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

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

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


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

pretty good. That’s pretty good.

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Justin Price  

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

Mike Mage  

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

Healthy Chuch Growth – Episode 18 – Vince DiGuglielmo

Crisis Communication in the Church

Is your church leadership team prepared to handle communication during a crisis? In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, we have Vince DiGuglielmo  from Vers Creative. Vince is a social media strategist responsible for curating one of the country’s most engaging Division I social media accounts. He’ll talk about three big steps vital to a crisis communication plan, and how to lead without all of the answers. 

On Instagram: @kiptharipper, @vers_creative


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast.

Welcome to the healthy church growth Podcast. I am one of your hosts Mike and it is so awesome that you are joining us here for this episode. And real quick before we get started, I just want to say thank you so much for joining us over these, you know, however many dozen and a half or so that we’ve done so far. It’s just been really cool to be able to have these conversations with people and really be able to put them out there and have you all our audience engaged with them as well. And just, you know, continue to rate continue to share, continue to engage with us through social media. We absolutely love it. Joining me today on this podcast, as always is my co host Justin, how’s it going? It’s going great, Mike. It’s good to be co hosting with you.

Justin Price
Every single time is the highlight of my week. So thanks for having me back.

Mike Mage
Oh, you’re welcome. Justin, I, we have Vince de Guillermo back with us for our second time. And it’s just, he’s just a real joy to have on talking. All things, social media, you know, it has been a joy for us. But really, you know, as we were looking at the feedback, engagement, and comments from listeners, he’s got a lot of fans out there. There was quite a few people saying, hey, Vince, his podcast was really valuable. really loved it. Can we hear more from Vince? There was a there was a slow clap at one point I had

Justin Price
this a lot, a lot of excitement around what Vince had to say about social media. You know, anybody who changes a D one school mascot, you know, yeah, they will Look around a little bit more cloud, right? Rest of Us. Absolutely. Yeah. You know, as we said, Hey, we got to bring him back, obviously, as we said before, you know, one of the greatest guys, he just made of gold. And today, you know, our conversation with him. He came kind of prepared, he felt like there was a ton of opportunity for us to talk about crisis, conversation and communication inside of crisis. And I think we’ve all felt unprepared in this season of how to handle it, we, you know, most people didn’t have a crisis plan. You know, and most the time when crisis comes, we’re not really ready for it, right on a communication level, you know, I mean, it’s like, it’s good enough if we have a defibrillator, in the lobby. And, and we know where all the fire exits are exactly. Like that’s a good step for a lot of us, you know, with with 1000 other roles that were responsible for. So, you know, to be thinking down the lines of munication and how important it is to be ready for crisis. He gave us some really good practical tips today. So, right if you are, you know, thinking like man, I did some things right, maybe I did some things wrong in the last few months with some of the crisis’s your church has been going through and the needs that they have had with communications. Today is gonna bring up a nice punch.

Mike Mage
Well, without further ado, let’s let’s jump into the interview. 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 verse 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 Been a volunteer with a good eye for photography, or a person that just seemed to know more about the TIC tocs in the senior pastor pre COVID-19. This may have been passable. But fast forward to the present in your churches 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, verse wanted to offer up a free one hour strategy session to help you and your church leadership team get results. Verse 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 companies through. So if you just like some help, they would absolutely love to help you versus 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 broadcast network. And if you’d like to take advantage of that free strategy session, shoot me an email at get at verse creative.com. That’s get at verse creative.com. 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 get at the ers creative.com. And just let them know you heard this offer through the healthy church growth podcast. Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast. We’re so glad that you’re joined us. We actually have our very first return guest, and I’m gonna try I haven’t pronounced Vince’s name since we had him last on and I’m gonna try it here right now. We have Vince de Guillermo, did I do it right? Oh, that was good. Did it not get it though?

Vince DiGuglielmo
You’re really close. You’re like right there.

90%

Mike Mage
Okay, maybe the next time we have you on it’ll actually be 100%. How’s that sound?

Vince DiGuglielmo
Let’s Oh,

Justin Price
I would have I would have given you 100

Yeah.I bet I’ve been playing around for 10 years.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, so that actually brings up a really good thing. Justin, you’ve actually known Vince a long time. And we were talking about this a little bit before we started recording but you actually have some like wonderful stories of your time in the past. with you and Vince and I’d love if you you sent a really good thing in our slack line that Vince is batting above 500. In what I can remember what you said met youth trips to the hospital or something. Yeah, the his average of hospital trips per youth trip he’s adding about

Justin Price
two mentors credit though. He he had senior year without me and I think he probably did senior year with Justin No hospital trips. I mean, so it could be with only sixth grade to 11th grade.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, I would love, you know, just because it may be just one of those stories because you’ve, you’ve piqued my interest so much.

Justin Price
And you know, Vince really tells it the best, but all I know is my wife is a nurse and we were youth pastors, and Vince was in our student ministry. Definitely, if he can’t tell from the first podcast we did with Vince that he was a standout student. A straight up rock star even back in middle school, and he had the long hair to go with it. Yeah. And and this basically, he, he just would find a way of ending up in the hospital. And I’m not a big hospital guy, but my wife would always say that I think they actually bonded quite a bit you know, and she’s got a special place for events in their heart because of all their hospital time together and then I you know, that One thing that you brought up that I thought was definitely the most funny, but also the scariest, which also kind of made it somewhat funny. was a Gatorade bottle and you tell it really well, I’d love to hear. Yeah, your recollection.

Mike Mage
Yeah, go for it.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, absolutely. You know, guys, I love reliving childhood trauma. So this is gonna be great. It’s gonna be really good for me. So, I’m in Justin’s youth group, we are on a cry trip, which is Christ in youth. We’re on a cry trip and we’re up in these college dorms. So every day we cry, you have your morning chapel, and then you have like the evening chapel, and there’s free time in the middle. So during the free time, you know, most kids take a nap some you know, mess around or walk around the campus, whatever they want to do. We had two baseball players in the group, and they thought it was gonna be fun to you know, in the hallway, take this Gatorade bottle, fill it maybe a fourth with water and just whip it as hard as they can at each other and like play dodgeball, essentially. And these two are probably about 25 feet apart. Yeah. And and their rooms in between. And meanwhile, I’m taking a nap. And I wake up from my nap. I’m a little groggy. I walk out into the hall, and bam, I get hit in the head with a Gatorade bottle. From maybe this is like point blank range. This is like maybe five feet essentially at most. Yeah. And my head, it really hurts. So I grabbed my head, I grabbed my head with both hands and I remember laying down and I’m on the ground and then the pain subsides. I’m like, Alright, I’m okay. I’m okay. Everybody’s, you know, over top of me, like looking down. You know, are you alright? Are you alright? So I take my hands off my head and I I look and there’s just this circle of blood and I just freaked out. Of course. I think They get I think at this point, you know, I’m like 14 or 15. Yeah. And I just start, you know, crying and screaming and like I’m putting bloody handprints all over the walls like just like freaking out. Luckily, there was also a doctor that was a chaperone on the trip and I had this long gnarly hair. You know, I was a skateboard kid. I love metal music. I rock the long hair. So I took my hair and instead of going in stitches, we didn’t actually have to go to the hospital. He tied my hair together into stitches. And wow, yeah, it just healed that way. So way. Yeah, the big downside was I was still covered in blood and I smelled disgusting. Cuz blood does not smell nice. But I was fine. I went the rest of the trip. I was absolutely fine. And it’s so funny. You know, I’m bald. Now. I shaved my head. And I still have the crescent scar. I didn’t Yours until I started shaving my head and I have this big Crescent scar. So I owe that all to Yeah, I owe it all to cry. I owe it to fun youth group times in baseball.

