Healthy Church Growth – Episode 30

The Conversations That Left An Impact

One year ago, the Healthy Growth Podcast was launched to help you, the church creatives, find your unique voice in ministry. It’s been an incredible first year with compelling guests and engaging conversations that gave your team the tools to gain momentum on the path toward healthy growth.

As Season One comes to an end, hosts Mike Mage and Justin Price take a look back at the conversations that made a lasting impact and provide a glimpse into Season Two. You don’t want to miss this final episode! 

On Instagram: @Mikemage,  @techjustinrp,  @vers_creative


Mike Mage 0:00
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Hey, welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. My name is Mike. And we are so glad that you are joining us here for this podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life. Hey, so this podcast today is pretty special. We have been doing this for about a year now. And we were talking about what if this is a cool thing, if we, you know, sort of end this first year as like sort of our first season. And I’m joined by my co-host, Justin. And, Justin, I’m really excited to talk about, you know, sort of this, this first year of us this first season of us doing this. You know, I’ve said before that, like, I didn’t think we would be starting a Healthy Church Growth podcast as soon as a pandemic started. That was, that was a nice little wrinkle we threw into the Healthy Church Growth podcast. What you think about that?

Justin Price 1:01
You know, it’s been good. I think we’ve had to fight the temptation to just talk about that, you know, because the reality is, you know, we’re, we’re leading churches. And this is a that’s like, a thing that’s happening right now, culturally. It is relevant. We have questions about it. But at the core, it’s a side thing. You know, I mean, every city has their own side things. We have holiday side things, we have cultural things that come in, and like it doesn’t really change the mission of the church. And so there’s a lot of change inside of it with delivery. But but doesn’t really change the mission. And so I think, you know, what’s been cool about this podcast is like fighting that urge to just talk about that and focus in on the the systematic changes that we’re doing and to constantly, you know, there’s I think there’s also a little bit of just like, pleasure, and just trying to, like, hear other people’s pain, you know. What did you do? What are you going through? All that kind of stuff. It’s easy for us to, like, default into that. But I think for us to be strict and try to give you guys the audience of listeners, some some perspective on growing your church in a healthy way. And that really being a mission. You know, when Mike and I started this, we said, what could we be excited about talking about forever? What was the thing? Because originally, Mike, you wanted this to be a skateboarding broadcast, right?

Mike Mage 2:25
Yeah, it was like it was like skateboarding and just like, cup stacking.

Justin Price 2:30
For Jesus.

Mike Mage 2:31
Yeah, for Jesus was a little like Rubik’s Cube, like, you know, sidebar every once in a while.

Justin Price 2:37
Right. But, you know, obviously, we talked about how we are getting older, our joints aren’t holding up. And so it’s there’s a shelf life to the skateboard to the skateboarding life.

Mike Mage 2:48
Yeah, I’m always sore. It’s very, it’s weird. I’m always sore. Well, I think that you’re right, Justin, I think that, you know, like, there was this gravity of the pandemic happening around us we’re like, beginning these conversations of healthy church growth. And anything that any any problem that churches are facing in, in the middle of a pandemic, they find their, their foundation is found in like, a lot of these other deeper problems, that pandemic or not, COVID or not, there are still, there’s still going to be problems. You know, what, no matter what you’re going through, so, yeah, it was definitely like a. It. I mean, I know we had a few COVID episodes, you know, because it was, I remember, you know, Steven Brewster like that was, but that was, as soon as a pandemic happened, Jason Kane was like, Hey, I can get Steven Brewster on the podcast, like, Oh, my gosh, like, let’s, let’s do that. Let’s talk about this. Let’s do that. But you know, if you remember a lot of the things that he said, were not just based, because of COVID, it was the accelerating factor that COVID was, you know, that what COVID was doing to churches was accelerating them a little bit faster down the road. And he basically was like, this is kind of how you deal with this. So but one thing, I think, you know, you and I were talking about with this podcast, as we sort of wrap up season one wrap up year one here was maybe just like picking out one or two episodes. And, you know, kind of reliving them, you know, talking about kind of what’s still impactful about them today. And Justin. Justin, do you want to go first on that?

Justin Price 4:28
Yes. So today on the podcast, we will review and talk about the highlight. Right? I mean, is that really it? I mean, so like the highlight of the year for us. You had one I had one. These were these were really, really great conversations that left an impact to the point where like, even just today we could pick up we didn’t have to prep prep for these conversations. Yeah, back to the show notes. This is like hey, this is where this is where we were most impacted. And and we’ll do our best to try to reference them in a way that you guys can still go back and listen to him too. So that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. And we’re gonna finish off this and then we’ll at the end of the podcast. Mike, I haven’t talked to you about this, but I have an idea for season two. And so I thought we can record the idea to the audience. And then if you don’t like it, then then the audience can hear how you just abuse me and talk down to me about my bad ideas. I’m just kidding, Mike. So at the end of the podcast, we will talk about the model for Season 2. Or at least a way to kick off Season 2 for sure. If not a whole season. All right. Okay, so you want me to go first, or you want to go first? You threw it over to me. But.

Mike Mage 5:48
Yeah, I mean, I feel like you should go first. Well, and, and you, the one that you’re going to talk about is one that actually happened very early on. So I think it’s appropriate.

Justin Price 5:59
It did technically was not recorded this year. It was released this year, but it was not recorded this year.

Mike Mage 6:03
Yes, this year. Exactly.

Justin Price 6:05
This podcast. So for me, we’ve had a couple of where I feel like I have, I’ve gotten chills, I could feel, you know, I mean, I could like definitely feel something deeper, coming down. And you know, when I think back on, like the whole experience of recording the last 20 episodes leading up until this one. The moment that stands out for me, was was in the podcast with Sean Curran. He’s a worship pastor at Passion City. He’s part of the Passion organization group, singer/songwriter. He was in the band with Mike and Bellarive. And so we’re having a conversation with him. I honestly, I didn’t go back and listen to it to this week. To see how bad I did. But you know, it was one of our first podcasts that we ever did.

Mike Mage 6:59
It was the first.

Justin Price 7:00
Yeah, it was the first. The first it was the first and most memorable. Wow. But Sean got so authentic and real in that podcast that I remember not only just having chills, but tears as as we kind of heard some of his story. So we had had talked him right after a season where he had a huge hit, that he led the Passion Conference through. And so he told the story about kind of his journey from being in a band that was signed to being you know, released from a label, which is kind of, you know, a way of people saying like, what we don’t want anymore. So really kind of being rejected, finding refuge at a church not wanting to be onstage not wanting to sing, not wanting to songwrite. And take it all of that in and starting to serve at a church that has a lot of notoriety. I mean, some of the top songwriters worship songwriters in the world. When we look at the top the list of like top 10, you know, or top 100 songs. There’s a huge group of them that all go to church at Passion City, there in Atlanta.

Mike Mage 8:17

Justin Price 8:18
And so, for Sean to find refuge, there was smart as a singer/songwriter. But when, you know, when, like, you know, one of the elders is Matt Redmon. And, you know, he wrote all the songs that you grew up, you know, singing it when you were in church, or Crowder is you know, regular or whatever the scenario is, you know, Sean’s kind of as a smaller fish, there in that pond and so you know, when he told the story of like, man, he was leading worship for children’s church not even like playing you know, not even like writing songs for children’s church like not trying to be children songwriter. But here’s like a guy who had a successful you know, record sign band, touring, and all this and he, you know, and here he is, like, leading kids through worship. And it was in that moment, it was in that like, heart of saying, like, Man, I’m gonna serve at my church. I’m gonna plug in where I can. Yeah, obviously, I’m probably not gonna kick Chris Tomlin off stage to be the house worship leader. And I don’t even know if Chris is leading there or not, but there’s somebody awesome there every Sunday. And, and so for Sean to say, like, Man, I’m going to I’m going to serve out of a heart to serve. And I’m not above leading kids worship, which is, you know, can can sometimes be karaoke. I’m sure. In a dance-a-thon kind of a vibe. I think I think rang true for me on a lot of deep levels, you know? And Mike, I told you, I said, you know, I feel like I’m the kind of person who is driven. I have a lot of things I want to do I get really excited, I get enthusiastic about things, and I kind of just lean in 100% until I achieve the goal. And so, you know, here if I’m at Passion City, and I’m the man, I want to be one of the worship leaders there. I’m I don’t know that the path I would have taken would have been to, you know, to be leading in the kids area. And I think that there was a super subtle reminder here. And this, the the reminder that I felt maybe impacted me so much was that Sean was not necessarily going after leading worship at the Passion Conference. He was chasing after a desire that he felt called to lead worship, in the opportunities that God opened for him. So I think, I think what he was doing was chasing the calling and not the destination. And I think sometimes we can get excited and motivated by the destination. And that becomes the thing. And I think that’s such an unhealthy thing. That we miss the journey, we, you know, you hear it in so many different ways of life, you know, enjoy the journey, not the destination. But in a spiritual sense. I think it’s more about the calling. What is God really putting on your heart to do? And don’t necessarily be looking for- Where does he call it? Where is he telling you to go? What is the future thing finalization like look like? He oftentimes doesn’t even show us that because we probably wouldn’t go. He showed us the final, just enough to get us out the door. And so I think we sometimes assume that like Sean, you know, wrote the song and put it in front of the right people and got up on stage because that’s how songwriting goes. But no, like, so he’s, he’s, he’s earning, you know, he’s earning the ability to even be to be playing on stage by by just kind of proving his heart for the calling and to serve it. I’ve talked to a lot of different people, we’ve interviewed a lot of people on this podcast. I’ve obviously, as a Creative Director, I’ve gotten to a lot of really great interviews in my career, with people who are the best at their thing. And, and every single one of them has this passion and this drive inside of them not to be the best at the thing. But to be better than they were yesterday. They they’re just born to do this thing. And I’m just gonna keep getting better. And then one day I wake up, and I’m like, wow, I’m, there’s no one else who’s better than me. And most people who are at the top of their game, don’t even recognize that, like, just everybody else is recognizing it. And then they’re going yeah, that’s not even true. That’s fake. Right? Yeah. And so. So I don’t know, whether that’s chasing the calling, finding your passion and leaning into it. It’s going after those things, and not the final thing for me. It spoke home to my heart to where I’m at, and to what I love and believe in I think the way Sean unpacked it, the vulnerability he shared his failures. And working through that with kind of surprised me for our first one. For him to just like open up like that to the audience. And, and to me, and I had met Sean a couple times before, obviously, Mike with you. And, you know, but but to have that kind of an intimate conversation, I just remember feeling so many times where God was just moving in my heart going like, Justin, if you’re thinking about building this kind of agency, or you’re thinking about accomplishing these kind of things, like, stop thinking about the thing, and just focus on the calling that I’ve called you to do, which is to create an incredibly healthy culture for your teams that I’m trusting you with. And to help get results from the people you work with, to be strategic and get that just keep doing that and focusing on getting better than the rest that stuff will come.

Mike Mage 14:07
Yeah, absolutely. Well, what’s really cool about that episode, I mean, like, he was one of the first people that I asked to be on it. And he said, like, absolutely, like, I would love to do this. And I gave him sort of the vision behind Healthy Church Growth. And he was like, man, like this is this is something that is really cool. And, and yeah, like he, he goes to deep waters, like very quickly on the podcast. But it’s, it’s refreshing, you know, because it wasn’t like, I don’t know. It’s, it didn’t feel forced. And you could feel the scars behind a lot of what he was talking about. And you know, and I have a first hand knowledge and a lot of that stuff just because we spent so much time together. I can’t I can’t stress that enough how much time we spent together in a van. And I, it was just it was a really cool. It was it was great to hear his heart again. And he’s still to this day like a very good friend. And I just I, I’m, I’m a beaming, I’m beaming with pride anytime that like people bring him up, or the stuff that he’s done is because I know it’s all rooted in such a good place. And there’s something he wrote in a song that you and I talked about a little bit ago, but just good things take, what is it just good things take a little time or whatever. I think that’s the line. And, and that’s just what it is like, we don’t want to wait, that time. We don’t want to be patient, we don’t want to put in the hard work behind the scenes that no one else sees. And, you know, we want to be on the stage at Passion Conference, metaphorically speaking, wherever you are, whatever your Passion Conference is, you know, being onstage in front of 50,000 people, like we all want that. But we don’t want the 99.999999% of stuff that goes into behind the scenes with that. So yeah, it was his vulnerability was was definitely refreshing. For sure.

Justin Price 16:08
If I could, if I could tag on one thing, Mike, that I think you and I have leaned into a lot. So I think he was focusing on kind of the heart of why you’re growing, what you’re calling to, and what you’re doing, and chasing that. And then he also somewhere in there, he had talked about that analogy of when you grow slow, you grow strong.

Mike Mage 16:31
Yep, yep. 100%.

Justin Price 16:32
And I felt like, man, we just, we really don’t take- I think we take for granted when something strong comes along. We don’t understand how long it really took to grow. And so we we underestimate the time it takes to be strong. And then we see something pop up. But we we only actually catch the last little bit of it. But it’s been growing for a long time. And we assume that we could do something like that. It’s like, well, maybe and I love that analogy of like, you know, things that grow fast are like weeds.

Mike Mage 17:08
I know.

Justin Price 17:09
I never thought I’d be talking about weed with Sean Curran, but we were. We were talking about weeds. They grow fast. And you know, and I just think it’s, I love that analogy. Because there’s like, nobody wants to be there. So it’s so invaluable. Yeah, you know, a weed is so invaluable and we want to put our time and our effort into things that are meaningful. And I’m sitting outside of looking outside right now as we do this podcast, and I’ve got these beautiful old oak trees in our yard. And then I’m constantly picking these weeds and getting rid of them. And one time, I wanted to reconfigure my house, and I called you know, the city, and they were like, you can’t touch that tree dude. Like, I will, I will throw you in jail. So not only do we become strong, but we become cherished and treasured and valuable. The older and stronger and slower we can kind of lean into something. You know, and, and that’s like, that’s something worth focusing on. That’s like, I would much rather be cherished and valuable.

Mike Mage 18:16
Totally. Yeah. And strong and wise, and all this stuff that comes along with it.

Justin Price 18:21
When I think about an oak tree, I think about Mike Mage. That’s what I that’s what I’m aiming towards. I’m trying to just focus on the passion God’s given me but that’s what I’m aiming towards. But I know you know, for you, you knew Sean, this wasn’t as alarming of a conversation. You weren’t as surprised as I was, although you were happy with it. But what was, you know, Mike, for you was the thing that stood out this this year?

Mike Mage 18:47
We had some honestly, when I look because when we were talking about this, I looked back at like the first you know, 28 episodes, wherever we’ve done is like, Oh my gosh, we have had some incredible people on. You know, I was thinking about the Nick Goodner one who’s the,

Justin Price 19:05
Just just crushed it.

Mike Mage 19:07
Yeah. You know, think about him. We are obviously already talked about Steven Brewster who is really good. And even, you know, this past one with Chris and Mary Kuti. Like I that was fresh in my brain and my heart, but like that was a you know, and we said it and the intro, the outro whatever. But like some of the best conversation we’ve had over the past year, are the ones that just sort of like, spin off into something we weren’t even expecting.

Justin Price 19:32
Absolutely! Katie Allred.

Mike Mage 19:34
Katie Allred! Oh, yeah!

Justin Price 19:36
We thought we were gonna be talking about communications. She just could not let off the Gospel.

Mike Mage 19:41
Yeah. It’s like, come on, Katie. Didn’t you know that we were here to talk about that?

Justin Price 19:48
Yes, so stinking good.

Mike Mage 19:50
Yeah. And so like, you know, I feel incredibly blessed honestly, to have these just, you know, be able to spend an hour with these people that most people don’t get that chance of that opportunity. And I’m incredibly grateful for that. But the one that really stuck out to me, Justin was one that I was extremely nervous for. One that I actually did, because I, we did this, we did this over at Google, Google meet or whatever this interview I was actually very nervous for. And what I had to do was I had to drive over to Lakeland to close a real estate transaction with a client that I have. And but I had to leave early because we were doing this interview in the morning. So drive over to Lakeland find, like, make sure my computer was all charged up, find just this random parking lot, pull over in the parking lot, set up my computer audio interface, have my phone on like the dashboard of my car. And we did the whole interview with Todd Henry, who is this incredible author, speaker, just thought leader podcaster I mean, you name it like this guy is like a master in like the creative management creative world. That’s why I did the podcast with you, me, Jason and Todd Henry, who Yeah, who went out to go speak at like, you know, Global Leadership Summit and like, just completely blow everyone away. But I had just read the book “Herding Tigers.” Herding, not hurting tigers.

Justin Price 20:07
That’s was Carole Baskin.

Mike Mage 21:25
Yeah. Yes. Yeah, totally different book. And you know what, when we did that interview, I, if I were to make that joke about Carole Baskin, it wouldn’t have made any sense because we didn’t know who she was. Yeah, exactly. Long before Tiger King came out. But yeah, “Herding Tigers” which is all about managing creatives, which was, which I read, right, as soon as I became like, worship director and had staff under me, and you know, is already managing volunteers. But when you’re able to manage staff, it’s a totally different ballgame. And so, Todd, and Todd Henry in “Herding Tigers” he talks a lot about that transition from maker to manager. And it is, it has impacted me in a lot of what I do now. But even just hearing him talk and hearing it just like flow out of him. You know, it’s just, it’s such a hard thing to grasp, you know, when you go from maker to manager, and so many times, we don’t even so many times, we don’t even think about, you know, that switch, but then even when we’re trying to make that switch, if even if there’s some self awareness attached to it, knowing that, oh, you know, what, I maybe can’t do the same thing I was doing, as soon as I get, you know, some sort of staff, some sort of, you know, I start to build sort of that culture, you know, we slip up so much, and don’t have a good roadmap in what it looks like to be to go from maker to manager, and he just, he lays it out so well. And, you know, it doesn’t sound like the sexiest of topics, especially, you know, when you’re talking about creative work, and all that kind of stuff, but it is the key to unlocking a very healthy culture. And not just that a healthy, like almost multiplying culture, because it’s going to be something that people actually want to be around. So, I, he said that another thing he said to and I feel like, you know, for those of you listening, here, obviously, you’re involved in some sort of church, I would imagine. But he started talking a lot about how if you work at a church, you know, there’s a lot of phrasing around like family, and like, this is a family culture and all that kind of stuff. And he he does a really good job at, at helping you understand that, like, Listen, you know, we can’t fire family. And like, you know, and I think he says, like, if my son doesn’t take out the garbage or something, like I can’t come in, and I, you know, put him on a performance improvement plan. And then, you know, if he doesn’t do it again, I get to fire him or whatever, like, that doesn’t happen. And, you know, I think that that’s really good for us to understand that, like, it’s a it’s a privilege for people to work for and with the church. And just because there’s so many, there’s an emotional tie, there’s a mental tie, and a spiritual tie, that sort of binds all this stuff together. It doesn’t mean that you are sort of, you know, you get to escape a lot of like, the maybe natural consequences that happen if you’re not doing your job well. So, you know, I just, he was able to, like give a lot of freedom and permission and how to lead a team specifically of creatives, which I don’t feel like a lot of people do. So that’s one that just really just sticks out in my brain a lot. And I still think a lot about what he says, you know, even from like a week to week basis.

Justin Price 21:30
Yeah, there’s there’s so much unpacking I think for Todd Henry’s challenge, you know, there’s, it’s like; That’s it’s not something that you can just do overnight. So I love that you said it’s something that you’re still kind of referencing. Yeah. Because it’s something that takes time to think to fully change the way you think. You know, it’s a fully key, it’s like, whoa, wait, am I taking over again? My, my doing that? And it’s, it’s also hard because there’s some times where it’s like, we need to do things. We need to do things, not just, and not just manage them. And but are we doing them because we need to do them? Like, because we need to have control because we, from a non healthy standpoint, or is it because, you know, we were hired on staff to get this done, and there was not a volunteer to do it. And we’re, we’re gonna work on getting a volunteer to do it. But right now, we got to do it.

Mike Mage 25:50
Right. Yeah, and it’s, you know, it’s such an interesting, and obviously, you know, this being, you know, sort of the director, boss, founder of Vers Creative, but I, you know, how you manage somebody is truly, like, how you manage a team really affects everything, and it’s, you know, it would be so easy for you, Justin, someone who’s well versed in video in sound production, and, you know, design, all that kind of stuff for you to just start hopping into these different areas and just taking over for people. But, like, that’s not the healthiest way to grow your system. And, you know, it’s obviously you need to coach and there’s a lot of things you probably need to oversee. But a lot of the times, you know, like the win is going to be in having these other people take up these these super important things, to learn them to grow in them, so that you as an organization can get better. And, you know, I just a lot of people, like take home bad managing too. You know, like, I hear it in the church world all the time, you know, people who, you know, have to deal with bad managers, or bad leaders, and they can’t just check that stuff at the door, they can’t just, you know, like, it’s you don’t just come to a nine to a nine to five at church like it is it is fully a part of who you are. And, you know, someone who is poorly managing can really do some damage, to, you know, a lot of different aspects of your life, outside of it just being a professional thing. So, I know, Justin, I know, you have never experienced that before, sort of a bad leadership environment at a church. No one has, you know, that’s just that’s just a hypothetical situation.

Justin Price 27:33
There is a great book about that, though, and it’s called Hurting Tigers.

Mike Mage 27:36
Hurting, yes. Hurting

Justin Price 27:38
Hurting tigers. And it’s all about a bad leader.

Mike Mage 27:42
Yeah, exactly.

Justin Price 27:42
At a church and all these creative tigers that he’s hurting.

Mike Mage 27:47
How you damage the wild animal inside of you. Yeah.

Justin Price 27:51
I’m gonna throw something out here just to just to toss it out, Mike. But I had a really cool conversation the other day, with a church, there’s a church with a large budget, okay. And they’re going- we feel like we’re losing relevance. Like we see some other big churches really attracting talent, and they’re doing cool stuff. Bethel is doing some really cool stuff with their university there. They’ve got a lot of different things happening that are developmental, that are really cool. Life Church, really, really killed it with the Bible app, they really have done some amazing things with resourcing churches. Obviously, they’ve got a couple campuses as well. Craig’s done a really great job with Life Church. Again, so when we talk to the some of these other it’s funny to even, you know, talking to churches that have, you know, 15, 25,000 members, and they still are, like, you know, not they have different problems. They’re still trying to figure out, but it’s all the same kind of, it’s still people. It’s still just people. And sometimes they have a really obnoxious problems that are because of their size. And so anyways, they want to be competitive, they want to attract the best people and and so they’re going like, what do we need? What equipment do we need? What facility? How can we build something that will make people come really like Field of Dreams? So you know, like, if we build it, they’ll come? Sure. Yeah. And we need to attract those people. And I was sitting there thinking through like, Okay, well, would it be a studio? Would it be creative? I mean, this was like a real legitimate conversation and there’s nothing wrong with this, by the way, I’m not calling them out. I don’t want to say I’m not throwing anyone under the bus. But I was sitting there thinking like, you know, very much down that same path of like, well, what would attract me. The first thing to attract the very best people would be to have incredibly clear vision so that people could be know that they were joining a part of something bigger. And so you know, when I think about like going from maker to managers not really like how what you can make what you can actually accomplish, Mike, how well you can sing, but it’s really how well you can cast the vision for where if somebody else joins in on your team, they can be a part of taking. You know, that’s what really great people want to have that opportunity to be a part of really great vision. So I thought, Well, okay, well, the church does have great vision, the pastor’s phenomenal vision for the church is really healthy. It’s really, really great. And most times, we just say, Okay, so what do we want to buy? Like, what do we want to spend all this money on? And I was like, you know, though, I remember working for a tech startup. And it was it we had the coolest office space I’ve ever seen. We had a 360 degree view, in a South tip of Pinellas County and St. Pete downtown. So we were on in like the really, really cool downtown area. But what I would way rather be in downtown St. Pete than downtown Tampa. And for those of you who are not not familiar with Tampa, St. Pete is like this tip Peninsula, that’s got the bay on one side and the Gulf on the other side and a pass on to the south. In this building, you could get the office space, how we had the whole top we had the whole floor, one floor below the penthouse floor. And so this high rise 31 floors up, we could see the, all the way like every beach in the area in Tampa, we could see every part of the city we could see you know, forever. And we had balconies like we had, it was just such a cool like, wow factor kind of a space. You could see it from even a couple miles away when you’re driving in on the highway. I was it was the tallest building in town at the time. They’ve since they’ve since then they’ve built a couple more that are bigger, but that was the tallest building. And I can remember distinctly when the culture got bad, when there was really some hurting tigers. When when things got really bad, stressful, pressure as a tech startup, you know, finances whatever the the thing was that was causing the leadership to make bad decisions. I remember getting physically ill when I saw the building. And this thing that was a beacon of like, look at how cool we are looking how great we are. Just remember, and I’m not saying there were bad people or was a bad company altogether. But there was some time there was a couple of times where it was just like the culture wasn’t where, where it should be. And I remember just physically getting ill. And the point of the story is just to say that I really don’t think that there’s anything that could overcome this, this culture and how we lead and give vision and treat people. And when you look at like the best work in the world, and you look at the best teams in the world. The one thing that’s in common is the culture. The thing that almost none of them actually have is the resources. They’ve done really cool things with very small amounts of money. And the money and the resources is never the thing. And so if you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking-Man, that’s cool for Todd, Passion City, and Sean and all these you know, names or whatever, and, but you’re still seeing yourself like in this small church and maybe see tons of problems and so much opportunity in front of you. I would really encourage you to say, Man, you can actually create the best thing in the world right where you’re at. And lean into that. Get excited about that. And that to me, Mike, that’s, you know, so freeing. It’s so exciting and so freeing.

Mike Mage 33:38
Absolutely, man, all really good stuff, dude. Well, hey, Justin, what, uh, as we sort of finish up here, this like, best of review podcast, what, what was your idea for Season 2? I’m like very excited to hear.

Justin Price 33:52
So for Season 2! Oh, my goodness, we’re here!

Mike Mage 33:54
I’m very excited to hear this.

Justin Price 33:56
Okay. All right. So for Season 2, Mike, you know, when we started this, we said, we said that healthy church culture, it really isn’t a product, it really isn’t a thing. You know, we could write a book or whatever. And that’s not really going to be the thing. But we’re really just think it, it really comes down to people, it really comes down to how we treat people what’s going on the human condition, but there is a result from healthy cultures, which is…

Mike Mage 34:25

Justin Price 34:26
Growth. Really? Well, I mean, I guess it would be more people.

Mike Mage 34:42
See, I’m not totally wrong. I wanted to repeat what you said. Yes, it’s growth, cuz that’s what we’re here for.

Justin Price 34:50
Right. And so, you know, ultimately, we were sitting down, we’re like, we want churches to grow, we just want them to grow in a healthy way. And so so much of our conversation has been focused around-How do you make something healthy inside so it can produce great fruit that attracts more people? How do you produce something healthy in your culture, so that when people touch it, when they volunteer, when they’re a part of it, the staff, they’re attractive, you know, because they’re healthy. And you’re going to attract more people you’re going to bring in more people and your church will grow. This is a very organic growth. It’s a really strong growth. But one of the things we’ve never talked about on this podcast, and when I say this out loud Mike, it kind of is embarrassing. Okay, feel like it was like super obvious. And in front of us this time.

Mike Mage 35:38
Let’s do it.

Justin Price 35:40
So I was thinking, what if we spend the first chunk maybe even the first like five or six episodes talking about this thing. You ready? What’s the thing?

Mike Mage 35:52

Justin Price 35:57
So if Season 1 we were all talking about, like getting it internally healthy for internal healthy growth.

Mike Mage 36:03
Oh, I know where this is going. I got it!

Justin Price 36:04
We probably went, we probably are starting to see some growth. We’re probably seeing if you’ve been listening, if you’ve been making listening to any of the super smart people, not not Mike and I but the other people, you’ve been applying this stuff week by week or whatever, you’re probably starting to see some growth. And we’ve never addressed what do you do with the visitor? Literally, like the most monumental part of the church growing is whether or not somebody isn’t about how many people you get in your door. It’s about how many people you get to stay.

Mike Mage 36:25
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s funny too like, so much of church resources right now, especially, are very internalized. And even in just like you said, even this podcast, to a certain degree has been very internalized, internally focused. Yeah, turning our gaze outwards, what does externally focused look like- and it’s on those new people, it’s on the guests. It’s on that user experience that get how does, how does that person your next door neighbor, you and you get them to church, somehow, by the grace of God, you get them to church. How are they going to feel? How are they going to know that this is a safe, good, you know, a place where they’re supposed to belong?

Justin Price 37:19
Yeah. I was, I was online. And I was thinking a lot about how in this last year, we’ve moved so much to online. And so I thought, you know, as a test here, as I was kind of processing and had this little bit of an aha moment, I went on, and I applied at like, a lot of the bigger churches, and I clicked on what I didn’t apply it for a job, I went on to their website, and I said, Hey, I would like to schedule a visit, like, I would like to come to your church. I would like to be a first time guest. Some people call it a VIP experience. And some people call it the first time guests and some people said, I’m new. And so I went through, I clicked on all of those tabs. And you know what, I did not find one church that actually met me where I was at, I didn’t find one church that held my hand through it. And although I filled out a lot of forms, they never told me what was gonna happen after the form is filled out, what to expect from that, and what and what the experience could be like. Now, there was some churches who did a good job of like walking me through their campus. You know, there was like a video that said, Hey, here’s our campus, Cedar Creek, actually, they had really nice videos with like a tour guide, kind of like walking you through. And so you could see, like, here’s the kids check in, and this is what you’re gonna have to do. I think that’s like, kind of a one on one thing, if you haven’t done that, you’re definitely gonna need to do that. But yeah, but even at Cedar Creek, when I said, I’m a visitor, and I want to, I just fill out a form. And there’s no real thought process beyond that. And there’s no real technology between that and me showing up and then actually signing into your Planning Center or Fellowship One, or whatever. So I’m staying connected from the time somebody first engages with your church as a new person on your website all the way through, keeping them coming back, and coming back and coming back. I would love for us to spend the next handful of episodes, Season 2, we’ll come back, we’ll talk all about guest experience. Well, maybe we can get a user experience specialist, we could bring in somebody who, who is highly experienced in user experience from a digital perspective. We could talk to a guest assimilations person from a church. We can talk we could even be secret shoppers. Like we could actually like, you know, go to a church and like, walk through that and just have fresh eyes at a church so I wouldn’t even commit to doing that. So whatever you think we should do for Season 2, Mike, that’s kind of what I’m, I’m proposing we kick it off. So

Mike Mage 39:48
That sounds great.

Justin Price 39:48
Everybody out there. We’ll take a little break here for a couple months. We’ll kind of get things cleaned up, Mike and I will also throw out some content along the way. As things are coming, we’ll keep feeding the beast.

Mike Mage 40:02
Well, and that’s and that’s something that, you know, as we close up here, Justin, that’s, that’s something I want to remind everybody. Just because we might be taking a soft break here, in between seasons, it does not mean we’re going anywhere. We still want to connect with you on our socials. So @healthychurchgrowth on the Instagrams, and you can find our Facebook page as well. But also, you know, stay stay plugged in with us. Stay tuned with us at on the website, there’s going to be more content up there. You can find all the show notes, all that kind of stuff there as well. You know, you can find Justin and I through our Healthy Church Growth Instagrams as well. And, you know, just you can find us there, and we would love to continue our conversation with you, especially, you know, when it comes to user guest experience, as we sort of open up Season 2. Justin it might be cool to collect, you know, some stories of some really good stuff, some really bad stuff, just from other people as well. Not just kind of what you or I are experiencing, as we sort of, you know, dive into this area as well.

Justin Price 41:03
I’ll send a $20 gift card to anybody who can who can give me the worst guest experience. $20 Starbucks gift card for the worst guest experience they’ve had.

Mike Mage 41:13
I’m sure I could, I could think of something.

Justin Price 41:16
I just want to hear terrible guest experience stories.

Mike Mage 41:19
Well, if anything, it’s just really entertaining. It’ll just, it’ll make me feel good. Because it’s like, well, yeah, that is really bad. Yeah. So.

Justin Price 41:35
Also if you know of any tools, or anything that has worked really well, maybe just because we have looked or I have looked doesn’t mean that I have seen everything. So it may be you know about some really great tools. Some really great processes or system, maybe there’s a book out there, maybe there’s somebody who’s already done a great job. But what I’ve seen some people talk about it from an assimilation standpoint. So how do you get a visitor to become a member? And I don’t think that is an unhealthy thing to talk about. I think that’s actually a really important part of it. But it feels like there still is a chasm from like, we we run things on Facebook, and then we hope that people will just magically show up and have a great experience at our church.

Mike Mage 42:18
Well, and now you’re talking about a digital world, too. How do people, if people experienced churches in a digital world, so much different than in a physical world, those two things are playing into each other so like, in a crazy way, right now, that there is a lot of murky area between, you know, bringing someone through your funnel, you know, whatever that funnel is, and connecting people in a very specific way, there’s a lot of unknowns about it. And so I’m very excited to dive into this. Because this is, this is an area that churches are grappling with, as we speak, and so I can’t wait to get those conversations going. And, yeah, for this time to really like, you know, dive into this personally, and then have you and I meet up, and then you know, we get to hear all these stories and talk about some of this as well.

Justin Price 43:07
So the truth is, Mike, though, you know, people are missing out on opportunities to grow by not paying attention to this, you know, and so we’re gonna work on our children’s ministry, we’ll work on our programming, our Sunday, you know, our as everyone’s already working on Easter programming in January, but this thing that’s so important is actually causing a huge loss with with marketing terms. And this isn’t going to be a marketing conversation, but with marketing terms, we have basically, exposure and conversion like so you. It’s media, it’s getting it out there. And then it’s like converting that into somebody becoming a member. There’s a no connection right now to what you’re doing with your what I can see most churches are doing with their exposure, and then actually turning that into a really intentional path there for especially going from online to in person or online to committed online attender.

Mike Mage 44:07
Yeah. So all really, really good stuff. This is incredible. And hey, thank you so much for joining us here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast, not just for this episode. But being a part of this audience being a part of this community, throughout this whole past year. It’s been, it’s been incredibly cool to be able to hear from you to be able to, you know, connect with you. And we look forward to continue doing this for as long as we can. And it’s a it’s just, it’s a super cool thing. So, thank you so much for joining us. Here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 29 – Barb Roose

Race, Grace, and the Gospel – The Church’s Role in Addressing Racism

Racism was not just a 2020 issue. While the year forced us to self-reflect and have challenging conversations, racism has been an issue for centuries. 

Hosts Mike Mage and Justin Price  chat with author, speaker, and Bible teacher, Barb Roose, about how we, as the church, can become the champion of talking about tough topics. We dive into what Scripture says about racism, how to approach uncomfortable conversations with humility, and so much more. Relevant, eye-opening, and full of grace – this podcast is one that will move your culture forward to look more like the church God desires. 

On Instagram: @barbroose@Mikemage,  @techjustinrp,  @vers_creative


Mike Mage 0:00
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. Man, are we ecstatic that you are, that you are joining us here today! So this is a podcast that I have been excited about for a very, very long time. And it’s one that I think that you really you’re gonna have to strap in put on your seatbelt. You know, get ready to go for a ride because this was a very fun podcast. Justin, what do you think about the podcast we got coming up today? I’m one of your hosts, Mike Mage here for the Healthy Church Growth podcast. Joining me today is my co host, Justin Price. Justin, what do you think about this podcast we got coming up?

Justin Price 0:49
This is a phenomenal podcast. This, if for our longtime listeners, you may remember we had Jason Smithers on the podcast a long time ago. He’s the Director of Operations at Vers Creative, at our creative agency who produces the podcast, and he was like, Justin, Mike, you have got to get Barb on the podcast. In fact, we didn’t schedule her right away when he first suggested it and he came back. What do you guys doing? Why are you sleeping on Barb? And and it was a really it was honestly a scheduling skip, and what an incredible position she has. So Barb is a church leader of a very large church, she has experience at a very large church. And she is a woman which makes her have a unique perspective as as a church leader at a large church. And she is a woman of color, which gives her even more unique perspective. And so I think for Mike and I, this was really a little bit of a 101 class and talking about some of the expertise that she is really great at breaking down. I said, you know, man, she, she really needs to have her own, you know, radio show or TV show just kind of addressing difficult topics, because she does it with grace. She has a lot of really great tools. You’re going to get a lot out of this podcast, I cannot wait for you to listen to this interview with Barb Roose.

Mike Mage 2:22
Barb, how are you doing today?

Barb Roose 2:24
I am great. It has been fun just doing a little backstage chat with you gentlemen.

Mike Mage 2:30
So that obviously people are not going to be able to see this. But I would love for you to it’s it’s fun doing these Zoom interviews with people because you get to see stuff in the background. You know, you get to see a little window into people’s lives. I would love you just you sort of explained a little bit to us about your background. I’d love to give our audience a little bit of you know, background on the background you have for your what you got going on there.

Barb Roose 2:55
The background of the background.

Mike Mage 2:56
Well that’s right.

Barb Roose 2:58
About the pandemic is that we’ve always wanted to see how other people live and now we’ve seen people’s bathrooms, we have seen closets. So back here I’ve got my girl Betty behind me. When the pandemic happened and I realized that I was gonna live behind the Zoom screen I needed a ride or die. I did! I needed a ride or die. And so Hobby Lobby was where I found Betty at before they closed and so she is my ride or die. I change her clothes.

Mike Mage 3:32
That’s so funny.

Barb Roose 3:33
She doesn’t talk, but she looks good. So it’s just a mannequin behind me just to add a little bit of extra life since we need to keep things creative these days when we’re connecting online.

Mike Mage 3:46
Exactly. No, it’s it’s incredibly, we did a we did a podcast with someone else a little bit ago. And they had just like a trashcan behind them. And they couldn’t, they couldn’t figure out where to put a trash can. It’s just it’s funny. It’s it to get a little window into how people are living and yeah, just like, what people are actually like, you know, we’re getting a lot more vulnerability from people. So it’s incredible.

Barb Roose 4:09
Yes. And a lot more trips to Home Depot.

Mike Mage 4:13
Exactly. Yeah, we’re gonna stay at home, we might as well. You know, fix our faucets, we might as well you know, get the flooring done whatever we need to do. So

Barb Roose 4:21
Oh, people were like, we have to do a Zoom screen. Therefore we have to renovate the bathroom.

Mike Mage 4:28
Those two correlate real well, I can see how those two come together. So well. Well, Barb, we were just we were just talking a little bit before here. And obviously you’re you’re a speaker, you’re an author, you’re a content creator. And it’s it this is this is really cool. I mean, you’re doing so much but before we sort of hop into all that stuff I would love if you sort of give us a little bit of background on to who you are how you sort of got to the this moment of being an author and a speaker, content creator, all that kind of stuff. And obviously, you know, we, Jason Smithers, who is partners with us on this podcast who’s been on this podcast and obviously Justin works with him pretty closely. He obviously knows you and you guys met at church. We’d love to hear more about that as well.

Justin Price 5:13
Any anything you can say, background on Jason?

Mike Mage 5:16
Yeah, embarrassing. Yeah, totally.

Justin Price 5:18
Anything embarrassing.

Barb Roose 5:19
Actually. So my favorite Jason story, this happened literally seven lifetimes ago, I don’t even know he just had kids. So Jason and I worked together at our local church. And Jason was one of the most amazing guitar players and that one particular weekend, I was on for announcements. And, you know, I was minding my own business, just putting one foot in front of the other. And somehow, someway, as I was walking off the stage, I tripped. And I unhooked every cable from his board as he was starting worship. Literally, as soon as I said, like, finished Amen, or something like that. He was supposed to do his thing. And I undid all the cables, all of them. And to his credit, he did not curse. He did not curse. He might have given me some side-eye. But did you know that he can plug cords back into a board in record time?

Mike Mage 6:24
We found that out quickly.

Barb Roose 6:27
So we served on staff at Cedar Creek Church for many, many years together. I began attending the church back in 1996. And I went on staff there in 2002. And it was almost 14 years later. And just love the opportunity to serve and to help people who are far from God, come to know Christ. I spent most of my years in spiritual growth and development we call the spiritual formation back then, because we thought that sounded fancy. But the beauty of it all was that it was a life giving church and we had to grow up and learn a lot together. And that was that it made it fun and scary. And, and yet, we had some great leaders that taught us how to lead well.

