking superheroes. You know, we’re still we’re still flawed humans who need this time to refill, to reengage and then to produce. And I do and I love how you’re saying to that, like the inspiration can evaporate. Meaning that like we have to do something with it. So like we have to be in charge of refilling and in cognizant of that. But we also have to be aware that we need to that we actually need to turn around and do something with that inspiration. Because otherwise like it’s gone. Yeah, so man, this has been this has been incredible Justin, really, really good stuff. And for you as the listener, if you have a comment or you know, if you think that there’s there’s something that we missed, maybe you have a dirty secret when it comes to inspiration, we would love for you to leave a comment on our Instagram, when we post this podcast and yeah, so and this has been an incredible conversation. So Justin, thank you so much.

Justin Price  

Thanks, Mike. Yeah, I couldn’t I I hope that that this is good for you. And it’s great for me to even just be reminded, you know, and I think dirty secrets because it’s I’m just saying like, we’re kind of getting into the dirt. This is the stuff that like people don’t really want to talk about. It’s not, it’s really not the great side of creative. I would rather talk about how to create like really awesome stuff with low belly time or something like that. Yeah, but this is the reality. It’s the truth, you know, and so it’s taken a lot of there’s been a lot of painful years that have gone into for me to maybe admit these secrets, some of these but you know, we got a chance to talk with another creative who has been in the game at a really high level for a long time.

Mike Mage  

It’s it’s going to be an incredible podcast and Justin you and i i mean it felt like we got to find out that we had a long lost friend for it is we discovered a friendship we didn’t even know existed and Verizon. Yeah, it was it was awesome. So make sure to tune in for the next healthy church growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.