Mike Mage
So fun, so fun.

Justin Price
You You did a great job, I think of always pushing the limits or finding yourself in the middle of others.

Vince DiGuglielmo
limits. That’s more accurate. I don’t think I ever push the limits.

Justin Price
No.

But I think that’s what I love about you. You’re always you’re always in whatever is going on. You are in it. 100%. And I think that you know where we’re at with social media. We talked about getting into a conversation today that was more practical after talking more conceptual. You know, you were talking to Mike and I about a couple of things that were really relevant, I think for churches today. And I was thinking about it and it’s like, man, there’s just been no trust. training for this at all. And so when we look at a group of people running churches, it’s hard to find people doing it really well. And you really can’t blame anybody, because it’s like, everybody’s just doing the best that they can with a whole lot of change. And so I thought, you know, you put together some things and some ideas that that will help, I think, with a lot of the crisis communication. And I’d love for you to kind of unpack that a little bit. kind of funny for us to talk about you. Your hospital trips and crisis’s. You’ve always handled crisis is really well and that was the one time I remember you being really scared. And then afterwards you remember being really upset that your favorite shirt got the blue one got ruined with blood.

Remember that I remember Yeah, it was her shirt.

Vince DiGuglielmo
It was

Steve Irwin. I had I had a seat.

He was like he was like off to the side like leaning on the side of the shirt. It was like a really weird design. But it was like Crocodile Hunter and it was a bright white shirt. It was ruined. Yeah. So we, I remember, we hung it outside the window. Sorry, I’m derailing this again. But I hung out the window and flew it like a flag. And I think we were asked to take it down because it was a bloody shirt.

Justin Price
Yeah. I didn’t send the message that the youth camp wanted.

Mike Mage
I just real quick before we move on to a very important topic and crisis communication. I do love the only thing I really learned from that whole story is that blood doesn’t smell good. That’s something I never really know. So that’s good to know. Moving forward. Anyways, that’s a nice segue. Perfect. Yeah. Well, yeah. Vince, why don’t you talk to us a little bit about sort of what churches can do is like things sort of changed so much over the course of not even just weeks, but days, you know?

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, the reason I wanted to talk about this is just because, you know, obviously, there’s A lot going on in the world. It depends where you live. It varies state by state, it varies city by city. You know, maybe if you’re out in the country, you’re not closing, there’s not as much social interaction or opportunities for virus to spread. If you’re in a big city, it could really change week by week. And, you know, churches are being put in this really unique position of having to communicate to hundreds of members, week by week, are we open? Are we closed? Are we virtual? Are we partly open with social distancing? So you know, my background, if you didn’t hear the last episode, my background is at the university level. And one of the things that we went through was crisis communication. And there were several times that we had to put that into action, whether it was you know, snow days or threats of violence on campus, or just big events happening. You know, that each of those things had to be communicated clearly. I don’t think the church has that same level of preparation as a lot of corporate entities do. But the church has also you have a unique situation. So I want to talk through some of these things that are very practical that you can do whether you’re a pastor, whether you’re managing media at the church, whether that’s social media or video, I think it’s really important for everyone to be on the same page about crisis communication and what the plan is, right? So I kind of have three big steps here. And you know, stop me we can we can talk through any of these or you know, ask questions, whatever you like. But I have three big steps here that I think are pretty vital to the crisis communication plan. Before you unveil pretty much any information. I would say, you know, the first step is to pick a position and stick to it. So pick a position stick to it. You want to normalize that language across your entire team. That’s, that’s the most important thing is having one unified message because you don’t want to be saying you don’t want to go online and say, we’re going to be holding church in masks or rich rip, sorry, excuse me, masks are required. And then someone else is posting on social media and says, we’ll be following the CDC guidelines, because you just said two different things. And what are those two things mean? Does that mean your social distancing as well? Does that mean you are wearing masks? Like only within the sanctuary or within the lobby? You know, so what? You really need to set clear communication and make sure that everyone who’s sharing information is on the same page.

Justin Price
What about when your pastor or your elder board or your deacons changes it on you? I mean, how do you how can you help defend this? Take one I don’t think that most, most of our creatives that are listening to this are feeling really wishy washy about it. How can any Any tips for how to help communicate the importance of sticking to it? I feel like I don’t think people are just like, let’s try this and say this, but I don’t think anybody ever goes out trying to be confusing.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, I mean, I that’s just something that you have to formulate in the planning stage. You know, I would say, and this, this kind of ties into what was going to be my third point, but essentially just, you know, making a schedule of when you’re going to release new information or when you’re going to update the information available. So, you know, maybe this is a weekly thing. Maybe COVID is really bad in your city. Maybe it’s a weekly thing where you have to make these decisions, or you’re hearing people are getting sick, and you have to call, you know, a weekly meeting and say, all right, what are we doing this week? Let’s all get on the same page. Maybe it’s a quick 30 minute thing, but you know, what does that look like? You decide what you’re going to do? And then you decide the language around it, and then you decide how you’re rolling out the language. So if that’s the Really the best way I can imagine you would avoid those conflicting messages, and just making sure that everyone is on board that has some position of power, you know? So if you’re a person that people would look to and say, Hey, what’s going on with church this week? You should be part of the plan.

Mike Mage
Right? What’s the second point didn’t?

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, so the second point that this is where you’re actually rolling out the information. So essentially, you want to repeat this message until everyone’s seen it so much that they’re rolling their eyes and going, Oh, yeah, I heard that churches and this week, right, you know, or Oh, yeah, I already know this. We want the message to be 100% saturated. So that means putting it on every platform, you’re rolling out on out on social, you’re rolling it out through email, you’re talking about it in church, if that’s, you know, a possible platform for you just any way that you can get the message out or putting it in a in a paper format. Just making sure that it has full saturation. Yeah. And this is really where the brunt of the work is.