Mike Mage 7:14
Yeah. Well, I was at Cedar Creek, for those of you that are listening, and don’t, I mean, it’s a fairly large church in north in northwest Ohio. Correct.

Justin Price 7:25
It’s a fairly large church anywhere in the US. It is located in northwest Ohio.

Mike Mage 7:31
Yes. But and one of the reasons you know, I mentioned that is because obviously, I think, obviously not the numbers mean, everything, but I do look at Cedar Creek, and I see a lot of the things that they’re doing. And it feels like a very healthy church. It feels like a very healthy spot. And, you know, even set we were talking about how you still attend, you still serve there, even though you’re not on staff there. And what a gift that that is, I I would love to if I were to ever leave my church, leave staff to be able to say like, yeah, it’s still a place I really want to go back to. And so obviously, obviously, you you know, at being at the strategic level, sort of the executive letter level at that church, were able to sort of implement implement some things to create healthy culture around. What were some of the strategies that you were able to see, or maybe some things that you learned about, you know, healthy culture when you were on staff there?

Barb Roose 8:22
Well, there’s a lot of ways to answer this question. And whenever, these days when I am out, I love talking with church leaders about the fact that I was able to stay at my church because that’s a precious gift. Um, I tell the joke, I call it “staff rapture.” “Staff rapture” is where Bob is working there on Friday. And on Monday, everybody’s like, Where’s Bob? And they’re like we don’t know. Staff rapture. I mean, we know that’s a thing and it happens for a variety of reasons. If I had to think about what healthy church culture looks like, and what we did there, clearly the answer is we were humans. And so humans don’t always naturally move toward healthy. So the very first thing I’m going to say if I had to drill it down to three things, because that’s what teaching pastors like to do.

Mike Mage 9:18
We like it too. Yep, absolutely.

Barb Roose 9:20
So the very first is-I’m willing to fight for it. Like that was that was the biggest thing. We had, we literally had to fight for it. We had to in the places when things would go sideways. When we would look at each other and we would want to peace out on each other. We had to fight for it. The second was that we all had to agree on the mission, because sometimes that was the only thing that we could agree on. When we agreed on the mission and back in the early part of the days, it was that we would help spiritually restless and unchurched people learn to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ. That might have been like, that was one of the mission statements. The fact that I still remember it, that’s because that was a unifying vision for us all. And that’s what kept us in the game with each other when we didn’t agree. And there were lots and lots of times we didn’t agree. Whoa, I remember one day, I was walking around the parking lot in my socks, asking God about the meeting. And I’m not kidding. And then the third thing was that we committed to learn together. Our senior, our founding Senior Pastor, Lee Powel, he made it a priority to make sure that we as leaders, were surrounded with great leaders to learn from, and then we also prioritize learning together. So we were always reading together, we were always discussing things together. And so I think those three values- fighting for it, having a unifying mission, and learning together. That didn’t necessarily guarantee health, but what it did was put us in the best position to move toward it.

Mike Mage 11:02
Yeah. I love how your first thing is you had to fight for it. I do. I like almost like before agreeing on mission you have to fight for like, because it’s it dictates that there’s an activeness to it. You know, like there’s you can’t be passive and fight for something you can’t.

Barb Roose 11:21
There were lots of; when it comes to “Strength Finders” and I and I’m sure your audience is familiar with “Strengths Finders,” and so strengths finders is a Gallup thing. And essentially, there are all of these themes. There’s 34 themes of where people excel. And in our particular management team set I’ll never forget, we had a strengths finder consultant. And in our management team, I believe that 14 out of 24 of us had strategic as our top gift. Strategic is the gift that says I know how it should be done. When you have that, and we had virtually there’s a middle set of gifts about relational strength. And and there were a few of the relational strengths that none of us had. Yeah, we had a roomful of people who knew how to get things done. And so the fight for it was, it was very much this challenge of being Christ-like in submission. And in my job, I have been in spiritual formation. I always used to joke that everybody knew how to how to do my job better than me, because everybody Oh, like anybody, anybody from staff listening to it was like, yeah, we heard her say that. Just because we love Jesus, we all have different ways of seeing and growing. And sanctification looks differently for all of us. And as staff and as leaders, we had to navigate that tension. And one of the best blessings for me was when, when our dad, Andy Stanley, said to us, that there are problems that can be solved and tensions that can be managed. And that gave us freedom that there were some situations that we knew that we were never going to see eye to eye and we just learn how to manage the tension instead of the unrealistic expectation that we were ever going to solve the problem.

Mike Mage 13:11
Yeah. That’s so good. I feel like a lot of the times because we work in churches, I don’t know why I’m going down this road, I think is so are you familiar with the enneagram?

Barb Roose 13:22
When I was on staff I was probably an eight. What are you guys?

Mike Mage 13:27
Well, Justin, is a, what are you a seven/eight or an eight/seven? Which one? I can’t remember.

Justin Price 13:33
I’m a seven/eight.

Mike Mage 13:33
Seven/eight. And I’m a nine/eight. So I am like a really messed up. I think this is this probably the reason I’m talking about conflict a little bit because I’m very when it comes to conflict, I want everyone to be cool, but I also kind of want to stir something up. So like.

Barb Roose 13:51
My youngest daughter is a nine/eight, and she’s a team leader at Chick-Fil-A. And she’s real cool until you don’t get stuff done right.

Mike Mage 13:58
Yep. That would, that would be me. Well, and then it gets really weird because I don’t know how to handle conflict. I mean, I’ve learned I have learned very much so but if I if my more immature self I did not understand how to actually handle conflict very well. It’s because I don’t like that that part of me doesn’t actually like that. Where was I going with this? Oh, conflict. I do feel like in the church. When we when we get into conflict, especially you know, when it involves spiritual matters, it feels like we all need to be on the same page and if we’re in conflict, then something is like definitely wrong and like oh my gosh, we can’t handle this. But I think like if you if you’re able to figure it out on you know, the lower level in the organization, by the time you get to like a an executive strategic level, I feel like your whole job, but you don’t you don’t actually get to do one on one ministry with people it was literally you go to that table, and you’re in conflict with people.

Barb Roose 14:56
I used to call my office, Grand Central Station because I would come in at 9am, and I would sit behind my desk for the next 10 hours people would walk in, sit down, walk out, walk in, sit down. And it was just that’s it all day, every day and it’d be two o’clock, I would go, Well, I should probably check my email now. Because you’re right, this there is a certain level of leadership where we are, we are managing tensions, and every now and then there’s a problem that we could resolve. But let’s face it, if we could solve all of our problems in leadership, I don’t necessarily think it would be leadership, because the challenge of leadership is understanding how to make good decisions in difficult circumstances. And when you can solve a problem, you know what, you just, there’s a security there that you can end that, but the tension being able to maintain that and connection, that’s where leadership comes in.

Mike Mage 15:53
Yeah. Super cool.

Justin Price 15:55
I think it’s hard, it is hard for people to get a good grip on the size of there’s very few people who work in ministry who ever get to work in an organization the size of Cedar Creek. And so I don’t know, you know, for those of you out there listening, hang in these principles apply, whether you’re leading a volunteer team, or these are a bunch of staff members. And sometimes these principles are easier to apply to a volunteer team than they are to staff. I think we always get this impression like, Oh, well, they got a big staff. So it’s easy. Oh, they’ve got you know, Oh, she she was a spiritual formation. We don’t even have spiritual formation period, let alone a staff position for it. So we’re just we we have a get through Sunday methodology at our church of three staff members, right.

Barb Roose 16:47
I began attending The Creek when there were 180 people.

Justin Price 16:51
That’s pretty cool.

Barb Roose 16:51
Maybe even 150. So I remember the early days when I was a key volunteer, I was a volunteer and then a key volunteer. And I mean, back in those days, you back when Panera once upon a time when we used to stand next to each other a church, but we used Panera Bread. And Panera would bring us their their leftovers. And we used to put the trash bags at the junior high in the janitor’s closet on the floor for them to mop. And the water under the janitor place, like the things that we when there are just times in ministry where you just got to do what you got to do. And but yet, the same threshold applies. We show up, we love others. We live it out. We do it in Jesus name and what God is doing at churches, that’s why I love being a speaker and an author. Because I love serving at one local church. But now I get to travel the country. Well, now you can look at a Zoom screen, but I love working. I’ve loved working with local churches around the country of all sizes, because God is doing what he is doing there, according to what He wants to get done there.

Mike Mage 18:12
Yeah. It’s super cool. All right, well, hey, let’s let’s, uh, obviously, so right now I’m just on the Zoom call. I’m looking through your website. And it’s just it’s so cool to see everything that you are doing. And, you know, like I said before, you’re an author. You know, you’ve written books, Bible studies, devotions, you speak, you have the Grace Project, what sort of what was sort of like your, your jumping off point from being at Cedar Creek, and then sort of realizing maybe there’s this this other thing for me?

Barb Roose 18:48
That is such a great question, because this actually is a leadership. It’s a leadership story. It was. It was 2014, December 2014. And our founding senior pastor Lee Powell, we had that consultant, the strengthsfinder consultant, he had been working with our staff. And Lee had early onset Parkinson’s, and he had begun thinking about succession. Around that same time I was on I was, I was on the executive team. And I’ve been on the teaching team for many years. And as a female, I was looking around and I was thinking that I had really some extraordinary opportunities for being a woman in the United States in the church environment. And I began to ask myself the question, “Am I taking, am I sitting in a spot that someone else needs to be sitting in?” And that had been a tension that had been growing for me because of where I was at, I was able to, to speak at different events in the church, lead leadership groups and different things and I just realized that I had all these opportunities that I prayed for. But shouldn’t someone else also have these opportunities. So I began to have to think through and go, do I believe that God has more for me? And that was a really scary question. Because off on the side of my personal life, there was a very serious situation that was happening. So in December 2014, we sat sat down with a consultant, me Lee and the consultant and the consultant said over the course of our conversation, he just said, Barb, it’s okay for you to have a holy discontent for more. I didn’t want to be a campus pastor, I didn’t feel God had called me to that. I just didn’t know what would what would happen next. And so a series of things began happening and, and really, ultimately what happened was by that summer, I began fasting and praying every single Wednesday, and I still continue that Wednesday, fast to this day, almost six years now. And I realized that, that it was time for me to go. But the hard part was that our founding pastor, he announced his retirement, there were five of us on the teaching team. So he had announced then there were two other gentlemen that they left to plant a church. And so it would then be just me and the incoming senior leader, Ben, and I didn’t I knew Ben would be teaching most of the time just to transition the church. But it was very hard for me to realize that God was calling me away, knowing that it would basically be just him. But what really, ultimately it came down to was was I willing to surrender and let go of the life I had, and trust that God had more for me, and that he put more in me. And what that also allowed me to do was taking that step of faith as excruciating as it was, I mean, I cried for six weeks every day. Because I had to leave the place that made me who I was. And that leave the security of a corner office, I had to leave the paycheck that looked really good in my bank account. Let’s be real, y’all. When I when I left, at that time, my personal life and my professional life, radically changed. And yet, I understood that God had more for me, even though I had no idea what it looked like, I was willing to let go of the life I had.

Mike Mage 22:38
Boy, that is tough.

Barb Roose 22:40
When I left, at the time, I at the time that my job ended, and when I left, I didn’t have speaking events lined up, I had one book out a book that was coming out that first two weeks, like when that Friday came, and nothing dropped into my bank account. I was like, it’s real y’all. At the same time, at the time, I had been married for 23 years, or 24 years at that point, 23 at that point. And we had had an intervention in our family in November. And my spouse at the time, he had left our family for six months because of an addiction issue. And so when I left my job at that time, he had just left, and I left my job. And so there was like my life had flipped upside down. And I remember so with the blessing of that experience, even though I was sitting in my office that that day going, Oh, god, what happened in my life? because I was willing to let go sooner, I gave my resignation notice in October, I didn’t leave until the end of December. That allowed three months for the change and transition cycle. So I avoided staff rapture. That allowed us to do if anybody follows William Bridge’s “Change and Transition,” we were able to go through the whole the the ending, and then the messy middle and the new beginning. And so I was able to walk through those three stages so that when I walked out of my office on December 31, I was whole and healthy and had a great relationship with my church.

Mike Mage 24:20
Yeah. That’s super Yeah, it’s, um, when when, you know, you get into these positions, and you’re working somewhere, you know, unthreading I view it as like, almost like an unthreading of yourself. And like, it’s painful because you are deeply embedded into the fabric of whatever organization or whatever it is. And it does, it takes it takes a community and a very healthy culture, to be able for someone to leave correctly, to go on to do bigger and better things maybe that you didn’t know at the time. But you know, to take those steps of faith to have those. It’s so it’s super, super cool.

Justin Price 24:57
Yeah, Mike, that was just such a good point. I wish we would we had just talked about leaving, like, how do you leave well, how do you handle losing staff. And, man, it’s just the idea of, especially for a younger church staff member right now, to realize and think, man, don’t think about leaving with two weeks notice, you know, if your church has poured a lot into a lot more than you realize they’ve covered your butt on a lot of mistakes, they have put a lot into you, and you’ve put a lot into them. Let your legacy be best lived on by giving a three month notice not a one week notice or a two week notice. It is just, it is so difficult, and it makes it so hard, it is hard to go through that transition process is a way easier to just be like see ya, you know, send me the check. You’ll miss out on so much of a value that you can leave behind. And it’s so encouraging, I think for just for people to hear that being modeled by you. That’s a great story.

Barb Roose 26:04
Well, thank you. And I’ve worked in other environments. And what I have observed and also in church environment, particularly in church environment, is that, like anything else in life, when fear grips us, we will hold on to things that God may be calling us to let go of. And so when I if I think about people who’ve left were leaving felt a little like church rapture, it was because someone knew that they probably should have left sooner. And they stayed for whatever the factors were obligation, guilt, fear, who knows. But then the leaving became a very disruptive or very emotionally painful event. And I just, I remember just thinking and going, I don’t want there to be an emotional event that forces me out of the door, I need to leave now. And trust if I left two months too early, or three months, that God can fill in that gap. And so I actually love teaching change and transition to organizations. It’s fun I can I call myself the woman that people bring in to to help people quit their jobs.

Mike Mage 27:15
Hey, we all got something, you know, we’re all wired for something. That’s great. Yeah.

Justin Price 27:19
If you’re listening and you would like help, please reach out to Barb. She’ll help you transition to leave your job.

Mike Mage 27:26
Yeah, that’s perfect. But as I’m you know, as we’re going through all of your stuff, you know, the the different stuff you have going on, what’s what’s something that you’ve done, and obviously, you know, there’s a lot here but what’s what’s what’s, what are some things that you’ve done, even recently, of these new ventures, you know, the speaking writing, all that kind of stuff. What are some things that you’ve done that really sort of stick out to you that you’ve seen sort of really help engage church culture, and maybe help it move in more of like a healthy direction?

Barb Roose 27:58
Oh, well, first and foremost, I’m a Bible teacher at heart. So writing Bible studies is near and dear to my heart. Yes, my Bible studies are in a woman’s division, but it is Bible study. So I love the idea of people gathered up around God’s word and having conversations with each other about the life transforming words of Scripture that I love. This summer, I decided that I would curate The Grace Project page on my website. I don’t know if your listeners have picked up on the fact that I’m a black woman. But I’m a black woman. I just thought maybe I’ll clue some people in. Now, people listening going, we have uncomfortable laughter right now.

Mike Mage 28:48
It’s great.

Barb Roose 28:49
The Grace Project was, it was actually a book idea that I had six years ago. And I wanted to just create it, could I do an experiment and experiment with people and have a six week conversation about race without arguing? And so I had a Facebook group about six years, six or seven years ago, about 400 people and it worked. Well, one thing went down in summer 2020, the civil rights movement, I just I was inundated from folks around the country who were like Barb, what do you think? What do you think? And, and honestly, as an African American, I was still somewhat traumatized. It was very hard for me to write about, it was very hard for me to speak about. And I did write some blog posts. But what I decided to do was to curate what I had written and what I had spoken on, and put that on The Grace Project page. When I did that, the whole focus is race, Grace and the Gospel. Because I believe that God knew what he was doing when he allowed us to represent in different colors and cultures. Right, he has something that we’re supposed to figure out. So in The Grace Project page. It’s a curation of topics along the lines of race, grace and the gospel. And it’s been, it’s been cool. Having that resource available, churches send me notes and tell me that it’s on their resource page. And that’s, it’s, uh, that’s really cool.

Justin Price 30:21
If you’re in a church right now, and you’re a leader or a volunteer, what kind of resources does The Grace Project; Can you share just kind of what what do you recommend for somebody for, you know, a young or middle aged white man who has no idea about your perspective, what what are you, where are you pointing somebody who is probably least qualified to be speaking into making improvements?

Barb Roose 30:50
So that’s what The Grace Project page is about is literally a tricycle with training wheels. And in the recent part of my life context is the church that I that I serve at that I go at is it’s still probably about 80%, Caucasian. In my life experience my former husband was Caucasian, I have three got three, three children who are biracial. So there is there is a lens, I’ve seen some things. I have heard stories. Like, you probably shouldn’t say that. So there is a race based bridge that I want to build for people who want to learn more. If someone is going to be a fixed mindset, then I can’t help them. But that page, it is, it’s very, very user friendly. For someone who says there are people who live differently than me because of their skin color. And I want to learn more about them. Then you can go to the page and start there.

Justin Price 31:53
Yeah. Well, I didn’t know if you had a specific starting point. But if you’re listening to this, Barb I, I think the questions for self reflection was one of the resources you had put together. I thought that was a really easy step into the, to the waters just, if you’re going, Hey, I don’t know what to do. I know that I need to do something I know. I have actually, I have a friend who has a lot of grace with me. And she is an old high school friend. She is as white as can be. And she is married to an African man, African American guy who is actually from Scotland. And he has become a great friend of mine. And she even tells me she will correct me all the time on. I don’t know how that happens.

Barb Roose 32:39
I’m in the background mouthing how that happen, but I probably shouldn’t do that.

Justin Price 32:47
I’ll introduce you. You would love Chris. But as my friend, I feel like she tells me out of love a lot of times, even like little micro aggressions that I’ve grown up with, that caused me to do a lot of self reflecting. That obviously, you’re not intentional, but you know, little teeny things. And I feel like every little step that we can take to obviously unintentional to eradicate unintentional things. Is is a help is a step in the right question. And I thought, for me personally, the questions for self reflection, were really good. They’re they’re questions like, how can I show solidarity and support for those experiencing injustice right now? So even just asking yourself, how can you you may not have the answer to that one. Move on to the next one. How can I? How can I equip your kids? I feel like these questions are really, really good. And if you can just answer one or two, if you can come, they will cause you to come up with one or two. I know for me, I took a few really, really good steps out of those questions that I could move right on to so love that Barb. And if you guys are listening to this, and that topic is still something you are still struggling with, which if you’re not still struggling with it, please shoot us a message because I want to know how

Mike Mage 34:07
How to fix it. Yeah.

Justin Price 34:09
To resolve it. So yeah,

Barb Roose 34:11
Yeah. Well, thank you, thank you so much for, uh, for sharing your experience with it. Because that very much is, is the purpose that to be able to equip people to take whatever next steps people are willing to take and do it in such a way where people who want to engage can without feeling like there’s barriers. Keep it simple. Keep it easy.

Mike Mage 34:35
No, it’s great. Well, and we it was back back in June, when all this stuff sort of really came to the to the surface. I feel like in my area, so I live in Tampa. Even so my church like we are I mean we’re probably more than 80% White, I would imagine. And I it’s it’s so strange because I feel like what one problem is I know that there’s a lot of problems surrounding this topic, but for, you know, the typical like, church, white church in like a relatively white area, the things that I felt succumbing to, you know, coming in when the George Floyd’s stuff happened, and, you know, it kind of just felt like it’s Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I felt conflicted and contested by my own apathy towards, you know, equality, and never thinking that like, I, I’ve never been in opposition to equality, like I’m this, that’s something I want, who doesn’t want that, like, That’s weird. But then coming, coming to grips of the fact that, like, I have done so little. And then I look around, and I was like, we have done so little. And feeling convicted about that feeling like, man, we need to do something. And so I know that you obviously having biracial kids, you know, being an executive at a relatively, you know, white church, what are some; So obviously the, you know, the self reflecting questions are really good. But maybe what are some other conversations that you’ve been able to have that have really helped people move this conversation forward? Maybe help, you know, bringing equality about maybe a little easier? What are some things that you have seen, sort of break down those walls?

Barb Roose 36:18
Okay, well, we have all been talking for a while. And so for everybody who’s listening, I’m so glad you’re here for the conversation. I hope by now you know, how much I love the church, and how much I care about people. And so now we’re going to have like a combo, like,

Mike Mage 36:35
let’s do,

Barb Roose 36:36
Let’s do this thing. And so let’s start with first, the biggest thing is being willing to see. There was at the end of October, the night before I had to film, my next DVD project, and I went to Michael’s to pick up something to film the DVD. And that night, my my Honda Pilot, which I have since I’ve since replaced, but and this was just this past October, my Honda Pilot didn’t start. And so there I was in the parking lot at Michaels, it was 7:30 at night, and my hair, I’ve long brown hair was back in a ponytail, I had a hat on a mask. And there were six people who came very close proximity to me, all Caucasian women. And they saw me standing underneath the streetlight next to my Honda Pilot with my hood up, look me in the eyes, and literally ran away from me. And I posted about that on Facebook, not because I wanted to shame anyone, not because I wanted to stir up controversy. But I wanted to create a conversation. And the most the reason why I’m sharing this is because there were 350 or so comments on that post. And there was a large number of comments from people who said, Barb, you saw that wrong. That couldn’t have possibly been the case because you’re black. Now they know me as the woman shows up with her hair combed with some lipstick on it looks somewhat put together. But in that parking lot. I remember. And I had friends who were coming to see about me, I wasn’t stranded. But I remember thinking, Will anybody even crack their window to see how I was doing and and so that night, I was reminded that there are still people who still see someone of color. And if they don’t know a lot of people of color in their world, I’m going to pose a threat. And again, there were people who said, well, Barb women shouldn’t approach women at night. I’m like, but I’m a woman.

Mike Mage 38:45
Right? Yeah.

Barb Roose 38:48
So it was it. What I want to say is, I know that there are lots and lots of opinions that people have about a person of color’s life experience. But when I say be willing to see, is to be willing to listen to someone’s life experience that looks and sounds differently than yours, and not make excuses to offset their life experience. To not try to mitigate it, rationalize it, try to put your life experience on top of it or explain it with data or details. That someone’s life experience is their life experience. And it’s an iceberg. What they’re telling you is just the top of what’s happened to them. So that’s really the biggest thing. And so for anybody who’s listening and that ruffled and riled you up, good. The second thing is and I say that with all of Jesus’s love, because I know that that is a radically different way of looking at the world. Um, the second thing is to, to just get to know people. There are folks who say, you know what, we decided to make decisions that we were going to put our kids in, we are going to join life groups with people of color. We were going to join volunteer groups, we were going to do Bible study groups, where there are people in the majority who intentionally when they had to make a choice about something decided to make a choice to to include diversity, where they go, Hey, we want to go out to eat tonight, let’s go ahead and we’re going to eat it, we’re going to eat a black restaurant, we’ve never been there before. Or we’re going to join a group that is diverse. And so taking that extra step of saying, what is it that I’m going to normally do? And is this a valuable experience for me to do it in a way with people who looked different than me? So those are the two big things that I would, I would say, and I think the last thing would be that, um, that there is grace, if you have humility.If you’re learning when people come to me, and they aren’t exactly sure how to say what they want to say, if it’s humble, you can say anything you want to. My favorite story of all is at my dad’s funeral back in 2017. My dad, he would have been the best small group leader anywhere. He didn’t have a small group. But there were people lined up around the street for a man who was a laborer who had a high school diploma, he just loved everyone. And this man walked up to me that night, and he said, Barb, I need you to know that your dad is the reason why I’m not a racist anymore. And I was like, excuse me. And my dad worked with this gentleman for over 20 years and the environment that my dad worked in, there were some time signs in these modern times, kkk signs on the front door. There were racial slurs that my dad put up with many, many things that he should that were really undermined his dignity at his workplace. And the man told me the story about how he used to use the N word around my dad all the time. And he’s just said, Barb, your dad, he didn’t get angry with me. He didn’t punch me out. My dad was a six foot one man who went to the gym until just a couple months before he died. He was a big dude. And that man, my dad was able to patiently with grace. He didn’t get walked on. But he would he just walked with that man. And the man said, I’m not a racist anymore, because your dad. And I think that some of us who are people of color, if someone wants to learn, there’s very, very rarely a wrong thing that somebody can say with to us if they if they are humble, and they want to learn.

Mike Mage 42:32
Yeah. Well, that’s a cool story.

Barb Roose 42:39
Yeah, sorry about the fire hose. Like I literally just opened up and just hit it.

Mike Mage 42:43
No, I, yeah, no, I think it’s really this is honestly to be, to be 100% honest with you, this is one of the few conversations I’ve ever had, like, very candidly with people, somebody about, you know, racism and all that kind of stuff. Not because not really because of my choice, but also because of my choice. Like, I just, it’s not something that especially up until last year, you know, like I just really didn’t want to talk about and who does, you know, I and again, like, I don’t view myself as is someone who has prejudices or whatever, but it’s, you know, it’s built within this the culture that I have built around myself. And, you know, like, I, I don’t want that to be the case anymore. And likewise, you know, Justin, and I like, we don’t want that to be the case for Healthy Church Growth, either. Like, these are things that are that we’re facing all together as a society and have been facing for not just hundreds, but 1000s of years. This is a problem that has withstood the test of time. Unfortunately, and, you know, I have you seen in your conversations that when you’re talking with people, people seem to get overwhelmed by it all, because I know for me, that that can tend to happen is like Good gracious. Like, I don’t know how to tackle this outside of, you know, like, really small things. Like your dad and that guy, you know, like it takes relationship over a long period of time. Like, gosh, this this problem just seems overwhelming. Have you come across that?

Barb Roose 44:15
Yes, I’m overwhelmed. I mean, ask any person of color who lives in America, they’re overwhelmed. We would, gentlemen, there is still a community that is adjacent to the city that I live in that to this day. I am a speaker, author, literary agent, taxpaying citizen, and I still have to drive with my hands at 10 and two and know where my driver’s license is at. Because in that community people who look like me, we have to be extra careful. So when we talk about being overwhelmed every person of color that you know is exhausted by having to figure out if America is safe for them. It’s exhausting. And it’s exhausting when there are folks who insist that that is not our lived experience, like, oh, it can’t be that bad. Really? And how do you know? So for those who do feel like it just because it’s new, it feels like it’s a little bit too much. Um, it’s like anything else that’s worthwhile in life. There are all kinds of skill sets that we have to figure out when you buy a house for the first time, it’s a little overwhelming. Guess what. When you start a new job, it’s a little overwhelming. Guess what. You figure it out.

Mike Mage 45:37

Barb Roose 45:38
Whether or not people want to figure it out, and I’m encouraged because there there is a groundswell in America of people who are willing to, but if I’m being honest, as a woman who loves God’s church, the church is very much struggling. There are there there is a segment of the church that is dragging their feet on this, because race feels like a social issue. But when we open up the pages of Scripture, God does a pretty good job of giving characteristics of skin color. He didn’t do that by accident and so racism, it’s not a it’s not a social issue. God created us. This is a human issue. It’s a spiritual issue.

Mike Mage 46:24
Totally. Well, let’s

Justin Price 46:26
Can I cut you off, Mike? I just think that Barb the I think you could be more aggressive than that, not just to say that you’re overwhelmed. I think you could tell Mike to suck it up.

Mike Mage 46:39
That’s fine. I would love for you to do that.

Justin Price 46:42
I’m sitting here, and I’m listening. And I, I have no clue. Right? And I can admit that I have no clue. But Mike, I feel like for the last nine months, I’ve been making an effort to get a clue. And it’s not that hard. It really is not that hard to be intentional. You know, I mean, for us, so I think I would say Mike, the challenge for me, and I’m not I don’t think that I’ve like got it figured out. I’m still I still got a long ways to go. But all I’m saying is it sucks. I think the situation in the position sucks, but the groundswell is, is is a sign of hope, that there is a change. And there’s been a lot of good change. And we did just, we do have a black female vice president. And I’m not saying that’s a solving that’s fixing the world. But sure that, you know, that’s a change. It’s something that is changing. And this isn’t a political show, and I won’t go into any of that. But we are talking about black to a black woman about this issue. I don’t mind saying that. But my point is, is that while it is overwhelming to think about the disparity in where we as Christians have from where we’re supposed to go, I mean, because there’s no one in the I have not read a translation yet in the Bible that says that only white people were made in God’s image.

Mike Mage 48:10
It’s not there, just and that’s why.

Justin Price 48:13
Okay, good.

Mike Mage 48:13
That’s why it’s not there.

Barb Roose 48:18
I’m glad that you pointed it out good.

Justin Price 48:22
So, so all I’m saying that is like any major issue that does feel overwhelming. We can try, we can say I’m trying, and we can think about it, and we can be overwhelmed. And we can say this is a tough issue. Or you can just start making small steps. And I think just making small steps, you’ll walk and go, Hey, man, I joined a small group that was intentional. And I, I think there was even a sense of like, at first, there was even a sense of like, well, I don’t think black people want me to just join their small group, just to try to be more diverse in my life. Like they’re not they don’t need some token white guy in their group. I’m just trying to be one. But the reality is, is if I’m coming with an air of humility to say, No, I don’t want to live in a society where we are so separated, and I’m trying to make an effort. You know, they may still give me a hard time. And so just any of those steps that we take, it really isn’t that hard to take a step, or to start taking steps. Evaluate what you can do. And in your life somewhere, there’s opportunities where you can actually try to tackle it. And while Mike, I’m just I’m giving you a hard time, it isn’t that hard if you’re just taking a step. Oh, and I got a lot more to go. But I think your I think your approach to even just be willing to listen. It’s amazing. You know, I’m actually feeling very good, because I do listen, I am listening. And Mike, I know you are too. But there are a lot of people who haven’t even made that far of a step. So that was a great on ramp, right. So thank you, Barb. Thanks for being willing to be so open and honest with us too.

Barb Roose 51:07
And I so appreciate the both of you sharing your experience. From Mike just saying Hey, there, people resonate with you by people who are saying, whoo, oh, whoo, I’m a little reticent to to get into this. I know, I need to but Oh, how do I do this well. And then Justin, where you’re like, Okay, all right. We’re doing some things and those steps are, those are steps. I mean, do not despise small beginnings. I mean that is, that is good. It is, I believe, and I can’t say how with any certainty, but when I think about the Acts 2 church, all of those believers were all from different areas. And they were all Jews who were united through Christ. And, and when they showed up, and it says that all the believers met together, I believe that they probably had to get over some stuff with each other and they had to sort some stuff out. And language barriers, cooking barrier, show barriers, cultural barriers. I mean, they, they had to figure it out. And the outcome of that was that they shared that they believed that they could give and receive from each other that they could hear and listen to each other that they weren’t they were united in worship, and, and not everybody was probably on board at first. But when it says all the believers, you know, I feel like there were some people that had to take a little bit of a long journey to get on board. But they did.

Mike Mage 52:39
Yeah, totally. Oh, man.

Justin Price 52:42
Way to preach, Barb.

Mike Mage 52:43
Yes. For real. Oh, my gosh, is so good. Thank you so much for sharing your heart on the I know Justin already said that but I appreciate it very much. You know, and this is this is an area that we need to talk about more. And, you know, it’s weird, I feel like, you know, growing up, Justin, I don’t know if you heard this or Barb if even you’ve heard this growing up. But growing up, you know, there was a maybe it’s just the maybe it’s just something happens in a white household, I’m not sure. But my parents were always like, you know, don’t talk about money, don’t talk about religion, don’t talk about politics. And I feel like under not that my parents are racist at all, because they’re not. But like, you know, and there was this sort of, like, don’t get into really tough topics with people, like, I feel like that was sort of like the underlying thing, just kind of like, go across the surface. And, you know, try not to ruffle any feathers. Because there’s no real point to it. But now, I feel like we’ve gotten to a point in our social discourse, where like, we have to have these conversations. And you know, like, the more we have these conversations, the more we are able to share this with each other to like, you’re saying, you know, share each other’s experience and start to really like, they start to overlap a little bit. And then we begin to have shared experiences together, even if it is sharing our experiences together. And that’s a beautiful thing, because that’s something you know, that’s that one step forward. So

Barb Roose 54:02
Just for the record in our house, we had to talk about race because we were black.

Mike Mage 54:09
Yeah, exactly. Well, I’d like that’s, again, even that, you know, like it’s such a different it’s, it’s a different foundation than what I had to come from, or than what my kids have to come from. And, you know, being able to understand that in which is great, because I’m going to be able to tell my kids about that, even though I never had those discussions growing up, because we didn’t need to, but now we are able to have these discussions, and even my six year old son, you know, like we’ve been able to have a conversation about racism, and we we got to talk about the Kamala Harris being in the vice presidency and why that’s important. And it’s just really cool. I love it’s, I’m hoping you know, as these next generations come, we can just continue to just push them in the right direction. Which would be beautiful thing, so yeah.

Justin Price 55:01
I think we should keep the conversation going. You should follow Barb on social media. And you should comment on her Facebook posts next time, she tells the story about being stranded and what what she’s going through. Barb, I love your transparency. And as a completely uneducated guy who is making efforts in small steps, it means a lot, just that you are helping the church move forward. But I’m also just grateful that you are just moving the church forward in a lot of other ways. So is there anything else that that you can help, we can kind of point the the listeners to that you specialize in with just helping the church?

Barb Roose 55:51
Well, so this one, actually, it’s funny that you asked, um, this is a little nichy, and it’s also a little risky for me, I made a reference to the fact that I had been formerly married. I was married for 26 years, and it ended after my spouse decided to end. There was an there were just some contributing factors. And I realized I was on staff. Well, I was a speaker and author, like all the things, prayed all the things and I was like, Huh, really, I am divorced. And the process itself going through it was a nightmare, because that’s not how I I did not see that as a part of my life. And so over the last couple of years, I’ve been working on a project that actually will be launching soon and depending on when this airs, but that women can get information or anyone listening and it’s at there’s a tab called Getting Your Groove Back. And it’s a it’s a Christ centered course, for women who’ve been through divorce called the Competence Course. And again, I’m a Bible teacher at heart. And so I teach the practical, the spiritual as well as the motivational ways to help a woman get her groove back. And I like I co-led divorcecare. And all of the things this is really specifically for women, because there’s a lot of shame, silence and stigma for divorced Christian women. And so I wanted to create a safe place for them.

Mike Mage 57:21
Oh, that’s so cool. Yeah, very cool. In an area, yeah. Like you’re saying, It’s there’s a lot of weird stigmas behind that. And sometimes, like, might be the best thing for both parties in the relationship. Even though again, it’s super painful, no matter no matter what level it is. So super cool.

Justin Price 57:43
We were talking about, we work with a ministry that helps single moms, specifically. So it’s not necessarily about divorced women. But some of them are divorced, or, obviously, they had a relationship at some point that that brought the kid about. And so they’re single, and they’re moms. And the stigma that even a single mom has walking into a church like, oh, you’re by yourself. I mean, and I get another position I’ve never had to be in. But if you’re a mom walking in with kids, and it’s like, you don’t have a guy, there’s a there’s definitely a stigma there. And a lot of churches still which one we’re talking about right now. It’s like a really, but yeah, but there are looks. And I’ve been told because I have not had them myself. But there are looks that single moms get from other people inside the church. And it’s like you’re here for church? Why would you give somebody a stink eye who’s here to get Jesus?

Barb Roose 58:39
It surprised me again, as somebody who worked for my church, and my kids were growing up when the divorce happened. But there was a point at which I didn’t even want to go to church, when you’re standing there, and you’re alone. And you’re watching the couples what they’re holding hands and arms. And in my mind, I’m like, I love Jesus. I’m a Christian speaker, like all of these things. And so again, the the motivation and desire behind creating the confidence course is because I want a woman to have that connection with Christ after this devastating experience in her life. And knowing that there are some things that have been said to her things that she’s done. That’s put a wedge between her and God. And so the confidence course, is about pulling that wedge back out so that she can see that God has more for her and that he has put more in her.

Mike Mage 59:28
Yeah, that’s incredible. Good. Very, very cool. Well, Barb, this has been seriously incredible. I said at the beginning, it was going to be incredible. And it wasn’t presumptuous. I was just reading the tea leaves and I knew it was going to be incredible.

Justin Price 59:43
Or maybe to have a show called breaking down tough topics with Barb Roose. I’m just putting it out there. You’re good at this.

Barb Roose 59:55
I love talking about tough topics. It’s just kind of a weird, weird deal. But again, like I just go, God is at work. And the best thing that we can do as the church, as churched people, like Jesus people church, is we should be the champion of talking about tough topics.

Mike Mage 1:00:13
Amen. Absolutely. Yeah. Why wouldn’t we be? We have an anchor, like the strongest anchor of all time.

Barb Roose 1:00:22
Like you find a radio outlet for me, like, let me let me. I don’t know. I’ll think about that a little bit.

Justin Price 1:00:26
I’ll be you producer Barb. We can get this thing going.

Barb Roose 1:00:33
Remember I’m an Enneagram 3. If you give me an idea, I can figure out how to make it happen.

Justin Price 1:00:38
I love Enneagram 3’s. Let’s talk. Well, we definitely need to have you back on the show. Barb this was so great to have you on our podcast. Really, really good, especially because I think a lot of our listeners, they don’t have to think about some of the things you’re talking about. They especially so we got worship leaders, we got creative directors, we got church, you know, small church planters. And they’re like, we got to get through Sunday. And you’re over here challenging, saying, Hey, there are some things that you guys need to be thinking about. And that as a church we should really should be responsible for. And if you’re trying to build a healthy culture in your church, having some of this perspective that you’ve shared is so valuable. And it takes you being willing to get out of your comfort zone, you being willing to talk about something tough topics, and we definitely need to do a part two with you. Whenever we can be lucky enough to get you on the on the schedule, I would love to. Thank you so much.

Mike Mage 1:01:39
So yeah, Barb. Where’s where’s where’s some places people can get connected? Obviously, we’ve been talking about your website, but where are some other places people can get connected with you?

Barb Roose 1:01:47
Yeah, the fastest and simplest is at And then if you want to find me over on Instagram, you can do @barbroose. I am kind of on Twitter, like kinda, and then my Facebook is where a large community of ladies are at and that is And so you can find my author page there. I post 100% positive comment point you to Jesus a couple of times a day. And I love love helping women live beautifully strong and courageous, so that they can experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for their lives. Thank you, gentlemen, it has been an honor to have today’s conversation. And for sure, I would love to circle back and hang out with you and everyone listening.

Justin Price 1:02:36
Mike, I know I beat you up there on the end. And I’m sorry. This is, man, I’m encouraged. What a great conversation. And you know what, I don’t think that we’re the, you know, the best podcast hosts to be leading the church through this conversation. As you know, our listeners probably heard us flubbing through, you know, how to kind of even address these, this conversation. But I’m so glad that we’re trying. Yeah, you know, and I know we are taking steps. And if nothing else, I hope that this will give our audience the courage to say, hey, you don’t have to have it figured out. You don’t have to be the smoothest talker, to start to have conversations that are gonna help you move our culture to look more like the church that God is calling us to be, especially in the melting pot of America.