Mike Mage
Yeah. So I have seen a couple of churches do the communication of, you know what they’re doing when they come back. And it’s almost feels like they are trying to be too cute with it or like too creative with it. And like, to me, it almost feels like this is the kind of stuff that you probably shouldn’t complicate with creativity. You know what I mean? Like, but I don’t know, like, what, what are your thoughts on that? Like, is this something that should be like pretty cut and dry? Because it is pretty serious? Or, you know, is it okay with churches like trying to, I don’t know, communicate it in several different ways. But to me that might like get the lines crossed.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah. I mean, from where I stand, I think one of the most important things is having it just in writing you No, I think having a video message is great. And having more creative approaches can be good to get people to actually see the content. Because you know, as we covered in our last social media talk, it’s really hard for people to see your content in the first place. So video, video is always helpful. But say, you know, you have a list of guidelines, write those out in the copy, you know, have the message clear, make it available for everyone to find easily you want it is easy to understand and find as possible. So, and then once you roll it out, you know, that’s where this is where I see a lot of the mistakes happening. You know, you roll out your crisis communication plan, you’re saying this is what we’re doing for church this week. And then I’ve seen church accounts kind of wash their hands of it and say, Alright, we’re done. But that’s this is really the big part because you need to be monitoring the comments, especially if you’re big church, because I, you know, I, there’s a church of 5000 right down the road, and I follow them on social media and, you know, keep tabs on what they’re doing. And they posted, they posted their update and didn’t reply to any comments, they had about 75 comments, some supporting their decision to close for the remainder of the summer, some praising it, or emphasize some opposing it rather. So they had both sides, and some asking questions, you know, asking for more details. And they weren’t answering any of the questions. They weren’t commenting on any of the support or the opposition, which I think is really important. You want to know or you want to establish that you’re there for people. You know, it can be really tough when people are upset about what your decision is. But you need to empathize with them and say, Hey, we understand that we’re in condition Seeing you. But we believe this is our best course of action and we want to keep everyone safe. And and then a lot of times what will happen is there might be a little bit of a back and forth. And the best thing to do in that situation is to move the conversation to a direct message. When when there are emotions involved, people can get really volatile, you know, even within the church, and it can get kind of nasty

Mike Mage
socially, you know, in the church.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Right. So, you know, bringing it into a direct message is huge, because there you can have a much more candid conversation, you can be more personal and you can set up a future meeting time if necessary. You know, this is a sensitive thing and you don’t want you don’t want just a simple update message to result in members leaving the church right. Yeah, right. So I think being as personal as possible, but doing that in private because if you do that right in the comments, you know, you have the opportunity for people to jump on and dogpile. And you know, You’re one person. Sure, or at best, you have a small team, but you’re talking about sending a message to 100. So it can get out of hand. Yeah,

Mike Mage
well, and I think too, like, it’s it’s sort of a guess we did talk about it last, last podcast with events. And then we did talk about a little bit before we hopped on here. But it really like if your strategy is to build community and really connect with people. All of this makes sense. You know, like, it’s it, you are trying to be as personal as possible in like a pretty impersonal world. But if your strategy, again, is to get to know people and build that community, taking these things offline and turn it into a direct message, and really, you’re trying to communicate that you’re doing this to care out of care for people, it makes a lot of sense.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, and I don’t think we can ignore the fact that this is such a politicized issue with just where we are in the whole process. Sure. It gets very politicised, so depending on, you know what your stances or what you plan to do with church this week or this month, people can get really emotional and really hurt feelings over things. And I think it’s important to establish that link in just saying, Hey, we understand where you’re coming from. Let’s let’s talk about it. Let’s set up a time to talk about it if necessary, but let’s at least have a quick chat. Sure. So that can work wonders and kind of restoring those hurt feelings. Yeah,

Mike Mage
absolutely.

Vince DiGuglielmo
So and then lastly, the biggest thing that you can do after that is just communicating when more information will be available. You know, when people know when to look for updates, they won’t be asking, when’s the next update? Yeah. You know, when, when you just put out there, hey, we’ll be releasing more information. Every Monday, we’ll give an update or you know, maybe it’s not a weekly schedule. But, you know, you could always say, Hey, we don’t know the full details right now. We’ll be updating you. You know, to Tomorrow night, and then people know that tomorrow night and you don’t get a million comments, and that just establishes the fact that you’ll be back. And you’ll be available and present. For further communication. I think one thing people are really afraid of doing on social media, or in any sort of corporate communication is just saying, Hey, we don’t know at the moment. And I think that that’s okay to do. You can say, Hey, we don’t have all of the information currently, or we haven’t made a decision on this yet. We’re weighing our options. We’re, we’re going to have a decision by this time. And you can look forward to that. Without that sense of closure. That’s where it can get really irritating and where you can look very amateur, in not communicating with people correctly. And additionally, I would say something that’s really smart to do is, you know, just having a point person that will be responding to them. Formal requests for information, you know, depending on what kind of church you are, you may have media requests that might be a thing. You will of course want to point person for that but you you want a point person to be setting up those conversations with people. And of course, the point person to be doing your social media, you probably have one already, but you know, it’s always just good to establish those roles and formalize them.

Mike Mage
I think with your first your first point and just pick a position and stick to it. I feel like you could add that to all of them. And it’s really just like this in time of crisis. Like your community, your congregation needs some sort of stability like they need you to stick to something. And even if it’s even if it’s you, you’re sticking to like saying like, we kind of don’t know what’s going on right now like that is better than saying nothing at all or being really wishy washy or just Kind of like, yeah, we’ll update you and we have something for you. And like, I don’t know if, because like, you could do that either every day or like, once every two months, you know, like, it just depends on what something means to somebody, you know. So I think that’s really that’s it, you’re increasing stability and your communication is super important.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Which, you know, at this time in life, I think any sort of stability is really nice. Yeah, you know, people, people need that. And people want that. And I think a lot of churches are providing great resources for people to connect outside of the typical church service, whether that’s smaller home communities, doing just the online services, a lot of these things are really great. And they just they aren’t fully supported by an established communication plan. So I mean, I know this is a dry topic. I know it’s not something that you really get excited about talking about, but it’s, it is seriously something that can Establish a lot of trust between the church and the church community. Right? It’s, it’s something that can can have a really positive impact is just forming a communication plan around crisis communication. And of course, it’s not just COVID it could be, you know, this is good for any future event that could possibly happen is just having this sort of network in place that you can work through, and then it’s not, you know, no one’s panicking. No one’s freaking out about telling people you know exactly what to do.

Mike Mage
So let’s say you develop let’s say you, you are the point person, whoever, you know, you are some a person who works at a church. They decided to take on, like, I’ll run our social media accounts or whatever, you know, like our church, we have 300 people in our congregation. And you know, sure, I’ll run them. How does that person get other people on staff on board with this is this Like, do any requests or you know, any sort of communication, it doesn’t just have to come from this person, or is it better to sort of give people language to say, you know, does that make sense?

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, I think it’s great to give people language to say, I think, you know, that that’s part of the pre planning step is just, you know, normalizing the language across the entire team. So, you know, in that event that someone approaches, you know, because people are going to approach who they’re most most comfortable with, or who they relate to the most. So making sure that everyone on the team is on the same page and can provide the same wording, which I think is pretty important, or at least be able to provide an explanation. Yeah, you’re definitely going to want to do that because right? People tend not to all circulate through the same channel. Sure.

Mike Mage
Well, they just interpret things weirdly, because even you just saying like CDC guidelines is a very different thing than saying we’re gonna wear masks, you know, like, yeah, those mean very different things. Yeah. And, and then even just like writing something down having it written, written, and like, at least someone could point someone to something on the website to say here if you really want to know, like, it’s all written down. This is what we’re doing. Like, that’s like the simplest thing that you could do. But it’s so necessary and you have to do you know,

Vince DiGuglielmo
yeah, 100% and I mean, I wish you know, I My only regret here is that we could have talked about this sooner because I know you know, just seeing all the mistakes that have been made, and all the churches that are hurting from this. I you know, I hope that this conversation does help moving forward.

Justin Price
I was hoping that Vince would share with us three instances of what not to do. So take your year, three things to do. Give us like three little quick lightning round styles of what not to do. Kind of If somebody is listening, just to kind of sum it up

yesterday, okay, switch it up. What do you got?

Vince DiGuglielmo
All right one, softening your position. Even if you don’t change it, I think, you know, people like me, I tend to be a little more like empathetic. I always want to play to the audience I’m talking to Yeah. So that’s what you don’t want to do. Don’t play to your audience. You have your message, you have your language, stick to it. Don’t soften your position, to responding to comments, respond to comments, that’s, you know, not responding to them is the mistake. Just go and do it. So if they’re in support, tell them thank you for understanding. If they’re against you say we’re sorry, this is inconvenient for you. But here’s but here’s why. Right? Third, I would just say, you know, be be very clear in when your updates will be, you know, don’t say hey, we’re getting more More information will be available. Yeah, give give as much as you can more of information will be available tonight. Yeah, or tomorrow afternoon. So yeah.

Because, you know, the more vague you are, the more uncertainty total are feeling.

Mike Mage
Well, the softening your position is something people, especially in the church world, do all the time on everything. So like having an established confident position with reasoning behind it is important for every aspect of life. But especially when it comes to a crisis and a pandemic, you know, that makes a lot of sense. So well, cool. I mean, this is, this is awesome. This is like a hitch in the teeth. Sort of episode.

Yeah, well in with how many churches are having to live into social media? So much more I would imagine Vince will probably have you on again at some point.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Well Hey, thank you guys so much I love coming on. I love talking about communication, social media, all of these things this is it’s fascinating to me and the fact that you know, you’re able to help so many church creatives across the country. I think that’s super cool. Very important. So I’m happy to be a part of that. Awesome.

Mike Mage
Well, man, I absolutely love having Vince on. Just like you said, Justin. I mean, he is absolutely making cold that guy is so awesome.

Justin Price
dropping bombs of knowledge,

Mike Mage
dropping bombs, in really like one of the things that I absolutely love about him is his commitment to community. And in doing so, there is a commitment to communicate consistently, and that’s a lot of seeds there. But, but I think, obviously in a, in a crisis, you absolutely need that even if it’s a commitment to communicate, I don’t know, you know, every day or so every other day or whenever you have set your schedule, it is so important. When you are leading a community of people to be able to consistently communicate something for them.

Justin Price
It’s a great reminder that we don’t have to have the answers, but we do have to communicate and I think if you can take away being consistent and the understanding that you’ve got to force yourself to, to talk to your audience about the things that are happening, don’t ignore it, don’t pander to them. Just talk to them about where you’re at and over communicate at this point. We cannot over communicate. In fact, if I think that at a certain point, if it feels like you’re sick and tired of saying if you think everybody is rolling their eyes and saying We get it, then you’ve probably just started to communicate what you actually wanted to say. So you can’t over communicate. And you’ve got to be consistent. Because right now, you might only get one chance, you might say something 10 times, but you might only get your congregation to hear at once. Yeah, they may, they may only see one post, they only may may go to your website one time. And then if it’s unclear, and there’s conflicting stuff, there, they’re just we just don’t have the bandwidth or the capacity to try to screw around with it right now.

Mike Mage
Well, and I feel like the biggest problems that I have in my ministry in my career, whatever is assuming that other people know what’s going on, and every every time I get in trouble, it’s because I’ve assumed something that people can either just read my mind or, you know, know all the information that I know. And that’s just that’s simply not the case. And so also speaking of I am not going to assume, or we’re not going to assume that you are subscribed to this channel and would absolutely love for you to do. So if you get it, yeah, thank you. If you get a chance, make sure to subscribe to wherever you get your podcasts, follow us on Spotify. Subscribe to us on iTunes, Apple podcasts, and share this podcast with your ministry, with your creative team with your friends, or even your enemies Go for it. And we would love for as many people to be able to get involved and get engaged with this. And really, we want to build a community of creatives where we’re able to have more conversations about these things that matter in our creative ministries. So

Justin Price
we see those subscription numbers growing and the download numbers going up with each episode and we’re just super grateful. Yeah, that you guys are listening and sharing it and, and reviewing and rating. Yep. So thank you so much. It’s

Mike Mage
amazing. So, thanks so much for joining us here at the healthy church growth Podcast, where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Chuch Growth – Episode 17 – Kelli Ogboke

Multi-Sensory Marketing in the Church.

Multi-Sensory Marketing in the Church. We have Kelli Ogboke, from Cokobo, who is an international designer that has recently overseen the design for a fast-growing church of 15,000. She’ll explain how to awaken visitors’ five senses, and why that is important.

On Instagram: @KelliOgboke


Transcriptions:

Justin Price
Tell me a little bit about how you become an international designer and and now are also helping your home church for the last few years you have been helping oversee design campuses for a really fast growing Church of 15,000. And you are now somehow seeing everything that goes through into the building goes across your desk, what has that progression kind of been like and give us a little bit of insight to what is going on there.

All right, we’re here with Kelly on bouquet. From Cokobo Design. Kelly is a designer who is designed internationally in Milan in Paris in London, in Ireland. You’ve done education spaces, residential, commercial. You name it, you have done it. Kelly, welcome to the healthy church growth podcast. I’m so excited to have you this morning.

Kelli Ogboke
So yes, so several years ago, my husband, I moved back to Florida and we found a church that we’d found online. And we were excited to go. And within the first year of being there, there was an announcement that a new campus was going to be built out. And it was the first kind of extension campus of our home church. And they were announcing it and I, for whatever reason, decided to go up to our pastor and say, Hey, this is what I do for a living, I’d love to help somehow. And so I got invited on to kind of a board like a committee to help oversee the process. And it’s very excited to do that. And one thing led to another and ended up becoming the interior designer for the remainder of our six campuses that have grown almost one a year for the last six years. So insane. Yeah. And each one has grown into its own, you know, its own thing and has developed into more and more responsibility. For me, and they’ve been, you know, a great, it’s, it’s my, it’s kind of like I’m my own client in the sense that I get to design for the church that I’m part of. And so it’s an it’s a, it’s an interesting experience, and it’s a humbling and an honor to do.

Justin Price
So. That’s so cool. You know, I think about being a young creative at a church. And so many of us as pastors, you know, we picked out the furniture in the lobby and the paint we were responsible for the especially the more creative pastoral staff was given the you know, it was either the pastor’s wives or the creative staff that was given the, the objective of designing the interior space and when I found out that you were, as a you know, as a firm were responsible for this massive undertaking in and also have dissolved some of the most beautiful church spaces I’ve ever seen. It kind of was like my mind was blown a little bit that it was even happening that there was like the opportunity out there for churches to be designed at that level. But it’s not expensive design. It’s not It’s not like you just like spend a ton of money on really expensive finishes and things like that, like you use the same materials most everybody else does usually inexpensive tiles and Formica in bathrooms and things like that, just like, like the rest of us. But yours looks so much better. So so I would love it. If we could unpack a little bit about what goes into that and hopefully maybe inspire some of the pastors who who one couldn’t afford to hire kokubo the way that your home church has been able to afford with their incredible growth, but maybe even just to get the conversations going for them. Most of them right now, if they’re listening in the next few months, they’re there may be in a position where they’re building a shut down due to COVID. And they actually have some time where they could paint, they could do some things to kind of clean up their experience. We know, the majority of the churches are, you know, hundred to 250 people. And I thought it’d be really, really cool to just talk to somebody who is doing it at the highest level and has done at the highest level. What, what is one thing you know, I know it’d be really easy for us to talk for eight hours. But what what is one thing that you feel like you could kind of get into and dig into a little bit to help people start to think about how you tackle a campus or a building project or any you know, what’s a core design principle that you can unpack, I think for for our pastoral staff, they could kind of take in as a principal.