Mike Mage 1:03:33
Well, and yeah, I I feel like you know, for you and I Justin, this is the the start of more conversations that I feel like we need to be having. And, you know, I know that we kind of said, you know, back in the summer that this is something that we want to dedicate ourselves to. And obviously, you know, with scheduling and all that kind of stuff, it takes a little bit to get to that point, just from a podcast perspective. But this is not going to be the last time that we talk about this. And this is not going to be the last step, obviously, woman but definitely either a woman of color or a person of color. And we continue to you know, we want to continue that trend. Because those are important perspectives for us to have insight on. And even personally, and you know, you and I say this all the time, a lot of this, it feels like we get to do we like doing this just because it’s also for us too. And so, and so while I really hope you know that it was it was great for you as our audience, it was also incredibly meaningful and insightful for me, and I’ll take a lot of those things with me, as I hope you will as well. And you know, a couple other things that you can take with you is if you go to our website, you will be able to find the show notes there. You’ll be able to find a lot of other content there for you to take with you to share with your church teams to share with your volunteer teams. Your staff teams, your small groups, your friends, Heck, even your enemies go ahead share with them as well. We we do not hold any grudges here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast. And, you know, make sure to hit the subscribe button wherever you get your podcasts and follow us on Instagram and Facebook. We would love to continue our conversations there. How has this this moment in time, especially within the past year, talking about racism, talking about, you know, equality, especially in the church, how has that affected you? Please let us know in the comments on Instagram or on Facebook. We would love to continue that conversation there with you. So thank you so much again for listening to the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 28 – Chris and Mary Kuti

Is Balance A Myth When It Comes To Ministry?

Finding balance doesn’t have to be some elusive mystery. Hosts Mike Mage and Justin Price uncover some major truths about navigating the delicate balance of work and home life with Chris and Mary Kuti of Lakepointe Church. You’ll walk away with opened eyes on how to manage tensions and eliminate assumptions while working with your significant other.

On Instagram: @chriskuti, @mary.kuti@Mikemage@techjustinrp@vers_creative


Mike Mage 0:00
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Justin Price 0:08
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life. I’m Justin Price the co-host. I’m here with the head coach, the head host. The host with the most. Mike Mage. Mike, how are you doing?

Mike Mage 0:25
I’m doing well. That is funny. co host head co hosts main co host. Hey, a co host is a co host. We’re in this thing together, man. Come on. Don’t show yourself. Okay. Yeah, we’re in this together. This is a joint venture. We’re doing this together. But I am doing well. And I’m super excited about this conversation that we’re having with Chris and Mary Kuti, who, you know, actually Tampa natives themselves, just like you and me, and have gone off to do some incredible things together. And we really thought you know that this would be a great conversation to have really great perspective to have. And Justin, I feel like our conversation started in one way. And we were kind of we kind of wanted it to go one way. And then just through our conversation, it started going in a different direction. What What did you think about this conversation we had?

Justin Price 1:18
That’s really the recipe for our best podcasts. The best ones we have do that. And the thing, the thing of this conversation with Chris and Mary, that was so cool. You know, Mike, we, we kind of entered in intro into this thinking like, we want to talk to them, because we really can’t imagine doing ministry, on staff with our wives. We were like, we’re both talking like, that just wouldn’t work. But my wife would definitely kill me if she had to work on staff with me at a church. Your wife probably wouldn’t like because you’re nicer than me.

Mike Mage 1:55
She’d be passive aggressive though.

Justin Price 1:57
And and so we were like, Well, sure, you know, Chris is gonna have all the secrets, you know, how do you make this thing work. Mary is going to tell us that she’s an incredible servant, and she washes his feet everyday. Obviously, that’s the way this works. And they really flipped the script on us. And I think I took away one of the most meaningful interviews that we have ever done. Because he talked about seeking after God’s will, when you know, there’s something that you’re supposed to be doing, you could feel it in your heart, but being patient enough, and waiting on God’s timing, and how incredible it is when it actually comes to play. So I’m not going to unpack what exactly it is and how it all is you have to listen to the interview with Chris, and Mary Kuti. Check them out an incredible couple super cool. And I know you’re gonna get a lot out of this podcast interview. Let’s flip it over to them now.

Chris Kuti 2:59
Wonder if if balance is actually the thing we’re looking for. Is balance a myth when it comes to ministry, and family? Because it’s I think it’s all the same. My kids are at church all the time with children, and churches where we work in churches where we attend, and we have community and we praise God. And I also get a paycheck from and I also have stress from, and I can’t not take that home. And I don’t talk about work when I don’t talk about church. So it’s just it, is balance the thing that we’re after, or is, is the idea of this holistic approach that what we do is ministry, it’s who our family is, it’s what it if God’s called me to it. He’s called her to it. And he’s called My oldest son to it and my youngest daughter too. He’s called us all to it. So that I think that’s the thing that we we didn’t know how to articulate when we first got married. And it was this futile attempt of coming home and saying, well, I hear that balance is the thing, and I can’t talk about work when I’m at home. But when I don’t talk about work, I’m talking about church, like it’s that that’s a fleeting thing that you’re never going to get. And maybe the better thing is how do we how do we make our family holistically wrapped around this idea of mom and dad work at church, and this is where we go to church. And there’s some things that you can do. You know, for example, for our kids, where we are now we’ve got three services on the weekend, where we were before we had eight services on the weekend. And do our kids go to all eight of the kids services? No, and maybe that’s maybe that’s balance. But I just think finding that that happy medium between trying to define it and chase balance and really it’s how do we talk about family, church, work, because it’s all kind of the same thing.

Mary Kuti 4:50
And as far as church and home, it is all one entity for us because we are the church. And so for us, we never looked at it separately. We’ve never looked I looked at it as this is this is work. And this is home, in this situation, we breathe, we live it when we’re at work, and when we’re at home, and we talk about it, because that’s our purpose. And so some people may disagree. Some people may think it’s unhealthy for us to bring all that home, but we are constantly in this creative mindset. God is constantly speaking to us about what we do at the church, because we are the church and it’s a living, breathing organism that’s constantly going and so you’re going to take that home with you. And so the beautiful part is whether I work with Chris are not, we’re constantly working together in that. But now that we do work together, it just gives us for me personally, when I all 36 years before I was not on staff and I didn’t need a title or position necessarily to be able to breathe life into something. But I did notice that it did kind of stunt my authority and position it limited and limited really what I could do so and that really goes for any place you work where they work in the church or you work in the business world. And so now they’re now that we’re together. I don’t there’s there’s this freedom I don’t feel any, I don’t feel, I don’t feel any what’s the word I’m looking for?

Chris Kuti 6:25

Mary Kuti 6:26
Yeah. Any restraints.

Chris Kuti 6:27
Any two step authentication.

Mike Mage 6:33
I like it. Well, hey, well, but before we dive in, and maybe unpack that a little bit, since we’re all recording, I might as well just start the intro here. And that then that’s all wonderful. But joining us today here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast is Chris and Mary Kuti. Right? Is that how I say it? Kuti?

Chris Kuti 6:51
That is it, Mike, there’s you don’t even try another option. It’s the worst possible option.

Mary Kuti 6:55
Circle circle. Dot dot. Now you got your cootie shot.

Chris Kuti 6:57
That was the most fun last name to have elementary school.

Mike Mage 7:00
You know what I mean? So my last name is Mage. And the amount of people that mispronounce it is insane. And like, it’s easy, like it’s very it’s four letters similar to you guys. Like Moge. Moogie. Yea trying to like throw some what are some like weird pronunciations you guys have gotten?

Chris Kuti 7:23
Cutie. It’s been which Cuttie. Yeah. Cuttie. I had one guy come to the house deliver something and I he said you know, they asked you for your last name. He’s gonna write it down. I said it’s it’s K-u-t-i. It’s Kuti. And I said it’s K-u-t-i. That’s normally how I have to do I just spell it so I don’t say it. And it goes, he looks up he goes. Wait. Are you Kid Cudi? Bro, have you seen Kid Cudi? No. No, I’m not.

Mary Kuti 7:53
Go ahead. YouTube it.

Chris Kuti 7:54
Yeah. I’m not.

Mary Kuti 7:55
You’ll understand.

Chris Kuti 7:58
It was a Yeah. It’s been everything. I always say the worst day with that last name was the first day of a new school year and elementary school because the teachers role and she’s like, surely this kid’s last name isn’t Kuti. So she gives you every other option. And then you have to correct her in front of strangers. Your peers it’s the worst possible option.

Justin Price 8:17

Mike Mage 8:17
So that’s, that’s funny. I never thought about that. The the instead of reading it, you have to actually say it and correct it. Yeah. Cuz it’s like a double thing

Chris Kuti 8:28
That makes it’s like it’s like, Chris Kutai? No, it’s Kuti. And then all you know. You know your kids just lose it. It’s what people call me now. So, Mike, Mike McGee, you can call me Kuti from here on out.

Mike Mage 8:42
You got it. I got you. Well,

Justin Price 8:46
Mike, have you thought about changing your, because McGee or Magie or Mogee? Yeah. All sounds more fancy. I don’t know if I thought about changing it.

Mike Mage 8:55
I feel like that’s the implicit, like thing that people are trying to say is like, Surely you’re more cultured than Mage. Yeah.

Chris Kuti 9:02
It’s gotta be a sage, Mage. It’s great. Just go with it.

Mike Mage 9:08
Keeps me humble. That’s what keeps you humble. That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, okay. Well, good, man. So, obviously, we’re here with Justin and I, I’m so excited you guys are on and you know, one of the things that one of the reasons we wanted to have you on is because you are obviously you know, you’re a married couple doing ministry together. And before we again before we dive more in more into that, I’d love to kind of get some background on to who you are, Chris, and who you are Mary, maybe how you guys actually got to the place that you’re at right now. So what’s like a little bit of the backstory?

Chris Kuti 9:46
How long is this podcast? So you kick it off and I’ll kind of wrap around?

Mary Kuti 9:53
We met actually in high school. I was in ninth grade and he was in 10th grade and we started a youth band. And we were horrible. We were horrible. Yeah, we were good friends. And long story short, we ended up dating when he went to college and I was a senior. And we’ve been together ever since.

Chris Kuti 10:12
I picked up a guitar is what happened.

Mary Kuti 10:14
He did pick up a guitar. You he was a drummer, we didn’t know he could sing. And so he was a drummer. And then we started, I was a singer. And then we started leading worship together. Once we found out he could sing; long story short. And so that was, we’ve been together for a long time.

Chris Kuti 10:31
For a long time married 2006 had a nice little CCM artist run. But we had no idea how to be husband and wife and let alone maybe gone 200 days a year. And, you know, Jesus said, if your right arm causes you to sin, cut it off. Or if your Christian industry job causes you to sin, cut it off. And so we got healthy. In 2011, we moved to Oklahoma City, I took this Florida girl to a landlocked Tornado Alley state. And we we spent and we raised on all three of our kids are born in Oklahoma City, we had the opportunity of being on the team at Life Church. And just so grateful. Yeah, for those nine years, but but probably the last three years, God’s just been stirring in us. Really the subject and the topic of this podcast today. The idea of doing ministry together, and we were serving in some capacity together leading worship together at Life Church, but the idea of us really shaping the culture on staff side by side together, just wasn’t possible there. And so through some healthy conversations with leadership, we just found ourselves in this place. Man, I think we’re gonna have to walk away from this place that we love that we never thought we’d ever leave. And then the pandemic happens. And jumping, you jump without a net. Where do we go, we didn’t have anything lined up. We had honouring conversations, we’d have another thing lined up it was, we just feel like this is what God wants us to do. And he’s gonna provide for us. And so we did, pandemic happens. And here we are in Dallas. We’re at an amazing church called Lakepointe, a story church, a lot of great influence, in a really interesting and amazing time a transition of senior leadership, Senior Pastor retiring and passing the baton to a guy who’s our age. And so we just see this longevity built on this bedrock of just great health and great just great history. And we get to kind of start from the ground up together, building this worship culture. And we’re having a blast doing it.

Mary Kuti 11:04
We really are.

Mike Mage 12:33
That’s super cool. Well, I’d love to; So Mary, did you serve on the team it with Chris at Life Church as just like a volunteer?

Mary Kuti 12:44
Absolutely. I did. So we were there for nine years. I served all nine years with him.

Chris Kuti 12:48
I mean, almost almost every weekend, except when she had to give birth to a baby. She was back the next weekend.

Mary Kuti 12:54
I was back the next weekend.

Mike Mage 12:58

Mary Kuti 13:00
Honestly, I would have been there.

Chris Kuti 13:01
She would have been there.

Mary Kuti 13:02
Chris was like, no.

Chris Kuti 13:05
You’re running on like two hours of sleep and I’m running on three.

Mike Mage 13:09
Well, okay, well, that’s, that’s incredible. And I feel like you know, cuz you guys are from the Tampa Bay area, right? 813 all day.

Chris Kuti 13:20
Yeah, that’s where that’s where we quarantine literally. Most of the time we were there. Yeah,

Mary Kuti 13:25
That’s where we met in Tampa. I’m born and raised. All my family lives in Tampa. That’s where we met at our church in Tampa. It’s actually Temple Terrace. Yeah. Right by USF. And so that’s where we met. That’s where pretty much all of our immediate family lives in Tampa.

Mike Mage 13:40
Awesome. And then and then your family? What was your family kids? How many kids you have? And what’s that look like?

Chris Kuti 13:45
We’ve got three kids oldest just turned seven. His name’s Liam. Judah is five and then Liliana is two. Fun times.

Mike Mage 13:54
Yeah. Nice. Nice and busy.

Chris Kuti 13:57
Hence, this is why we’re locked in our bedroom.

Justin Price 14:00
Yeah. Yeah, just so that you have some context. Mike and I are 727. So we we were growing up just across the bay from you guys.

Mary Kuti 14:10
You’re St. Pete.

Mike Mage 14:12
So so we picked it up here, right, when we’re beginning sort of talking about almost what what is the, the, the myth of balance already, you know, and I, even as someone so, you know, my, my background as far as like, you know, working as a worship leader, you know, very similar to you guys. I would imagine positionally within the church is my wife is musically challenged. And that’s her words now mine. We probably wouldn’t end up on the platform together, you know, be at whatever capacity at whatever level of church like that’s just not she’s she’s an amazing woman. She serves in a lot of different areas. But she just that’s not her thing. And so it just it fascinates me like the the husband and wife being able to leave worship together. I just said, Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about like that. So we talked a little bit about balance between work and home. Yeah. What about like the tensions that you all feel? Or maybe don’t feel? Maybe that’s not a good?

Chris Kuti 15:17
Let’s talk about it.

Mike Mage 15:18
Are there tensions? Let’s say let’s start there. And not to I’m not trying to work, let’s not work. Like, like, I don’t want to work out problems, or whatever just like I’m trying to.

Mary Kuti 15:27
We like to keep it very real.

Mike Mage 15:30
What’s that? Say that again?

Mary Kuti 15:31
I said, we like to keep it very real. So.

Chris Kuti 15:34
No filter.

Mary Kuti 15:35
No filter here.

Good, good. Well, I just like how do you how do you manage maybe some tensions that arise? Or what are maybe some tensions that do arise, especially that you have kids like I would imagine, even just from like a practical, like viewpoint, there has to be some sort of tensions that need to be managed, being not just working together, but doing ministry together in any capacity?

I would start off by saying with first recognizing not everybody is a Chip, and Joanna Gaines. And so I don’t want anyone ever to feel any shame, because a lot of people do compare themselves to us. And maybe they both are musically gifted, or they’re not or whatever you’re in ministry. And, and if it’s not your calling, don’t try to squeeze yourself into it. For us this, this works, it didn’t work very well the other way, when, when we weren’t working together, there was a lot of tension. Now that we are working together, there is such a freedom and such a peace, I feel like whatever we do is limitless. Before we were trying to jump through hoops, figure out how we could get through policies or procedures so that we could do stuff together. Whereas now it’s we have complete freedom. And so as far as tensions, we just work really well together, we really do communicate, we both think very much the same. If you’re an Enneagram person, we are actually both three wing two’s

Chris Kuti 17:03
Which made for a very interesting first few years of marriage.

Mary Kuti 17:06
It absolutely did.

Chris Kuti 17:07
Cause we didn’t have the Enneagram as a tool, had we had that as a tool, I think it would have solved a lot of problems. Yeah,

Mary Kuti 17:12
Yeah, we’re both in competition with eachother.

Chris Kuti 17:13
Both showboating for each other.

Mary Kuti 17:15
At all times.

Chris Kuti 17:16
Neither one of us were addressed.

Mary Kuti 17:21
We’ve learned how to work that out together. And so all of that to say for us right now, in this season, that we get to work together, I feel a ton of the tensions have resolved. like they’ve solved their them the problem.

Chris Kuti 17:37
Yeah, there still are some and so practically, you know, if you’re trying to figure out are we have chip and Joanna Gaines, which I love that analogy by the way. You know, I think some of them, and this is just speaking from experience. Early on, I did not know how to encourage my wife in those giftings. I didn’t know how to speak those words of encouragement. But I was really good at speaking it to people that weren’t my wife, who I wasn’t going home with because I just, I think when you’re so close in a relationship, you just assume that they know what you’re thinking and how you’re thinking about their gift. And you would never do that with somebody that works for you. And so I was really careful speaking encouragement to those that worked for me, because I wanted them to continue to work for me, but she’s still gonna be there. She’s still gonna wake up next to me, it’s gonna be fine. She knows that I think the world of her she wouldn’t be next to me. And so that’s enough, and it doesn’t suffice. And so you have to speak encouragement. And so that’s a possible tension, if you don’t manage it quickly. I think the other thing, and it’s real, it is nepotism, nepotism is a is a thing. It is, you know, does she get more opportunity, because she’s my wife. And if you’re not careful to put people around that see her gifting, who are over you, who see it just as much as you do, and call it out of her, along with you calling it out of her, you’ll just look like the guy who’s giving your wife every opportunity to sing. Maybe she doesn’t deserve it. And so you have to be really real with that together as like, Hey, is this opportunity, the best for you? Or do we need to give that to somebody else? And is there somebody else who’s also speaking into her gifting? And vice versa? No matter, you know, wife, husband, whatever. And then I just I think the other thing is, you got to learn how to give feedback well. Again, back to the spouse thing, if I just say that wasn’t good, is that enough? And the answer is no, because you would that you would never say that to somebody that’s not your spouse who works for you. Right? You would couch that feedback, you would give it at the appropriate time. With the appropriate amount of you know, you’d, you would sandwich that negative feedback with some positivity. Yeah. You would speak life into that person and not just “no fix it.” You would you would speak differently to somebody who’s not your wife. And so you’ve got to learn that how to manage that tension, I still need to give her feedback, she still needs to be able to tell me Hey, what you said there didn’t make sense, right. But she needs to give me that feedback in a way that I would receive it, just like I would if I worked for her.

Mary Kuti 20:16
That’s, and that’s actually a great point. Because I think that was a big struggle, in the beginning years of working it out is we, we just relied on one another, not so much like, this is our job. Let’s you know, we would just be like, Oh, yeah, he can do it. Or he would be like, yeah, Mary, Oh, we got to do this like, podcast today. Sorry, I forgot to tell you about it. But, you know, instead of you know, you would never do that with somebody at work, you know, prep them, you know, whatever the case may be, but in the beginning years, that was definitely a struggle where he would, or I would just kind of maybe lean on one another just because of who they were, rather than help support them.

Chris Kuti 20:53
I think the undergirding undergirding theme of all those tensions is assumption. You’ve got to work down. Yeah, you got to work, you’ve got to work really hard at eliminating assumption. Yeah, just because that person’s waking up next to you tomorrow. Just because they know you for decades does not mean that you can circumvent the normal qualities of leadership. Yeah, and the qualities of just being a great team player. It happened to us, you know, just over Christmas, I assume that she didn’t need to line or run a song. Because we had, you know, consecutive days of Christmas Eve services. And we had ran it already, like 16 times before. And we walk up and, and she walked in the line checks. I was like, okay, we’re good. And she’s like, Oh, no, I’d like to actually run my song a little bit. I would never I would, if anybody else was leading, I’d be like, hey, do you? Are you good? Do you want to run your song? I would have asked her that.

Mary Kuti 21:46
It’s a new day. We haven’t checked our mics.

Chris Kuti 21:47
So that was it. We had to pause and say, Hey, wait. That’s it. That’s an assumption. Why did you assume that I didn’t need to check? Should you have asked me? Yes, I should have I bow down and I asked for apology. She accepted. That’s why we’re here today.

Mike Mage 22:05
Well, I think of this, that’s not like so good. I feel like because I think you’re right, the the thing that gets us into the most trouble with anything, is that assumption. And especially like in an almost a unintentional way, because it feels like you all are relatively humble people. And you know, to be a good leader, like you, there is a certain level of humility. And you assume, like, at least for me, when when assumptions come into to be a problem, especially with the people that I love, or the people that I’m close to, I think, well, if I’m okay, because I’m so close to them, then they must be okay. And that’s huge. It’s always worth it to have the ask, you know, to say like, Are you okay with this? You know, or asking some sort of question, whatever, to be 100% clear on something. So that’s a really good marriage advice.

Justin Price 23:00
Also, bowing down and asking for admitting that you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness. That’s also the the main success recipe I heard there.

Mary Kuti 23:10
Yeah, a marriage advice 2.0. is when you ask for forgiveness don’t just say I’m sorry. Say I’m sorry, because…

Chris Kuti 23:18
Yeah, I’m sorry, for what did you do? Seriously it’s, it’s to hear yourself say, Hey, I’m sorry, like in that in that line check incident? Hey, Mary, I’m sorry for assuming that you are good. And not valuing what was important to you. That’s your confidence in that moment. I’m sorry for that. Will you forgive me? And that just hearing that like, Oh, my God, I would never throw anybody up there on a new day with a new service. And just say go hope you don’t suck. I would not. I would never do that. And so Will you forgive me? So yeah, yeah. Marriage advice. Did you guys know you’re running a marriage podcast?

Justin Price 23:58
For all the listeners who are joining in right now we are here with marriage counseling with Chris and Mary.

Chris Kuti 24:04
We’re both certified counselors.

Justin Price 24:08
We can just go home after that. If everybody would just apply that principle right there. They would be miles ahead.

Mike Mage 24:14
Right. Yeah, the the marriage podcast is gonna be called “Kuti Shot.”

Mary Kuti 24:19
Hit me with your best shot.

Mike Mage 24:21
Yeah, exactly.

Chris Kuti 24:22
Let’s license the song. It would be perfect.

Mike Mage 24:23
Yeah. That sounds good. It’s worth it. I’m sure it’s cheap. Okay. Well, that’s okay. So one other thing I wrote down to here is, you know, I was thinking about tension, you know, in like, a very traditional sense, you know, like, there’s some sort of conflict or whatever, the Chris in what, what you were kind of saying was, which is really cool as a tension I don’t even think about and it comes from seemingly like a fairly open, communicative, healthy relationship is sort of the nepotism thing that you’re talking about, is the tension between sort of protecting You know, your partner, your spouse, your whoever, you know, the this person that you are relationally linked with protecting them, but also being able to encourage them in figuring out ways to, because to me that’s like, that’s like 3.0. Like that’s that’s a that’s that’s a couple moves, that you’ve planned out on the chessboard, knowing that like, we have to surround Not only do I have to like, yes, protect you, not only do I have to encourage you, but like we also have to build around us, people who can trust us. And trust, you know, you whoever to that you are actually gifted and like valued in this position. Yeah. That’s super important. I mean, how did you guys, how are you able to, like seek that out? I mean, or what did you seek that out?

Chris Kuti 25:46
Well yeah, it’s, you know, that’s kind of the that’s kind of the story of why we ended up leaving Life Church was for the policy was, us being on staff together at the same location on the same team wasn’t a thing. And it’s just like the disclaimers on any package, you get. Don’t stick your finger in the electrical socket, right? Yeah, duh. But it’s there. Because somebody did it. Policies and warnings are there because it there was probably a day when it just didn’t work. And it blew up. And it was a bad thing. Does that mean that it’s not possible now? And does that mean that it’s not possible with the right people? And so we were asking that question and leadership was too it was a very healthy conversation of like, Okay. As Life Church, I think we’re in the place where that’s just not how couples working together means you’re going to be at one campus. And Chris, you’re going to be at another. And that’s how it’s going to be here. Yeah. Okay. Not bad, just different from what we were called to do. And so when we started walking out, what we really were trying to protect was, hey, we want to be in a house going forward, the future of where we’re going to serve, where that’s a tension to manage, we understand it, you can’t just assume that it’s going to work. But we want to be in a house where they see the giftings that Mary have, has has, and they see the gifting that I have. They see it as individuals, and they see it as together. Yeah. And no matter how hard it is, it’s like man, what Chris has is really good that moment. But is it better if Mary’s around? How do we make that happen? Sure, gonna be hard, but let’s figure it out. And just stepping into that tension and being okay with that. And so I think, as you’re kind of if, if you’re listening to this today, and you’re kind of navigating, and maybe both you and your spouse, you just got married, and you both feel this call to ministry, and what’s it supposed to look like, leading together? I think you have to be solid in the truth that our leadership and the people that are our authorities over us, they’re great at spotting the gifts in people. Yes. And they’re okay with risk. Yeah. If you can answer both those questions, then I think you’re in a healthy place to walk out the discovery of that calling of how to do ministry together. Yeah, if they’re not okay with risk, and they’re not okay, with calling something out of somebody that’s not technically on staff, then it’s probably not the place for you to figure this thing out together. You’ve got to ask those questions. And they’re tough. Yeah, but that was really, we really took our time as we prayed. I mean, we were, we didn’t decide to come here until July end of July. So it was months of like, conversation and, and then the other thing was just trying to figure out reporting structure like I don’t write her review at the end of the year. Nor should I write, I shouldn’t say, hey, you’re gonna get a pay raise. Because, you know, you’re my wife.

Mary Kuti 28:46
Aboslutely not. We need accountability.

Chris Kuti 28:48
We have leaders who I trust for them to call out the giftings in Mary, just as much as I, I trust myself to do that.

Mary Kuti 28:55
And I want to go back to that. Because I think that is the key. If you are a husband and wife, maybe you’re you want to be a team maybe feel more importantly, you feel called to be a team. Maybe you’re in the same ministry, maybe you’re not in the same ministry, whatever the situation may be. It’s so so important. You know, as Christians, we know what we carry me you know, you know what God’s knit into your DNA, but our whole entire lives, Chris and I have been surrounded by pastors and leaders, who when they look at us, when someone looks at you, they can fully see you from head to toe. When you look down at yourself, you can only see about three fourths of yourself. Sure. So when you you have to surround yourself with people that can fully see you from head to toe, who you are, and can see the parts that you do not see because those people help pull out the things in you that you don’t even know are there yet. And the reason we are where we are today in ministry is because of that we were surrounded by leaders and pastors. Who called things out of us that we didn’t even know existed. And were there. And we’ve been in both situations, we’ve been in healthy environments, and we’ve been in very unhealthy environments. And I would just encourage any young leader, any married couple that you make sure that you surround yourself with people who see what God has called you to carry. And they not only see it, but they continue to pull it up and out of you.

Chris Kuti 30:27
Because we had a good friend say, you’re only as good as your leader thinks you are. And that stuck with us for a long time. And I think, as anybody listening is trying to figure out how do we do ministry together? What does that mean? vocational on a staff together? What does that mean? Sure, you really have to begin to look, obviously, at yourself, collectively and individually. Are we ready for this? are we are we assessing the risk? Do we know how to not assume? But then are you really evaluating those that lead you? Yeah? And are they able to call you both up together and individually? And then you, then you’ll probably be in the right recipe for this to work. Without it, you’re just gonna be there’s gonna be tension. That’s, that’s what it said.

Justin Price 31:12
Are there any, are there any tips or other tricks other than, than the not assuming and apologizing, that you guys have come up with, that have helped make this be successful. So let’s say I’ve got a leader who believes in me, and my wife, my wife, and I, and we feel good about it, we feel called. But I still have three kids that are two, seven, and five. And I’m trying to get them to church on Sunday, but like, we’re both leading worship, and they’re constantly unplugging cables on stage. And the tech director hates us. And then inevitably, one of them’s always sick and can’t go into like any kind of like, have you guys come up with any kind of support? When I think when we you know, we initially entered this conversation about balance. But I think the real thing we were talking about was like, how do you pull it off? So yeah, any any other like tips or support tricks for making that work? That you could even potentially, like, just did they save somebody? 10 years of pulling their hair out?

Mary Kuti 32:17
Yes, yes, yes. You have to ask for help. And you have to, you have to ask for help. I really struggled with that. At the beginning, we moved to a city, we knew no one family was nowhere near close by, yeah, we were at a church that we were up at the church on the weekend for 20 hours, we did eight services with three small children. And so I had to ask for help. And it wasn’t a burden, the burden was, it was me being selfish, thinking that I had to do it all and I was Superwoman. That’s just that was just gonna drive me crazy. And so as soon as I opened that gate, to say, I need help, number one, it was available. It was just the matter of me of sitting down my pride and saying, I need help. And so here we are, again, we’re in a new city. I know no one, I don’t have family. And I first thing just lay down my pride and ask for help, because it’s readily available, and obviously trusting someone with your children, my goodness, you know, that’s a whole nother conversation. But the best advice that I could give is you just gonna have to ask for help. It’s the only way it’s possible. practically

Chris Kuti 33:31
Practically on the weekend for us. So say this scenario where we were, you know, left church with eight services on the weekend. On Saturday, we’d go up. And that’s when our rehearsals where we would go up, our kids would come up with us. But there’d be somebody there that would be watching the kids in the greenroom and they’re just, they’re just there with the kids. We didn’t we’re not thinking about the kids at all, they’re still around us, they’re still able to kind of walk into rehearsal and see mom and dad. But it’s from a distance because our focus is on what we’re doing. And we literally don’t think about them on Sunday morning, or Saturday, Saturday night. And then Sunday morning comes we’ve got another six services that day. Most of the times we would have a sitter come to the house. And we would wake up and kind of go to church and do our thing. We didn’t have an early call because we already had rehearsal on Saturday, right? And they were at the church and then we come home for the break. And then that that’s when they would go to church was at night on Sunday night. So if we had one or two services on Sunday night, they would go to class and maybe they’d sit through, you know, two kids services, but that’s a lot better than eight. And we’re not we’re not putting an unduly burden on the the kid staff. Yeah. Right. Because our kids aren’t going to be fun if they’ve seen the same. And, and, and so sure, are there allowances that you have to make in your budget to be able to afford that if you do ask for help, but it’s gonna be Yeah, you know, but

Mary Kuti 34:55
Well, and even let me rewind with that. I mean, that wasn’t really until we had our child number three. That was I started including paying somebody. I will tell you, there will be young girls in your church, older women, grandmothers that want to help. You just have to ask, you just have to put it out there ask some of the pastor’s wives. You just have to ask.

Chris Kuti 35:16
We paid somebody one time and she said, No, this is what I’m called to, for you to be able to do your ministry. Just let me do it. Well, and I just think what Mary said is so right on, our pride gets in our way, maybe it’s our ego, because we’re looking like all your points, like, Oh, we want to be the poster children of they can do it. All. Right, you can’t do it all. Yeah, just shut up and ask for help.

Mary Kuti 35:43
Go ahead and bow to that.

Chris Kuti 35:46
Ask forgiveness for that, too. And just ask for help. And don’t assume but you got to be strategic. But our kids, our kids liked coming to church. They love going to church is what we do. It’s, and we’re there to pick them up from class, and they love it. And they get to experience things that no other kid, you know, they get to sit behind the drums and play, but it’s at a balanced diet, you know, and they’re not pulling cables out. But you got, you know,

Mary Kuti 36:11
And the first few years, it was always like a wife of the guitar player or a wife of the bass player, or she just wanted to come hang out up at the church and be with everybody. Yeah. And she would just sit in the back in the greenroom. Why we went and led worship, and then we’d come back and all hang out.

Chris Kuti 36:25
My kids walking with me in the lobby, and we’re praying with him in the lobby, and he’s there with me, it’s, it’s just, it was kind of just a is just a constant thing that our kids are around, but we’re doing it in a way that’s allowing us to still focus on what we have to do. It’s very rarely that they’re in a rehearsal unmanned. You know, it’s, it’s bit us in the butt too many times.

Mary Kuti 36:50
But at the same time finding that family balance, because that’s what the church is, right? It’s a family. And so we want our kids to know the ins and the outs and to see the the good and the ugly. Obviously, still protecting them. But family being a part of it was very important to us from the beginning.

Mike Mage 37:08
Yeah. Well, I do I feel like too, and, you know, drilling down a little bit, sort of back onto the balance thing, too. You know, now that kids are involved. So let’s say, you know, there’s a worship leader, husband, wife, doing the thing, now they have kids involved. You know, having the kids be able to see something that you’re passionate about, but also something that doesn’t overtake you. And, you know, just like, be this soul sucking thing. You know, like, I think that’s, that’s just as important to teach you know, about anything, even if they don’t go into ministry at all, you know, like, that’s they, they’re allowed, they’re being allowed to see that I can still be passionate about this, I can make this work for my family. I can come at this from like, a very healthy, responsible way. Still love my family. Have them be a part of this cool thing. I don’t know. That’s just that’s a really cool picture to be able to paint for not just the kids, we’re moving the people around you, you know, the people who are watching your kids. It’s an incredible thing.

Chris Kuti 38:08
It really is.

Mary Kuti 38:10
And to go from being a stay at home mom. Yes. The kids now have been small for the last six years. And now this last year, I stepped back into work. You know, that was a real concern. Like, what are the children? I’ve been there for them all the time at all hours, but they it’s been so great for them, they’ve been able to just see a different facet, facet of our relationship and work and they get to go to actually go to church at school at church, actually probably love it more.

Chris Kuti 38:38
But they don’t they don’t love it more than you, but they do love it.

Mary Kuti 38:45
Here I was worried the whole time. But,

Mike Mage 38:46
yeah, well, cool. Well, wrapping up here, it’s been incredible to talk to you guys. You know, one thing that like, I just want to hit on just real quick, just sort of as they’re coming to an end here. Like I think it’s really cool. Like, this is the first time you guys have worked together. I mean, you have experienced so much time I feel like you know I’ve done it from you know the stories that you say and I’m sure it’s it’s not everything and yet we’re doing a quick flyby and it seems like there’s probably some trial by fire, some trial and error. A lot of learning how this all works. I would love for you all just because you’ve been doing this for so long and maybe like what some what’s just like an encouraging thing that maybe you could leave with, you know, like the people who are listening to this who want to, you know, have this team with their their spouse or their partners, someone who they’re in close relationship with Is there something like encouraging you guys can sort of leave them with?

Mary Kuti 39:46
My encouragement for any young couple that has this dream and desire in their heart that they are called to work together is to do it. A dream and desire has been put there by God and He will make a way for now, as you’ve heard, there’s it’s looked different in different seasons. And but what I know to be true is that he’s called us to do it together. And so sometimes we’ve had to work around policies and roles to make that happen. And now we’re in this season that it’s encouraged and they’re like, go for it, you guys, do whatever you want. I would just encourage you that, don’t let anything hold you back. Because if that’s your purpose, what I always say, I’d rather die than not live out my purpose. And so if I know that this is what I’m called to do, this is what we are called to do, then we’re going to find a way to make it happen. And there have definitely been times it hasn’t always looked like it does right now. There was a lot of jumping over hoops and climbing mountains to get here. And then I’m sure there still will be. But just do it. Just go after it.

Chris Kuti 41:00
Yeah. And I think to tag along on that, I think we have to get as leaders in general, but I think it it gets increased, the necessity is increased. When you’re working together with your spouse, you have to be very, very good at reading the weather. Here’s what I mean by that. Seasons dictate actions. So today, it’s freezing and it’s raining outside. And my wardrobe, my decisions where we park where we go, what I bring what I have how I prepare, are determined by the season that we’re in. And oftentimes, I think in leadership, we walk out, and we assume it’s just going to be sunny and hot every day. And we’re surprised when it’s freezing and wet. And as leaders, as husband and wife, collectively working together, what season are we in? And there may be seasons where how you work together won’t be the way that you think you need to work together in the future. But it’s winter, dress like it. And so practically, hey, we got three young kids, her working after, you know, popping up baby after baby after baby is not the right time to try to figure out how to work together. But back, you know, early this year, we kind of started having the conversations of Hey, we’re about to enter season where all three of our kids are going to be in school. How do we need to dress? What do we need to do what our actions need to be based on the season that we’re walking into? And so just just get good at at adopting those conversations into your your daily, weekly, monthly rhythms as a family as a spouse unit, just say, hey, what season are we in right now? Are we trying to act like it’s summer when it’s winter? Yeah, what season are we going into. And so assess where you are, assess where you want to be, and what’s coming. But don’t miss the just the clarity that that can bring in any relationship.

Justin Price 43:04
I just I gotta say, for anybody who is listening to this, what I hear from you guys, is that the God’s put this desire in your heart, but that is taken a long time to get to where you’re at where this can happen successfully. And I know that I’m thinking about like, a lot of young women and men that are in ministry, who feel called they’re feel passionate, and they might even have that stirring to work. Like you guys have had that desire for a while, right? You said you talked to Life Church for a long time about doing this. And even through all that season, that wasn’t really the right timing. And all these things have come together through great mentorship and leadership through you having to take some huge risk. And I think the thing that I’m encouraged by by hearing both of your hearts in this is, is the humility to say like, we’ve worked really hard to get to the point where we’re working together. And we haven’t talked about how incredible it is to play with your spouse, like the the ability to like play it with a band is one of the greatest emotional connectivities to lead worship with a group of people to play music with people. I mean, as musicians, you know, this is like one of the most fun things we can share hobbies or whatever, right and so we could go on probably for a couple of hours about like how cool it is for you guys to be able to riff off of each other to play together to do to be doing the same thing to be synchronized. And that I feel like that’s all kind of given but what you guys haven’t really just said is just how patient you’ve had to be to be at this point and you didn’t force it and you guys didn’t jump into it you didn’t like you didn’t quit at Life Church the first time like you work to get to that point. And to test and to see if it can happen and you also kept having freakin babies which probably slowed down the process.

Chris Kuti 44:55
Yet one of the one of the most recent conversations was before we were pregnant with our third It was like, Hey, is this is our time here kinda coming to an end? Because we have these dreams of writing a book and doing a record together. Are they possible here? And it wasn’t the right time. Yeah, then comes Liliana.

Mary Kuti 45:11
And I think what you said was so good. I don’t want to minimize that. Because being patient, there was many times there were other worship leader women who got the opportunity, because they were on staff, and I wasn’t, and I, and I had to work that out within myself.

Chris Kuti 45:27
I had to make that decision.

Mary Kuti 45:30
Like, this is real. I mean, this is real. And being okay with that, like, wanting to see other women and men succeed and what God had called them to do. Yeah, and humbling myself and realizing not every opportunity is for me. And I don’t want to minimize that. And I don’t want to minimize the risk. Because when we left, we left the an incredible church. We left an incredible community. And we had nothing, nothing planned. Nothing. And we had a family and a house and, and we took a huge risk.

Justin Price 46:08
Who does that Mary?

Chris Kuti 46:12
But when you’re living your calling, is it a risk, though? And that’s the thing if you’re sure that God gave it to you, and in and you’re not just the only one who thinks that, but other people are affirming that it’s not? It’s a risk, it was a seed in our mind as it Wow, that wasn’t really that big of a risk.

Mary Kuti 46:31
But even then, it was, this is a risk. But you knew it was right. Yeah, it was like, This doesn’t make sense. But I know it is right. I’m not afraid that we’re not gonna have a paycheck. I’m not afraid, like, where we’re gonna go. Like, we were at complete peace. And I know, we talked about that. And we know, you know, the Bible talks about that. But we truly were. But I don’t want to minimize that. Because a lot of the younger generation that I talked to that find themselves at this crossroads is all it takes is a pivot, a pivot is a very small turn to take you in a different direction. And that’s all it takes. It’s a pivot. And so we had to make a very small pivot to take us in a different direction, but it was exactly what we knew God was calling us to. And so

Chris Kuti 47:18
I think to your point to Justin, like the maybe we’ll write a book one day called paradox, but I think life is just full of them. Right? One of them is in for the young leader listening today. He think, man, maybe you think I don’t I’m not assuming because we talked about that earlier. But maybe like, oh, they’ve got this figured out. This couple knows how to work together. They’ve gone through all the trenches. I want that. And the paradox is, you don’t have as much time as you think you do. Yeah. Well, and you have a lot more time than you think you do. And so we want we want this what we’re working out right now, but people don’t know it’s it’s taken us almost 20 years to get there. Yeah, it go look, go look at IMDb at the newest hit actor and figure out when they got their break. Yeah, yeah, probably like 40. Like some of these actors get their big like, Oscar winning thing. And they’re 50 Yeah, that’s old. But it’s you didn’t see the crappy commercials they starred in and all the things they said yes to because they were desperate. And the things they said no to and how are they hustled before they got their break, but I want it now. Sound like I still sound like this. I do not have this figured out. But we sound like a bunch of children who don’t understand how good it is just a slow cook a thing. Yeah. But at the same time, but at the same time. Don’t wait on it either. Yeah. Like, we could have sat around for another 10 years wishing that we could make some policy work at Life Church. But we don’t have as much time as we think we do. Yeah, you know, so you gotta you gotta, you gotta work that paradox and understand which side of it you’re on based on the season that you’re in.