Kelli Ogboke
Okay. So I guess the first thing I would want to kind of the first myth to dispel would be that a good design has to be, you know, super wow factor that there has to be expensive materials that there has to have all these digital things that you know, that it’s gonna cost a lot of money to be well designed. So the first thing would be to redefine your definition of a well designed church, right? So if we’re just, we’re just talking about church, this goes across the board and other spaces, is does the experience that you want. We’re going to just from a visitor perspective, we’ll talk about a visitor perspective. So how do you want that person to experience your building and your space and the good the definition of good design is does it achieve that experience? So it’s not does it have you know, all the fancy frills and, and designer things
Which there’s nothing wrong with but that is not that does not define it. So, you know, the first thing I would say is to go to your kind of your core values of what you want that experience to be, you want it to be, you know, most people would say they want it to be welcoming, that there’s this warm comfort that you can come in and you feel like you can let your guard down that you can enjoy yourself that you can just kind of just go in and experience
ultimately, you know, leading to an experience with God. Right. So breaking down barriers to that. So if you if you were to say that that is our, that’s our core experience value, right? So how do we assess our current situation? based off of that as your metric, right? So if you start as you enter the property, right, so if it’s like, we’re going for that consistent, meeting, that value of feeling welcome, nurtured, warm, comforting, right. So as you’re entering the property, you know, you would walk through this kind of process of
Evaluating which is a good thing to do now, right, especially kind of rethinking, as people are opening up churches again and
is coming into the property that there’s clear signage rights, we talked about clear signage, to let you know where you are and how you need to get where you’re going. And nice tip is like just making sure that the landscaping is manicured there that it doesn’t have to be, you know, mature landscaping, it can just, it can be young plants that are put there with some mulch and very simple through your parking and your Wayfinding and availability. And then as someone is coming into the lobby, that
that what their experience is, is consistent, right? So we want to look at,
you know, how you’re experiencing it from you know, your five senses, right? So you’ve got like, you know, the the look and the feel and the sound and you know, down even to the taste and the smell of coffee, you know, so
I guess the big thing that I would, I would want to say is to look at the consistency
So
there’s a lot of value in probably even starting with removing things, right. So if you have, you know, walking into the lobby and you’ve kind of got some mismatched furniture or some of the artwork feels a little dated, or it’s kind of several different styles kind of going on, it would probably be more valuable to remove that versus necessarily trying to add more things. So people maybe feel like they can’t get rid of it unless they replace it. I don’t have the budget to replace that. Okay, where is so and so gonna sit every Sunday morning if we think back, right, right. Okay, so a good example would be you know, just like it let’s say there’s an older light not my older piece of artwork on the wall. Yeah, right. Maybe it’s a little faded. It’s you know, it’s a
landscape. See
You know and it is just kind of a dated piece right? So you’re like okay, well if I take that down that wall is gonna be blank and it’ll feel kind of sterile, right? But one thing that can be done is you know take that down and maybe printing graphics right so it could it could be you know, a branding thing it could be a core values thing it could be just sciences Welcome home.
It could be something you know that that is a graphic piece you know, it can be printed
fairly inexpensively through like a quick signs printer, right. And basically any any like signed printer can do a large format print for under $10 a square foot, a couple hundred dollars could fill an art space with a branded piece. Rather than you having to go out and spend an expensive or buy an expensive piece of art that was like really inspiring. The like a type otter fee type thing that you did yourself in Photoshop could
totally be printed even for as little as like a couple dollars a square foot if it was like a black and white, right water, right and then put in an Ikea frame 20 bucks, like a big post the biggest IKEA frame you can get, right and even, you know, certain, you know, printing companies can do it on, you know, on a substrate of like Gator board or something that has a thickness that wouldn’t necessarily even need to be framed. Because one of the things with artwork is like the size and the scale, you know, it’s like, you know, when you put larger art on the walls, it just has a better presence than smaller pieces. And, you know,
that’s a very inexpensive way to do it is to have something printed from assigned printer, you know, either like you said, printing it, you know, on almost kind of plotter paper and putting it in in large, basic frames or putting it on a substrate that you know can be printed on to, you know, a thicker material that can create an art piece. So in that scenario, let’s say you’ve got a yellow wall and it’s got a Thomas kincade on it.
You know maybe you reconsider the paint color and you put a large graphic print up there and you’ve completely changed the look right for a couple hundred bucks for a couple hundred bucks. So
you know that’s I guess that’s where we come into maybe it’s it’s removing some things not necessarily just adding more stuff to a space so than with with furniture you know perhaps you cannot afford to change out all your furniture and you need a certain amount of seats and it would be awkward to remove all that furniture. If things can be refinished in a ways maybe some the wood tones or metal tins could be painted. Right so maybe they can all become consistent. Is it okay to have blank walls? It is okay to have some blank walls right? You do not need to fill every well not every wall needs a theme. What am I just painting my brand colors on the wall? right so let’s say about paint. So one thing
when it comes down to consistency across the board, right is that to come?
Come up with a, a paint palette of probably three to four colors that are complementary to your brand colors. So really popular for church brands to be blue. Right? So the looking at colors that are complimentary to blue, right, so it could be a lot of neutrals, you know, grays,
gracious,
you know, but not necessarily painting your paint colors to match your brand. Right there is there is room and space for small percentage of accent walls or accent areas to be in your brain colors. But it would be something I see where people can get stuck in. They think that okay, if I, if I’m branding my space to my church logo and brands that I need that same blue or red or whatever it is to be on the wall and that’s not necessarily true. It’s actually better to just be a nice backdrop to your brand colors and being complimentary. So think more bright
neutral colors that will work well with your with your brand. Mm hmm. And then, you know, when we just talked about like the large artwork and being more of like a graphic that it just creates a nice backdrop to that and let that be where your pops of color and things come in. what’s the what’s the percentage rule if like, Where do I know I’ve got I’m using too much brand color, what’s the break? I would not do more than 10%. So somewhere around five, so shoot for five shoot.
I mean, that’s all it’s all relative to right. So it also just, it’s a scale thing, right? So if you have, you know, a huge lobby space, there would be opportunity for more
of that pop of color just out of scale. Right so that I guess it’s so what would flow with the percentages.
But you know, smaller spaces, a little small accent goes a long way.
What about like the when you’re talking about paint

Justin Price
What about the whole idea of like different spaces? You’re talking about things being consistent? But what about like doesn’t the kids the area need to be a totally different vibe so they think it’s special and the youth space need to be totally different and weird and crazy. So they think it’s a destination. How do you how do you marry consistency with all these different age groups and sections of the building? Do you have any tips for for that or thinking through that?

Kelli Ogboke
I mean, there’s no reason that it can’t feel different, it should feel different, right? But so there is a there is a balance from you know, consistency across the board, right. So for example, that might look like similar.
Similar paint color schemes going throughout with its own flair thrown in. So in the kids area, you may still have
your basic color schemes on walls the same but you’re throwing in
either
Graphic are or, you know, doing like mural type things that can bring in the colors to kind of theme the area without completely abandoning the consistency that is coming through other parts.

Justin Price
Cool

Kelli Ogboke
If that makes sense.

Justin Price
Yeah. So that your neutral should tie any of those rays all together, right? It should work with those.

Kelli Ogboke
So yes, so in your three to four color palette of paint colors through your whole space that would be consistent. Some of those should be able to easily go into all of the areas as a backdrop to whatever maybe theming your space.

Justin Price
So talk a little bit I think it’s hard for us to get our heads around that, you know, because there’s typically like, each ministry department gets to control how their space feels, you know, and so if we’re talking to a worship pastor right now, he may feel like really, really insecure about trying to tell the children’s pastor
how they should change those
that are currently flanking the entrance to the children’s wing right? What? Do you have any, any, like just any helper helpful tips or thoughts that could help make that conversation go easier? What How do you handle this? I mean, this is like a real thing. I didn’t prep you with this question. But how do you handle you know, talking, taking design sense to somebody who isn’t a designer but is passionate about their area of ministry, and thinks that that passion should should flow into design decisions.

Kelli Ogboke
Now, I don’t know my first answer. I don’t know if it’s applicable across the board, but I’ll just go ahead and say it so the, the thing that would be the most helpful in this situation is that there is a global meeting of, hey, all of your department heads commander standing that the church, you know, we all know we need to
update our look.

So I think Yeah, no, I mean, because if you do come in, and you say, okay, we need to change that because it’s, it’s not vibing with the rest that I don’t, I don’t think that that is as effective as a global buy in of, okay. So we may not have the budget to redo everything and buy new furniture, and I mean, even painting a whole building is expensive, you know. So looking at like a phased, a phase situation, but getting that buy in of like, this is where we want to be. And this is some ideas of how we can do that and creating the consistency, but allowing room for, you know, personality of those spaces, right? There’s no reason I think, you know, I’ve definitely made this mistake before where I think okay, I’m just so about getting this consistent feel that you could almost make those spaces too sterile, right? And then once they’re done, it’s like okay, everything is great, right? It’s very consistent, but now it’s very boring, right? And so having them then kind of come back in and add that flair and that fun and you know, so I don’t think that the idea is to take away all the bright colors or to take away all the things but to rethink maybe it doesn’t need to be primary colors red, blue and yellow don’t need to flank everything but maybe, you know,
maybe there’s room for going more muted more jewel tones, more pastels, maybe like just depending on the space that we could take it from looking like a stereotypical primary school to you know, more of
just elevating the design the graphic in that way. I like that. So if we want to get on board with consistency, we should get all the stakeholders in the room and agree first. Well, yeah, just say you know, like, Okay, this is where we want to go as a church and whole and
and have a conversation about
how we could achieve that across the board in different departments. And then there’s buy in I’m also just getting ideas from people, right? So it’s like, you know, I can definitely come in with preconceived ideas about how a space should look and come into, okay, this is we’re going to do but that may not necessarily totally vibe with, you know, the department head, right? Because they have, you know, he she has a different experience of how, how the kids interact, how the parents interact, and you know, what I think may look really good, may not function as well, right? So it’s just that conversation of, you know, like, let’s talk that out, let’s get the buy in. I mean, I’m, I have to do the same, you know, from going into redesign, a campuses children’s area, you know, I, I have to get the pie and just like, you know, any pastor that you were saying that might be looking at like a worship pastor, and he’s like, Oh, I really want to change this, for overall feel the same similar process, you know, going in and getting the Bible
And the ownership and then the collaboration.

Justin Price
I think sometimes we, as creatives get excited about something like that, or if somehow we get permission from the elders or from the staff, you know, from, or a senior pastor to, like, help make it better. We missed that by in part, I’m at least when I was younger. I struggled with that a lot. And I think I probably stepped on a lot of toes that way. And I think that’s a really super, super valuable tip. super important. The other thing too, that you said, you kind of breeze through this, and I wonder if you’d unpack it a little bit. But when you’re creative, and you’re trying to do something, you usually do things to make people notice it. Mm hmm. And you were like, it doesn’t have to be opulent. It doesn’t have to have this, like not everything has to have this wow factor. In fact, that’s really a secondary to getting rid of obstacles first. So in talking about consistency, you are actually easing the experience you are unifying it. You’re simplifying it, you’re getting rid of things. And I think that’s tough because like, how do you walk in especially cuz you get paid a lot of money to do some like big commercial things.
And you literally walk in and like, take things away.
You know, you’re simplifying things. And it’s like every bathroom has the same stone, why did we pay a designer to pick one material for every bathroom in one paint color? You know, a lot of times, the building has been built over phases. And so you’re saying, rather than necessarily just picking one of those bathrooms and trying to upgrade it, like maybe the most public bathroom and just try and upgrade that and spend all of your budget there. Instead, like spread your budget to try to bring everything to a more consistent thing that that’s more valuable than one while bathroom? right consistency is going to be king in minimalizing. The bad is greater than creating the wall moment. That’s kind of a bit
idea for me to get my head around. You’re simplifying it, you’re getting rid of things. And I think that’s tough because like, how do you walk in especially cuz you get paid a lot of money to do some like big commercial things.
And you literally walk in and like, take things away.
You know, you’re simplifying things. And it’s like every bathroom has the same stone, why did we pay a designer to pick one material for every bathroom in one paint color? You know, a lot of times, the building has been built over phases. And so you’re saying, rather than necessarily just picking one of those bathrooms and trying to upgrade it, like maybe the most public bathroom and just try and upgrade that and spend all of your budget there. Instead, like spread your budget to try to bring everything to a more consistent thing that that’s more valuable than one while bathroom? right consistency is going to be king in minimalizing. The bad is greater than creating the wall moment. That’s kind of a bit
idea for me to get my head around.

Kelli Ogboke
Right? You gotta think about taking the obstacles away. Right? So if you’re making a clear path towards, you know, any direction, right, so there could be things that could help you get there. But there’s, I find, especially when you’re talking about smaller budgets, that removing the obstacles actually has a little bit more impact, right, of course, you’re going to put things back we can’t just empty room entirely.
But it’s kind of a less is more but removing the things that kind of take away from the upgraded, updating, feel, right. So there was a trend of putting, you know, script words vinyl stick ons, right to walls, right. And it could be a, it could be a scripture, it could be thing and there’s there’s space for that, right? There’s we’re applications, but I’m just letting people know, it might be I don’t know, but
there can be well when you know
You can put vinyl wording on walls in a nice way it should be done by a graphic designer so that your scale and proportion is correct. And you know, so that it it’s not fatiguing to your eye. Right? So when you look at it doesn’t kind of just feel I don’t know if it’s my eyes, but that, that that was a trend right so that was a trend for a while people putting up kind of, you know, stickers, kind of graphics like that. Now that I would say would be probably an obstacle to the updating of a look right?
taking that away, you know, fake flowers, things like that, that could start to feel dated. Now fake succulents maybe not as much right you know, there’s that isn’t a trend right now that can kind of feel a little bit more updated, but you know, kind of like fake silk flowers and graphics on the walls and stuff, those types of things to be taken out. Instantly kind of can freshen right versus just adding more things to it. Love it.
That makes sense.