Mary Kuti 49:01
To kind of wrap it up. Someone sent me this message yesterday, they said I love how you and Chris are. Is it a conscious effort? I was like, wow,

Chris Kuti 49:09
What does that even mean? Like how we are at what?

Mary Kuti 49:11
They just, you know, being fun together, whatever. I just thought to myself, what in life that is successful is not conscious effort. Like anything that you want to be successful you’re gonna put conscious effort to.

Chris Kuti 49:27
Oh, gosh, babe, we woke up one day, we just had a healthy marriage. No. I woke up one day and I just had six packs and huge delts and traps. No, I went to the gym.

Mary Kuti 49:38
But let’s be honest, we live in this society where people think you can just have it right away, you wake up and it’s instant. So I mean, that truly is that person was wholeheartedly asking me Is it a conscious effort? Yes. And it’s it’s a small thing because everyday making those small conscious efforts lead to something big. And so all of these things that we’ve talked about today are conscious efforts that we’ve made with each other and our family and in ministry.

Chris Kuti 50:08
Yeah it’s good. Pound it.

Justin Price 50:11
So cool. Well I can’t wait for you guys to put a book out I don’t know what you’re working on right now but for anybody who’s listening to this, where can we where can we stay following the saga of this healthy marriage and the the what you guys are doing not balanced but integrated work in life and family and ministry?

Chris Kuti 50:33
Well we’re on the socials. Instagram is mostly where we live. Chris Kuti. K-u-t-i. It’s the worst possible option. We’re there again. And then mary.kuti. You know, we’re working on a couple things, we’ve got an EP coming out the first of 2021. We’re actually going to start working on some recording here in the in the first part of January. So that’s coming out. We’ve got YouTube kind of cooking. And then maybe we’ve kind of toyed with the podcast thing too. And so we’re we’ve got a lot that we’re really we’re kind of just ruminating on, as we’re kind of on the journey of where we’re going to be planted. And now we’re planted and building house, we’re gonna step into a lot of that stuff. So just follow us on that on the gram. And you’ll stay posted to all the things is there anywhere else?

Mary Kuti 51:20
No, that’s it.

Chris Kuti 51:21
What’s your book gonna be called?

Mary Kuti 51:22
No. Our book.

Chris Kuti 51:23
Our book. I’m the kind of guy I’m the kind of guy that’s like, I’m like the entrepreneur. I’m like, babe, you write a book. You do like a you do like a woman’s leadership podcast. I’ll do like a creative thing. Like, no, let’s just do one thing. Let’s just do that. And I’m like aw crap.

Mike Mage 51:40
Gotta walk before you can run we just talked about. Well, guys, seriously, it’s been incredible. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Chris Kuti 51:53
Thank you for asking us guys and for trusting us with you know, I see minutes on your thing as an economy. And thank you for spending, allowing us to spend some of your minutes.

Mike Mage 52:05
And also happy birthday.

Justin Price 52:08
Oh my gosh. Happy birthday.

Mike Mage 52:12
That’s so cool. What is what does that feel like to have a birthday on the 31st of December?

Chris Kuti 52:17
It’s it’s an interesting birthday to have when you’re enneagram three because it’s like the world’s throwing me a party. This is amazing. I’m the man. There’s a huge ball drops for me. The whole world does fireworks. No. It’s pretty fun. Like our usually; your birthday is December 18. March 31. our son’s is December 26. So we’ve gotten really good at managing Oh, how do you celebrate Christmas and then Oh, the next day to have a birthday. We’ve gotten really good at that. It’s just it’s just another day and we’re enjoying it.

Mary Kuti 52:48
Normally the last several years. We, our big vacation and birthday and

Chris Kuti 52:52
You’re gonna go like pandemic sad on me aren’t you.

Mary Kuti 52:55
Normally, we’re on a cruise right now celebrating Christmas, birthdays, New Year’s.

Chris Kuti 53:00
Our parents are watching the kids at their house in Florida and we jump on a cruise. Not anymore.

Mary Kuti 53:08
Not this year, next year.

Chris Kuti 53:09
Now we just lock ourselves in a room and record a podcast.

Mary Kuti 53:13
How we get that second door? How do I get that second?

Chris Kuti 53:16
How we get that second door? Hey, when’s the when’s the lobster bisque coming? Cuz that’s

Mike Mage 53:24
The podcast, we should have ordered some sort of like cake to show up right now. Next Next year, next December 31.

Chris Kuti 53:31
So hopefully we’re talking to you guys before next year.

Mike Mage 53:33
Yeah, that’s true.

Chris Kuti 53:34
We’ve enjoyed our time guys. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mike Mage 53:37
Oh, man, Justin I really do feel like that is one of you know, either top three top five podcast interviews that we have done since we really started the podcast and just the energy felt really good. And more than that, what they had to say you know, there is there’s so much that we can miss out on if we are not obedient and if we are not patient if we are not humble enough to see what God might be leading us to. Even if even if it doesn’t feel like it could ever happen even if it feels like people might be saying like don’t do this or whatever you know you feeling those roadblocks you know it’s it’s incredible what can happen when you do wait a little bit when you when you actually are obedient to what God has for you.

Justin Price 54:26
Yeah, Mike, I think it’s gonna take me a while to fully process this one. I hope that if you’re listening in you know somebody who is you know Dis is has that kind of holy discontent, knows they’re supposed to be doing something but the timings just not there yet. Send this podcast to them. You don’t have to do anything else for us. You don’t have to pay us but just pass on this story. Because man, there’s just so many times where we rush things and we ruin it. We jump into things before we’re supposed to, or because it doesn’t work smoothly, we give up way too soon to see these guys chase after this dream of being in ministry at the same campus together, and waiting it out and being obedient while they’re at Life Church. And then and then being willing to even take a risk and go, Hey, we’ll leave the biggest church in America Yeah, to, to go do this thing that we believe God’s calling, and now they’re living it together. And it’s and it’s going great and they are killing it. And they’re doing a lot of great ministry work. Because of it. I’m just super, super encouraged by that story. And I don’t even know if they realize how powerful that is. You know, it’s funny, I think they are like we’re worship leaders. We’re doing our worship and it’s like, there’s so such a bigger story arc to their hearts, and what they’re doing and how sold out how sold out they are to following God’s will for them. And being obedient. So super, super encouraged Mike.

Mike Mage 56:02
Yeah. And it’s, it’s super cool. You know, I they are just at the beginning of their journey with at their church that they’re at right now. And make sure to continue to follow along with them through Instagram, through their YouTube, all their videos, that they’re releasing the music that they’re putting out. But and as long as you’re gonna, if you’re gonna follow them, you might as well hop on over to Healthy Church Growth, on Instagram, on Facebook, make sure to subscribe to the podcast. You can also get show notes over at And you can see all the transcripts there and a ton more content as we continue to release more podcasts. So we would love to continue the conversation with you. We would love for you to share this with as many people as possible as well. So thank you so much for listening to the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 27

Grieving Loss: When Good People Leave the Team

Losing staff members is inevitable, but it can make you question yourself as a leader. We discuss how to set your team up for success so that if a member leaves, you can be confident that you did everything you could to help them thrive in your organization. 

On Instagram: @Mikemage, @techjustinrp, @vers_creative


Mike Mage
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. It’s incredible to have you along with us here for these conversations that my co host, Justin Price and I are having. Justin, how are you doing today, man?

Justin Price
I’m doing good, Mike. You know, there’s been a pressing question I have for you. And I don’t think we’ve ever really just, like, gotten deep before on this topic and. Alright, so, um, have you ever lost anybody that you’ve loved?

Mike Mage
Yeah, I, just diving right in here real quick. Right up top.

Justin Price
Yeah, super, super shallow.

Mike Mage
I have actually, personally, you know, I did, I did lose my mom, about three and a half years ago to breast cancer and really terrible. Like, I mean, honestly, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through as a person, you know, an adult, whatever, just as a human, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. And, you know, losing people is obviously not fine. I mean, it’s just, it’s a terrible thing. And you know, even professionally, Justin, I know, you I’ve you and I had conversations about this, but we actually lost; He’s not dead. We didn’t lose him.

Justin Price
It feels, it feels like it.

Mike Mage
Yes. But from, from our professional at, you know, here at the church, we did end up losing a team member. He, you know, he decided to he got an offer to work somewhere else. And he’s no longer going to be a part of our team. And it really, you know, especially after 2020 and, you know, I know, for a lot of people out there listening, if you were in some sort of creative work, you know, you were really the engine of your church, you know, whether it was leading worship online, or putting together communications or

Justin Price
This was your video guy.

Mike Mage
Yeah. So this was

Justin Price
Everything you put out, went through his desk.

Mike Mage
Yeah. And he was our primary lens of how we got whatever we were doing out into the world, and, you know, got getting to impact 1000s of people by what he was being able to do. And, you know, he felt like God was calling him to be somewhere else. And who am I to, you know, say yes or no to that, you know, that’s that’s his personal thing. But it really does feel like we’re losing a family member, you know. Especially after a feeling feeling like really, we we all went to war together. And, you know, he felt that way, too, you know, we we all prayed over him. And, you know, it was it got very emotional. And he just kind of feels like this is the right move for him and his, whatever he wants to do, which again, I don’t disagree with, but still kind of a hard pill to swallow. So. Yeah. What about you? I mean,

Justin Price
Yeah, it’s interesting. I had a, I had a video guy that I poured a lot of time into, and we’re not gonna get into obviously losing a loved one. But I’ve had some, some instances in my life of losing people that were close to me. And yeah. And it is interesting how, how similar the feeling of loss can be. Yeah. But especially in this, like, we think about our teams, right? When we think about what our the DNA of the time, sometimes we actually spend time with the people we work with more than we spend with our families. So when you talk about losing a family member, in many ways, the memories or the the loss is sometimes even stronger, the sense of loss is even stronger. When you look at the mere time that’s been spent, you know.

Mike Mage
Totally. Yeah, it makes sense to feel as entwined, especially when it comes to like, either creative work, because I do think that it involves, you know, like, a lot of who we are as humans, but then, you know, you’re talking about church work. I mean, there’s just, there’s so much intertwined and tied up into that you can really start to identify as a group together or, you know, as a family together. And it’s it’s hard to unstitch those things, you know. Yeah, from from each other. So,

Justin Price
I think one of the first thoughts that comes to our minds as, especially as leaders, is sometimes like, what could we have done to stop that from happening? You know, what can we do to fix that? And, you know, whether that was, in any circumstance, I think we always kind of second guess ourselves. And sometimes I think there’s there are certain circumstances I lost a great employee to a circumstance that I couldn’t change. So, you know, we run a creative agency now that serves churches, and we serve a lot of large nonprofits and for profits, and the way that we’re able to do that most effectively is to be distributed across the country, which means we don’t have a lot of people who work in the same city. And this person was working in Orlando, and she was phenomenal. I mean, She was really great. But there was no community. And she started like two weeks before COVID. And so all of our staff get like, in person, staff retreats got shut down. She couldn’t visit from, you know, lots of times staff will come into town or I will, I will meet with, with staff, and, and our clients. And we’ll travel and things like that. So there was no travel. And she was she’s an extrovert, and she really did not want to be inside a house by herself. And even like coffee shops, like even the opportunity to like work around other people. She couldn’t do, right. And she just she was like, I mean, even if we would have paid her more, even if we could have done it, like she ended up leaving to take a job in an office. And like, and so you know, when you hear those circumstances, the loss is still felt. But there is this, there is a sense of resolve that I think that allows you to process it and move forward and go, like, I can’t change that circumstance, I can’t change that. And in the future, I’ll have like, and by the way, we vetted like, in the interview process, we said, hey, you’re gonna have to work hard about it, like, you’re gonna have to make sure you get out, you’re gonna have to put good boundaries in your life to make sure because you are an extrovert, you want to make sure you do get that, but her church got shut down. She was like leading a huge team at her church, and she couldn’t even like interact with them. So she didn’t, it wasn’t just a workplace, it was that everything else got stripped away. And when she got an offer to go to office environment and work with people, it was like, everything else was still shut down. And I can do anything after six months of her working by herself in her office and probably going a little bit nuts. So

Mike Mage
Yeah, well, I, I mean, yeah, I think that there’s a lot of outs, I mean, gosh, 2020 was a year where outside circumstances dictated what we did, more than anything else that I’ve seen in my lifetime. And especially changed what we did. Just as like, as a church as creatives, all that kind of stuff. I mean, we had to adapt quicker, I guess, you know, there’s a lot, there’s always been a lot of outside forces, dictating what we’re doing, or I guess how we’re doing things, not necessarily changing why we’re doing them, but how and what we’re doing. But this just had to be so quick. That Yeah, there’s there’s not a lot that you could have done for her. If, you know, like COVID happened, you know, like you can’t; You or I outside of not getting COVID or not spreading into somebody, we really can’t do a whole lot about that. Talking about losing people, you know, sometimes like, you know, either her, or maybe you know, someone else that you’ve been talking about, you know, there’s this idea of, well, and especially I see this a lot in the church. And I don’t think it’s wrong, necessarily. But I’d love to get your thoughts on it. We hold this attitude, that what we’re doing is we are building the kingdom, and we are equipping the kingdom, we’re building it. And, you know, I get that we have to hold everything that we have with open hands, and be generous with our training and our wisdom and you know, our time, our resources, all that kind of stuff. Do you think that there’s something noble about, you know, just training someone up for them to leave? You know, is that like something that we should be after? How do we approach ministry in that way? You know, does that make sense?

Justin Price
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is something that, so like, three years ago, I had an employee that left that I had poured a lot of time into, and that I loved very much. And I felt I was very proud of the development that had happened. And then as soon as the like the non compete contract was up, that was on paper, this employee was like, peace out, I can make a lot more money somewhere else. Well, actually not somewhere else, but working for myself. And so that was, it was super tough. That was that was that one was one that immediately caused me to go, hey, how can I prevent that from happening in the future? And I mean, I was asking that same question like, well, should I have not poured that much into that person so that they were valuable, right, that they could make money outside? Should I have put like, tighter restraints on them? You know, like, that was one of my first thoughts is like, I should have tied them down with like, tighter contracts, or whatever. And I think that the, the, there’s one, there’s like one clear answer to all of the questions and that since that employee left I have been asking in searching for and writing articles and writing this all down in kind of how we build out our culture. And the one principle that I feel really confident that I can say is that whether it is noble or not, and whether it is good or bad or whatever. The thing that stands true in leading creatives, when it comes to the topic of keeping them is to not worry about keeping them, but to worry about providing what is best for them. And to serve them and to love them, and to give them every opportunity to be successful inside of your organization. And what that means is that it means you have to train them and then open up the opportunities for them. And sometimes those don’t happen together. Sometimes you’ll train them and the opportunity is not there, you know, and then sometimes you train them, and you have to pray that they’ll be patient enough for that opportunity to come along. But you can’t, you can’t force that. But you can teach it, and you can review and touch base with them. So what like one of the things that we we’ve been doing in the last, the last little bit is like trying to have more frequent reviews. And in those reviews, we talk about that person’s future, and what are their hopes for their future? And what are their desired outcomes for the future? If they know that you know, what they’re after, why would they leave? If they see action for getting moving forward, And you can even say like, I can’t get you there this quarter, or this year, but we can make these steps to get you closer there for next year. Yeah, and and to figure that out, and that way, at least if they leave, you know that they’re leaving, because you couldn’t get that trajectory. And I found that that seems like that is all rooted in this very self centered concept of trying to do what’s best for them. Because if you do what’s best for them, then they will be better for you. They will pour back into your organization better, they will actually have better ideas, they will, they will soar. And so if they soar, and they leave, it’s not because you didn’t do everything you possibly could to make them great. And to provide the best future for them inside of your organization. And and I think that it, it sounds like maybe too simple. So poke some holes in this because this is something obviously I’m wrestling with. Still continuously, our team is wrestling with it. But we actually just shifted, I brought this up in the podcast before, but we shifted from yearly reviews and like even like, twice a year reviews to quarterly reviews. And now for like 2021 we’re not even setting yearly goals. We’re only setting quarterly goals. Yeah. So like, I could not tell you what our goals are gonna be for June, yet. I only know what we’re doing for this next quarter. And that is so freeing with all the things I don’t know right now. And all the uncertainty that there is right now. It is beautiful. It feels incredible. Because I can’t tell you like, are we gonna hire five new hires in June. But I can tell you, like we have two slots to fill in this quarter. And I can’t tell you, like if we’re gonna, you know, be able to go after this big account in June. But I can tell you, we have these slots available for these accounts. And they’re already like, pretty much done. So all but but but maybe a contract being signed. So I know what clients we’re gonna have. I know what staff we need to have for this quarter. And then probably into February, I can start working on quarter two. But anyways, do you guys said a lot of things there.

Mike Mage
No. Well, I mean, I think that’s really good. Because, you know, we started out this podcast, talking about, you know, losing somebody, and rather and for as much as that sucks. But as much as that hurts for as much as it can be detrimental at some point shape in time. You know, I the what you’re saying is you’re not operating at this point out of fear of losing them, you’re operating out of, you know, the, the your ability, as a leader to continue to create a space and a culture for them to grow. Which I think is a really great thing for whoever’s listening as well. You know, I was thinking about this a lot in you know, how can this translate to, you know, the worship leader who’s leading his volunteer worship team, at his church. And, you know, I don’t know if you ever did this when you were working at the church, but I have sent out a review to my, my worship team, my volunteer worship team. And you know, we do one as of right now, like, probably once a year, but like, do doing some sort of, like, you know, downloading some app that is a survey app, we’re going to what are some surveys on MailChimp or

Justin Price
Survey Monkey.

Mike Mage
Survey Monkey. Yeah, you know, getting on these these websites and creating some survey and asking your people questions where they can respond even anonymously. You know, and I think it does, it does a lot of things. A-it gives you some really helpful feedback about what you’re doing gives you some self awareness about what you’re doing, but, but on the flip side, it also allows your volunteer team to know or your maybe you have some staff or whatever, it allows your team to know that like, you do care, and you are you’re trying, it’s a way to show them that you are trying to create that space, that culture, you know, for them to grow. And, you know, to move in some sort of direction. Because I feel like sometimes we get really scared about what direction we’re moving. But sometimes it really like, we just need to take a step forward, whatever that is, we need to take some sort of action. And then we can sort of like course correct as we’re moving. Because, you know, the hardest thing to, like change direction is something that’s not moving when something’s already in motion. You can you don’t need to, you know, change, change it that much to keep to keep it going in the right direction.

Justin Price
So that’s a good little tidbit right there.

Mike Mage
Yeah, there you go. That one’s for free. But

Justin Price
I love that.

Mike Mage
Yeah, I just, I think that I think that you’re right. You know, like, if, at the end of the day, you’ve done everything that you possibly can do, and the person still wants to leave. Like, that’s when we have to be open handed about the thing. And because, you know, like, increasing your restrictions on what people do, or you know, when they’re a part of your organization. Like, that’s not that doesn’t show that you love them. That doesn’t that shows that you’re scared about losing them. And, you know, like, I don’t think people need that, you know.

Justin Price
Mike, tell me, so, like, run any scenario through this, like, the answer to keeping people is to love them. Like, just run a scenario where that doesn’t work. You got I mean, as anything I’m struggling to come up with. And here’s the thing you guys like, This isn’t like, I’m a Mother Teresa here. Like the the reason that I think this is the right solution is because it gets me what I want. This is I feel like I try so hard to be transparent about this, like, This isn’t like a bait and switch. There’s no smoke and mirrors. It’s not like I believe in peace, love and happiness, because I’m some like free thinking, you know, monk. Like, I truly think that I get the best thing that I want as a leader if I serve them, and treat them with love, respect, and try to do the very best I can for them. And it sounds like really cheesy, but I love the concept of like, you know, if you get to this point of them, the two things, your goals and their goals, their futures, not aligning, you can let them go if you love them, and you did not lose a loved one. But you’re now cheering on their future for where they wanted to go.

Mike Mage
That’s so good, Justin. Yeah. And I think that that’s, but you know what, though, that doesn’t happen with one conversation. And it is it is an incredible gift to be able to mourn someone’s loss, but also be super excited for them in their next endeavor, whatever. And I think that that comes after, like a long, you know, that, that’s, that’s multiple conversations over a stretch of time. That’s you showing that you care about them more than just one thing at a time. Not saying that everything goes perfect, or whatever, you know, it’s not some idyllic masterpiece, but like, you know, this, this guy that’s leaving from our team, you know, like, I, we will still very much be friends. And in fact, he’s still very much going to serve on our worship team, you know, like, it is his he is he is invested and involved here, it’s just another opportunity. And so while it stinks that he’s leaving, and I think that there’s more as a church we could have done to keep him around for such a high value staff member, someone who is very good at what they do is super impactful. I do think that, you know, it could have turned out a lot worse. And you know, like, we’re still able to, to have some sort of connection with that person.

Justin Price
So Mike, if you’re looking at this, from your perspective, and I know you’re you’re not his direct report. So right. We’re treading on some water that’s pretty loose, and pretty unsettled here. And I don’t want to go into a critical statement at that his boss, but because I don’t know that circumstance at all. But can you look and see like, Hey, could your review system, and could you guys incorporate some things into your review process for your creative team staff, and maybe can you bring this up to your boss, like, Hey, we need to be making sure that we’re helping everybody on the staff get to where they want to go. Yeah, and be taught having those conversations, right. Because I think one of the things that you mentioned when you told me, in fact, just I think this is fair to tell everybody on the podcast, you get to cut it out if you don’t like this, Mike. You can edit it out. But you sent me a text and you’re just like, I’m heartbroken. Yeah. You said you you told me that he was leaving. And your response was like, I’m heartbroken. Yeah. And I think it was from such a, that was not a dramatic text. That was a very just real thing. And I think what broke your heart was that the first conversation you guys had about this was when it was over. Yep. And I had that same experience with the guy a couple of years ago. And so now I have to be I as the leader, I have to get in front of those conversations. Because these younger guys don’t realize, guys and girls, younger staff members, and maybe even older staff members, people don’t realize that there is there more options than what they think. Well, I, two years ago, I said I wanted less hours, and I’ve been working more hours. And so I have to leave. It’s like what, wait a second, we’d never got to even have those conversations. And when this is gonna be a little bit of a side, trail, Mike, but I think we should probably make a quick PSA to people who are serving underneath. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re frustrated right now. Yeah, in your job situation. If you’re on a creative team, and you’ve been working at a church for the last year, and you didn’t feel a little bit frustrated, then I would love to have a conversation with you. Because you’ve been in a very, very tough, probably underappreciated spot. If not, like, that’s amazing. And I’d love to hear kind of the success from that. So reach out, you know, shoot us a message on on social media. or shoot me a text at 727-421-8299. I really seriously would love to have a conversation with you. If you’re if you you know, you’re like, man, I really got through this year thriving. Yeah, but because I’d love to hear learn more about that. But the point is, is that if you’re frustrated, quest, I want to, like think through like how well have you communicated your goals and your needs, and tried to seek a transition that can help you. Oftentimes, you know, your leaders love you and care about you. And they don’t tell you because they have 20 other things on their plate, and they’re not checking in on you because they think you’re fine. And then you get you have all this bottled up. And then one day you decide like, I can’t handle it anymore, I’m done or some action happens or a bad conversation triggers this box, or you get that phone call, which is a better offer with more money. And all of a sudden, this thing that you have put so much equity into, you walk away from because you’ve lost hope that it can be better, or you’ve had the same problem too many times in a row. And I just I want to encourage you that that so many times I; There was even a job that I walked away from that had so much opportunity. And I was just too young to even realize, and to think that I could communicate it. And I probably broke my leader’s heart when I said I was out. And by the time I told him about it, that decision was done. Right. I was off. I had had a better offer. Yeah. And I never even gave him the chance. Yeah. And and I think for you guys, if you’re listening to this, if you’re if you’ve not, if you’re not being mentored by somebody, you don’t get the chance to talk through some of these things. Please take this one piece of advice. And that is that there are so many more options than you think. And if nothing else, you’ve got to have some of these conversations early on to find out what the options are. And oftentimes, there’s more pay available. Because what you don’t realize is that while you may be make 40-50 grand, it’s gonna cost your, your leader 20 grand to replace you. Like just finding somebody else. It’s gonna take so much time and energy.

Mike Mage
And the inconvenience of all of that stuff too having someone else invest time, money, energy.

Justin Price
Oh re-training. Yeah all that stuff. It’s not just like hard cash, but, but your leader knows that. And they’re willing to, to figure out what they need to figure out financially. And so there’s, there’s just these things again, again, I wish somebody would have told me when I was when I was earlier on in my career, how many options there really were. So that, anyways, Mike, I know, I’m pretty fired up about this topic, but it’s like, man, there’s; it could it could be so much better.

Mike Mage
I think like with all things and you know, I think, you know, from where I’m coming from here is speaking to the leaders of your volunteer teams, or your your staff teams, or whatever. Communication is key. You have to be able not only do you have to communicate to people, but you do have to create a space, a safe place for people to have these difficult conversations conversations with you. Because I know, you know, like, if I was in the shoes of maybe I got another offer from another church or something to say, Hey, you know, we’re looking for a worship director we’re gonna pay you X amount of dollars more, here’s what we have to offer. Like on the front end, that might seem really great. But all the underlying stuff of me, you know, having to basically trade in the however many years I’ve put in at this church and relearning all these new people how this church works, you know, like, Is it worth it? Like there’s so much more you have to factor in than just cost. But let’s say I was that person and I had to go to my leader to talk to talk about that, whoever that might be. If If, if I didn’t feel like it was a safe place to bring that to them. I wouldn’t do it, like, I wouldn’t have that conversation with them. And I would have to fret and worry in the dark by myself, maybe talk to somebody else, some friends, maybe my spouse, my, you know, girlfriend, boyfriend, whoever, and probably get some fairly unwise counsel that isn’t directly related to the health of the organization. And, you know, that could be detrimental for both parties. So I mean, I think you’re totally right, there are far more options available than we give people credit for. And then on top of that, to not to over spiritualize things, either the guy is in charge of things that are bigger and better than we could ever think or imagine. And I think that we regularly don’t test God out on that. I think that we are, we are okay with the safe conservative option, whatever that we whatever we think that is or whether that might be we don’t give God sort of maybe the the time to like, maybe explore some some other options, especially with the people that you know, like we should be talking to so. But I think that you’re totally right, man. Anything else on this topic? You know, that we’re talking about?

Justin Price
Yeah, I would just I want to enforce the concept of the value of staying as well. I think sometimes it always feels like there is a brighter opportunity somewhere else. And oftentimes, there is a great, you know, maybe it’s like you’re going to a bigger church where it seems like there’s more resources, or more clout. And so there’s a lot of factors involved in changing jobs. And I would just say the the thing that is very, very hard that you don’t really know until the end of your career, is just how much value there is in staying put. What it means to like, have a volunteer that you have served with for 10 years.

Mike Mage

Justin Price
The equity that you have there. When you look at like payment versus like, the ease of the job. How do you build a team when you you don’t have the time to even invest in those people to train those people? And so, you know, when I look at at someone like Mike, who has been here has evolved his role has grown his his influence over the church. In was it seven years? Eight years?

Mike Mage
Yeah. This is my seventh year at Bay Hope.

Justin Price
Seventh year at Bay Hope. And it’s like, and you still have a long ways to go like, you’re not you’re not there, you’re not done. And I look at like what you can accomplish today, just because of your, of the time you’ve had there.

Mike Mage
Yep, yeah. 100%

Justin Price
The influence that you have there. God is able to use you. Yeah. As the vessel. No. So I want to be really clear. You’re not gonna stop God from doing something. But but if you don’t have the influence, God’s gonna use somebody who has the influence to do what he wants to do. And you’re going to miss out on that blessing of being in the middle of what God is doing. In some ways, if you’re jumping around from one thing to the next to the next to the next, instead of being faithful and sticking it out, and I think it is really, really tough to, to even understand that and to even explain it other than just to trust a couple of guys who have gone through it and have had a couple of decades of church work experience. And messed up enough.

Mike Mage
Well, and so I think important that and we’ll wrap up here too, but I think important distinction to make is I do think that there’s because I agree with you like I think there’s something super important and probably like very unsexy being okay with being planted with wherever you are, and, and growing roots wherever you are, and you might be for a given time period. And that’s okay, you know, I think we need to be okay with that, with that longer process. You know, God can do a lot of really cool things in that you will be a part kind of like Justing was saying; you will be a part of being able to see God move in in a very in a longer way you get way more perspective. I do think there are some times you know, where we are not speaking to the people who are you know, there’s, there’s really bad leadership or, you know, there’s obviously some some things that are going wrong, or that kind of stuff, you know, like that’s, that’s not to the exact person we’re speaking to in this moment. There are moments that do call for you to not be a part of that anymore. You know, even abusive things like that can happen especially in the church. I don’t think that we’re speaking to that person at all. But you know what, Justin too something I meant to say earlier in the in even before we really started recording at the beginning of this podcast, is one of the reasons I think this is really important that we’re talking about is I feel like the year 2020 we were all sort of just like hunkered down, you know, not really knowing what to expect around the corner. And I feel like as soon as the calendar turned over the 2021 people’s eyes are starting to get a little clear. I feel like people are reckoning, or there’s like some sort of reckoning with the frustration and the almost the attrition that 2020 has put on people. And so, you know, I do feel like this is really important that we’re talking about right now, how do you create that space to maybe give people you know, some runway to grow, to take off to make sure that you, as a leader have not been, you know, putting all this time and energy, and not necessarily just in vain. Because like, yes, like those things will probably be fruitful in some way, shape, or form, even if someone does leave. However, you know, what if we could have these people stay here and continue to invest at the church that you’re at right now. So well, thank you so much for being a part of this conversation. And you know, what, Justin, and I it, he’s not kidding. Like, we would really like to hear from you all. If your 2020 was great and thriving, we would really like to know that. And tell us how that happened. But also, really, according to this topic. Are you feeling that attrition rate at your church? Are you feeling that even within yourself? Are you looking for a way out? You know, in the in a professional sense? Do you feel like that’s you? Are you able, are you able to find ways to create a culture where people can stay where people can be planted, where people can grow, we would love to have that conversation with you even more, and we can have that conversation with you on our Instagram @healthychurchgrowth. On our Facebook page, Healthy Church Growth Podcast, or

Justin Price
Mike, let me throw it out there too, because I don’t think that most of our audience knows this. But we have been, we’ve been working with churches for a long time, you know, you you’ve got a lot to share on the health of the worship team. And so if you’re listening to this, and you’re feeling frustrated, like you want to leave and you want a lifeline, if you want just some help, feel free to shoot us a message. If you’re struggling with something if you’re even trying to figure out how to communicate with your leader. If you’re in that like spot where you’re you’re getting ready to give up or looking elsewhere. And you are a video guy call Mike. Kind of joking, joking. But also Yes, yeah, shoot your reel over to Mike. Yeah, I think they have a spot. No, but if you’re if your team or your church is in a place where you need some outside help, and you want to dig into some of the expertise and some of the the things that we’ve put together some strategies that we put together to help your your team get healthy, whether it is the worship team, with Mike or the creative team with me. We’re here for that. And those are things that we can talk more about offline, too. So anyways, if you’re looking into making 2021 better, and you would love to even be able to bounce that off that we can. We’re also available for those conversations. We’re doing this because we want to see the church grow and in a healthy way. We love the church. And this is a kind of a, an outpouring of our hearts and our desire to share some of the things that we’ve gone through.

Mike Mage
Yep, absolutely. And so yeah, thank you so much for listening to the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 26 – Katie Allred

Communication is More than Announcements.

In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, we chat with Katie Allred of Church Communications about her passion for using the internet to share the Gospel. You will walk away with practical tips but also a new outlook on how to use the internet for God’s glory. Be ready to get inspired!

On Instagram: @katiejallred, @churchcomms,  @Mikemage@techjustinrp@vers_creative


Mike Mage
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. Man, do we have an episode for you today. Justin and I got to do this interview yesterday. So it is very fresh, very fresh in our brains. And obviously in our hearts as well. Justin, how’s it going man?

Justin Price
It is going, it’s going really well, I I’m still kind of on the high of the of the of the interview. Yeah, it was a it was one of these; I think they always turn out better than we even hoped that they will. Because we’re just we get to talk to so many cool people. But talking to Katie, there was no way to really prepare for what she uncovered. I thought we were going to talk a lot about communications. And we I think, just to kind of tease you guys a little bit. We talked about something that I was completely not expecting. And very little about actual communications, we talked about something that we are called to do. We talked about something that the Bible is so clearly called us to. And yet we don’t spend enough time talking about it. I feel I feel really convicted. In a good way, I feel like Katie is so tuned in to just listening to what God is calling her to do. And I feel like man, I’m inspired to take some action off of this conversation. I feel, you know, really, really just amped up. And it’s, it’s been, it’s not been a full 24 hours since since we talked to her and already just, I’ve put so many things into place because of this one conversation. So that’s a lot of teasing. Let’s get into it, man.

Mike Mage
Well, what so so for those of you that don’t know, is right up front. I mean, Katie Allred is she started this Facebook group called Church Communications. That’s originally why we wanted to have her on.

Justin Price
Yeah, 27, 000 people. Biggest Facebook group and Facebook told her highest engaged Facebook group, spiritual. What was the term? Religious.

Mike Mage
Spiritual page. Yeah, it’s not a religious page, religious organization, whatever it is the most engaged, like page that they have in that section of spirituality or whatever.

Justin Price
Which means like, higher than any church, though, it means a bit higher than any church, which you would think would have would be maybe doing a little bit better than then a communications group.

Mike Mage
Right. Well, and so that that’s initially why we really wanted to talk about communications, Justin. And, and you are so right. I mean, this interview, took a turn where I think and, you know, we’re talking afterwards, like I called, you called me on the phone, or I called you or something like after, after we got done with the interview, just to like, debrief with how awesome this interview was. And I just, I think I said yesterday, I was like, I I had to stop talking just for a little bit because I didn’t know what else to do. But just like, listen, and I really hope that our audience can just like I felt like she was talking directly to me. And, and how I view sort of the online world, when it comes to church and, you know, getting people engaged and all that kind of stuff. And I just really hope people will be listening over my shoulder as she’s talking.

Justin Price
There’s a lot of practical tips you can take away she gave us some good meat, and some good practical tips, but also some incredible inspiration. If you’re listening to this podcast today because you want some tips on growing your church or becoming more healthy. And you want to lead up if you’re a young ministry guy or girl you can lead up Katie is like kicking butt and you know, I love she felt called at 12 to ministry and and she had a pastor say like, well you I can’t ordain you because you’re a girl and I just if you’re a young girl, definitely like hold on to this, get Katie’s information start following her. She’s She’s kicking some some butt and if you get anything out of this, please share it. We would love for you to share it like this and subscribe to the podcast we’ve got more podcasts like this lined up. More interviews like this lined up for you keep sharing them the more you guys do that the more people get to also hear this get exposed to to this podcast. And it means the world to us to Mike and I. Although really, Mike this has become just a therapy for me. You do such a great job of coaching me through the responses of all of these, these podcasts. So, you know, I’m just here for the free therapy from Mike but for everybody else, man. This is those shares are like icing on the cake to the free therapy. So thank you. Thank you guys so much. Let’s jump into the podcast with Katie Allred from Church Communications Group and so much more.

Mike Mage
Before we jump into today’s podcast, I wanted to let you all know about a limited time offer for church leaders. This podcast is supported and produced by Vers Creative, a full service strategic creative agency that works with a lot of large nonprofit and for profit organizations. We know that you are facing a new reality and see a huge opportunity to grow your local church. In the past, the majority of churches have understandably utilized whoever was eager to help with their social media and website presence. This may have been a volunteer with a good eye for photography, or a person that just seemed to know more about the tiktoks than the senior pastor. Pre COVID-19, this may have been passable. But fast forward to the present and your church’s, digital presence is the front door. You need help from a team with years of experience building a strategic online presence for brands. You need a guide that will help keep your attendees engaged and to reach new people through the heightened noise online. So Vers wanted to offer up a free one hour strategy session to help you and your church leadership team get results. Vers also offers a full strategic roadmap service at a discounted rate for churches, that is the same roadmap process that they would take a Fortune 500 company through. So if you just like some help, they would absolutely love to help you. Vers has always felt called to support churches in any way that they can. That’s why they felt called to start this podcast with me, the Healthy Church Growth Podcast Network. And if you’d like to take advantage of that free strategy session, shoot them an email at That’s There are no hidden charges. This is just to help you and your team with the mission God has called you and your church to. Again, that’s And just let them know you heard this offer through the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

We have Katie Allred with us. Katie, thank you so much for joining us.

Katie Allred
Yeah, of course excited to be here.

Mike Mage
First off, I just want to say how big a fans and I’m going to speak a little bit for Justin. But Justin and I yeah. Justin and I are like giant fans of you, your work on what you’ve been able to do. How you been able to really leverage social media platforms for growth and for change and engagement. I mean, like it’s, it’s, it’s mind blowing, and I’m ecstatic and super, super grateful that you are taking time out of your schedule to join us and make this happen. So thank you so much.

Katie Allred
Oh, man. Well, thank you. I’m just the thing is like, I just know, I’m incredibly blessed. Like I don’t think I got here. Other than standing on the shoulders of giants and lots of prayer. You know, I think always, I don’t know if you’ve seen like these memes or whatever on Instagram and like, you know, you don’t know how long I prayed till I get here. Like I mean I spent a lot of time trying to get to the point where God can use me through digital, like digitally. And so yeah, thank you. I appreciate that.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, and I mean, like, Yes, a lot of prayer. But it’s super obvious. I mean, you are, you’re, you have worked very hard. I see you. You know, it started with the Church Communications Facebook, and it’s just it feels like it’s growing and growing your web designing your social media podcasts conference stuff.

Katie Allred
It even started before that, you know, the Church Communications Group here is, you know, I don’t know if you know anything about my history, but I started a Harry Potter forum back in like 1992.

Mike Mage
I did not know that.

Katie Allred
I was nine years old. I started this Harry Potter forum where I strategically shared the Gospel with 1000s of people. And it was completely on accident. And, but then I was just I felt like John out in the wilderness just are crazy person who was like eating honey and just hasn’t like, you know, if I had a beard, like, I feel like that would be me.

Mike Mage
You wore the camel hair for fun, like the camel hair is just for fun

Katie Allred
Yeah I did. But about the internet, right. On the internet, like you shouldn’t be sharing the Gospel on the internet, like you should be the answer for when people have these really deep questions about life like you should be their church should provide that answer. I was very passionate about that. And I was like, Well, how do we do it? You know? Even at like, 10 I was asking these questions because I was I was googling them you’re asking. And I was very thankfully discipled very intentionally, at a young age by a deacon in my church, which I do feel like sets me apart. That doesn’t happen anymore. discipleship on a one-on-one basis is what was what you know, the New Testament intended is What you know, I think what, what discipleship was supposed to look like. And I’m very fortunate to have been a result of that. I’ve been blessed through it. And so anyway, that’s it, Church Communications all really happened, because I really felt called to online community and creating online communities that were engaging and helpful and made people feel less alone, I guess, and just a part of something that was bigger than them. And so that’s kind of how Church Communications started. I definitely did not expect for it to grow as much as it has. I don’t think anybody could expect for something like that. Unless they were full of themselves.

Mike Mage
Well, it’s, it’s super funny. Like I, I didn’t know about Church Communications until probably when we first started really talking about Justin, I started really talking about this podcast. And then I think, Justin, I think you brought it up about these podcasts, or about the church group was like, oh, man, I for some reason, you know, I’m just a dumb worship leader, you know. And so, you know, I know there’s worship leader

Katie Allred
Oh yeah. There’s worship leaders groups now. Yeah.

Mike Mage
A lot of worship leader Facebook groups in there. Those are wonderful.

Katie Allred
There weren’t when we created the communications group. It was pretty, there was only like, a couple, there’s like a handful at the time.

Mike Mage
Sure. Well, so let’s just let’s get well anyways, but I was just I had no idea about it. And then I, I subscribed to whoever and it was just like, this world opened up to me. There’s so many people on there and like, so yeah. So so let’s, let’s, let’s get the the timeline here, the history of it. So like you said, You started Harry Potter forum. And so where, what, when did you start Church Communications? You know, it’s been a while, but what led to Church Communications, like specifically, like, what about that, you know, really brought that on?

Katie Allred
Yeah, so Church Communications really started out of it really started out of, I’m trying to think like, so back in 2015, I was working at a mega church in Nashville, just doing com work at that church, I was kind of the bottom of the totem pole, telling somebody that earlier, I was not by any means, like, at the you know, I was not a director or anything like that. I was the social media and web like I was in charge of web content. And while we while we were at that church, or while I was at that church, I saw the church grow from one church to having seven churches into five year span, which is astronomical right now. We had a very small web team, we lost most of the web team, I ended up carrying most of the web responsibilities. And, you know, the com team, all in all was like 20 people that included media people, right, like a/v as well. So a large team, you know, it wasn’t you know, by any means small, but I was very much at the bottom of the totem pole. But, um, while I was there, I was working with my boss, who’s Darrell. And Darrell, he hired me, actually we work together he trained to me when I worked center kid camps, I worked camps over some summers. I’m sure y’all,

Mike Mage
As most people do.

Katie Allred
Yeah, I’m sure you probably worked a camp and your life. If you’re a Christian. Like how you can get out of working camp. Like how you cannot be a camp counselor. Yeah, I have no idea. Camp counseling is first off something you should do. It’s like a rite of passage.

Mike Mage
I was just gonna say that. Yeah, absolutely.

Justin Price
Yeah. It’s like sweeping the floors.

Katie Allred
Completely. Yeah, Justin. It’s like, I don’t know. And it’s also like the blood and sweat and tears, especially if you’ve worked a Lifeway camp. I don’t know, center kid was like a whole nother level of work I am never bored. And plus, like, you know, like the water balloon thing that they created where you could tie 1000 water balloons at one time. Like that didn’t exist so we were tying 1000 water balloons, you know,

Justin Price
Bringing some PTSD for all of our listeners right now.

Mike Mage
For real. Yeah.

Katie Allred
Well I’ve been there guys. I understand. I understand having to change the auditorium from a party space to a worship space in a matter of 15 minutes.

Mike Mage
For real. Yeah, exactly.

Katie Allred
Change the mood.

Yeah, totally.

Or like from worship to party, you know, or like, you know, and you’re like, how do I change the mood from we were just crying to let’s celebrate the Lord.

Mike Mage
Totally or like, those nasty food games. Like all student camps play and the you gotta turn it around.

Justin Price
This is a dark path we could go down here guys.

Katie Allred
I feel like that could be it’s own podcast.

Justin Price
We could do a church camp podcast for sure.

Katie Allred
If somebody did that, that’s the whole niche, like the church camp podcast things that happened at church camp. But it’s true. Um, but so anyways, when I was at camp, I was a Production Director. Well my first summer I was a video producer and found out I hated video like an adamantly. And because like I had to film the whole thing and render the video and back in the day, we had tapes, right. So it took some time to render footage. And yeah, I really earned my Stars and Stripes until we were a traveling camp, so we had to set up camp stuff across America. And my second and third summer I ended up being a Production Director. And that’s where I met Darrell. He was in charge. He used to be in charge of all like event production at LifeWay. So he oversaw like, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, but also camps. And I just remember thinking was really cool. I’d love to work for him. One day, he ended up leaving life way and going to Brentwood to the church, I worked and created this job and I ended up answering, answering the call as you would. Before that, I was actually like digging ditches. I was working in IT as a networking administrator. Yeah, that’s definitely what everybody expects for me to be a network administrator digging ditches course. Yeah. fiber optic cable like so if you need me to create a cat five cable anytime.

Mike Mage
That’s worth it.

Katie Allred
What everybody thinks. I mean, I can also, you know, set up a sound system like whatever, you know, like, when you work camp, you just learn so many random skills.

Mike Mage
Absolutely. Oh, my. Well, what’s funny, Katie is like this podcast is for the person at church, who’s like the worship leader, but also the communications person. And also the, I mean, it’s literally the person you’re describing.

Justin Price
And the ditch digger too.We had actually put that in the description for the interviews.

Katie Allred
Did you really?

Justin Price
No. No . No.

Katie Allred
Sounds like the guy who’s in the graveyard digging.

Mike Mage
For real.

Justin Price
Yeah, I did. I do think I did think we identified with like, the church guy who, or girl who is also responsible for mowing the lawn. You know, I mean, it’s like this. Yeah, the position that you often start at the church is, and is this bottom rung thing. And oftentimes, you have this passion, and this drive that has called you to do it, like to do a job that from the outside looks like pure insanity, right? And then, yet, but yet you’re doing it and you’re passionate about it, but you don’t have the tools you don’t know, you look at you look at somebody like Katie Allred, who has this phenomenal online community, and you’re like, I can’t even get anyone to respond to one post on my Facebook page for my church, you know, but I’m so passionate, and I’m posting all the time. And, and what do I do? And I would love circling back, you know, for us to get into, you know, some of those things of like, how, how can we help equip that person with some of those things. But I do want to, I do want to hear the rest of the story of how this turned into where you’re at today, because this is great.

Katie Allred
So, yeah, so you ran through, Darrell anyways, that’s how I met Darrell how went to the church, and then with him decided to start the group. Well, we actually he we’ve been through a lot of ideas about what to do. And I really was very adamant that I wanted to start a Facebook group, and he was like- I don’t know. A Facebook group? Which he will tell you that so like, you know, I’m not throwing him under a bus or anything. But it’s so funny. I definitely expected to find 50 people who wanted to complain about it. And then within a few months, we had 1000. And that was just through kind of word of mouth really like and then Facebook was promoting us. I think it’s fair to say that we caught on to the craze a little early about groups. So actually Facebook, you know, changed their entire mission to be about groups in 2016, late 2016. And we started this group in late 2015. And we so I think that Facebook was actually promoting us with the intention of knowing that their their whole platform was about to change, and they wanted people to get into groups. And then in 2017 Facebook actually called us to tell us we were the most engaged faith based group on the platform.

Mike Mage
Whoa, man.

Justin Price
That’s really cool.

Mike Mage
Did you get a cool plaque like I have?

Katie Allred
I didn’t get a plaque. I’m like kinda mad. Like, why don’t they send me a plaque you know? I did get like a postcard. Go to Facebook, for me to go to Facebook, but I didn’t get to go and actually tour the facilities and stuff, which was really, really fun. Yeah. So how did we do it? That’s a you know, first off how it really depends. If you’re talking about from a church perspective, what is your goal? I guess, you know, like, what is your goal to reach people in your community? Is it to reach people all over the world? Is it just to reach people in your congregation? Like, who are you trying to engage? I guess, my first question. So is that where we want to go first? Like, how do you get your congregation to engage?

Mike Mage
Yeah, I think so. Cuz, you know, I was thinking about, you know, obviously, there’s like, 1000 different directions that we could go with this conversation. But like, the average church out there is, like, well, that, and like, everybody’s sort of in the same boat right now, for the most part. You know, like, we’ve all had the experience, sort of what is a virtual church look like? What is the virtual community look like more than anything? And I feel like, you know, when I look at Church Communications, like, I don’t need Facebook to tell me that it is one of the most engaged like groups because like, I see that I mean, it’s comment after comment after comment, like after like it like and, you know, engaged engagement is like one of the biggest catchphrases that churches have been throwing around. And it kind of feels like, they’re just now focusing on engagement, which is upsetting. And I don’t wanna get into that. But like, if you’re just now focused on engagement, like you’ve missed the boat, like, this is where we’re very far behind. Be like, how do you like, what comes first? Is it the engagement? Or is it the community? And like, does is do the goals sort of help each other? And I don’t know, like, what what are you looking for within your group? And then maybe we can translate that to how other churches should maybe like, start formatting things?

Katie Allred
Yeah. So first, the the group, our group is 80% engaged, which means we have 27,000 numbers today, I think. And so that means about 22,000 people use it every single day, which is wow. It’s fine. Casual. But then I think about that as a picture of the church, like the global church at large. And I’m like, Okay, so the church is engaging. But how can we get that to work on a more community level, I guess, or church level, like a local church? And so I think first it does come first engagement, and then community, but also maybe a little bit of first community thing? Well, yeah, definitely think that’s a chicken before the egg like who came first. So when we are starting the group, and something I think even churches can take a part of is, well, first off, should you create a group for your church specifically? So let’s talk about just some basic like Facebook strategy. Okay. So most churches, almost every church has a page. So Facebook has several different products, if you will, there are Facebook profiles, which you and I have, like personal profiles, and churches should be using personal profiles, not as a church because that’s not right. You should have a church page. Yeah, like, you should enable and empower your congregants, your church members to use their profiles to share the Gospel. And there are ways to do that. And then there’s, you know, church, there’s pages that churches can use, any organization can create, they’re free. And those are what most people are familiar with. The problem that the church I think a lot of churches encountered in the last 10 years, was they created too many pages. I think I’ve seen so many pages sorry, Justin, that that have been like, gosh, different ministries. Right. So the children’s ministry has a page student ministry has a page, preschool has a page that has diluted your ability to reach people. And so it has really decreased the ability to engage. Yeah. And so let’s talk about I think a lot of people always think like, I need a lot of vanity metrics. Like I just want 10,000 people following me, and that is what we’re aiming for. But I would like us to get away from vanity metrics, like who cares how many people like even in church COMM The group like, Yes, we have 27,000, which it sounds like a lot, but it’s still not a portion of fraction of how many churches there are in North America. There’s 300,000 churches. And so you know, maybe I’m going to get to 10% of them. But like, what’s more important is how are we engaging? Even when we had 1000 people, I was so fanatical about how can I reach all 1000 people with something? Um, and so, yeah, so creating content that speaks to that is part of the question. But then also asking people in person, and through word of mouth, just like old school is also a great way to do it. So talking about let’s focus on pages. So if you have your church that has multiple pages, I’m going to recommend that you merge them all into one. You can merge, it is difficult, and sometimes take some time. If you have problems with that you can of course, like go into our group and posts about how you’re having problems with it. We do have people on Facebook, who will come and help you. From the Facebook team, I can’t promise anything, it’ll magically happen. But you can merge, but the thing is like to merge, the pages have to be extremely similar.

Mike Mage
What does that mean?

Katie Allred
Just in the name, like, so you’re gonna rename the preschool page to, you know, blank Baptist Church, or whatever, and then post some similar content or something, and then eventually, you can merge those audiences. It is difficult. So that’s not an easy problem. It might just be easier, honestly, to turn it off if you’ve got only 500 people or something. Um, so first is having just that one channel that everybody can go to, but pages are really a front door. They’re like, what, you know, what kind of content should we post on a page? It’s really stories of life change, and like how God is moving, and sermon clips, really shareable content. And even content that doesn’t necessarily make sense. I can remember one time I had a pastor’s wife email me, she was so she was so angry. Because I was sharing a shared like a thing about, you know, what kind of toppings do you like on your pizza or whatever. She’s like, how dare you. Don’t you know that people are burning in hell because of their sin. And I was like, Yeah, yeah, I do know that.

Mike Mage

Katie Allred
I am well aware.

Mike Mage
Thanks for the update.

Katie Allred
Oh what is that? And I was like, but do you think Jesus was like going up to people like you’re burning in hell. No, I think he picked up people and met them where they’re at. And maybe that’s sometimes a pizza.

Mike Mage
He was into food. A lot of His stuff is about food. Yeah.

Katie Allred
He might ask you what kind of pizza toppings you like, um, but really, you know, creating that kind of fun content. And I think Life Church actually does a great job of this. So if you look at a great example, I think Life Church creates a lot of fun content and balances really well with church content. Yeah. But if you look at their content, too, you’ll notice almost, you know, hardly any of it is stuff around events at their church. That’s where we go wrong is we make it all event centric, because almost all of our churches were that centric. But 2020 changed that, right. Like, we can’t do events anymore.

Justin Price
Not only that, but all the communication needs from the church where we need to communicate events. I was talking to a pastor earlier today. And I was like, I feel so bad for pastors, and for even communications, people who’ve been doing this for 20 years, because there’s never been a bigger, you know, tectonic plate shift in all things, communication, and all of a sudden, like, there’s these new ways to communicate. But they’re not the same things to communicate with. And so we have a different way to make community. And yet we’re expecting somebody who used to lay out a bulletin to, to make sure that people had like detailed information for events, or what was happening this week. And also, the sermon notes, is now supposed to understand how to build a community on a new social platform that’s changing every six months. Which is kind of insane.

Katie Allred
Right. Yeah, it really is extremely insane that anybody thinks that they can just like, I don’t know, pick this up and make it magically happen. You know, I think, I think God enables some of us with some amazing gifts. We can’t have all the gifts. And so to imagine that your communications director who was probably just one person, if you do have one at all. Maybe you have a volunteer that’s been doing this this entire time, just magically knows how to make this happen. is, I don’t know it. It is a gift. It’s a gifting in and of itself. Just like creating community in real life is a gift. Yeah, so I, we can’t have all the gifts you can have some of the gifts.

That’s the title for this podcast. You can’t have all the gifts.

You can’t have all the gifts. Um, yeah. So anyway, going back to Facebook, you know, creating pages is what churches know. That’s basically all they know to do. That’s what they were doing up until really 2019. And then 2020 happened, right? Like, Hmm, what else is there? And so, you know, Facebook groups is what I recommend most churches turn to because for at least creating community, because they had it has just a whole nother set of tools. It’s not, you know, just one thing. It includes social learning tools and includes so much more. And so and then creating groups for those sub ministries so that you can communicate that’s like a place you can create your bulletin board, essentially. Not that you can’t put events and advertise events, of course, like advertising, you have to use a page. And if you’re a multi campus church, I think you should have pages for each campus. I’m not saying like, get rid of that by any means. But I do think your church needs a group. And you know, depending on how larger churches does it need subgroups for each ministry. I mean, that that that is part of the question you have to ask yourself. And then, you know, when you create those groups, how do you get people into them? So, I think the first thing you should do is if you don’t already have the email of all your people, you should. And so maybe that’s where we should start get the email of all your church members. All their emails. Maybe you should do text messaging. I don’t know. That’s a whole nother thing. But text messaging, though, is important. 99%, open rate for texts.

Mike Mage
For real. Yeah. I just opened one.

Katie Allred
15% for email marketing. I may want to say like about groups too don’t, and this is something, this is why I usually talk about for most people don’t just create internal groups. So like we just talked about, like, you can create groups that are specifically for your church. But could you create external groups that serve your community? Yeah, is my next question for most churches. So I have been talking about this for years. And I actually saw a church do this right when COVID started. They started like COVID, response group or whatever for, for the New Orleans area. Yeah. And within 24 hours, had 5000 members of people in New Orleans. And now, like 10,000 are added members, and they ended up getting press and all this kind of stuff. But what I’m very specific about when you create these groups, create niche groups like hiking, or knitting, or I don’t know if something you’re passionate about, but for your area. And then this is a very old evangelism tactic. By the way. This is like, you know, creating a basketball league. You’re saying, you know, come join our basketball league, but leave the churches, branding and life out of it. Start by like, just intentionally creating community with people creating relationships with people that can then translate to offline relationships. Because if you create like a kayaking group, fantastic. You can probably get a bunch of people in your area that are interested in kayaking into a group pretty organically, and you can maybe even tell 10 of your friends at church that also love kayaking. Be like, hey, invite 10 of your friends that love kayaking, and, you know, then we’ll have 100 people in the group and then organically, Facebook will promote it themselves. Um, and then what’s great is that now you’ve got, you know, 100 people who love kayaking, you can all go and meet up and talk about kayaking and go kayaking together. And then you can create those relationships that can translate to offline.

Justin Price
How long do you wait, Katie, when you make the kayaking group before you start doing kayaking lessons in the baptistry?

Katie Allred
Definitely, I would say never. I can remember one time like actually I was great is that one time I went so that a church created an event on Facebook, that kind of went very viral of free kayaking trips in my hometown, and I was like, This is awesome. Like, who doesn’t want to go on a free kayaking trip. And so they actually took all of their missions money and put it into these kayaking trips. And yeah, smartest idea ever. I mean, it was a super small church. I mean, like a church of like, 40 people and They’d like we’re putting our like, you know, $1,000 kayaking, or $1,000 missions budget into this kayaking thing, if they did every summer, and I mean, they saw me probably hundreds of people come through these kayaking trips. But what I hated was at the end, they made a sit on a hot bus and listen to somebody’s testimony, they weren’t prepared to give.

Mike Mage
The old bait and switch.

Katie Allred
The old lady switch. We’re gonna sit on this hot bus for 30 minutes and listen to the 17 year old kid, tell their testimony. That’s bad.

Mike Mage
All the stuff that they’ve gone through up until 17 is really hard life.

Katie Allred
It was so good up until that very moment, and then there was no follow up none whatsoever after the trip, and so I was like, you know, it’d be amazing is if you know, a church, and so, or even not a church, just a human being was offering free kayaking trips. And then there is follow up like, Hey, what do you like being a normal human being. I think we forgot to be human somewhere along the way, we became organizations and forgot that church was humans hanging out with other humans.

Justin Price
Yeah. That’s what that’s what stuck out to me when you mentioned the Harry Potter group. And the idea that you understood that there was a space for people who were lonely or alone, I think was the word you said. Yeah. And I was thinking about when you started Church Communications, I was a community, I was a creative director at a church. And I quickly joined and the thing that brought camaraderie for for me, was all the people complaining, you know, you had some really great, you know, like, people would talk about like things that messed up on Sunday, we would talk about different things. So there was there was a value a lot of community right, was higher than like the any tips I got, like, I don’t, I can’t tell you one thing that I ever, like, learned that there wasn’t a lot to learn.

Katie Allred
People are like yeah I learned so much, but they can’t tell me exactly.

Justin Price
It was, there was a lot. But what sticks out to me was feeling like I was not alone. And I was the only one who was really passionate at my church on staff that really cared about what I was doing. And yet he was like another 5,000, 10,000 people who are also passionately trying to do their very best, like people, you know, and it’s like, we can be so critical of church communications, like we can look at other churches and be like, Oh, they all look the same. And the graphic designers all copy each other and, and everybody only talks about events, and you’re not being critical of churches. But I just feel like I think it’s super easy for us to get so critical. And yet, the reality is like there, there’s one person trying to do a job of three or four or five people, a copywriter, designer motion graphics.

Katie Allred
I just want them like I know that like there are other people probably at the church. Some sweet admin named Betty who’s been there for years. I’m sure she has things to say. I’m sure she has things to talk about. But I really do care about that person who is wearing a million hats. And then the person who was like me, who was at the bottom of the totem pole was part of a bigger thing, but felt like they had so much to give back because they did have extra space and bandwidth to give to these other churches. So yeah, can we create those spaces for these lonely people? You know, I was thinking about it. And here’s the thing, like, everybody’s lonely. One in four people, you know, this was like a statistic from Cigna back in like 2018, one in four people don’t have anybody to talk to. Like, don’t feel like they had anyone that they could, I don’t know, intimately express themselves with. That’s 25% of Americans. There’s a higher percentage that like, I don’t know, it’s more than 60%. That was in 2019. But I felt like overwhelmingly lonely. And so I’m like, okay, that’s six and 10. And so I’m like, that is a lot of people who are feeling and it’s so on the rise. And it is directly correlated, I think, to social media, which is crazy, right? I think that loneliness is directly correlated to the use of social media and technology. But how can we redeem it? I think God’s in the business of redeeming things. And so how can we use it for his purposes to connect these lonely people to other people who care about them? That as we are Christians, we should care about people. Think creating these intentional or getting involved in groups that are already created in meaningful ways. You know, there are there is tons of community groups. You might even be a part of a neighborhood group, right? Probably like you know, not next door I’m talking about but like your, you know, Facebook group next door. I feel like it’s just a dumpster fire.

Mike Mage
It totally is. No, you’re right, it is.

Katie Allred
You can redeem it with Facebook groups, there’s like a neighborhood group, like, I have a neighborhood group for my like suburb or whatever, my subdivision. And, um, I think about, like, how can I create engagement in this group that is meaningful and helpful and like, positive and people in the neighborhood now recognize me because of my engagement, like, you know, I’m saying like, before neighbors, and even now, like neighbors don’t know each other. Right?

Mike Mage
Right. Oh, my gosh.

Katie Allred
You’re like, I don’t know who the neighbors to the left of me or the right. I actually don’t even know who my neighbor to the right of me. They just moved in, like three months ago, I still haven’t met them because of COVID. I’m like afraid to approach. Um, but I’m like, how can we create this like actual community where neighborhoods actually care about each other? And can we get into this in groups? Well, I’ve been talking about this for a long time. So somebody had listened to a podcast where I did talk about this. And she was like, I felt encouraged. So I joined a group and they like, take a walk or something every week. So I went and joined their walk. And she was like, this was probably the most meaningful gospel, like, opportunity I’ve gotten in a long time, because Christians tend to run in Christian centric circles. Like, we’re a church, and then we’re at work and like, we just don’t have an opportunity to meet people outside of the circles of influence. How can we increase our circles of influence? And I think creating Facebook groups are very centric to hobbies in your area, or even just hobbies in general, not just in your area, if you want to go national, you go for it. Or like, can we create like, communities of around and you can do this with Instagram, too, you don’t have to just do so in the Facebook group. So like, this can work in Instagram, too. Like if you want to create an Instagram account about kayaking in Mobile, I’m sure people who love to kayak and Mobile would follow that. And you could probably get user generated content from the group. So like it could feed to it. Because what I was thinking for like a group that’s like about kayaking, it could be like every Friday, like, Hey, where are you kayaking this week, share a picture, you know, of your latest kayak, you know, trip below or whatever. And then you can post all of those pictures, right, to an Instagram feed. And then start another community that’s going on over there and feed them back into the other ones. They can work together. And so I feel like we make this so so too complicated, like we make evangelism too complicated online. But the thing is just creating intentional pathways. So people aren’t really searching out the church. But they are searching. This is kind of changing subjects a little bit, but they are searching for words. You know, they’re searching phrases. They’re not really searching necessarily for church. Sometimes they are and then great, like they watch our broadcasts or whatever. But like people like during COVID, if you go to trends, Google Trends, I don’t know. Have you ever used Google Trends?

Justin Price
Absolutely. Yeah.

Katie Allred
Oh, yeah. Well, if you haven’t, if you’re listening to us it’s And what I love is you can kind of search like words and phrases and see like how popular they are in search engine results, and like how much people are searching them. Well, when COVID happened, prayer, like how to pray and like what happens after you die, like shot up like a hockey stick. People were searching for these answers. And there wasn’t any content like Google would prefer; Google how Google works is it actually checks local results first, and would prefer to give someone a local answer to their question, if there was a local answer that was authoritative. And like it was well researched, and had, you know, and seemed like it was a good answer, even if it was on YouTube, like, prefer to give answer because obviously, you choose on by Google. Um, but for the most part, churches don’t do you have a YouTube video of how to pray. Or video of how you know what happens after you die. Or answering these very simple like questions- What happens after you die? So simple.

Mike Mage
Just a tiny thing. Yeah, no, not a big deal. People haven’t been asking that question for 1,000 years.

Katie Allred
You’ve asked that question. If you became a follower of Christ. At some point, like you have asked the question these questions like some, you know, and so can we put out intentional pathways for people to fall like landing pages and or page content on your website, even if it’s a blog or a YouTube channel or whatever, that answers these questions. A lot of times they can come from the sermon. You know, you’re already doing sermons around this stuff. So don’t think like, Oh, you’ve got to reinvent the whole wheel. I don’t think that’s the case at all. You really can take the stuff that you’ve already created and put that in. And you just have to you just have to name it correctly.

You have to be intentional about it. Yeah, for sure.

Yeah. To be super intentional about how you’re doing it.

Justin Price
Katie, I don’t know if we’ve ever had a guest who has been as even evangelical in their mission for technology or communications as I’m like, honestly, I’m blown away. There’s no doubt. The reason why you’ve been able to be successful is because you’re chasing after sharing the gospel. And God is just using you. It’s It’s seriously so encouraging. As you’re talking. I’m just listening. I’m sorry, I want to recap for our listeners, if you didn’t quite catch on. Katie has just covered three different genres. And actually, she’s like, kind of moving into what we’re currently in right now for like top communications, which is, first it was an online community and Facebook groups. Then she started talking about how, well actually before that it was her web, the web management, like she was doing web work at a church; introduces Facebook and online groups, way ahead of the group’s trends, moves into Instagram, you know, develops how to utilize those things on Instagram as well still building social communities. And now she’s actually talking about search, which has both Google and YouTube search hacking for but all of it for the gospel, not for her glory, not for like her, you know, empire. And I’m super, super inspired. Katie, I think it’s just a breath of fresh air to hear, you know, sometimes I think we get like, really, especially when you’re good at something, right? To just like, be like, more focused about the thing you’re good at, rather than just like keep pointing it back to the gospel. And it’s just so cool to hear your heart. It’s like you just you’re you’re on the front edge of these trends. And not maybe you know, not necessarily like your what you’re way ahead of where most churches are at. And even what if you’re live if you’re a listener who’s listening to this right now, don’t be discouraged that you’re not Katie, God’s gifted her and given her incredible. Obviously, she’s given him the credit for it, for forecasting and for kind of seeing where they’re being able to read the communities and where things are going. But But listen to what she’s saying, because there’s not like a even if you’ve if you understand this today, everything she has said isn’t about Google and YouTube today. It is that understanding people and realizing that people are searching this way. So if you would be willing to listen and think about how people if you just constantly think about people, you will also be ahead of the trends. You will also be understanding where people are at and figure out new and exciting ways that Katie’s not figuring out that works for your community. We talked about this all the time a healthy church growth isn’t about taking a model and applying it to you and like copycatting. It’s taking it’s typically like the healthiest things are taking principles like scripture in parables oftentimes relate lots of different ways. But the principle is the core same and what Katie is ultimately saying is no matter what thing is happening, or trending or where people are at, she is finding avenues to get to them. And to give them the gospel not to give them her not to not to raise you know her awareness but to give them the gospel. And yeah, I’m just honestly like blown away. I had no idea. Katie, your heart for this. Even though I feel like I’ve been a fan of yours. I’ve been following you for a long time and seeing you do cool things that all met, like add to the story, you know, that all support the story. It’s not like I’ve been seeing yourself promoting out there. Yeah, but, but it’s just like, really, really encouraging. So I wanted to kind of recap that for our listeners and say, Hey, if you didn’t figure out what what she’s been talking about that is it right there. Did I miss anything on that, Katie?

Katie Allred
No, thank you. Yeah, no, that was that was I feel like sometimes when you’re like, well, Katie’s, like, figure it out. I’m like, I feel like the worst sometimes, you know. Cuz I, you know, to be all things to all people I sometimes have felt like I I just love the internet so much. And I’ve been very passionate about it for a long time since I was a child about reaching people on the internet. Because I really figured out at a very young age, that is where the ends of the earth are. Like, obviously, we’re having a conversation right now that was very much like we would have in real life. And, you know, I, at a young age also figured out that I let my guard down online, and I know that there are trolls and it’s easier to be hateful. But it’s just as easy to be loving, and kind. And so, you know, I have figured that out. I don’t know. I mean, ever since I was a kid, it was just so clear to me that that was the path to spread the gospel. So thanks for recognizing that. A lot of times, you know, I feel like I’m a crazy person. Like I said, like, John out in the wildernes, just a kid. Like if we just did these couple of things, we could really reach a lot of people for the gospel.

Mike Mage
Yeah, but it’s incredible. I mean, and I think Justin’s right, like, it’s the focus on people, even if it’s virtually. I mean, social media is supposed to be supposed to do what you’re doing, you know, at it social media at its best, does exactly all those things that you are implementing through Church Communications, and all these things that you are, you’re bringing forth.

Katie Allred
More the worst of social media, like, you know, social media, especially during like an election season can be the worst. I think that was why it has increased loneliness and anxiety and all those things. Um, turn that all off, like, unfollow all those people who are like driving you nuts. But create places of sanctuary, right online, like, how can we create healthy pockets on the internet, that are guided by Christians that are not like, church front facing but are, are ran by Christians owned by Christians. It’s just like, creating and running, you know, Christian businesses, right? Like, I want to create those things. It was funny what Justin was talking earlier, he was talking about, like, you know, it just created a space for me where I don’t even know if I learned anything, but I love that it’s part of the community that’s like University, right? Like, do you remember what you learned in university, he created this space, right for you to, to mature and to belong, and to like, create relationships that really were meaningful for you. I’m a professor right now. So that’s all I think all these kids. I don’t even know if they know that. Like, I should probably tell the internet. I’m a professor. Um, yeah, to give myself like, one tiny little bit of authority. But um, yeah, anyway, so. Yeah, I don’t know where I was going with that.

Mike Mage
Healthy spaces. Yeah. And that’s, and again, to bring it back, obviously, to the Bible. Like, that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to be lights in the darkness. And, you know, my pastor always says, to start punching holes of light in the darkness. And, you know, let’s just make as many of those as we can. And yeah, go ahead, Justin.

Justin Price
This thing is like, this is crazy that I had this conversation with an outreach pastor today, who said, I am struggling, he goes, I I’m not against the internet. And I’m not against social media, but I just don’t really get social media.

Katie Allred
Yeah I just don’t understand it.

Justin Price
And he’s doing a lot of overseas work with Muslims, that it’s kind of it’s very dangerous mission work.

Katie Allred
You can really reach the Muslims on the internet.

Justin Price
Yeah, yes. And he also, he also had just informed me about something that he had seen where they were actually taking like a church’s mission video where they, they actually were kind of telling the church, they came back, and we’re like, this is what we did on our mission trip. And that there was a group of, of Islam, people who then actually reacted like they found that video, and then they actually harmed some people that were in the area that had the mission work was done. And so he was coming from this very scared side of social media and internet.

Katie Allred
You definitely have to be careful. I, you know, they’re there. Especially it depends on like, especially mission organizations, you really do have to be careful about how you do it.

Justin Price
Yeah. Well, I think there’s a lot of nuances to all of that, right, obviously, like,

Katie Allred
But no matter what, the risk is worth the cost, right? Like, it’s just like anywhere, like you’re going to be persecuted no matter what, or however you’re trying to reach people. Right. Like, we know that that’s going to happen, right. And so for me, yeah, the risk just outweighs it.

Justin Price
I honestly, I don’t feel Katie like I can, I can make that judgment, you know, as far as like, what his risk or costs are.

Katie Allred
Sure, yeah. You have to be smart, don’t start. There’s a lot of things involved.

Justin Price
But everything that you have said so far has not been about communications, like you didn’t talk to me about the audience. You didn’t talk to me about the problems that we’re solving. You didn’t really talk to me, you ask questions about it. But that’s not necessarily what your heart has been after in this conversation. It has been sharing the gospel. And I almost feel like I’m sitting here talking to an outreach pastor more than I’m talking to a communications person. And so I honestly think this is a great; I’m more I’m bringing this conversation up with my with with the friend that I met and was talking with, because it’s unprecedented in the sense that he’s a mission. He’s an outreach pastor. He’s a missions pastor. That’s what has been doing for the last 10 years at a large church with a lot of money, a big, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars of missions budget that’s going locally and globally. And they’re doing some amazing things like they built a an orphanage for kids that were like in child slavery and they like save them and train them. raise them up, and they have these incredible stories. And I’m like, that is that’s amazing. And if like God is calling him to do that, that is great. And I’m not saying that like online missions, or what you’re doing with the internet is more worthy.

Katie Allred
But cant a portion of that money go to online missions. I don’t know of a church. I mean, I can’t tell you I’ve been; It’s not there yet. Online missions is not a thing, which is why I’m over here just like being like John again, like, yeah, yeah, it’s definitely not a thing. Online evangelism has been ignored and ignored. I mean, people were like, yeah, you could do it. And I mean, you could start really small, like, like I said, a personal profile. If you just ask the question, how can I be praying for you this week? I guarantee you, like 10 people, at least 40 friends, I bet 10 of them will reach out to you and say, Oh, you can be praying for because people are just waiting. They just wanting Yeah, they want to have the opportunity be prayed with, but we don’t give them the opportunity. And so that’s the easiest, I think prayer is the primary strategy for reaching people with the gospel no matter what. But offering prayer like that is just I don’t know, online, especially through personal profiles, where you feel like you’re not gonna be persecuted in real life. Hey, you know, here in America, we have such a great I don’t know, we have a lot of privileges. But I just went and you know, to India in January, I don’t know if y’all knew this. I went to India with missions organization. I don’t know that I can name the mission presentation over. I’ll tell you offline. But. But I went to India in January, right. When the pandemic was announced in China. I was in India. It’s fine. I had never been overseas before.

Mike Mage
The one time. The one time.

Katie Allred
Right. Yeah, well it’s so funny. My whole life. I’ve always, you know, I’ve really felt called to missions and stuff like that, like, like, you were kind of saying and, um, anyways, went to India and was working with some different Christian organizations on digital strategy for India, to reach people in India. And so I actually got to work with one team was making YouTube channel and they were like, Oh, we’ve reached millions of people before. They were like, this won’t be hard at all. We’ll spend $20 and reach 1000 people I’m like, like, okay, like, cuz people are so hungry for the gospel in India. And then too what was great is that I got to work on another theme that I created a podcast, the first podcast so podcast, just picked up podcasting in general. just picked up in India is like a cool thing to do. And, um, anyways, This podcast was the first podcast in two different Indian native languages, the first one ever. So first one ever put out and has already like, or at least in like, June or July, the last I heard had already reached 300 people for the gospel had already. Like 300 people that came to know the Lord directly through WhatsApp. Like we did, they did WhatsApp follow up, we that was part of our strategy was using WhatsApp to follow up with people. And anyway, um, so people are hungry for the gospel, figuring out how to do it digitally online, I think is the is the question. Yeah, I don’t know. I think I think we’ll figure it out. But I just I hope that we, man, wouldn’t it be great if churches like did get portions of their budget? I don’t know what that looks like for them. You know, I think figuring out like enabling and empowering people in their congregations, there are people who are already passionate about these kind of things about certain hobbies or whatever in their area. It’s just turning it around and like empowering them to create and not take ownership too, you know, I think the church so desires ownership over things. And I don’t think that I don’t I don’t know that hat’s biblical. Oh, we should give it all away. So well, how can we empower and encourage and equip people to do this really well, I think is the next question.

Justin Price
I think you’re paving the way. I think this podcast could be planting seeds right now, Katie, that people have just haven’t. It’s not that. And this is where I feel like it’s so easy for us to have this critical conversation at the church because I don’t think it’s because people don’t want to it’s it’s that precedent, like it just hasn’t been an opportunity. They haven’t seen it work. And there is a lot of; people got burned really early with with websites that were super expensive and did not perform. People got really burned by like bad things that happened on social media. Obviously, we’ve seen all sorts of different things. And so there’s a lot of fear around it and any I think you think you said it really well. They’re worth, the risk is worth it. But I would hope that this would spark a conversation in some churches, even if you’re a small church, and you’re like a worship guy doing everything and you’re doing communications, like, take this conversation to your pastor and say, let’s start with 100 bucks, like, let’s start doing something. There is work that we can use communication can be more than announcements, it can be the gospel, using these channels. And in you guys now more than ever, are a conduit for a whole, you know, untapped group of people who need the gospel right now more, you know, so much online.

Mike Mage
What I feel like what Katie is bringing to us is almost bypassing this idea that content is should be the only driving force. I mean, Katie, would you agree with that? I feel like we we have one of the pain points I see for a lot of churches, and we can wrap up here pretty soon. But one of the pain points I see is a lot of people are stunted in what they want to do, because they feel like they can’t compete with the churches around the corner, or the mega church that’s just down the road, or even, you know, stinking Elevation Church or Hillsong. You know, they don’t have millions of dollars. And, but what what you are bringing the church, the community building aspect of this has nothing to do with content. You use content as a vehicle to to ask people how they’re doing to actually connect with people. And you don’t need to have the $8,000 camera or you know, like the $2,000 video editing suite, you don’t need that specifically. Sure, that can help every once in a while. But But your your primary point is connecting with people.

Katie Allred
Right. How can I start intentional conversations that lead to intentional conversations about the gospel? You know, I definitely in 1999, did not have a fancy camera, or even social media didn’t exist. Right. Right. Right. It was just how can I reach these people that I have access to on the internet? How can I intentionally lead them more towards Christ’s likeness, even if they already know Christ. Like, what can I do to disciple them? How can I get to how can I reach them? How can I create pockets of community and create a community that is intentional and relational? And yeah, yeah, you know, and you can start very small, don’t feel like you got to go and reinvent the wheel tomorrow, I know that this is probably a 90,000 foot view. And tomorrow, somebody’s gonna have no idea. Literally, today, if I can just get you to do one thing, write how can I be praying for you on your personal profile. And start the community there. And then, if you’re like, Okay, well, that went over well, you know, how can or how, you know, however, that went in probably with them. By the way, don’t just say I’m praying for you like, and intentionally send them actually, yeah, we’ll actually send them a prayer because people don’t know how to pray. And so they will read the prayer as if they are praying it because they don’t know what you know, like Jesus modeled prayer for us so that we can model prayer for others. And so anyways, if you can actually write out the prayer for them, that would be one intentional way for you to create community online today that starts with your personal profile. You know, that is one easy way. But if tomorrow, you’re like, Okay, I want to take the next step. Join a community group that’s already started in your community. Yeah, and intentionally post on there. Just about random stuff. Like what’s your favorite barbecue restaurant? Like, you know, and just follow up with people. Okay, that’s a great restaurant. I’ve been there, you know, and just get your name out there enough to where people can recognize who you are. And just kind of move the conversation from there until like, see where you can kind of go with it. I don’t know. Maybe create your own group afterwards. You can have you’ll have a whole list of people who love barbecue. Barbecue fanatics of Mobile, Alabama,

Justin Price
It’s so good. You’re making it sound so easy, Katie.

Katie Allred
They both like it’s never gonna happen for me. Sure.

Justin Price
How many posts before I post a link over to my church?

Katie Allred
If you’re talking about barbecue, you post a church link. I feel like that’d be like, unless your church is having amazing barbecue, then you know- that’s an opening right there that we’re having a barbecue kickoff at our church. Okay, fantastic.

Mike Mage
Well, I do I do. I do love the freedom in that though. If you’re joining like a community, whatever. Like if you are a Christian and you are living a life with Jesus, it is going to naturally come up, you know.

Katie Allred
Because that’s what you do in relationships. That’s all a relationship is. Out of those relationships the abundance of your heart overflow Jesus along the way, that’s great. That’s exactly what we want to do. But that should happen naturally and shouldn’t be forced. It shouldn’t just be like-Go to my church website.

Mike Mage
Even online, I feel like people can sniff that out very quickly, you know, man, oh, yeah. They don’t want to engage with that.

Katie Allred
Yeah. Right. And so we don’t want that. Like we don’t want to be salesy or whatever, I just want you to be like a normal human that wants barbecue.

Mike Mage
That’s the title of this episode. There it is. There’s the title.

Justin Price
Katie, you’ve done such a good job of giving us so many good pointers, I hope that we can have you back some time and talk some more. Is there, you know, I know you wrote a book about Instagram, is there anything you would want to share? If you if our listeners got, you know, enjoyed this if they wanted to extend it. And here’s some more of your words and are not willing to take a class in your your college. Yeah. Where can they find you? What can we you know, tell us a little bit about how they can engage with you.

Katie Allred
So you go to if you want to visit the website. We have a blog. We have a podcast, you can check out the Church Communications podcast. We have, which we just did one on small groups online, like how to do small groups online. Actually, it was with Dave Ramsey, and there’s some great content in there.

Mike Mage
I’ve heard of him before.