Justin Price
We’ll keep walking us through this experience here. So we’re taking a path of consistency with Kelly from the door. We’re talking about the lobby, and you have kind of also really kind of jumped into this concept of consistency philosophically saying that that is the number one greatest thing we can fight for. If we’re, if we’re going to try to help the design of our church building, right, is to bring it consistent, and more neutralize the backgrounds and eliminate the obstacles. We covered the main thoughts. Yes, okay. Yes. You said walk through like a visitor. Try to get rid of everything. If you don’t have any budget, you can at least get rid of anything that is a major distraction

Kelli Ogboke
Right If it’s not going to aligning with the overall feel that you want, right? So it’s like don’t be afraid to remove some things that feel contrary
To the look, you’re going for love that. So one thing in a lobby, you know, we talked about like the five senses, right? So the one thing that it’s like, I like to compare thinking about a design and a feel for a lobby, if you don’t know where to start, right, you’re like, Okay, we’re going to do something, maybe we take everything out of our lobby, and we’re kind of starting from, you know, where do we look for inspiration? And I think smaller churches can get, you know, kind of stuck in looking at large church inspiration, right? So you kind of look up these larger churches more, you know, well known. And they’ve got these fabulous lobbies with enormous high glass wall ceilings and big LCD, LCD screens, and there’s all sorts of stuff going on. And kind of think that that equals, you know, a good church design.
And thinking about the scale, they’re right to the scale that they have is much different than a small church. And so let’s just not even look there, right? So let’s just throw that out. Right. So let’s look at maybe hotel law.
And a small, you know, kind of boutique type feeling of walking into hotel lobby and experiencing hospitality in that way. Because hotels spend a lot of money in designing their spaces to be welcoming to make you feel at home, all the things that we want to feel when we walk into church. That’s great. So when we talk about, you know, where you get information where you get help to where you get coffee, right, so in some churches, you’re able to set up, you know, service of coffee, where there’s somebody with like a coffee bar, and it’s similar to a coffee bar experience where you walk up and you order and you get a coffee, and maybe there’s an espresso machine. And so there’s a whole design, but that that’s not an inexpensive endeavor, right? If you don’t already have that set up to try to do that is probably cost prohibitive. So looking at a self service station, but not just slapping, you know, some crafts and a plate of doughnuts on a folding table, right? So looking at it like how that’s displayed, right? So
You know, again, going back to hotels and how they do their self service coffee areas, you know, those items that they have that you know, organize your condiments and you know, your cups and things like that they’re not expensive, and they’re not exclusive to hotels that can be bought on Amazon, how you display food, if you’re doing coffees leave for doing donuts and things like that, or pastries or things, look at, you know, maybe acrylic
displays that kind of protect the foods foods isn’t just kind of sitting out, right, but it has a nice display and it’s just not just thrown on paper plate or you know, just those little things, those touch points or you know, low budget things when you think about the impact that they have. So if you’re not doing any coffee or at all right, so that is something to consider maybe bringing that in as there’s a smell, there’s the taste, right? So those are things you’re experiencing, and then what you’re touching in order to get that so if you are self serving that like how
you’re interacting with that experience
is a great way
to welcome people, right? So it’s like there’s a welcoming aspect of coffee in general. There’s a welcoming, comforting things that people know how to interact with coffee. Right? So it’s like I, you know, when someone’s never been to a church or they’re not comfortable church, they most likely have been in a coffee shop before they know how to operate themselves, right? Go in and get a coffee sit down, right? Like, that is something that’s like, comfortable to know that process. So giving that as an option, either, maybe they don’t make it into the sanctuary. Maybe they just sit in the lobby. So there’s that there’s this option to do that and operate as like maybe a phase one of their experience. Because that’s a that’s a already known experience of what to do. Right. So that’s one thing that can be a barrier is not knowing how to interact with a church environment if you are completely new to church.

Justin Price
Yeah. I love that. What’s something else in the, in this experience you had mentioned earlier about lighting? Mm hmm. What can we do for lighting to make this experience consistent and good?

Kelli Ogboke
So lighting is a whole. There’s so much to it. Right? So one thing that, you know, just picturing kind of like a smaller church, existing building, where there, you know, there isn’t an opportunity to change all the lighting, most likely there’s overhead lighting, most likely, it’s fluorescent, and very just kind of basic overall, and could be kind of harsh, right? So
there are lots of things in that right. So a lot of times the fluorescent lights would be, they might have bulbs that are different color temperatures in them. So when you look up you see like there’s bluer funds. There’s purple ones, there’s kind of more orange and yellow ones. So first thing is like making sure that you have a consistent color temperature, right. So that’s your kelvins. Right? So that’s, you know,
looking at consistent color, temperature
And then considering maybe if you have over if you’ve just got this one you know switch and everything turns on and it’s all very bright, maybe look at you know disabling taking the bulbs out of some of them and then bringing back accent lighting so that can be floor lamps, table lamps, even, you know
while washing lamps a lot of things that do
in like AV indirect lighting you know, kind of just like shine up the wall for a little bit of a different effect.
As a way to kind of not have every you have different levels of lighting in a room, right so you have just adds a little bit more warmth
in small group kind of gathering areas you may even consider not using any overhead lighting and just using lamps around just a little bit more cozy warm.
Home like feel.

I think there

Justin Price
A designer like you who does use Milan and Paris spaces, do you only use Italian lamps or where where does someone like you furnish a Bible study room with table floor lamps?

Kelli Ogboke
I definitely even in our larger budget projects I don’t think I’m spending terribly too much money on floor lamps and things just looking for something simple.

Justin Price
Where what’s your go to for a small Where could somebody go to to pick from the same stuff that you’re picking from?