Katie Allred
Yeah. Um, it was good. And there’s, gosh, you can join the Church Communications Facebook group. You can we just we’re launching a membership group, it’s You can join that today, which is more exclusive access to me, because I know everybody needs that now. There’s some great educational courses. So we did a summit with Dave Ramsey on small groups online. 30 different speakers about how to do small group and church online. I think actually, there might be like, 60 I don’t know. There was a ton. We got so many so much amazing. And all of it is how to content. So everything is how to do this because we like to be very practical. If there’s anything I want somebody to walk away with some practical steps. And so that’s included in the Pro membership, the instant summit that we did earlier She Leads Church that we did last year, we’re doing She Leads church again in March. So if you’re a female leader like me, who’s been confused by your whole life I love Jesus. Oh, the church, right. Anyways, that’ll be that’s coming up in March again and then yeah, so just we’ve got a lot of crazy stuff coming up. But anyways, all of it will be offered through And yeah, thanks for asking. We’d love to meet up with anybody if you want to send me a DM on Instagram it’s @katiejallred.

Justin Price
Katie does reply. So. I think that’s how she got roped in.

Mike Mage
Yeah. That’s how we tricked her into doing the podcast.

Katie Allred
The only place I’ll reply.

Mike Mage
Well, cool. Well, Katie, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This has been incredible. And yeah, we hope to have you on again soon.

Wow. I mean, I I don’t know what else to say other than just wow. Katie is the real deal. Yes. And, and I, I absolutely love how everything is distilled that she does. I mean, you take the online world, you take social media, you take web design, you take whatever you can, and it is distilled down into connecting with people the way that it should be. And we get so lost on our way in with all the shiny tools with you know, Facebook groups and vanity numbers that she even talked about and and at the end of the day, the reason church communications is the most engaged group on Facebook is because she cares about people. And I know that that’s not mind blowing. But why is that so mind blowing?

Justin Price
Mike, we, we we said we thought we were gonna have a conversation about communication tips and things like that. And I feel like we just talked to the best missions pastor I’ve ever talked to, you know, I think her desire, her heart to to share the gospel through the internet is so cool. I love I don’t know if she’s intentionally doing this or not, I need to ask her. If she knows that she’s like a this disciple in disguise, and that she’s like disguising communications and needs groups and different things. Yeah. She kind of knows that she’s doing evangelism through groups. But it’s really, really incredible because she’s not she’s not just like stuck on one platform. It’s like every new evolution of the platforms. She’s taking the gospel to it, and figuring out how to use it. And it’s like, she’s not talking about how to trick YouTube algorithms. She’s saying, This is how the YouTube algorithm works, people search questions, and you should have a YouTube video to answer that. Not so that you get more people at your church, but so that you can actually help people solve these heart problems they’re looking answers for. And because of that, you’re going to use the the internet, which can be a bad place for something very good. And that’s her. That’s your whole heart. That’s her desire. And, man, I think if we could just maybe sometimes get, get some of the vanity and some of the metrics and some of the flash, the walking on water, and the the wonderful essence, the miracle level of the Holy Spirit, and put it aside and get back to the John the Baptist, we’re okay to be weird and eat some locusts, maybe a little bit more mindful of just truly being desperately sold out for the gospel, we might find a little bit more health in our culture in our organizations and maybe even a little bit more growth. So yeah, really well, there’s so much more to unpack with Katie.

Mike Mage
Totally well, and it’s, it’s such a it’s an opportunity, and it’s a challenge for us in the church, who are like, we have all had to go to an online platform at some point in the year 2020. And the challenge for you is to not just let it go, you know, follow follow Katie on on all of her sites. She has her own website. She has obviously Church Communications. She has a podcast, she just came out with a book. She’s a professor at a college. I mean, like, she’s, she’s everywhere. And, you know, one of the places you can go to find all that stuff is on our website. It’s the shownotes on our website, it’s You can go, yeah, and yeah, And you can find all of that stuff there. And just really, you know, get that encouragement you need to continue on in reaching people that are already online. I mean, people are already online, so why not go and meet them where they are, which is to me the most Jesus thing that you could do. So we hope we really hope that you got something out of it. I mean, at least a little bit of what Justin and I got, because we are, we’re blown away. And yeah, we absolutely were so grateful that you were able to listen in on this interview with us. And so thanks so much for joining us here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast, where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 25

Are big events a healthy way to grow your church?

Do you rely on big events to grow your church? In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, hosts Mike Mage, and Justin Price, founder of Vers Creative, discuss how to determine if an event had a healthy impact on your church.

On Instagram: @Mikemage, @techjustinrp, @vers_creative


Mike Mage
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. We are so glad that you have joined us here for this incredible conversation that I, one of your hosts, Mike here am having with our other co-host, Justin Price. Justin, how are you doing this fine, what’s today, Wednesday today as of recording this. We’re on a Wednesday.

Justin Price
As we’re recording this, it is a Wednesday. It is four o’clock in the afternoon. And it’s been. It’s been a fantastic day. Thanks for asking Mike. How are you doing?

Mike Mage
You know what I am doing great. And for those of you that are listening to this, you have no idea, but Justin and I have been going through a battle of technology, battle with technology. As I’m sure most of you who are listening go with every Sunday when it’s the most inopportune times. Justin have you ever noticed that? When you’re doing something, you got something big going on and all of a sudden, something that has never broken before is now broken. Doesn’t that always happen?

Justin Price
It only happens when you need it. Pro Presenter only breaks 30 minutes before service.

Mike Mage
Well like 30 minutes, you know what, you know what actually happened to me once was during the Christmas Eve we were going into our first Christmas even now you know for everyone listening if you’re you work at a church, all that kind of stuff. Christmas Eve is huge. It’s a big event for you. And I I remember our Ableton our tracks, you know, we use tracks and all that kind of stuff, click queues, all kind of stuff. Just completely, all of the files that we use from the cloud just completely got deleted off the computer. I still to this day do not know how it happened. And so we’re scrambling I mean, there’s a countdown going, all that kind of stuff, I’m scrambling, you know, 12 minutes before the service starts to somehow figure it out. So yeah, and you know, Christmas, we’re actually around Christmas time as we’re recording this right now. I mean, you know, people could be listening to this months from now. But right now, we are recording this around Christmas. And there’s a ton of events going on, you know, around Christmas is always seems to just, you know, amp itself up, Justin, have you gone to any anything, any Christmas stuff lately, any Christmas events, all that kind of stuff, anything.

Justin Price
I’ve been doing a couple of Christmas events online, I’ve experienced a few things there. As far as in person, there was a church down the street, this is a really small Methodist Church down the street. And they do a living drive thru Nativity. And it was really cool. You put your windows down, and you drive through their parking lot. And they do it for three nights. And they have volunteers who kind of dress up in the different scenes and kind of act out the nativity scene. And it’s a, it was fun. I’ve got a six year old. So she really loved it. And she got to engage with it. And we got to talk about biblical truths. And it was a great way for us to kind of, you know, not be talking about Elf on the Shelf, and the fact that she’s gonna tell Santa that you know, you’ve been bad today or good. So yeah, it was a really nice change of conversation for our family. And it was really cool, because we didn’t have to get out of the car, you know, it was safe. And it was an event. And you know, it’s interesting, we sometimes talk about church work. And we talk about results, you know, so in marketing, we’re always talking about like-so how many, how many people did it result? Was the event good or bad? What’s the first question that you always ask Mike?

Mike Mage
How many people were there?

Justin Price
I mean, I feel like that’s a I feel like that’s a valid answer. Like, doesn’t that say something that’s a trackable number.

Mike Mage
Exactly. Well in and I think we’ve been using that number for a really, really long time. Yeah. I mean, wouldn’t you say?

Justin Price
It would. But so one thing about this event to that topic, you know, they can count like, well, we had a lot of cars this year. But the thing that they’re not counting for is like, well, how does that compare to anything else that they do throughout the year? And what is really healthy? You know, I think the point of this podcast is for us to talk about what is healthy growth look like for a church. And what is the purpose of events are they just feel good? I mean, they could just be nostalgic. They could be for our own people, we’re going to do a choir special Christmas, because that’s what I had when I grew up. And it makes me feel good inside, just like warm soup on a cold day, you know?

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, that’s, I think that’s a really interesting thing, because I was thinking about, you know, as we were, we were, you know, starting to talk about what we’re going to talk about on today’s podcast and all that kind of stuff. I was thinking about this event, and I know that there’s a ton of people out there who have this type of event and I’m not saying it’s good or bad. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just gonna, I’m gonna talk about it from my experience only. When I was at a church, it was a smaller church, we did a thing around Halloween called a Trunk or Treat, which, you know, I know, it’s not like a mind blowing thing as a ton of people that do that. And it was very, you know,

Justin Price
What is a Trunk or Treat, Mike?

Mike Mage
It’s where you, you get a bunch of people in a parking lot, that, you know, so I’ll do this, you, you sign up people in your church to come to dress up, you know, have you go to your church parking lot, you open up your trunks. And, you know, you hand out candy as people come by, you know, and it’s basically a way for you to get people on your church campus. But at the church that I was at, we celebrated the fact that we had, you know, we had like, 250 families come through. And yeah, you know, no one was actually tracking that number number one, number two, there was literally there was we thought that just because people came onto our campus that they were going to think, Oh, I’m gonna go to this church later, you know, like we we actually had no intentional reach out reaching out afterwards or no, no healthy gauge for how this event was going for something that was like we held is like an event centric time of the year. Does that make sense?

Justin Price
Yep. First of all, Mike, you’re telling me that your church participated in the satanic Halloween holiday.

Mike Mage
We redeemed that stuff one day before and yeah, it was a fun night. We all dressed up as characters in the Bible.

Justin Price
That explains a lot about you Mike.

Mike Mage
We, you know what, there’s the okay. Yeah, I’m not gonna get into it.

Justin Price
Ok, good. I couldn’t get past the idea that you guys would lift up your trunk and show people the junk in your trunk. Especially little kids.

Mike Mage
Well, you know, that’s, uh, yeah, that’s probably another podcast for another day. And, you know, maybe we can really dive into, you know, the cultural implications of what it means to really just to open up your car and hand out candy from your car. So as if that wasn’t creepy enough, you know. But yeah, I mean, I think, you know, we’re, I feel like in the church world, and like, you know, this from a marketing perspective, right? I mean, the way that you all do everything with Vers in your creative ad agency, all that kind of stuff, is to be able to like funnel people to a point, right? Isn’t that kind of how you create everything that you guys do?

Justin Price
Yeah, and but I never want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. I do want to give credit where credit is due. So with a Trunk or Treat Mike, don’t don’t throw away the fact that there’s brand affinity. Brand affinity is that thing that makes you go I like those people, I don’t even know why. But three years from now, I walked by that church, and I’m like, you know what, that was cool. They did that thing for my kids with all the junk in the trunk. And that was, that was cool that they did that for my kids, you know, and my kids got some candy out of it. And I knew it was like, it was safe. There’s a lot of other things that they could have been doing. And like that worked out really well for us. And that idea or that feeling of emotion of I like them for whatever reason it is that level of brand affinity, multiple times over somebody’s life will sometimes be the thing that opens them up to being receptive to the message of the gospel. And so I actually do believe in it, I do think it’s a good thing. And if you’re doing Trunk or Treats, I don’t necessarily want to say stop doing it. So that that’s not my message. I think when we talk about healthy church growth, if you’re funneling people in, like, the idea of pushing them through is very, it’s very, like transactional. And to say that it’s only valuable if we actually see people come to know Christ, or if we actually have salvation, if we actually whatever your your thing is. And I don’t know that I don’t know that, that church community building, if we say like healthy church growth means like people like really connecting on a on a relational level. And then and then actually having building some trust, right, so that you can walk people through whatever it is that they’re kind of dealing with and going through and, and help them kind of find hope and grace. So, I do think it’s, I think it’s valuable to say, Hey, we can do brand affinity things if we’re doing them for that sake. But I do like the the fact that you were kind of alluding to then how do we give them a call to action, everything we do, you were saying as a funnel, that everything should have some sort of opportunity if I had a great experience, and I was looking for a church, right, the obvious thing that you think sometimes is like, well, they went on our campus so of course they’re going to know. But the reality what we know with marketing and science and the research has really clearly shown is that people only do what you tell them to do. And if you don’t give them an action point after they had a great experience, you could potentially, you know, lose them. So a healthy growth scenario for something like even like Trunk or Treat, or this living nativity scene thing that we drove through, at this church, they put out an offering bucket. As I walked as I drove by, yeah, which is great. Like, I put some money in the bucket, because I appreciated what they were doing. And I wanted to support them. And that was the way that they asked me, that was the call to action for me. If they had asked me to come to church, though, this weekend, instead of asking for 20 bucks, I may have, I may have had an opportunity to build a relationship with them. And I might still be open to go into church there. But there was never that ask. And so I think, you know, when we start to talk about this conversation all the time, the the first thought is like, hey, a lot of people, you know, I want to translate this over to like big events, a lot of people focus all their energy on the push and getting some getting people in there. And we count the heads that are in there, and we go, we did a good job, or we did a bad job based on that. Maybe the maybe the name sucked, maybe the theme sucked. We didn’t tell enough people. And that’s where the buck stops right there. Is that fair for you?

Mike Mage
Well, I yeah, absolutely. And I think that, you know, our evaluation of the of the event afterwards only goes so far. And I’ve totally I’ve been in those situations all the time. And it’s almost like the because we put so much effort into it and because we actually did see a good amount of people, then yeah, that’s where we stopped like, yeah, we can make maybe we can make the branding better. Maybe we can make the name better. But like, that’s it, we’re not gonna go any further than that. And I’ve I’ve run into that a bunch. But Justin something I want to go back to real quick that you said, right as we were beginning to talk about this was about making, you know, making something transactional or not, or, and I feel like maybe you were you were saying like, not all things should be like that. Is that what you were trying to say?

Justin Price
It’s not that clean when it comes to church work?

Mike Mage
Right. Well, so that’s what that’s what I want to like, expound upon, like, how do we, and maybe maybe you can speak into this a little bit better, because I know you think about this stuff a lot. How do we as a church, if and when we decide to spend time, money, resources on an event, how do we create a call to action, without it sounding like just a giant bait and switch? Because I do feel like our culture is very sensitive to that. And I feel like I’m very sensitive to that, you know, like, I don’t want someone to feel like they’re only there for me to basically shove them, you know, into a certain direction. Does that make sense?

Justin Price
So like a good example would be that on on in the Christmas season, you guys put together a musical of sorts. And once you sang songs, and Mike, you actually I think this year, did you do a hip hop Christmas song? Or you rapped in it?

Mike Mage
You know, it was so weird, like, we were doing something and then you just hear this, this music come up, and I put on like a sequined vest in a sideways hat in my hammer pants, and I came out and it was nuts. Dude, it was nuts. Brought down the house. Yeah, that was me.

Justin Price
Everybody loved it, you know. And in fact, I think it was trending on Twitter. It was like MC Hammer pant, Mike was was trending on Twitter. It was really, it was really, it was really great. And you know, and I think you guys did a good job of inviting guests to come to it. And say, you know, this is a great way for you to bring your friend and it’s not church, you know, like, it’s not Sunday morning. I feel like this is like a common event for a lot of churches. It’s a historic thing. And maybe you do it more traditional. Maybe you do it more modern. My point, I guess is that it’s totally different than Sunday morning. And and if you are doing it on Sunday morning, it’s totally different than your normal Sunday morning. And you’re inviting people and saying, Hey, this is like a really soft, welcoming thing. It’s not gonna be as hard hitting, maybe there’s a salvation message at the end, maybe not depending on what church you’re in. But that’s not really the point of what we’re talking about. The point we’re talking about is like, we put a lot of work into the program. We put a lot of work into the event into the thing and and you’re kind of saying the bait and switch thing would be like you’ve never sang any hip hop songs on a Sunday morning. But yet, you did an awesome job with it on this. I’m sorry. Audience Mike did not sing a hip hop and he did not wear hammer pants. This analogy going too far.

Mike Mage
Fifth grade Mike did though so keep going.

Justin Price
I have this fantasy version of Mike doing hip hop things all the time. He’s really street Y’all. He’s really street.

Mike Mage
Absolutely, that’s what people know me by for sure.

Justin Price
Yeah. But my point is, so we have to, we have a lot of issues inside of events, if we were going to dissect them from a healthy church growth standpoint. And we would say one of them is not representing what, what is us, or a flavor of us that’s not going to ever be seen again for another year, or until another big event, which may be two, three, four times a year. Um, so I think that’s an interesting topic, what I mean, what are your thoughts, how do you combat that? And what are you guys doing to help make that- you know, people want to see the show, they want to hear you bust it out, you know.

Mike Mage
They want to see Mike Mage rap a little bit. No.

Justin Price
The Mike Mage.

Mike Mage
Yeah, I think that that’s good. Like, and I think it’s probably a bigger conversation than, you know, this, this podcast can lend itself to. I know, for, you know, when we get to Christmas Eve when we get to Easter, and I don’t know, again, you know, I think this podcast is a great is a conversation and a journey for all of us to be on what does it look like in your contextualized environment to have healthy church growth. And especially from like, the creative realm, because, you know, that’s what we do. And so like, I think, for us, in our context, we try honestly, obviously, you know, for those big those big weekends, or whatever we try to make, make it be yes, a little special. I do think people are, even if people are coming in, who’ve never been to church before, they are expecting Christmas Eve to be a little different, they’re expecting Easter to be a little different. They just they have some, some sort of cultural context for that. And so, you know, we try to maybe, to maybe not go like super crazy on the end, so that we so that if we get new person that is going to come back, what they’re expecting is maybe a little bit of what they got for Christmas Eve for Easter, whatever big event is. So that’s not like this, this is us on only on this time. And then when you get you know, the next Sunday, you get people who are tired, uninvested, and just like a rote experience, you know, like, that’s not. So we’ll try to like, you know, it is I think it’s a fine line. You know, and it’s, it’s something that you kind of have to work through. I don’t know if there’s like a set template for that. And I might be wrong on that. I don’t know what your thoughts are. But, you know, we and we do try, you know, we have tried to save big concert type events. You know, that just that’s not who we are. And so, you know, that might be who well whoever’s listening church is, but we try to, you know, save those for worship nights. But again, like that’s, that’s our contextualized version of that. So,

Justin Price
I have a lot of thoughts about this. But one of the rubrics that I feel like or maybe like, the tests or gut checks on this for like, how far are you going, is like, I got a I’ve quoted him before, but I worked with a pastor, Pastor Kurt, who said, you know, he’s like, man, he’s like, you guys, you just killing it, like you get, you just go in. I mean, I would leave, I would leave everything on, on the big event floor. You know, I mean, it was like, I didn’t hold anything back. It was every big idea I had, it was everything I could possibly do to get people talking. And that wasn’t the healthiest thing. It wasn’t healthy for our team. And what we found is like, we were really burned out for the next two Sundays, three Sundays, four Sundays. And we weren’t really willing or ready to give our best and, and he he used to challenge us to say like, hey, maybe like scale back that event a little bit. And maybe try to make the next Sunday a little better. So yeah, right. And so, it you brought up a point that Christmas Eve is still one of the most successful opportunities we have as the church to attract people who are far from God. You know, like, it’s one of the cultural things that is culturally seasonal, accepted to say, Hey, I’ll go and experience something at church, even if I don’t, I’m not really active in my faith. I’m not really believing right now. But it was something I did as a kid and it feels good and Christmas just brings back all these nostalgic feelings. So with that in mind, like I do think Mike like I don’t think we get a free pass to not still try to be our best. The question is just like how many chips do you cash in to be your best and how much above and beyond, so that if if Christmas Eve or your big event or your big opportunities, which Christmas Eve is one of the natural big ones if you’re don’t ignore it, we’re not saying like, Hey, don’t talk to your don’t do Christmas programming, right or any any holiday program for that matter, and a lot of people listening to this are probably trying to figure out how to do Easter, just a little bit different beast. But the point is, is maybe to think about, if you were if you had 100 chips to cash in, right, and you’ve been putting them all in on on Easter on Christmas, and, and really even maybe borrowing some from the following couple days, like overspending on Christmas and borrowing, like you’ve used up everything you’ve got. And the next couple Sundays you’re putting on the C squad. You know, you bring him in that the pitch pastor, right, the the pastor for hire who’s been like just touring his one message around the country. You know, whatever, whatever your solution is to getting through that that weekend is and getting a couple weeks under your belt to recover. My point is, is that maybe take your 100 or 120% of your chips that you had, and cut that down to 40% for the event, and then spread that out and 30% and 30% on the following two Sundays. So a good measure, you know, for me, Mike. A takeaway for this would be a good measure for healthy church growth events, is how much does your church grow the second Sunday after your event. If the answer is zero, if we’ve got nobody interested in getting connected, you know, we’ve got we don’t have a lot of people to follow up with, if you’re connecting is not like just slammed and swamped after the next couple of weeks of events, that’s a problem. You know, it was just hype. It was just, and again, you could have brand affinity, like if you come into it with a hype, event purpose, and as long as you give people a call to action to say, Hey, if you’re interested, if you liked the hype, and you knew this was hype, and you knew this was just to have a good time, if you want our normal thing, come over here, and here’s a call to action for it. Make sure you sign up, I still think you know, for the health of the church, it’s really the second Sunday that’s going to tell you what stuck, you know, what kind of growth was really good. And the thing that makes me a little bit sad is that sometimes I feel like there’s a lot of churches who they have like their standard status quo for Sunday for 50 weeks out of the year. And then two weeks out of the year, they have like a 10x budget on them. And it might be smart, I challenge you to maybe look at your schedule and go is there an opportunity for you to take the effort and like scale back Christmas, and put it into back to school season and put it back into your back to school series. And treat that with the same level of intensity that you’re putting into Christmas and see what four seasons of pushes like that. Put a summer melt series in, that’s gonna stop some of that attrition in summer, and give people a reason to keep coming during the summer. Put some extra effort into something exciting there.

Mike Mage
Well, and I think that’s a, that’s a good place for us to, I think we can keep talking about this forever. Because I do think, you know, it’s such a good topic, because churches are going to continue are event driven organizations. Or that, you know, it has been for a long time. And, and while you know, I think the mindset behind it is changing or has changed or will change all that kind of stuff, just the way that everything is, churches are not going to stop doing events. And that’s okay. But we would love to hear from you, the audience. You know, hit us up on our Instagram, our Facebook, you know, and let us know how have you been making your events better. We would love to be resources for for everybody for for healthy church growth, to be able to check in and see how can we make this next Sunday really reap the benefit of this big event that we spent all of our a lot of our time, energy, and resources behind. So Justin, this is this has been a super great conversation. Thank you so much for joining us here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast. Continue to share, like, subscribe, all that kind of stuff. It’s been incredible to get to see you, to get to know you, to get to hear from you, and continue to have these conversations together.

Justin Price
So good. Thanks, Mike.

Mike Mage
Thanks so much for joining us here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 24 – Jonathan Malm

How to meet the emotional needs of your congregation through personalized, engaging content.  

In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, author and entrepreneur, Jonathan Malm, discusses why content is important, but meeting the needs of your people comes first. This episode is packed with practical ideas you can put into place today.

On Instagram: @jonathanmalm


Mike Mage
Well, welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. We have an incredible, incredible interview lined up for you all today. And one that I am I’m super, super excited about. So we actually have Jonathan Malm with us. Jonathan, how’s it going man?

Jonathan Malm
Going good. Loving, loving the day.

Mike Mage
Aren’t we all?

Jonathan Malm
I love how, I love how presumptuous you were to say that it’s gonna be a good interview, and we just started like, we have no idea how this is gonna go.

Mike Mage
You know what, I think it’s gonna be good regardless. Even if it’s terrible. You know, it’s one of those things that it could be really good, if it’s really bad. We’ll have to get to that point. It can’t be mediocre. It’s gonna be bad, it’s got to be really bad. So either way. It’s gonna be notable, I promise. So, Jonathan, we were just talking a little bit before we started this, and something that I absolutely love, that we’re being able to have this conversation is honestly like, how much I don’t know about you. What I do, what I do know about you is all the things that you’ve done. So you know, you’re an author, you’re a web designer, you’re a church consultant, you’re an entrepreneur, people know you without actually knowing you. And I’d love to, you know, we’ll get into more of that here in a little bit. But I’d love if maybe you can sort of just give us a little background on who you are. And maybe kind of what you do right now and why we would be interviewing you in this moment.

Jonathan Malm
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, I grew up, my dad was a pastor, missionary, pastor, again, started a mission foundation. So like, I’ve gotten to be in the church world, in ministry all my life just by proxy, right, just by being around it. So I got a chance to work with my dad at a church that had gone through like a massive church split. It was, you know, 75 people in a massive building, a million dollars worth of debt, a new piece of property they were going to build on before it all collapsed. And my dad was called in the pastor that. And that’s where I went to school,

Mike Mage
Easy. That’s an easy job.

Jonathan Malm
Oh, it’s so simple. Where I started working in ministry and started working at a church like more, more tangibly, like actually like getting my hands dirty. And then I started, you know, we were trying to renovate this space that was built in the 70s. And everyone had been to the church in the community, so they all knew what the church was, but we weren’t that anymore. So stage design was one thing that I was like, trying to figure out, how can we update our stage, so it matched the modern music we were doing in worship, whenever you walked in the building kind of knew what to expect, right. Like I wanted to set expectations when people weren’t in. So I didn’t know the stage design was a thing at the time, like I didn’t really know much about it. I just built one. And I blogged about it. And I saw a lot of people were really seemed hungry for this type of content. So I just began researching it and putting together a resource called, literally for, because that’s what people find me my site on is Church Stage Design Ideas, so they go ahead, I’ll just make that the domain name. And that was great for SEO for Search Engine Optimization. So I’m built that site. And, you know, I was really intentional about reaching out to the community kind of creating a community around it. And it just grew and grew and grew. And it was, it was really fun. And through that, I’ve had the opportunity to launch you know, a bunch of other things. Sunday Magazine was one that I started was kind of like, I missed the idea of like, the traditional magazine that had like, really, you know, long thought out content in the blog world where it’s like, you expect it to be gone in a day. Like I wanted something really rich content. So put that together. I sold that recently, but and then with my buddy Joe Cavazos, who’s this uber talented designer, you know, if you go to, like he’s one of the three graphics on there, like his graphic, he’s good. Um, we launched this thing called Sunday Social to help churches with social media content to to have something to post, have really good quality thought out content, fantastic design that can really be powerful on your social media for churches. So one of those things, hopefully, you’ve encountered me with and then I’ve written some books since then too.

Mike Mage
Just a tiny, you don’t sound busy at all. It just seems like a normal. Yeah.

Jonathan Malm
Like, I have plenty of time. Like, this is like not this is not a stretch to take this time out of my day. I’m happy to do this.

Mike Mage
Wonderful. I’m glad. Well yeah. And we were talking beforehand. I mean, as a podcast known for just as Healthy Church Growth, we I think we went down the same, the same avenue and just what are people going to search for? And that’s what we’re gonna name our thing after. So there we go.

Jonathan Malm
It’s not sexy branding, but it works. Right?

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, that’s and you’re talking SEO, the Search Engine Optimization. I mean, like, that’s perfect. That’s all you need, right there. Okay, well, well, one of the things I really wanted to dive in with a lot of people in is this thing that you’ve been able to create with, what is what’s the other guy’s name?

Jonathan Malm
Joe Cavazos.

Mike Mage
Joe Cavazos. So, yeah, just a tiny designer, just on Photoshop website like the prime not a big deal. So what was so obviously, you know, you hop from church Stage Design Ideas to the Sunday Mag thing, you know, like you’ve dabbled in a lot of stuff. So what was sort of the, the initial, I don’t know, I guess desire to create something like social You know, like, what, what is the driving force behind that?

Jonathan Malm
Yeah, so I mean, I’ve always noticed that, um, you know, working in ministry there, there are very specific needs that churches have, where, especially with the the calendar of Sunday, to Sunday to Sunday, I’m always going to need, you know, a series graphic. I’m always going to need motion graphics for the video. I’m always going to need stage design. So you know, Church Stage Ideas was kind of like that, where it’s like, man, people can’t get enough of this. And if I can just come along and help and, and ease that, that burden of coming up with ideas, like I mean, I could come up with two good ideas a year maybe for stage design, but on top of that sermon series on top of that, you know, so it’s, there’s so many things we have to do just the weekly grind of ministry. So Sunday Social felt a lot like that. You know, part of it was, I got kind of a bromance with my buddy Joe, like my wife, my wife accuses me of like, getting super obsessed with people that I find that are talented that I’m like, “Aw, dude, like, Joe’s a legit guy, but he’s really talented.” And so we just like, strike up a friendship. And we’re always looking for a way to work together. And so he even came to me said, You know, I always feel frustrated, because there’s all these churches, you know, he lives in south south Texas, there are all these churches that want to work with him, but they can’t afford his prices, he can’t go cheap enough, cuz he needs to support his family, right? So it’s like, Man, I wish there was a way I could work with more churches. And I’m like, man, I feel the need. There’s this like social media need that’s kind of growing, and it’s developing. And it’s almost even like going to be bigger than Sunday mornings needs where like, we’re now expected I saw kind of this trend developing. And so we just kind of got together and said, should we do something like this? Should we create a resource where people can get access to your design skills, and then we can ease the burden for people on that weekly social media grind. And that’s what, that’s what we came up with, we came up with kind of this like sort of Netflix model of it, where like, download as much as you want unlimited access, we just create a ton of content that we think is good, and it’s evolved. It’s evolved to be you know, I’m very intentional with the content calendar calendar that we create. And Joe is very intentional with the design. Like we measure our analytics to see what people are engaging with what they’re not. So we’re, we’re really intentional about the stuff that we create, because we really do we just want to help churches, like our goal is, you know, obviously, it’s fun to make money, because then it makes it helps us keep doing it. Right. Like, we want to help churches. That’s our that’s our, this is our ministry.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, and I love sort of the the model for Sunday Social is kind of like you were saying that the Netflix model, kind of, so it’s it’s a subscription thing, right? You pay per month, and then you can sort of download as much as you want?

Jonathan Malm

Mike Mage
Yeah. And you can download the actual Photoshop files, too, right?

Jonathan Malm
Yeah, yeah, we launched originally with just JPEGs. Because the goal was like, hey, let’s get social media content. Let’s not, you know, let’s not try to upsell, you know, we didn’t want to, like be one of those guys who like, oh, but now you can get for an extra $10 a month, you can get this but we just got so many people requesting A because they wanted to see how Joe arranged his files, like post part of it. Like, I just want to see what you’re doing, Joe. But then B it’s just like, you know, we realize especially I realized in a when I was in ministry, in a church, I was very DIY, you know, like, I saw that graphic, but I’m like, ooh, but like for our, for our purposes, it’d be better if it was this if we tweak that verbiage or tweak that color. So we wanted to make that available to people. So yeah, so there’s two options, we have, you know, ready to use JPEG files or Photoshop files, there are two levels of, and obviously, we just had to charge more, because Photoshop files cost a whole lot more to post. Like, we’re talking about, like four gigabytes worth of files for a single image. Like, it’s, it’s rough. So, that allows us to keep doing that.

Mike Mage
Well, and really too because it’s not that much more. It’s only like 10 bucks more a month, right?

Jonathan Malm
Yeah, yeah. So $9 versus $19. Um, you know, I still think it’s pretty inexpensive. Like.

Mike Mage
It’s crazy. Well, it’s because I think that you’re right, I think most people, and so like, 10 years ago, you know, I was I was at a smaller church. And, you know, that’s, like I said, that’s how I found the the stage design ideas website and everything, but I literally I was going through the same thing. It’s you become, as you know, worship leader or, you know, the the resident creative person, young person in a church.

Jonathan Malm

Mike Mage
You’ve got to figure…

Jonathan Malm
The resident young person. I love that.

Mike Mage
You got to figure out how all this stuff works, you know, especially if you want it to be good. And so I ended up you know, as most, it happens all the time, and I’ve taken on the set design, I ended up taking on the tech world, I ended up taking on like all the creative endeavors, having no idea how to do anything outside of music. And, you know, just downloading Photoshop files and seeing how people put stuff together was immensely helpful, you know? And so I mean, I think that’s amazing. It’s almost like you are able even just for $10 more a month, you’re able to sit at the feet of like some really pro designers who are very intentional with what they’re doing, to see, you know, how they’re doing that kind of stuff. So I think it’s really cool. So,

Jonathan Malm
yeah, and that that’s really what I mean, the thing I love about ministry and why I love I love being in ministry at a church is you’re required to be good at 1000 different things. Um, and what’s frustrating is, there’s this increasing pressure as the church grows to, like, be like, excellent at everything. And that’s, that’s like, that’s a really tough thing to put on yourself. That’s like, I think that’s a source of a lot of burnout for people where like, man, I just as an individual person, I can’t be good, that good at 1000 different things. But as much as possible, if we can come alongside and help you be really good at one area. So you have to like, strive less in that area, man, that’s a great thing.

Mike Mage
That’s super cool. And I think that you’re right, that I got goosebumps a little bit when you’re talking like man, I do. I use you see that pressure from a lot of people. And, you know, it’s the comparison game. It’s trying to compare yourself to Yeah, to the church around the corner. And they don’t have those resources. They don’t have you know, you don’t you don’t have what they have, and you’re not supposed to sometimes. Like God is calling you to that unique community to serve that community.

Jonathan Malm
It used to be the church down the road that you were comparing yourself with, but now we have Facebook groups. Oh, my gosh, this Yeah, good. But now you see 1000 churches that you’re not not as good, as you know. And of course, you’re seeing their highlight reel. You’re seeing that one great video they made that year, that you’re assuming that’s you know, you’re seeing everyone’s highlight reel all at once. So you assume that you’re just your inferior.

Mike Mage
Geez. Yeah, yeah, I think you’re, you’re pushing on a bruise for a lot of people right now. So Alright, so sticking with this Sunday Social stuff.

Jonathan Malm
Hopefully healing that bruise not pushing on it. I don’t want to make it worse.

Mike Mage
Well, maybe it’s like, it’s like a Shiatsu massage. You know? Yeah, exactly. It hurts a little bit, but it feels good. So okay, so what I love about the Sunday Social stuff, and you kind of you alluded it to it a little bit, when you were describing it was, it’s, I’ve been following it for a couple months, pretty heavily, you know, and the, through this through Instagram, through stories, and just the posts was, is the ability to stand out. Like, I really do feel like anytime I’m scrolling through is like, Wow, that is that is cool. Or Wow, they’re like, that’s, that’s, uh, that, that that does something to me, you know, like I want I want, I want to see that I don’t want to just keep scrolling. So as of this recording, so we’re recording this November 2020, you know, the world has changed, is changing. And especially the church adapting to the pandemic. And content right now is so, so important. Obviously, it always has been, but especially digitally. And now we’re just sort of outrightly more publicly just saying like, yeah, everybody’s living their life digitally, right. I mean, you and I are having this meeting through Zoom right now. So what would be some tips on creating marketing, or content that sort of is able to stand out or stand above the rest of the noise, because I feel like we are just completely flooded. So even though content is so important, everybody understands that, and they’re just like, pushing out so much right now. So like, what, what can we do to like, rise above that or stand above the noise?

Jonathan Malm
You know, I think the, working in the church space and working in like, we’re often we’re tech people, we love watching, you know, high quality movies. You know, I want to watch Tennant from Christopher Nolan. I love his movies. We just see this quality, we think ah, that is that is the goal right there. Right? Like the quality is the goal. And the problem is like quality, the ability to have quality has has become so much easier now that we have iPhones that have more technology, more technology in them than they used to get to the moon originally, right. Like, we have so many opportunities available to us. But I really think content is king. And you know, I’m going to do the thing that everyone does. Have you seen TikTok like, so you go on TikTok, and you see that these 13 year olds are making quality videos. Not good quality, actually. But the quality that like they’re compelling, the content is fantastic. They speak to you, they make you laugh, they make you so they have this quality to them. That man, like you get more like people are watching this like so I posted one video, it got like, 6 million views, right. Like, and it’s I think it’s like it’s like, it’s like five years worth of views, like how many how many the actual seconds people have watched it. And I’m like, and that was just, you know, like, that was just something that like, engaged people, right, like to just engage people the right way. So I think the key for churches more than anything, is to engage people. So we’ve been trained so often to think of like, Hey, listen, if you want to meet Jesus come to come to our building. Come to our building, you meet Jesus. And that’s how we do all of our marketing, where it’s like, we’re kind of baiting them to come into our building. And I think there’s been a bad side effect of that, where we kind of tell people that Jesus is only in the church and Jesus, not where they are. So COVID has forced us to realize, oops, we can’t do that. Because we know Jesus is not just in the building. Otherwise, that means they’re not going to tune into our service online. Right. So we’re having to, you know, de-centralize Jesus. It sounds horrible. It sounds like sacreligious. But we’re having to really try to show people that Jesus is where they are like, like Jesus, that I mean, Jesus, but like also just being able to like work out your faith, being able to go through discipleship is where people are. And yeah, you have people that are that are asking real questions that previously we said, Hey, all the answers are in our church, and now, they can’t be in our church. So we have to give people answers to the questions that they’re asking. And the questions people are asking is, man, I feel like I should read my Bible. How do I read my Bible better? Or like, how do I get through Leviticus, man, like, that’s tough book. Like how to I get through Chronicles that those are rough books, giving people really practical ideas and really practical tips. And speaking to where people are, like, what are the what are the needs they’re going through right now? A few months ago, during when COVID started as I created this, like, emotional needs list of things, people are going through that how can we speak to that? So they’re going through feelings of anger, feelings of fear, feelings of loneliness, feelings of man, I want to make an impact on this world. How do I do that? And so I try to craft content that answers those questions. That speaks to those emotional needs for people. And I think as churches, I mean, we do this in our services, in our sermons, you know. Every February is a relationship series, right. Like, right, every, every December is a money series. Because those are real felt needs, but they’re also emotional needs we can speak to, and that’s what will make your content stand out more than anything. Yeah, it’s good to have good quality, it’s great to have good design. But if you’re meeting someone’s needs, they’re going to keep coming back to you more and more and more.

Mike Mage
Sure. Well, and something I didn’t just think about until right when you’re talking about, you know, talking about this, and the emotional needs of that people have I feel like social media in general, has gotten its bump, has gotten like, you know, billions of people engaged because it is emotional. I mean, look at all of the things that especially you know, there’s been a lot going on, especially recently, but for a while now, about Facebook, and how, you know, people can the things that are amplified, there are basically the things that are emotional, you know.

Jonathan Malm
That strike that emotional chord.

Mike Mage
Yeah, exactly. And so, like, how can we as the church, you know, engage with people in an emotional way? Because it almost it’s almost like social media just hijacks our emotions. And, and can can turn people into like crazy people. Yeah, but you know, if we’re, if we are to be the church, we’re supposed to meet them, meet people where they’re at. And I think that’s, that’s awesome, man.

Jonathan Malm
Yeah, that’s what Jesus did is, you know, Jesus said, you know, hey, like, I reached out to him, heal me heal me. And he’s like, well, you don’t really need healing, because like, this is just a temporary thing, like trying to do where it’s at. But I’m gonna go and meet that need. And then I’ll talk to you about the deeper truths. You definitely start where people are at, it’s tempting to say, like, Hey, you know, you just got to worship. But the problem is, I as a person, don’t feel the need to worship. So you can tell me 10 reasons I should worship or 10 reasons on how to worship 10 ways how to worship. Yeah, but unless you tell me, hey, worship is the solution for selfishness. And it’s the solution for probably treating your spouse badly, because it’s all about you. So I mean, you you connect with those real things that people are going through. I’m mean, to my spouse, we’re all mean to our spouse during COVID. Like, we all have this rage that’s going on, and we, we lay it out on our spouse. So helping people overcome anger, helping people just be nicer to each other, helping people be creative with their kids, whenever their kids are just driving them crazy, right. Like, those are real needs people are going through. And the cool thing about COVID, the one redeeming fact is that for churches, every single person in your congregation is going through the exact same thing for the first time in almost all of history, everyone in the whole world is going through the exact same thing, the exact same range of emotions. And we can be very skilled at speaking to those emotions. Because we know we know what they are, you know, when everything’s going great. We don’t know what people are, okay, we talk about drugs, but like the majority of people aren’t dealing with drugs, right, like, but we know what people are going through and you can speak to those issues.

Mike Mage
Totally. Okay, so let’s say the pandemic ends soon. Whatever that you know, who knows? So, you know, as of right now, you know, there’s there’s been reports of a vaccine coming, which is really great. And, you know, so maybe within the next six months to a year, you know, the vaccine works and doesn’t turn us all into, you know, zombies from The Walking Dead or something. Yeah.

Jonathan Malm
I Am Legend. I think that was the story in I Am Legend, right.

Mike Mage
It’s so funny. I was I was just thinking, today I went, I went out to a park with, you know, two of my kids and my wife today, because it’s like, beautiful out here in Florida. For the first time in a long time, and for some reason, I was just thinking about the vaccine. I was like, Oh my gosh, I remember thinking watching either I Am Legend or The Walking Dead or whatever. Just like how in the world would people just take a drug that you know, no one would have real

Jonathan Malm
No one’s tested.

Mike Mage
Yeah, it’s like, oh, this is how this is how that happens. So let’s just say,

Jonathan Malm
This has turned into a conspiracy theory podcast.

Mike Mage
Gonna get flagged. Okay, so let’s just say it all works. Everything’s great six months to a year from now, vaccine is, you know, firing on all cylinders, people are getting healed, people are coming. You know, it’s not as scary to go back outside anymore to be around people. Will I mean from your end, especially, I feel like not that you’re necessarily an expert on this, but I do feel like you with Sunday Social with Sunday Mag, even with a lot of the books that you’re you’re writing like you have your pulse on what the church is feeling and what the what the church is doing. So will the church go back to what it was doing for so long? Is there going to be like a sale?

Jonathan Malm
Not? Really. I mean, like, if we didn’t change through this year, then what are we even doing? Right? Like, I think one thing that COVID has exposed, and I was talking to my creative pastor, my church yesterday about this is, is it exposed that as a church, church universal, we’re overly focused on content. We’re overly focused on what happens in the Planning Center roster. We have boiled down church to worship, announcements, a message, and prayer. Those four things like that’s that’s the program of that right. And what has exposed during COVID is that like, man, I can tune in to my church online. But dang, Elevation’s quality is so much better, I’ll just tune into theirs. Because if that’s all we have is content, then we do lose because we can’t be as good as Elevation. We can’t be as good as Lakewood. These churches that do phenomenal job with that they’re so good at it. They have 10 people helping Pastor Furtick create the message and stuff. So if all we if the only thing we see in our church is the content, that’s all we’re giving to people, and it’s falling flat, it’s falling short. Instead, we realize man, the connection, the person looking in my eyes as they asked me how I’m doing and I say, Hey, I’m doing great, but the sadness in my eyes betrays me, that’s, that’s something we’re missing. The ability to connect with someone in a shared purpose to volunteer together. That’s something we’re missing. So there’s all these things that we realize, man, if we’re only focused on content, I do you believe content is important, obviously. But if that’s the if that’s the only thing we think we think we have to offer, that’s the only thing we sell to people. And that’s the only thing that they value. And there’s so much more to Christian walk to discipleship and content. Content can only go so far into creating disciples of Jesus.

Mike Mage
Oh man, that’s very good. Because I do, I feel like, you know, there is, we I mean, we’ve we’ve talked about it, but there it’s it’s almost like creating content is easier than actually engaging with those things.

Jonathan Malm
It’s great because it builds a platform, it gets thousands of followers, it helps you get that book deal. It helps you get on TV. Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s, it’s easy, it’s tangible, it’s easy to put into a box, it’s easy to put into a 60 minute segment.

Mike Mage
Yeah. And it’s almost like, you know, it becomes it becomes so alluring. And it’s you know, it’s great. But there is a both/and to that for sure. That’s really great.

Jonathan Malm

Mike Mage
And so well, one thing that’s nice, and I say that like super lightly, because I know this time has been terrible for everybody. And you know, a lot of people have been have been hurt by this pandemic, and all that kind of stuff. But it is is forcing creatives, it’s forcing the hands of creatives in the church to do new and different and potentially better things. And I actually actually think to, to our church, so our church, you know, I’ve been the worship director at a church here in Tampa, for you know, six years or so. And they’ve always had an online campus, you know, so for like, the past 10 years, they’ve had an online campus. And then, you know, over the past, like two years, we actually hired in an online campus pastor, understanding that, like, you know, online, is sort of this next wave, like we’re coming to it, and which I’m really glad that we did, because, you know, obviously, the pandemic hit and everything goes online, and you need the online platform to even be able to communicate to people. So I feel like we were we were slightly ahead of the curve, maybe not as much as we should have been. And it sort of forced our hand to do what we were going to do in two years into like, a six month period.

Jonathan Malm
I’ve heard that from so many people where like, my pastor finally said, Yeah, you do it and be like, but do it in a month instead of the two years that I was planning.

Mike Mage
Well, for real, I mean, we, we, we got all new cameras, we got we literally created a TV studio out of a room nobody was using because of COVID. And they’re just like, oh, that’s our TV studio now. So, you know, that was, again, his two year plan kind of thing. So what are some ways cuz again, like, I really do feel like you have your pulse on what’s happening in the church, what are some ways that people can sort of look to improve their ability to stay ahead of the curve? You know, what are some things where it doesn’t feel like they’re just recreating what they’re seeing around them? Does that make sense? That question makes sense?

Jonathan Malm
Yeah. I mean, I think the big thing is to I mean, this is just innovation in general, is you look at the need, don’t look at the product. It’s so easy for iPhone every year to say, ‘this is that this is our iPhone, how can we make it better?’ And what Steve Jobs blew everyone’s mind with was like, it wasn’t a phone that he was introducing. So if he thought, How can I make the phone better? that we would have never had the iPhone? But instead he said, How can I, how can I turn something that we hold on our, in our hands every day into the most powerful tool that we have? So if you start looking at what are people feeling, people are feeling isolated. So instead of saying, okay, we need to create another service, because that’s a product, our product is our service. Instead of saying, Okay, well, we got to try to somehow get get something else into into our service about community, isn’t that we say, Okay, well, what are some ways that people are creating community online? And how can we create environments and structures and systems to foster that for people to make it easier? How can we, how can we create conversation starters so that when they’re in, you know, a group on Zoom, where they’re not gonna be talking over each other, but you get to, like, get a glimpse into each other’s personality. How can we empower that? So really start from the need, don’t start from your product. That’s, that’s just what what unfortunately, churches and I love the church, I’m not hating on churches, but we’ve our solution to problems has been, we got to create another meeting. So Oh, marriage, we have some marriages struggling in our church, we better start a marriage group. And does that does help because content does help. But that’s not going to solve all the problems that need to be something greater to it. So you start with a need, then you say, Okay, now what can we do to meet that need, instead of how can we force a service to meet that need?

Mike Mage
Sure. Totally. That’s wonderful. Yeah, I really feel like, I’m not convicted by that at all. Man, I think other people will be convicted by that. And it’ll be really good for them to hear. So

Jonathan Malm
I was talking, so I was talking with this about my with my creative passion. I’m like, you know, to be honest, I don’t I don’t know that I have like, this is the solution. It’s easy, right? Like, right. But I think that’s, that’s what, that’s what that’s the beauty about ministry. And that’s the beauty about working with God is that the solution is not within our grasp, necessarily. We can we can achieve, we can try, we can we can we can take a step on the journey. And God loves when we partner with him on that saying, Hey, we’re gonna try this. God, we need you to step in, because we don’t know we need we’re reliant on you. We can’t solve this on our own. And if a service could solve it on its own, then we wouldn’t need God, unfortunately. So I’m glad that service can’t solve it. I’m glad that a Planning Center roster can’t solve it, because that keeps us reliant on God.

Mike Mage
Right. Yeah. And I think you’re totally right. I think that it has this whole thing has really, like you’re saying a little bit before, but has exposed a reliance on the content as opposed to, you know, the community. And, and yeah, it’s, it’s extremely hard to form community when you can’t really see each other. So you know, that that’s a it’s a very strange barrier. But yeah, and I think that that’s, that’s huge. So alright, so let’s switch gears here, just a tiny bit. So obviously, you know, you’ve done all this stuff online, and really cool stuff, but you’re also an author. And, you know, a couple of books you’ve written: Unwelcome, Created for More, and The Comeback Effect. All great. I haven’t read Unwelcome or Created for More. I did I listen to The Comeback Effect. It was

Jonathan Malm
Oh, nice.

Mike Mage
And my sister, she’s actually the experience director at our church. And so she said, you should, you should listen to this. This is great. But I want to talk about your most recent book, which honestly, I didn’t realize was that I knew it was coming out. Because when we had a conversation with Nick Goodner, the creator of Creative Church, he was talking about you and I looked it up and was like September, Okay, I gotta remember. And actually, I just download it right before this. So I’ll be listening to it on Audible. And so the the newest book, The Volunteer Effect, the tagline is “how your church can find, train, and keep volunteers who make a difference.” And so what led to you and your co- author, Jason Young, to writing this book?

Jonathan Malm
Yeah. So we wrote, Jason and I wrote The Comeback Effect, which, you know, he’s he’s the guest services, or he was the guest services director at NorthPoint ministries. Andy Stanley’s like five campuses or something heard of it? Yeah. It’s, it’s it’s a it’s a growing church. Yeah. Yeah, so so you know, I’d written Unwelcome which is kind of a similar book, like 50 things that can drive people away from your church, right. And I’m pro tip, by the way on that- if you if you have a book you want to give to someone, what I’ve discovered is you highlight the things that you think they’re really good at, and say, Hey, I read this book, and I highlighted the things that I think you do really well. And then they’re going to look for those highlights. But if you’re lucky, they’re gonna look for the things that aren’t highlighted and maybe learn from those too. That’s my tip there. Yeah, so he reached out to me, he’s like, Man, this is like a book I wanted to write. Let’s write a book together. And I was like, Okay, let’s do it. So he gave me some charts and stuff that he gives his his teams and we’re like, ah, and I saw one in particular, I’m like, Dude, this is this is a book a book. topic, right. So Baker Books, help us help us publish that book. And it’s done great. And then they approached us and they’re like, Hey, you know, you guys both work with volunteers a ton, we would love you to write something about volunteers. We feel like there’s nothing in that space. So we’re like, well, let’s, let’s think about it. So we thought about it. We’re like, yeah, I think I think I think we have some content there. So we thought about the three things that we feel like we consistently have either felt or heard from volunteer leaders. It’s hard to find volunteers. It’s hard to keep them because they always leave. And it’s hard to make sure that they’re motivated and doing their best. So we felt those three pain points, then we said, okay, what are some, what are some of the like, truths about how you find volunteers? And you how do you get them? How do you get volunteers? And so we kind of listed those down, and we just sort of developed this content. It was it was really a, like, this is the need, how are we going to solve it? And how have we seen it solved and how we solved it personally, or how we wish we would have solved it whenever we were, you know, in that situation. So, um, yeah, I’m really happy with the content, I think. I mean, hopefully I’m happy with the content, we wrote it. But I, I don’t know that we had some, like, we didn’t have like, I don’t know, sort of like talk that we developed, like, we got to make this into a book. Like, it was no, like, business thing. We just like, how are we, how are we gonna help people meet needs? And that’s, that’s what we put together.

Mike Mage
No, it’s super cool. When I love that, that’s the foundation of pretty much how you do everything, whether it’s Sunday Social, or the Church Set Designs, or even, you know, this, it’s really, I more people need to start with that as like their primary source of of how they’re going to do things from now on. But so yeah, but out of all the questions I get from pastors and worship leaders, and you know, other leaders in the church, whatever is how do you get more volunteers. And I honestly don’t know what to tell them most of the time, you know, like, I, I feel like a lot of the people we have on our worship team, like, it just sort of happens. It feels like there’s this Enigma, you know, around solving that mystery. And so if people read your book, there’s like, 100% guarantee, right. They’re gonna have like, 200 people on the worship roster, right? This?

Jonathan Malm
It will, it will help. I think if they actually take the principles and apply them, I believe that it’s actually the case. Because, you know, the first thing is, there’s just paradigm shifts that are necessary in this. So the first, the first chapter is the idea of inviting people personally. And that sounds so simple, and it sounds sounds like how is that going to fix things. But there’s this paradox, I was just talking to a friend who runs a business about this, there’s this, there’s this Paradox of Choice. They found that the more choices that you have, the less likely you are to make a choice. So you know, they found that, you know, Baskin Robbins has its 23 flavors, or however many flavors they have. But the number one and two most common flavors are vanilla, and chocolate, because people they love this, it’s whenever you’re faced with so many choices, you don’t make a choice, or you make a bad choice, right. So the thing about inviting someone personally is so often what we do in our churches is we say, Hey, we have this volunteer opportunity, will somebody volunteer, and nobody volunteers. But then if you were to go up to someone individually and say, Hey, you know, I, I, you’re such a good people person would you be interested in in helping people feel welcomed when they come to church on Sunday morning? So immediately, whenever you invite me to that, it says, Wow, you’ve seen something in me, that makes me feel like, wow, I have value. I have something to offer. And yeah, I would love to help people make people feel welcomed. So you get a far larger response by inviting people personally than you do by inviting people on stage. So even though you have 200, 300 however, many people that are listening to your announcement, you’re probably gonna get zero signups. Whereas if you invite someone personally, you’re probably going to get 80% of the people to say yes. So you’re going to get a larger group that way. And that’s just one. That’s the first chapter. And that, you know, we go into more details about that, how to do that and how to invite personally, whenever you don’t necessarily know everyone in church, there’s all sorts of complicating factors. But just a little paradigm shifts like that will make a huge difference in the way that you work with volunteers.

Mike Mage
Yeah, it is so funny, because I feel like even at our church, you know, and this is, I feel like this is pretty, pretty common around most churches, if the senior pastor gets up on the platform, and announces whatever your ministry is doing. And A, you think that that’s the only way that that can be done. And B, if no one comes, you have this sort of like learned helplessness or just like, Well, you know, I tried, you know, we really tried to get it out there.

Jonathan Malm
And that can become a self fulfilling prophecy because, you know, I tell this fictional story in this book about this person who, they kind of hated the job and they felt like everyone at the church didn’t want to help. They didn’t want to be involved in ministry. They didn’t really take ministry seriously. And we can get this mentality about our church were like, Oh, yeah, Elevation church can get people to volunteer, but no one in my church volunteers. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy because if that’s how you see your people, that’s how you people are going to act. I love Dale Carnegie, in How to Win Friends and Influence People. He says, Give people a fine reputation to live up to because if we you know, like, If we compliment man, you guys are so faithful and giving you guys are so sacrificial with your time. That’s what they say, Oh, that’s what I need to live up to. And I’m going to live up to that. But if we say, Man, you guys are stingy, you guys are lazy. All right, I’m stingy and lazy. Sure, I’ll act that way.

Mike Mage
And that’s great. Well, so this book, obviously, about volunteers, what has been different about this book compared to your other ones? Like, have you uncovered something about the church that you feel like you didn’t know beforehand?

Jonathan Malm
So there’s this chapter in here, which I wasn’t sure the publisher or my co writer would let me keep in. It’s, it’s this idea about motivation. When I went to business school in college, there was this motivation theory. And this is probably way too big for a five minute segment in a podcast. But there’s this, it’s called the Hertzberg two, factor, two, factor, two factor theory or two, factor, whatever, of motivation, idea that there are certain things that will motivate an employee. And then there are certain things that will cause an employee to be dissatisfied in the job. But so like, for instance, okay, pay is one of these things where if there’s not, if I’m not getting paid enough, as employee, I’m going to be dissatisfied in my job. And so the default thought line of logic would be well, okay, that means that if we pay them more, if we pay them double, they’re going to suddenly be extremely motivated, right. And the thing that they found in research is, that’s not the case. Pay is one of those, it’s called a hygiene factor where it needs to be there, otherwise, you’re gonna be dissatisfied, but it’s never a motivating factor. Um, so there’s things like that in our churches that we think oh, my gosh, this is this is going to make people love to be a part of our church, this is going to make people want to volunteer, this is going to make people want to give Yeah, and there are things like logistics, having welcoming teams, having great parking, great seating, having a stage design, having great message, great worship, all those things. But to be honest, those things are called hygiene factors, where if they’re not there, we’re dissatisfied, but they never motivate us to volunteer, they never motivate us to get more involved, give more. So that’s one of the things we talked about in the book is is what are the things that you need to focus on, you need to have them there, you need to have a baseline things otherwise, people are going to be frustrated at your church. But what are some things that you can get people to really be motivated, invite their friends, volunteer, sacrificially give, things like that. And those are things like personalization, you know, something that’s speaking directly to me things like creativity, things like, you know, life change, which is kind of outside of our control, unfortunately. But they’re, they’re these things. And so we talked about in the book, and that’s, that’s one of the things that I was really excited to finally unpack because I’ve had this in my head for 15 years. And I’m like, how am I going to explain this to people? And I think we found a really great way to do that through the book.

Mike Mage
That’s awesome. Well, I feel like there’s that I’ve never heard of that principle before. But it’s kind of cool. Like how it’s almost like a Venn diagram like some some of them, you, you need to have some of them, you know, they’re they’re mutually exclusive. But they all sort of they sort of play together, obviously.

Jonathan Malm
They work together.

Mike Mage

Jonathan Malm
And that’s it. That’s the funny thing is we have conferences about preaching better. We have conferences about leading worship better, we have conferences about being more creative about having better Guest Services. And we think if we do this one thing, our church is going to grow. And we do that one thing, and then Nope, it doesn’t grow. I mean, some of the best pastors in the world have step tiny churches. Why? It’s because it’s the mix of all of that. That’s so important.

Mike Mage
Well, and it’s it’s funny, when I think about some some of our churches that, you know, we’ve we’ve had contact with, we’ve been in contact with, you know, they’ll have really great worship, but yet, not a whole lot of engagement from their people. It doesn’t seem to make sense. Or, you know, they’ll have an obvious and this is all based on worship, I guess, because I’m, I’m a worship person.

Jonathan Malm
You’re a worship leader.

Mike Mage
Yeah, I’m involved in that area. But like, you know, the worship will be terrible. But people will be so engaged and so excited to come, because there’s some other extenuating circumstances that maybe aren’t actually a bit more motivating than, you know, what could potentially be seen as just like a simple performance on a stage, you know.

Jonathan Malm
Yes. And that’s that’s the irony yet again, is we focus 90% of our time on that Planning Center roster. And none of those things in that Planning Center roster are motivators.

Mike Mage
But you’re right, you know, you need like that the baseline you need it to not be bad, but it but you know, the difference in good to great isn’t going to return on your investment as much as maybe some other parts in the church. That’s incredible. Well, I feel like that that lends itself back to kind of what we were talking about earlier with the content. And, you know, you need to be able to meet people’s needs, as opposed to just like, push at them content, you know, oh, yeah. Which is, which is really great. So,

Jonathan Malm
yeah, I mean, everything that I think is all kind of centered around a few ideas, but like, right, yeah, I really milk those so.

Mike Mage
yeah. Well, they’re good and they they work. And I think that, like we were saying earlier, I mean, it’s what Jesus did, you know, if you’re meeting people where they’re at, that’s something that’s timeless and will never get old. And and everyone has needs. So, well Jonathan like this has been incredible man I’m so I’m so glad that you’ve been able to join us. What’s what’s a couple ways some people can obviously I mean, we’ve talked about a few of them but what’s a couple of ways people can sort of stay engaged with you and updated on the things that you’re doing?

Jonathan Malm
Follow me on Instagram, just Jonathan Malm. Follow me on Facebook. Just get connected with me. Obviously has all of my projects and books and if you’re interested in one of them. Just came out with another book that’s a companion to The Volunteer Effect called The Volunteer Survival Guide. And that’s like a $3 book that churches can give their volunteers that will really I feel like help them thrive in ministry and thrive in volunteering so highly recommend that but yeah, grab one of my books and then reach out to me and say hey, what what you liked what you what you disagreed with. I love talking about this stuff.

Mike Mage
Awesome. Well, very cool. Well, Jonathan, this is this has been incredible. Thank you so much for for being on this and for talking to us about some some really important stuff. So it’s been incredible.

Jonathan Malm
Of course.

Healthy Church Growth Podcast – There is Hope for Difficult Conversations

How to handle the challenge of firing a staff member or volunteer. 

Hiring and firing people are the most important things you can do to maintain the health of your organization. In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, hosts Mike Mage and Justin Price, founder of Vers Creative, discuss how to master the art of having those difficult conversations. 

On Instagram:  @Mikemage @techjustinrp @vers_creative


Mike Mage
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. We’re so glad you’re here joining us today. Today, we are continuing a conversation that we started on our last podcast. In our last podcast, if you haven’t listened to it, I encourage you to go do it. Because it is a, it’s probably a lot more fun and happy than the one we’re talking about today. Today, we’re going to be talking about firing slash letting people go slash having really tough conversations. But before we do that, before we, you know, dive right into that, just want to really say thank you. Thank you so much for getting involved in this conversation. Thank you so much for getting involved in what healthy church growth looks like.

It’s been incredible to hear from you, the audience, to kind of hear what you think healthy church growth looks like as well. We want to continually make this a journey for all of us, because we know that God has called us to very unique places and unique locations and has gifted us all uniquely. So it’s an incredible thing to be able to talk about. But Justin, today, we are talking about letting people go or fire them, arguably one of the hardest topics, practically speaking, that we could probably cover and frankly at topic a lot of us do our absolute best at avoiding at all costs

especially within the church. And I haven’t had to have like a lot of these conversations over the years. But I know for you being sort of the leader of a creative agency, you have sort of had to have these conversations a good bit, right.

Justin Price
I would even say my challenge for this topic would be that I would say we did not want to fire anybody. Okay. And so my challenge to you is that healthy church growth looks a lot like not firing people. Now that’s going to resonate and feel a lot happier than the set-up you just gave us.

Mike Mage
I guess

I want to establish the groundwork that we’re about to go into. Yeah.

Justin Price
So I think there’s actually a ton of hope for anybody who’s in a particularly bad team. I really, you know, the one that my heart kind of breaks for is for a young worship leader who maybe has some volunteers who suck, who show up and don’t practice, who you know, really hurt the whole like dynamics of the team. And they need to somehow figure out how to let them go. And even the nuance of firing a volunteer is super relevant to the conversation I want to have today. So, Mike, I’m glad we’re doing this. We’re doing this speed lightning round, I’m gonna try to crank it up. It is early for us. Mike and I are both hiding from our families in our closets. And so bear with us this morning. If it takes us a couple minutes to get the blood pumping.


Mike Mage

We’re trying, we’re trying.

Justin Price

But man, and also, I don’t think talking about firing is something that would really get the blood pumping. But

we’ve got we got three things I got to go first last time, Mike and I thought it would be only the polite thing to do to let you go first. So you’re gonna set the pace here. Hit us with the lightning round. We both have three things. We’re going to ping pong back and forth here. Get out your notepads. Challenge it. Before we actually jump into this. Can I say it’s been really encouraging to see you guys participating in the conversation of what healthy church growth looks like. It’s been really cool to hear other people who are working and serving inside of a church, whether it’s volunteer or staff, to say, finally, a conversation that is about a healthy culture, not about hype culture. A conversation that’s about what we believe is really good for the church and not necessarily just what will grow the church.

So thank you guys for jumping in. It’s been really encouraging. I think Mike and I are fed by getting the the feedback and the ideas and even just hearing your thoughts on that. So as Mike said, thank you, I just want to I want to echo my own thank you. It encourages me, it energizes me to keep doing this. I’m really, really grateful for how you all are jumping in on the conversation and to see, hopefully an impact of people feeling like we can actually make our church cultures healthier. And that that ultimately is, is the best thing that could come out of this podcast. So thank you guys for implementing some of these things, challenging some of the things we’re saying and finding what is the healthy church culture for you.

Mike Mage
Well, and sort of to tack on what you’re saying and sort of pivot us into this, you know, conversation, I think that you know, you and I like we’re not 100% experts on this topic. Like I do think, you know, over the past, however many five, six, ten years or so, like I have

Justin Price

Mike Mage
Okay, so diving face first in here.

gotten to understand more and more about what it looks like to hire, to bring on people well, what does it look like to maybe fire or let people go well in a way that’s healthy, and productive, and hopeful, kind of like you were saying, however, you know, like hearing from other people, also helps all of us grow. So we need each other in this in not just this topic, but in all the things that we’re talking about. So,

Justin Price

Mike Mage
Okay, so hidden diamond face verse in here,

Justin Price
Number one from Mike Mage is…

Mike Mage
So, first thing you and I were talking about here is I’m a nine on the Enneagram, which means I’m a peacemaker, and which just even thinking about the topic of either firing people or letting people go, what terminate however you want to word, it fills me with the utmost terror. I naturally want to never talk about this topic. And I creating conflict is one thing that I just genuinely want to avoid. It’s just part of who I am as a person. So knowing that however, this is this is something that I’ve begun to learn is not one, like giant moment, in either my life or someone’s life, like this is a constant thing that is happening over time. And so you know, I think when I when I, when I opened myself up to the idea, that firing slash letting people go slash terminating them, whatever, when I opened myself up to the idea that like, this is an ongoing thing, and isn’t just like one like nuclear explosion that happens out of nowhere, it sort of gave me a lot more peace in in all of this to like, begin to build guardrails and pathways for not just myself, but also my team. So that’s sort of my preamble from a number one here. So my number one is, you must set expectations. So just like every good parent, just like every good leader, whatever, you know, you must set expectations. And then once you set your expectations, you have to do it again. And then you have to reinforce it. And then you have to reinforce it again, and then reinforce it some more like this is the top priority, anywhere you go as a leader. And if you didn’t do it, when you first got into your role as the leader, then the best time for you to do that is right now. So you got to start now if you haven’t done it. And then yeah, like I said, when you set those expectations, you must over communicate them. You can even preach them to your team and figure out a way

Justin Price
to do that. Because the moment that when you set those signposts in the ground, and then you continually come back to them, people will understand what your culture is supposed to be about, they will understand,

even maybe before they mistake when they make a mistake, or when they make a mistake, you know that like, oh, we’re always pointing back to these things, these expectations were already setting. You know,

Mike Mage
writing them down, there’s another practical thing. I mean, Justin, I know for you, you guys at Vers, you guys have probably written down your expectations somewhere. I know that’s not mind exploding, or whatever. But you got to write them down. If anything, just so your team has actual access to the exact wording of your expectations and all that kind of stuff, you have something physical to point back to. And then you know, just in writing in creating your expectations.

One thing I really tried to do, Justin, is I always try from the very beginning, it should be a privilege to be on the team that you’re leading, whether you’re working on it, whether you’re volunteering, it should never feel like an obligation to people. I think if you can make those if you can make those subtle shifts, if and when you’re setting your expectations, that is the start, that’s the the groundwork, that’s the foundation for you know, for a really healthy team. But also, it can help lead you into whenever you have difficult conversations, it can sort of help you in guiding you through that. So I know that it’s not like specifically having to deal with firing or letting people go like in that moment. But like I said, as as an Enneagram nine, like I have to view it as sort of this long term arc that happens. And it sort of helps to reinforce the relational aspect of it.

And you know, like you and I were talking beforehand, I know when I was the leader of a small church, man, I feel like my primary job even not even just as an Enneagram nine, but my primary job was to avoid conflict at all costs to try and keep my team happy, as opposed to try and keep my team like moving in a forward direction, continuing to do great work. So

Justin Price
I like that Mike, maybe a response to that is the the stat that runs around is somewhere in the 40 to 45% more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down. So writing down expectations if you’re going if you’re going, you know, ‘hey, we set these expectations and people just aren’t meeting them.’ My first question is always, ‘Hey, have you written it down?’

Mike Mage

Justin Price
If you if you want a really quick lift on achieving goals, write them down. Absolutely. So my first point that I would like to just kind of get the elephant in the room out of the way out of the room, so we could focus on some healthy things is moral failure. So my lightning round thought to get off of the table is moral failure. Mike was talking about, so moral failures can be really big, and they can be really small.

I’ve often said that, hey, don’t, you can’t, you really can’t trust somebody on your team

if they’re, if they’re doing something small, wrong, they’re gonna, they’re gonna do something big wrong. The way we do one thing is the way we do everything in the sense of moral grounds. And so one of the peacemakers biggest issues is to try to say, ‘well, that smaller moral failure is okay with me, and I’m just going to look the other way,’ and not realize that you’re setting yourself up for potential cancer that can grow really quickly, or could infiltrate your whole team. And so the hopeful, helpful tip here is that, if you can think about the whole team, think about the whole congregation, think about your whole organization. And even if this is, even if you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m like third or fourth on the totem pole here, but I’m leading worship.’ You’re 21, you’re leading worship at a church, a larger church, and you see some moral failure. And you could look the other way and say, I don’t really want to ruffle feathers, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s so and so is maybe misusing some funds, maybe so and so’s misusing some equipment, maybe so and so’s misusing doing this. Or maybe there’s a lot of flirting happening in the green room. It just doesn’t feel right.

You guys, the the best thing I can say is, is to, to stand up for it, to to confront it while it’s small, and either get rid of it at that point, try to help that be removed before it turns into something bigger. Because if it does turn into something bigger, say that flirting turned into to an affair

that you guys that ends up hurting so much. Those affairs hurt churches, we’ve seen that for the last 10 years, almost every major leader in the church get taken down with affairs. And so I think just as a as a culture,

looking for those, like weak spots where people kind of come in, and I’m not judging people who are flirting or having an affair. I’m not, this isn’t a statement against those people being bad people or saying that, hey, but but the idea that you can say like, well, it’s not that bad, I really shouldn’t confront I really shouldn’t, shouldn’t do it, shouldn’t handle it. If even if you’re not the the shot caller, if you’re not the executive pastor, if you’re not at a high level feeling like well, that’s their problem, guys, you should you should confront the person, you know, if you’re seeing those issues, and it’s in the same way of firing, if you are in a leadership position

in a smaller organization, and you’re going Hey, well, I need that person that’s not that big of a deal. That that that small moral failure, when it turns into something big, it will take out a lot more than just that one person. So take that person out, now, address it and get it in. And the rest of the thoughts are, you know, just the the idea that

the it’s just you just never win by trying to push something away, no matter how big or justifying it no matter how big or how small. So when it comes to firing, the moral failure part of it for me is more of a non negotiable. Dave Ramsey has some really great stuff in the Entree Leadership book about his philosophy on he even says that he if you cheat on your spouse, if you have an affair, he says I won’t, I will, I will immediately let that person go. Because if they’re willing to cheat on the person they committed their whole life to, then they will definitely cheat on me. You know, they will definitely not follow through. And some of you guys may hear this, you may say, I totally disagree. I embrace that conversation. But for me, I haven’t seen a scenario where this is has has gone wrong. And so it doesn’t mean that you have to excommunicate somebody, it means that you can lovingly come around them and help them and support them through working through a moral failure.

the whole rest of the team is still going to feel that conflict every time you guys jump on stage and that bass player who doesn’t ever practice plays the wrong baseline and Mike, you know, you’re just like, hey, just turn them down in the mix. You talk to that keyboard player, you’re like, hey, just cover the baseline. It’s gonna be…

Mike Mage
We got it in the tracks. Yeah, and we got in the track.

Justin Price
Yeah, we got it in the track, just just don’t have what everybody else who’s hearing that base, you know, in the mix anywhere else they’re feeling and it’s like, Whoa, it’s okay to show up and not practice. It’s okay. It’s, there’s never any, like, the expectation was written. Mike wrote had us all write down that we’re gonna practice we’re gonna show up and know our stuff. And I’m not talking about having a bad day, talking about consistently bad pattern expectations. Yeah, we all have bad days. But when we start to see those patterns, you are missing out on the opportunity, you are creating conflict for a whole team, because you are trying to avoid it for one person. So that’s the cancer kind of get it out early. Get it out while it’s small. Address conflicts when they’re small, they only grow. They never get better. It’s just like cancer, it’ll feed it’ll attract more bad things. And next thing you know, you know, you’re you’re losing organs instead of just chopping off a finger.

Mike Mage
Totally. Well, yeah. So Justin, you’re not pulling any punches here in the beginning.

Just opening, opening lightning round with a haymaker here. I think that I think that what he said, it’s, it’s a really great thing to tackle right up front. And like, I also think that integrity is never something that you shouldn’t fight for. That should be always something that needs to be the backbone of your ministry of your organization. Because it’s bigger than what you’re doing. It’s who you are. And you as a person, and as a culture as an organization, need to be, you know, like, there needs to be something bigger there. And so, yeah, I think that’s incredible. And really dovetails sort of nicely into what my second point here is, is. So when a team member is underperforming, failing to meet expectations, moral failures, all that kind of stuff, you as a leader, you must address it. So. So you set your expectations, somebody does not meet those expectations, moral failures, whatever. You have to talk about it, do not let it go on. And, you know, like, there’s the this, if you get it in the beginning, if you try if you nip it in the bud, this, this has the potential to grow into a much larger problem. And kind of like you were just saying, Justin is, you know, this could grow into a cancer and you start to lose way more than you even thought was possible. And on the flip side, if you actually have these tough conversations at the very beginning, you can actually potentially gain way more than you could ever dream or imagine. So even when you think it might be too difficult a conversation to have whatever it may be, what you are doing is bigger than the problem you are facing, you have to remember that your your job as the leader of it, volunteer team, or staff or some combination, or the both is to set the culture. My pastor always has this really great line that he uses all the time. But he says that we are to be thermostats, not thermometers, because as leaders, we designate what the room feels like, what the team feels like. And the biggest culture drain is having someone on your team, underperform, or worse, someone who’s failing to meet those expectations, and not addressing it. The worst thing is not having someone underperform or not meet those expectations, the worst thing is them doing it and you as the leader not coming to terms with it, you start to lose…

Justin Price

Mike Mage
You start to lose the trust of the team around you. And that’s where the cracks start to really settle in. It’s not when people don’t do the things that they’re supposed to do. It’s when you let them go unnoticed or untalked about.

I’ve been in some…

Justin Price

Mike Mage
I’ve been in so many situations where leaders try to create team culture, or they really force team building or, you know, you have some sort of staff retreat or some sort of stupid, you know, game that you do at staff meeting or, you know, whatever, or we go to lunch and you go go ahead and sit next to someone, you don’t talk to or whatever, as a way to like build team culture. But the things that that really build team culture is when you address elephants in the room, like that’s the, that’s the thing that builds team culture, it allows us to know that we’re all held accountable for something that’s bigger than just your tiny mistake. And like, and I know you said on the last podcast, and I’ve heard you say before, and I’ve heard other people say, but it is so true that we’re only as strong as our weakest member. And I’m not saying that you must address it amongst the rest of your team and like in fact, like 95 to 98% of the time, these are private conversations that you have.

Justin Price

Mike Mage
And their private conversations that you constantly have and

Justin Price
you know, like, it’s it again, like micromanaging, is not holding people accountable. So I feel like so many people go well, I don’t want to micromanage people like no, the primary area where most leaders fail is the greatest opportunity for growth is constant accountability, like it’s not micromanagement you have to engage with these problems. And so the last thing here, too, just to sort of finish up this big lightning round, from this point to is addressing problems when you see them. At the very first one, when you first see them, it does three things that allows you as a leader to thrive, but it allows your organization to thrive and your culture to thrive. A- it shows that you care, it shows that you are invested in what your people are doing. And that is such a great gift, it shows that you see what’s happening. Second, it allows you to stop potentially large problems when they are small. If things start off is like a golf ball, then it’s so much easier to deal with a golf ball than when it like blows up into a giant beach ball. Third thing, it strengthens your resolve to have hard conversations, not just as a leader, but with your team members specifically. So this hard conversation might be hard, but it’s going to prepare you for the next hard conversation, whether it be with that person or with another person. And it continues. It’s just like creativity. It is a muscle that you need to build as a leader to walk into a walk into your office to bring in somebody and have a tough, engage in a tough conversation with them.

So my first point was a moral failure is really the only grounds to eliminate quickly. And you were saying on any grounds, address conflict quickly. So great, yeah, great dovetail there. So my next point would then be to set checkpoints. So my point number two is now getting back on the the main path I’d like to be on which is not firing. And so kind of you’ve already set the path for this a little bit. But it is that as a leader, if if you can set a three month or a six month regular check in to check in on the goals and the expectations. To use your analogy with the thermometer. You to set the temperature you have to be able to communicate and

Understanding everybody is going to be in a little bit different place on your team. Volunteer or paid, they’re all going to be a little bit different place. Now you can still talk about the temperature, you can still talk about expectations to everybody. But understanding where to help people truly grow, to help your team achieve their expectations and to find the spots that they’d need the most focus on, it should be done individually. And so setting those regular check ins and setting an expectation of check ins is super, super valuable. This is what this is this is so important if you can set that that expectation that that’s happening every at least every six months of just making sure you know that you tell people, ‘Hey, you’re meeting the expectations. And I’m really glad to have you on the team.’ Instead of just thanks for being here this week, instead of just thank you guys. Hey, great Sunday.

To say the expectation was that you always show up and know the music, the expectation was that you, you know, you’re talking to your video guy or your graphics person, or however the team is all structured out. But saying like, ‘hey, you’ve you’ve been meeting these expectations that we wrote down. Great job, thank you. What’s next?’ That not only fuels them to continue to grow and to be better. It gives them a point of connection to say, hey, yep, I’m hitting the mark. And as as people underperform, you need more checkpoints. So immediately, if you see a lot of red flags on a on a review, you know, some people call these performance reviews. And that may feel really weird. Again, I keep trying to think back, you’re 21 year old worship pastor, you’re leading a volunteer team, and you want to see growth in your church, you believe that you are being placed in this church, and you might even be a volunteer yourself.

And you’re like, yeah, I’m not doing performance reviews for the 45 year old keyboard player I have, you know, he’s not gonna do it. But I’ll tell you what, you can still meet with them. And you can tailor a performance review to feel like coffee. Like, hey, what what are your goals? Like? What are you doing playing keyboard at our church? Like, why are you Why are you here? Why do you show up every week? Why are you showing up every once a month to play whatever the schedule is, but talking about that you can talk about in framing in a way to be a good leader does not mean to have a formal structure. To be a good leader means to truly communicate expectations. And so sometimes you just have to think about spinning it a little bit depending on the scenario that you’re in. So I want to challenge you, no matter where you’re at what you’re doing. My second point is to have regular

check ins where we’re writing down the goals, we’re reviewing the goals and we’re setting new expectations. So call them goals, you can call them expectations, to meet the culture. And that’s how you set the temperature, you cannot set it by just thinking about it and hoping that everybody else somehow figures out what is inside of your brain, or by just modeling it and figuring out that everybody else is smart enough to see what you’re doing. And that that’s the the expectation. No, you have to communicate it with them, like Mike said, over communicate over communicate over communicate. And why does that mean you don’t have to fire people. Because the the second or third meeting you have and this is why I said if you’re starting to see red flags, you need to have more meetings more often. Don’t let it go six months. By the second and third meeting, we’re just like, ‘hey, the expectation was for you to know your music. Hey, the expectation was that we’re not doing Facebook posts once a month, what we’re doing Facebook posts everyday. The expectation was that, that the graphics are done on Thursday, not Sunday morning, as the sermon is getting ready to go up.’

Any of these expectations that often get unmet, if you if you set those by the third time, these people will start to understand that that they’re not able to meet the the need. And so people do not like to stay in an environment where they do not thrive. They also do not like to stay it’s uncomfortable to, when we know like we’re not hitting the mark, and when we’re reminded that we’re not hitting the mark, in a lovingly loving way, and loving communication, we want to remove ourselves rather than wait to be removed. And most people who suck in their job at their job, don’t have a leader who is communicating well that they suck. And it’s just letting them kind of do it. But in they just kind of know that they’re not really all that great, but they’re just kind of doing because like, well, no one’s ever told me I suck. So I’m just gonna keep doing it. Keep doing what I’ve been doing until you know, something else comes along. So that’s it. Set regular things, this doesn’t just happen naturally. It can, you can make it feel like to other people, like it’s just coffee, or if it’s with staff, you can set very formal, very regulated performance reviews. I know for me, and for our team, that it has been huge, it’s been a great time to even call out opportunities to shift positions to sometimes say, hey, you’re killing it over here, you’re not killing it over here. Your your position would look better if we transform it, if we don’t schedule those meetings and we don’t make that a priority because it’s hard to do, you know, we don’t have enough time in the day, we’re missing out on the opportunity to help our team be the very best that they can be.

Mike Mage
Well, I think too man, if if you don’t make it a priority, and you let the only time that you actually have conversations with your team members, be the times when they’re doing something wrong. Or, you know, when they have failed to meet expectations. Rather than having like a set time that you know that you’re going to talk about it, it starts to really eradicate sort of a trusting relationship from you know, like your, from your leader to the rest of your team members. Because like crap, well, the only time that we’re going to talk is when I’ve done something wrong, or I’ve done something bad. You know, that’s the if that’s the general mood that’s going on with your team, like that’s not a great place to be. Right, you want to be able to communicate with them when it’s good, and when it’s bad. And

my third one, the lightning round here is, is probably the most practical I’ll get. And this comes with the the actual conversation, when you actually have to let someone go, fire them, not have them back on the volunteer team, whatever that may be. That actual conversation should never be a surprise. So I’m gonna say that again. If and when you actually have that conversation to let someone go fire them or not having them back in your volunteer team. It should and will never be a surprise. That’s because you’re doing what Justin just talked about. And that’s having conversations with them. That’s because my point previously before Justin’s, you have actually engaged in those difficult conversations you have set your expectations. You have, you have kept your integrity as an organization. And you get to this final moment. And it is not a surprise to anybody. And it shouldn’t be. You know, just recently in our church, we actually had to let someone go on our team who actually had some sort of moral failure, I’m not going to get into it super big. But you know, there was some sort of failing in some way, shape or form. And because the leader didn’t talk to them once didn’t talk to them twice. But he talked to them three or four times. By the time he actually got to the actually got to that conversation. It was not a surprise to anybody. And because it’s not a surprise, that means that this conversation does not have to be long and drawn out. The time for questions is over. Like there is no time for questions like it is it’s pretty apparent for everybody that this is going to happen.

Justin Price

Mike Mage
So, yeah, I learned this from one of one of the guys at our church who was really high up in like a very, I can’t remember, an accounting firm or something like he was in HR, and, you know, had been doing HR for decades. And he basically said that, like, you know, when you have this conversation, it needs to be like, five, maybe 10 minutes at the most, and at the end, and even label it as a conversation, you know, you put conversation in air quotes, because it’s not much of a back and forth. And, you know, I just, I think that the, it, there needs to be some sort of finality to it. And then, you know, moving back to, especially in like a ministry way, these are not things that that need to be, that need to be like relationship killers, you know, I think in some way, shape or form, like the relationship does change, because it has to, but again, to your first point, Justin, if someone you know, has to be let go because of a moral failing in some way, shape, or form, this is our job as it as a church, as a worship leader, as someone who is involved in ministry, this is our job to say, hey, our professional relationship must change here. But it does not alleviate you, as a leader in the church to also help offer counseling in some way, shape or form. You know, I don’t know some sort of some sort of, of moral support, if there’s especially there’s a moral failing, obviously, you need to set specific and appropriate boundaries for that. You know, you can’t get involved in someone’s, you know, addictions in the sense that, you know, like, it has the potential to really drag you down. However, there is a lot of things, creative things that we can do to actually help people out. Because we care about them more than just the job that they do. That should be the overall culture, the overall feeling of your ministry of your organization is you want people to be the best that they can be not just the best at what they do. So final final point here is even when you have that conversation, it’s a conversation that air quotes and should not last long, nor should it be a surprise at all.

Justin Price
I love that point. Mike. My third point was actually going to be a kind of a weird point. And that was actually to talk about a time where I failed at firing.

I worked with somebody who I love very much. Who I poured a lot of time into, had a long working relationship with them.

You know, and seasons change, you know, people go through different times different seasons, and we had multiple reviews, we even went on to a probationary period. To me, I felt like it was crystal clear. You’re on probation. Performance is not where it needs to be. Here are the problems that I’m seeing, and I need to see these things change during this period. Or else we cannot continue to work together. I thought that was clear enough.

I think that it was kind of clear that performance didn’t change. And then when we sat down to have that conversation to end it quickly, that person was surprised that they were being let go. And so I think one of the issues when we’re working with with people in church is that we feel like well, I’m not, I mean, the church can’t like fire me cause, it’s a church. And so some people

come into these relationships and feel like the relationship is job security. And the reality is is that it’s not.

Mike Mage
Yeah, that’s so good.

Justin Price
And so the point for me that I took away from this is that I have to over communicate.

When I feel like we’re at a point where that person’s job might be on the line. Because I do care about the people that I work with, I do care about their livelihood, I do realize that this is going to affect their family. Yeah. And so if I love them, if I care about them, if I really do want what’s best for them, I need to work as hard as I possibly can to communicate clearly how severe the situation is, and I cannot use my dislike for conflict or my desire to like protect them from hurting their feelings, to make it end up them not understand the severity of the situation. So now I’m probably over overly communicative when I see a red flag. When I’m like, oh, man, things are not going good.

I’m also I’m also much slower to hire now, after going through a couple of like hard, hard fires. Now it’s like, oh, man, I’ll just I’m gonna definitely ease into any new hire because like, I don’t want to have to go through that again. I don’t want to. I don’t wanna have to have that that situation and to lose that relationship because I didn’t

communicate clear enough. And so on a very on a very personal level, I’ve been fired out of the blue, when my performance reviews have been through the roof. That changed my life.

I was working for a church, we had doubled the church, the attendance had almost doubled. I was in Tennessee, I loved the area, I built a house, a block from the church, in a small town in Tennessee, where like if, if I was not creative directing at that church, I would definitely not stay in Tennessee. And I walk in one day, and I had even I my wife was, was sick. And she had been off of work for a while. And we had even gotten word from the executive pastor that, hey, we’re, you know, we just want you to know, you’re good. We’re gonna take you like you guys have a job here you have job security. All this we were we were like, we were cruising along. And I walked in one day, and they were like, Hey, we want to talk. And they said, we’re changing directions. It wasn’t a moral failure, it wasn’t a performance thing. And if it was a performance thing, they had never communicated it previously, and they had not communicated it then. And they they took the opportunity to give us a great severance, they did treat us lovingly in the in the way that they let us go. And it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me because it caused me to move back to Florida with where my family was at. And it changed my life. It’s why I own an agency now and why I’m not still working. I did end up working for another church. But when I started that next job at that church, I came into it a completely different person.

Mike Mage
I bet. Yeah.

Justin Price
because I was determined to never set myself up in a position where I where people would, would not value the work that I was doing for their church, after growing multiple churches so significantly to be to be let go like that with such disrespect, the lack of communication and not even bringing me into the conversations. For me, it was it was a life changing experience. And so when I when I failed to communicate that and when that was a surprise on my first fire, the first person I fired, that was a surprise.

That was another big, big aha moment for me. And so I would just say, hey, if you think that you have even been slightly ambiguous, over communicate. If you think that you are at potential of firing them, tell them do not skirt around this, let them know what’s at stake, so that you can give them the fullest potential, the fullest opportunity to say, well, then this job isn’t for me, or this job is for me, and they will fire themselves.

And that level of communication for me ever since that bad fire has I have not fired anybody. So we’ve been able to have really great conversations, people have been able to say this isn’t the right fit for me, or move themselves inside of the organization because of good communication. So there it is. That’s my not as lightning as last time.

That’s my third point, Mike these uh, it’s almost like we practiced and talked about these, they were really almost all the same dovetailed into each other just like the first time.

Mike Mage
Yeah, well, I think that, you know, I think that’s a good thing.

And you know, like, it’s tough for us to separate those two would be the wrong thing when you agree.

Justin Price
I agree. And I would say, if there’s one thing that we could take away from this is that if you care about having a healthy culture in your church, then caring about hiring and firing is the biggest thing you can do. It’s not about whether you should use Pro Presenter or not. It’s not about it’s not about whether your team’s on Slack. It’s not about technology, it’s not about meeting schedules, it’s not about anything else.

It is literally focusing on how you hire how you fire. I think that all of these things are rooted in this concept that is super generic, which is the idea that we we really have to treat and love the people that we were working with. We need to treat them as if as as Christ has called us to treat them and that sounds like super Sunday school. But I think that the difference between firing somebody the wrong way and even hiring people the wrong way. You know, I told you at the beginning of this like I try to talk people out of it when I’m hiring them because I want to make sure that this is what’s best for them because I want them to be thriving in their workplace doing that because a place to for of love for them and love for my the rest of my team. You know sometimes even making those hard choices, isn’t,

it’s not easy for me to do the hard choice, the conflict, the conversation, when I’m just thinking about the impact on me. The thing that usually will push me over the edge to actually have the conversation to have the hard thing is when when I hear another team member complain. When I see it’s affecting the other rest of the staff. Now all the sudden I’m like, I can’t brush it under the rug for me anymore. I’m hurting my team. And I love my team. And so I’m actually making a hard decision or a hard conversation out of out of a place for love. And guys, that when you let somebody go, the severance package, always stepping up, always doing what the best that you can, for people, is going to be the best. And sometimes you can’t do a lot, you know, sometimes you’re financially in a bad spot, sometimes you know, your organization’s not got a lot because of a bad person caused you to lose quite a bit of donations this year. You know, there’s you got a moral failure from a pastor, you’re probably going to be down a little bit.

And so it’s hard to be like, well, we’re gonna still give you a ton of money too. So sometimes you can’t do as much as you even want to, but do the most that you can do what you can and to leave people with as much respect and as much love as you possibly can. And I would say I don’t have any of this figured out, these are some things that have helped me be from like, terrible at this to a little bit better. I’m not in a good to great situation, like from like a worst to like, not as bad as where I’m at right now, Mike. So I would echo your hearts for I would love to hear more stories from people who do this really well. I’d love to get more tips from you guys. And I it’s something that as my career as a leader continues. I know it’s one of the most valuable things I can invest in is getting better at hiring and firing. I hope you guys are taking a lot away from this. If you are young leader, you can do this, you can lead up if you’re in an organization where you’re frustrated, because you’ve heard all of this and you’re like, Well, my leadership isn’t doing this. Bring it to them. Bring it to them and make it happen. Bring it to your team and start implementing it on any level that you can. You can lead up and you can say I want to review, can you you can schedule a meeting with your leader. And you can set your own reviews. It doesn’t have to come down and you can ask them what are your expectations of me and write down their expectations of you. And what are the goals that you want to have? You can write that down with them without having that system and don’t let your bad organization or your bad culture that’s being led by anybody else stop you from making a healthy church culture that’s going to grow your church deeper and wider. That’s all I got for you today, Mike.

Mike Mage
Well, that’s a great place for us, for us to cap this off. This has been an incredible conversation. Justin, thank you so much. And thank you to all those people who are listening and sharing. We’re so grateful for you. But thanks again for listening to the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 22 – The Pursuit of the Phenomenal Employee

How to immediately improve your hiring process.

Does your employee recruitment style need to change? In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, hosts Mike Mage and Justin Price, founder of Vers Creative, discuss how to master the art of recruiting exceptional talent. 

On Instagram:  @Mikemage @techjustinrp @vers_creative


Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast. We are so glad that you are joining us today for this podcast. And today, it’s going to look a little different, it’s gonna feel a little different. And I’m gonna get into that here in a minute. But before we do, I just want to again, say thank you so much for sharing, for subscribing for liking for being a part of this podcast in this community, it is so cool to see people reach out and to see people comment and to see people really engaged with what we’re trying to do here with healthy church growth and be a part of this journey as we tried to figure out what in the world does healthy church growth actually look like? And today with me, as always, is our co host, Justin, Justin, how’s it going, man?

Justin Price
It is going so great, Mike. I mean, we finally broke 75 degrees here in Florida, which just feels so incredible. Yes, yeah. Today, I love it when it’s sunny, and cool.

Mike Mage
It’s amazing. Well, and and yeah, I I think it comes into before we record it, but if heaven has a temperature, it’s going to be around 65 to 70 degrees and sunny out. And I don’t know a lot of people that would disagree with me on that. But it’s amazing here in Florida, as of November 2.

Justin Price
It’s incredible. It is amazing. Yeah, it was so funny. I was telling my staff to go out and breathe some fresh air today. Yeah, I got out. I got some very frustrated Toledo-ins. Even like a little eye roll from Buffalo and one from North Carolina who always like, shut up. Yeah. And don’t tell us to go outside, you jerk.

Mike Mage
Well, and this is, you know, May through probably October, honestly, is pretty terrible in Florida. And you know, but it’s almost like you invest in those months so that we can reap the benefit when it comes to November through like, especially like March or April? Because there’s really no other place to be. I mean, it’s it feels most of the time. It feels so good out.

Justin Price
Yeah, I mean, there is a reason why everybody from the great white out here. We have all these snowbirds in our population increases by two to three. Yeah, but there is a little hack for those listeners. There’s a little life hack that I live by. And that is that October. And November are secret month that we locals that are aware and wise enough. When for smart enough, we live it up. And it’s bright before all the snowbirds are fully in season and when the weather is still nice enough. So you get in September and post summer. Yep, hot days at the beach to yourself. Yeah. And then any resort. And any cool like, you know, Busch Gardens, like any amusement parks, all of the touristy things that are like 10 times longer weights and obnoxious during spring break in the typical, like break times, just, you know, you got to get creative with your schedule and switch things around a little bit. And so if you are thinking about visiting Florida, and maybe you could even apply this to other warm weather states. Think about getting creative and stop, like just sticking to the Christmas and Spring Break time and see them on summer seasons just Yeah, get your kids out of school. It’s not responsible. I can say that with a first grader. There you go see exactly take the week. Yeah,

Mike Mage
executive, at some point, you got to live life. And folks, that is a free tip that we were talking about today. That’s a free tip. You even know you were getting that today.

Justin Price
We’ve got no segue for that. So let’s just jump into it. You know,

Mike Mage
Let’s jump into it. Okay, so what I mentioned the beginning, we wanted to try and do something a little different, Justin and I did. And it’s something that I hear about a lot from other worship leaders from other people in ministry is how do you find people I literally, I just had a phone call the last week from the pastor who’s new to the area. And you know, they’re from a town over. And you know, they called me and said, I don’t I don’t want to take any of your people, which I thought was very nice. But I’m new to this town. I’m new to the city. What’s even like, what do I look for? When I’m trying to recruit people, whether it’s whether you have some money as a church to hire somebody, maybe it’s part time, maybe it’s full time or even just simply volunteers. And so I was talking with Justin and we’re like, maybe we should do like a couple part series and what does it look like to hire people and recruit people? What does it look like to maybe ask somebody to not be a part of your team anymore? Whether it be firing or, you know, just saying now’s not the right time? Or you know, and then maybe, you know, some third part, whoever knows that is whatever this goes. So today, we’re going to sort of go lightning round, Justin and I both bought three really great points. And we’re gonna sort of just ping pong back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. So Justin, I think it’s great if you would lead off age before beauty, right?

Justin Price
Oh, man, you’re gonna set the bar really high. I’m gonna start talking really Fast, here we go, you’re ready for the lightning round

Mike Mage
Lightning round, we need

Justin Price
Here we go. So anybody who has ever applied to work with me, I have one objective in the interview process it is to talk them out of the job, I really want to set up the expectations for the worst case scenario of what I imagine could frustrate, you could burn you out, and could make it so that you find out maybe six months, maybe a year into the job, that it’s not the right job for you. A lot of people feel like that’s not the way that they would maybe take an interview process. But the thing that I have found is I’m a pretty good sales guy. And I can convince a lot of people to come and work with me. And then they find out six months later, like this stuff that I left out, is a deal breaker for them. And so they end up finding another job or they decide to go somewhere else or whatever. And that that’s always worked out perfectly fine. However, I invest a ton of time and money into staffing them, getting them plugged in onboarding them, getting them into the culture, even like for us, we have a lot of clients of bringing it up to all of the clients and bringing them up to speed with all the clients is a big deal. And so you when you consider what it really costs to hire somebody, it’s about 10 to 20 grand whether to use a recruiter actually pay somebody to find them. Or you just look at the resources from your team to bring somebody up to full speed, you’re looking at like 10 to 20 grand worth of time, hours cost whatever. Yeah. And so I want to talk people out of the job, make sure that when I put that 10 to 20 grand in somebody, it’s the right fit for the long term. And, you know, what I’ve also found is usually when it is the right fit, the things I’m saying that will turn off most people turn them on. It’s not that it could just sometimes be the season of life. So one of the things that I often talk about is like how hard this job is challenging it is. And I had a guy I was interviewing the other day, and he just said he’s like, I’m actually ready for a challenge. I’ve been in a season of my life where it hasn’t been that challenging. And I found myself getting bored and distracted doing a lot of other projects. So that’s it, talk people out of it. And you’ll find that when they get excited about you talking them out of it. That’s a good sign. It’s a really great sign early on. So yeah, there you go. Mike, what you got what? I did it three minutes.

Mike Mage
Under three minutes. That was incredible.

Justin Price
Okay, I’ll try to slow down a little bit.

Mike Mage
Well, real quick to just just a tag on that. Since we have like a tiny bit of time. It’s like, this is like the presidential debates. You know, I get to respond. Right? I get to respond. Okay.

Justin Price
Oh, yeah, that’s good. We should build in response time. Yeah, at least a minute.

Mike Mage
Right? I love Thank you. I love that. You try to talk people out of it. It’s what happened to me when I got to the church that I’m working out, or wikinut, the the executive director that I interviewed with, he kept like trying to say bad things. He’s like, Well, you know, we’re, we’re not we got our problems and everything. But you know, if you can if if the person that you’re interviewing turns it around and uses it as an opportunity, that’s the type of person that you want. Does. That’s incredible.

Justin Price
So yeah, absolutely.

Mike Mage
Okay, so first thing I want to say before I get started and do my number one, this is my preamble is what you do in your church, in your ministry in your organization, is not the health of your culture. It’s not what you do. It’s who you are. That is the actual health of your culture. And so recruiting is the one of the most important things that you can do, whether it’s a volunteer, or a staff member, we all know that. Just like Justin said, it costs money. If you don’t hire and recruit correctly, it costs money. Absolutely. And Okay, so the first thing and this is something if you listen to our past podcasts, err, this actually talked about a lot as well. But it’s a huge thing for me, is humility. Humility is easily the most attractive quality that someone on your team can have. humble people are teachable people, they are self aware, they understand their surroundings, they understand when you know, they should talk, they understand what they probably shouldn’t talk, they understand when they should push them to stand when they shouldn’t push, there is a level of it. For example, no one gets offended by a humble person adjusting Can you think of a time you have been offended by a humble person?

Justin Price
No, never. Yeah,

Mike Mage
But and even in a humble person can can bring up something that might be semi like offensive, and when they really have to push the boundary or push the envelope a little bit. And they’re able to bring it up in a way that does not get people’s feathers ruffled to the point where they’re not able to engage in a topic. And that’s, that’s what I want to so bad. I’m not looking for people to do a specific job when I when I find a bass player, when I find a drummer, when I find a singer, I’m not looking for them to do that specific job I need them to be there is some level of competency obviously we all need to have going into like some sort of specialized role, but I’m not looking for them to just do that. I’m looking for them to be leaders and leaders are people who serve and ultimately you need humility to do that. So number one quality about like, I want someone to walk into our green room and say, holy cow. This is a bunch of humble people.

Justin Price
Yeah. So my response to that, Mike, is that you’re that you’re the most humble.

Mike Mage
Thank you. I have that tattooed on me. Yeah, it’s right. It’s right on my chest. Right across my chest. I’m the most humble. Yeah.

Justin Price
Yeah, Mike actually got a tattoo of a piece of a slice of pie on his on his bicep. And just so that people would ask him, what is that? And he’s like, Oh, it’s my humble pie.

Mike Mage
That’s my humble pie. Yeah,

Justin Price
Yeah. I don’t want to put humble on there. Because I want to be able to tell people

Mike Mage
What it’s one of the things I work on my bicep so much I kiss my bicep is taken, taken a bite of humble pie. Yes.

Justin Price
I so this is really, my number two is eight as a great one, by the way, Mike, thank you. I wish I could come up with topics like that. But you’re, you’re you’re phenomenal. And I’m, this is kind of a tag on to this. So one of the things we look for, we always say that that Pro, the difference between an amateur and a professional is that a professional knows what they don’t know. And an amateur doesn’t yet know what they don’t know. And so the amateur will oftentimes assume that they’ve got something under control that they don’t have. The there’s a I’m not even gonna sidetrack because we’re on a lightning round. But so so the way that this goes oftentimes is we’ll say, Okay, so here’s the project. It’s really hard. Here’s the team. These guys are really high caliber, you know, what, what do you bring to the team? Or what do you think are going to be some of the challenges? And as we start to dig into these questions, I mean, I fire pretty hard in these interviews, because I just want to get to the meat, right. And so when I asked those kind of like hard hitting questions, trying to set up them to respond with expectations, knowing that they’re trying to leave a good impression. So I need a little bit of EQ skills here a little bit of like, emotional intelligence. Yep. I want them to somehow turn this answer into, well, hey, I don’t know that I’m like the best. But I know that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out. I know that I won’t give up on it. I know that like, I’m I based on this experience. This is what I do know. And so I can actually figure out a couple of things that even though again, I don’t know how exactly I would solve that, those kinds of answers are the things I’m looking for out of a really strong leader, that’s not necessarily as important for somebody who’s like lower in the organization, who’s an entry level person. In fact, I would always say that’s, that’s one of the biggest tells, as far as how much experience you have is if you, the more you can say, I don’t know, the more that you know, you don’t know, I will kind of say, Okay, well, that’s probably, uh, you’re getting yourself an extra 10 grand in your salary pay? With every answer that you say, I don’t know. Yeah, that verse. Yeah. And so we always just say, like, you know, that’s, that’s something that we look for. And when people come in, it’s funny, because that’s, it’s kind of humble. Um, but it’s also humility, out of experience to say, like, I have been humbled by these projects that I assumed I knew all the answers to or I had, it was gonna have it figured out. And it’s like, and I actually just quoted this massive project. It’s this this, like, this account could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Mike, I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never, I’ve never, never quoted out for a project that has this much potential is software that’s applicable, it’ll change the world if it’s done, right. It’s something it’s so exciting. And I couldn’t even give them a number on what it would take. Because I’ve never done anything like it. And I was, I was kind of thinking back on like, I did give him a number on marketing things. I didn’t give him a number on some strategic launch things and some, you know, initial launch things and all that and first drafts and things like that. But I was like, if I came in here and tried to give you a number on what it’s going to truly take to bring this thing to market. I would be, I’d be lying. I just don’t know. And I’ve made enough mistakes. And I felt that pain, where it’s not worth trying to sell him on a number or sell that person that to number until we’re further down the line. We don’t know a whole lot more. So yeah. That’s it number two is looking for people who know what they don’t know.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, I think that that’s great. I have you watched Ted lassa. Yet, Justin, this show and

Justin Price
Have I loved every Sunday.

Mike Mage
Oh my god. So healthy church growth audience, you need to after this podcast after you’re done with this, and you share it with your friends, and you share with your family and your church members. You need to then go and sign up for Apple TV and watch Ted lasso

Justin Price
rifle TV plus for sure.

Mike Mage
Yeah. So there is this moment and I won’t give it away for people who haven’t seen it. But there’s this moment. And like towards the end of the season, where he says this thing about how people are have always doubted him in his life. And it’s there’s this quote that he saw from a poet, I think it was Walt Whitman, I can’t remember but it just said, Be curious, not judgmental. And I think that sort of that sort of, you know, can sum that up a little Like you want curious people, and that makes sense.

Justin Price
Yeah. I guess you know, the more specific thing in the creative realm, Mike would be that arrogance will make you completely fail. Because this stuff, whether it’s like ministry, or business, creative stuff, yeah, coming into it arrogating in an arrogant way it will, it will set you up to fail. It’s like coming in with blinders on. So

Mike Mage
I just got goosebumps. I’m not kidding. Like, I literally just got goosebumps.

Justin Price
That’s great. Because it was for

Mike Mage
Yeah. All right. Well, this, this is this is cool. I’m a dummy. Because we were going over this beforehand. I was like, Oh, you know, these are kind of separate. But all of these they dovetail into each other a little, hopefully, as well, especially as we’re talking them through a little bit more. So what’s your number two. So number two, is what so first one is humility. And that kind of goes with what you were talking about to my second thing is passion or drive. And like, I know that that sounds I know that that sounds really stupid. Because like, Oh, yeah, of course, like, obviously want someone with passion or drive. But it is not as easy as you think it is. Because some people are really good at the beginning of letting you know how you know motivated they are, how driven they are and all that kind of stuff. Because that they’ve you know, they’ve gotten to a certain point. But this this passion, this drive is intentionality. That’s what you really want. And if you can combine both passion or drive, and humility, you have someone who is like the absolute best advocate for your team, for your mission for your church, your ministry, your organization, whatever, like it will be someone who is literally a rock star. And again, I don’t want someone who’s just going to do a specific job, they come they do the job, and then they leave. I want people who are on fire who are who are dying to be a part of something.

Justin Price
So is it What’s a tangible way you look for that mic? Sorry to cut you off?

Mike Mage
No, that’s fine. It is its enthusiasm. It’s someone who chooses joy. It’s someone who chooses optimism over negativity, it’s someone who is kind of like you were saying for that first one is looking for the opportunity, not just for the difficulty. And, and those are, those are honestly, those are very tangible things. So and, and and again, those do not come up based on just on one interview, that’s a relationship thing that is that as a leader, you know, as someone who is in charge of other people, it is my job to get to know my people. And, and I you can see those things after you know, maybe not hours, but after days, after you know, weeks, you are able to see those things. And it goes go, go go for

Justin Price
now. Yeah, so I do have one way that you can check that. Yeah. And that is that this was a somebody stole from Andy Stanley. Yeah. northpointe. And he, he says in all of his interviews, he doesn’t look at any of the resumes, he just asked people what they’ve done. Yep. And so he goes, like, if you’ve only done portfolio work for your graduate or for your, your previous employer, if you’ve had no side hustle, if you’ve only done like the status quo of what is required for your job or school. He’s like, I won’t even take that interview, like past that conversation. So it’s like, it’s funny, but it’s true. He’s like, passion and drive. Mike, what I love about is like you’re very sensitive and tuned into the heart, into your you were talking about, like, the passion and drive comes from those from those conversations. But I’m always looking for these, like tangible. Yeah, and, and so I literally had an interview for a great person, she had a ton of passion and drive with what she was saying she’s passionate, she was a great fit for us culturally. And I believe she could be very, very good, good, do a very good job. But she didn’t have that anything like anything. And I was like, just like you might be a good fit. But until you go do some work, you’re not paid for. Totally. That’s passion, right? For me, I worked 10 years of side hustles like running recording studios, filming things, making logos for things that were nothing. Because I had that drive and passion. I couldn’t sit at home and watch Netflix as as good as Ted lassa is it’s not on Netflix. I couldn’t just sit at home and watch Netflix, I had to do things. And so those are the kind of people I’m looking for. And I oftentimes applaud staff members who have side hustles. I’m interviewing another person who has built like multiple e commerce platforms and sold a lot of different things on Instagram over the last few years, and I was like, I’m calling you, because I’ve watched you build your own things on the side while you’re working in other places. That’s the kind of people I want on my team. You can still build things on the side. I’m not calling you because I’m trying to squeeze you for all those hours. I just want somebody who’s not going to be content. So yep, sorry, Mike. I went totally on yours.

Mike Mage
No. Well, I just think that that’s the drive because yes, passion. And so that’s why I kind of had those two words. There is passion You know, you can you can see passion and whatever, but it’s the drive, you know, that’s that the underlying there’s got to be a motor there, there has to be some sort of engine that is propelling that thing forward. Because especially I, and I don’t know if you see this, Justin, but I have seen especially in the creative world, there are so many people who have a passion I’m doing air quotes because no one can see this under an air. So many people have a passion for creative things. They want to be a creative director, they want to create things, they have a passion for things. They want to be a tastemaker, whatever that means. But they have no drive to actually just you just got to start doing something man, you got to go. And, and that’s how you get better. That’s that’s how you get. It’s how you get noticed that that’s what you are. But whatever. That’s that’s what I’m looking for in my in my team. Like, I want people who are in this again, this is for volunteers, but also for hires. I want people who are driven and like you were saying, who are not going to be complacent. For you know, the way we’ve always done things, which is like the killer line of all church ministry. So yeah,

Justin Price
Oh man. Yeah. Anybody who says that word, just it, they get kind of erased from the conversation?

Mike Mage
Immediately. Yes. Alright, you go Yeah,

Justin Price
I would do want to bounce one more thing on that go was so good. And I’m gonna steal it into my three minutes for this. But Okay. Um, you said something that was like, very, very interesting for me. And that was that, um, I want to reiterate a point that I probably overstate, but ideas are cheap, in passion, passion that is shown in ideas, and conversation. And interest is not worth a hill of beans. Hmm. Even as an art director, even as somebody who’s whose job is to come up with ideas based on knowledge, of art history, and of concept, that person’s job still needs to have execution inside of it. And so if you’re talking about idea versus execution, there’s passion and drive, right? Um, you guys, we can get really, really misled by somebody who’s like, I’m so passionate about film. I love watching movies. Yeah, I know, I’ve listened to every podcast of every film thing there ever was, you know, and I’m an aspiring dp, I’m going to be a dp a great dp one day. And I believe that I believe that they believe that, you know, like, it sucks so much when I meet somebody like that. And I go, sweet man, show me the thing that you have done first, like, well, I’m waiting to get I’m waiting to get an opportunity to do it. Yeah. If they’re, if what they are, and even if they don’t say those words, right? If their answer is I don’t have anything right now that I’m really can show you or that you know, but I’m working on some things. I have some ideas, I have some scripts. I’m like, Hey, man, good luck, like Call me when you and I’ll usually try to say this out of love. But it’ll be like, paid, call me back. Like I want to see when that thing has become a thing. And maybe I might be the person to like, you know, cause them to actually put some action. But I will usually tell them, I was like, hey, any, any creative director or any creative leader will not consider you as even a viable option if you haven’t done something because, you know, I remember even when I was in middle school, I was making music videos with a VHS camera for my friend’s dad’s VHS camera, and they sucked. And then in high school, I made more music videos, that sucked so bad, I had fun doing them, but they sucked. And I still had them as my like, experience, you know, and, and so anyways, that’s a total silence. So here’s my last one. And I’m just gonna,

I’m gonna say this is maybe a little more unique to the creative agency world than it is quite to the church. I’m gonna try to do this in 30 seconds, because I’ve talked so much. And it is this, um, I look for people who say they want to join our team, because they’re looking for an opportunity to do better work. And it’s so funny because this is really pretty much just Mike’s passion drive. Um, what I have found as my own as as a solo entrepreneur and as like a solo creative is that you are highly limited. You can be very self fulfilling, but you’re highly limited to the quantity and the quality in which one person can produce Yep, as an artist. But if you are really excited about the creative work, the actual reps of being creative, having another creative person in your team to bounce off of to push you forward and not stall you up can move you so much faster, and can compliment you so much better. Yeah, um, you know, even the best creatives in the world had other people on their teams, whether they were recognized or not. elton john wrote the most amount of number one hits in a row and held the radio number one hits for the longest amount of time and the second that he started writing without his writing partner. He Cuz albums, like bombed. And then he came back to that writing partner, and he brought some more hits. And it’s just so funny to meet it for us to be so arrogant as artists to think like, but yet, but we can do it on ourselves because we’re really totally. And we really got this all together. And so I’m looking for people who want to push for better work and who have been saying like, I know I’ve got something inside of me, and I’ve been doing it and here’s my drive. And here’s my portfolio. But like, it’s just not enough with me on my own. And or I need another person on top of me, Mike, my boss is happy with my best. Yeah, but I know I’ve got another level. Yeah. And that idea of pushing my own personal boundaries is something that if they do not say it anywhere in the interview process, I cannot approve, like, I cannot move them forward from my interview time. And so the staff knows when they’re when they’re interviewing people as well. If that’s not something that that is a value that people are looking for, when they’re looking at our agency, then we just we turn them away, because the reality is, is there is no arrival point there. It is a journey, and you’re always pushing. And if you’re not looking to push, like if you’re not looking to take the next step to level up in any way. Sometimes it’s a big step. And sometimes it’s just a growth step like a small little thing. Yeah. But if you’re not looking for that kind of energy, you will get burnt out on a team of high performers, this team that that I work with, like big kick my butt all the time. Yep, yep. Because they’re phenomenal. And they’re always pushing each other. Yeah. And bouncing off of each other in a way that elevates it so much faster. So it’s better results. Yeah. And so I took more than my 30, because I got really passionate about this, but I’m looking, you know, when we’re recruiting, the best hires are people who are like, I, I know, I can do better work working with your team, with this team of people that you you have on your staff. And so that’s a huge, huge thing for me.

Mike Mage
Well, it’s so funny. I mean, like, there is a moment where because I think you’re right, if you get to your limit, you get to where and this happened to me is this happened to me in ministry, this happened to me in real estate just recently, where it was like, I have reached my end, you know, like, I have reached the ceiling that I can with this organization, or with this church, or whatever, like I have to, you know, that’s a natural, that’s a natural point that a lot of people get to, and sometimes it’s literally, you know, maybe it’s for you as a leader or whatever, sometimes that is sort of like the the writing on the wall for you to maybe go find somewhere else. But you’re right, it is, it’s, it’s really great to have people and be like I need I want to team up with you to make something bigger and better happen, which, you know, if you’ve been following along with what we’ve been saying this whole time, throughout all the podcasts that they held the church growth, like that’s what we’re called to do is bigger and better things than we could even think or imagine, that God has for us so and Justin that my third point sort of dovetails really nicely again, with kind of what you were saying. And this is something I’m probably you probably would want to look for more in someone you’re hiring. So whether it’s again, part time, maybe you have money for a full time person, I don’t know, depending on wherever you’re at. But this is probably something more for a higher than a volunteer, even though I have several volunteers on my team that that have this quality, but it’s the quality of forward thinking. So it’s of it’s a lot of the times we think of our volunteers as very operational. So if you’re looking at you know, like the triangle of, you know, organizations or whatever, you have your operational, you have your managerial, which is like your middle management in the strategic, which is your executive level, whatever, a lot of us look at our volunteers is strictly operational, only come in to do one job, all that kind of thing. Eternity. Yeah, exactly. And you have you have somebody who you need somebody who can take a just a step, just one glance up off of the ground off of the weeds that they’re in, to look up at around them, and to think about what’s ahead of them, to maybe to maybe get some context about what’s happening so that they can make informed decisions, have informed conversations about whatever, you know, the next step might be, even if it’s a tiny thing, it’s that forward progress that you really, really want. And again, that helps to empower people that helps to encourage people that helps people not say so, you know, not get so stagnant in what they’re doing. And really, you know, as a leader, you know, one thing that I’m really looking for is that, you know, and again, all these other things that we’ve been talking about, you know, viewing it as an opportunity, having that drive, having that passion, having humility, all that kind of stuff, all of this all plays in together so and you know, I, I know a lot of you out there thinking like, Well, how do you find this? How do you get this? How do you and it’s, it’s through relationships. I mean, Justin, you’ve talked about a lot of these people that you are hiring, you know them, you know, like you have done the hard work, you’ve put the hard work in into creating a network, even personally of friends and people that you’ve worked Before whether it’s through church or whether it’s through other creative endeavors, but you know, these people, and, you know, that’s, that’s the first thing. And so maybe there’s somebody on your volunteer worship team that is ready to take a next step into some sort of paid capacity, whether it be super small, or you know, like just empowering a volunteer to maybe be a little more forward thinking someone who’s passionate and humble can can really take up the mantle to be like your lead volunteer. And, you know, like, my staff here at the church that I work at, is literally all the all of my staff members were once a volunteer first, I don’t hire outside. So I have seven people right now, no, six people, no 6565, or six people, depending on how you count them. Five or six people that are on staff, technically, with the worship department that we’re all on the on the team first as volunteers true. And like, it is not that that’s how we raise up people. And really like, that is a sustainable way to do things. Because you create a pipeline and you create, you know, like a deeper level of engagement for these people who really do feel like God might be calling them to something more. And if we didn’t have an opportunity for them, then they would probably leave to go to another church or to wherever the opportunity is calling them. So I don’t know if you have anything to say to that. But

Justin Price
I do. I think it’s phenomenal. I would just validate, you know, I’ve applied for positions at Mike’s church multiple times. Now I keep getting rejected because I have not been volunteering. So if I feel God’s calling me, I’m gonna start by volunteering.

Mike Mage
We have plenty of spots open for you, Justin, the doors always open. Yeah.

Justin Price
Is there a spot for door opener?

Mike Mage
Absolutely. Always.

Justin Price
Yeah, just yeah, that’s about all I’m qualified for. But so a two two little practical things. A lot of people are like, I don’t know, the right people for this position. So before you say that, I would just encourage you to put post it out on your personal social media feeds, and post the type of things that you dream of being able to work with. So I’m looking so a lot of times, you don’t know, because you’ve not ever dreamed about the potential perfect person, man. And so now, like we used to pay for, like LinkedIn ads, and we used to pay for different recruiters. And so now always start with is like, staff members posting the job position. And it has been incredibly successful. Our staff members alone, brought in 130 something applications to our last position now a couple weeks ago. So I’m, like, qualified applications, like great applications. And I read every single one of them and looked at every single portfolio I put in the time, because it’s worth it. Yeah, you’re talking about the most important Mike, as you said earlier, this is this is the most important part of your organization. Culture is hiring right. And so, um, it’s not worth, it’s not worth skipping the time. Now. It’s like, I was told a long time ago from a coach like hay, choosing, you’re choosing to say no to things today for a later Yes. Or you’re choosing to say yes, I’m going to work on this thing now, like the hard choice today for an easier later. Yeah, right. This is that is such a good application to hiring. So practical step right here, make sure you really think through who the right person is for this new dream who that best person could be. And you talk about it to your friends, you talk about it to your network, you call friends who are more networked in you do not just post one Facebook post and say, Well, I tried, you know, I’m busy, I tried. I don’t have time, you don’t have time to hire the wrong person or to pull from the small pool, to grab people out of a small pond, you need to open it up. There’s people all over the country who’d be willing to relocate. So we’d be willing to work remote, who’d be willing to do whatever your circumstance is. And so this isn’t mind blowing stuff here. But for some of you guys who are still maybe like young leaders and don’t have good mentoring, this is like a, this is a foundational thing you need to think through, it’s your responsibility to try to find everybody you possibly can reach with your message of the opportunity, you have to be a part of what God is doing in your circle of influence. Yeah. So that that is a very, very practical tool that I just I’d love for you guys to take away with.

Mike Mage
Hmm, it’s so good. Well, this is

Justin Price
So the second step of that, Mike, I’m gonna take this, okay. The second step is a call everybody you possibly can call. So if you’ve not made 10 calls, even so it’s not always that the person you’re calling is the right person. Don’t think that way. Think about the person you’re calling might know the right person or might know somebody who knows the right person, right? And you just have to ask you never get those results without actually making the ask so

Mike Mage
Well, what’s crazy, too is this is the last podcast you and I did together was you’re just saying, you know, we need to take inspiration from outside of the church from other organizations like we need to totally leave the church because it does Foreign in the church mindset for me to call people. But so businesses do all the time. All the time, literally just getting on the phone. I mean, right now we’re in the middle of election season, and I get phone calls all the time. You know, and like it just that’s how that’s it’s still a way that people do things. So you actually have to talk to people. Yeah. Well, this, this has been incredible. It’s been, it’s been super fun for me, I, I am learning just as much from you, as I hope maybe someone in our audience is learning as well. And, you know, for you, our audience at the healthy church growth podcast, we would love not just for you to share this because obviously, you know, we want you to do that too. But if you know when this podcast comes out, if you know, you can tag us with something that says what’s what’s one of your tips that you’re looking for when you’re looking to hire or recruit on that? And we can we can create a network of suggestions and tips for for everybody who is because seriously, it’s the most common question I get asked from other worship leaders and pastors of how do I get? How do I recruit a team? So thank you so much for listening here on the healthy church growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

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


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

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

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

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.