Kelli Ogboke
I mean, online, there’s
target and target. do I use? Um, yeah, no, I haven’t used target. I have used IKEA. I mean,
I, okay. There are great brands, your clients know that you
um,
there there are great brands online even, you know,
do I don’t know if I’m endorsing any any
Any company’s online right now? Um,
I think there there is, there’s a lot of opportunity for something
shopping online and you know, you could get a floor lamp, a simple floor lamp under 100 bucks, right? And, you know, adding a handful of them throughout the space can, you know you’re doing it’s doing three things it’s uploading, it’s downloading and it’s doing diffuse at the side, right so it’s like, you know, just a basic drum shade on a pole, right? Like it’s, there’s not a lot to it, maybe it’s a tripod base or something like that, which is it’s just, it’s, it’s creating a glow up down and kind of a diffused glow around. So that in itself is creating three levels of light. And then if you’re taking
some of your overhead out and placing that in an area now, you’ve got four levels of light, so
it’s just creating a little bit of depth in a lighting design that you can play around with right you think about it at your house.
Like if you turn you know, only a couple lights on through the house at night, there’s kind of a mood, right? You know, so you can adjust the mood versus turning all your lights on at night and everything’s just bright and whatever.
One thing you’ve asked me a lot about is the color temperature like what’s like the golden color temperature right? So the most kind of neutral somewhere around like 3500 and so your daylight is like in the 6000s. Right? So that’s that real blue light from you know, fluorescence and things like that. I would probably stay away from that.
Because then some of your decorative fixtures might be doing kind of an incandescent which is more like 2500 2700 so that’s that warm yellow II orangey glow of like candle light, which in you know, certain light fixtures is very appealing, but when you put it next to a 6000 Kelvin light that’s very blue, it feels you know, creates that eye fatigue, right because you’re like eyes are trying to adjust between like this
candlelight and sunlight at the same time, that’s actually happening. Most people don’t realize they’re having that it does feel uncomfortable, right? I mean, you’re not walking and go, Oh, my eyes are so fatigued, it’s just you kind of don’t, it feels like inconsistent because when would you be in the sun and have a candle light at the same time? Right? You know, so you’re kind of creating this artificial experience that’s not
a real, you know, it’s not comforting, it doesn’t feel natural, right. So if you had overhead lighting at like 33,000, or 3500, and an incandescent light, it’s not going to compete as much.

Justin Price
I love that. So practical tip, change all of your overhead lighting to 3000 to 3500 K, or at least bring it consistent. Right? And if you can’t do that, at least make it as make it all consistent. But but maybe discourage people from doing 6000 right. I mean, most probably aren’t doing the new blue LED is like actually a cool thing.
Huh, but I think it can feel really cold. Well, especially in a church. Well there is application for it just like there’s anything application for a writer.
But you also have to realize that the color temperature of your light changes the paint color experience, right? So some of your, some of your finishes can change color and wash out.
And doing that, right or if you have, you know, maybe like you have these, this yellow carpet that you don’t have a budget to change it. And then you know, depending on the lighting, the color temperature, maybe there is a value to washing out that yellow a little bit. But if you went too warm, you would almost highlight it and make it more yellow is what I’m saying. So there is there is no

yellow carpet, maybe Maybe you could get away with a 42

Kelli Ogboke
Right. So I guess I just say that only to say that there isn’t just this one thing that you can just throw across board and say that that’s going to work across the board. Because obviously, there’s context.

Justin Price
I feel like you could literally take all of these points and break them for an hour. I mean, just thinking about lighting design for public spaces, there’s a lot to it. You You mentioned creating a mood. You’ve told me before about pattern and drama and having breakup of light, it shouldn’t just all be like, even light across the whole entire room. You want to create different pockets and everything. So I, I think we definitely should come back and talk about experiential lighting. We like I think in the production world, creatives, always, you know, think about lighting, and we put a lot of time into church about how we light a stage. And maybe we think some of us think a little bit more about how you light the auditorium. But we hardly ever think about how we like the bathroom in the hallway to the bathroom in the entrance and the lobby. So that’s really Got a little bit of an eye opener there. I think we should definitely come back and circle back online because I think you’ve got a lot what is the last thing that you want to cover in your Quick Tips walkthrough for consistency. This is so good.

Kelli Ogboke
Um, so my last thing would probably not even really be a design change or update, it will be more experiential, and there’s kind of really no excuse for this one. So it’s the cleanliness, you know, the experience of the bathroom, you know, it’s very similar to how you experience at a restaurant, you know, the restaurant could be great, but then you go in the bathroom, and if it’s, if it’s off putting, it’s it can ruin a whole experience. So, you know, cleanliness and looking at smell. But then you know how people also interact with, you know, picture a visitor coming in, they’ve gotten their coffee, maybe they’re a little self conscious of coffee breath or something like that. So offering you know, there’s mouthwash
stations. There’s just myths, just involvements right very simple, very inexpensive, but it is another level of hospitality and offering amenities right so you know there’s you know, for a long time you’ve gone into bathrooms and certain restaurants and things and you’ll have like, you know, you don’t need a tray of colognes or anything like that, you know, like that. Not that type of amenity basket, but something that just offers a little bit of just give somebody another level of comfort that they feel more comfortable lingering, talking to people

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 12 – Nik Goodner

Getting Rid of Sacred Cows in Church with CRTV Church founder Nik Goodner.

Is it time to rethink just about everything we do in ministry? Is the Sunday morning service a sacred cow that we need to get rid of? On this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, we interview CTRV Church founder Nik Goodner (@nikgoodner) about this and many other topics.

Nik Goodner Instagram @nikgoodner

CRTV Church Instagram @crtvchurch

Resources – https://www.sundaysocial.tv/ 


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast.

Well, welcome to the healthy church growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life. I am one of your hosts, Mike my age. And we have absolutely loved having these conversations with you, with our audience with these guests that we’ve been having on just really being able to interact with you and how we can see churches grow in a healthy way. And before we dive into this intro, I really just want to let you know that we would absolutely love for you to subscribe and share and rate this podcast not so much for just you know, to see the podcast grow, but we really want to interact with you, our audience, and have conversations with you and engage with you in any way that we can. And by subscribing and by sharing and by rating this podcast. It’s a way for These conversations to get in front of more people so that we can all together be on this journey of what it looks like to grow in a healthy way. Joining me today for this intro and for the interview that we had here in a minute is Justin price. And Justin, we had an insane conversation with Nik Goodner and talked about some really crazy stuff. It’s pretty incredible.

Justin Price
What’s up, Mike, we did have an insane conversation. And it does mean the world to us when you guys subscribe, and like and follow and engage probably more than anything is engaged in the conversations we’ve been able to have with you all. In the last two months for me, I think have made this podcast worth all the work, really like a light in the darkness has just been connecting authentically with people and you know being in a community. building a community has been absolutely a huge reward and an honor So jumping into the Nik Goodner conversation like, man, I would say, Jesus, let’s get like some notepads out right now and be prepared to write some things down that are probably gonna, gonna feel challenging.

Mike Mage
I mean, he is I know what’s funny after following for those of you that don’t know, Nik Goodner, he is the, I guess he started this thing called creative church, which is a community online and you can find it at CR TV church, on Instagram and on Facebook, and it’s just this community of creative leaders in the church and to following him. He is actually an eight on the enneagram so he is your classic challenge. So true. Yeah. And I mean, you and I were talking about this before you know, we started recording this intro, but just how a lot of the stuff that he is saying Right now feels to really almost like, it’s like you’re going to get this like really hard massage. Like there’s just this not attended rain example. There’s this knot in the churches back and like Nik is one of those people who has just taken his elbow right to that knot. And I think it’s really incredible to see especially from like a creative vantage point, someone really pushing on those bruises and on those knots, you know, trying to work them out.

Justin Price
No doubt, you know, I think that one of the temptations when you are acting as a consultant to the church and you’re not necessarily leading your own congregation are leading your own creative team, like in Sunday morning. The temptation is like to maybe pull back into like, just give a nice soft massage, you know, to just make people feel good to just, you know, ease the pain just to touch. And I gotta say, I feel you know, I’m always skeptical when I’m getting ready to talk to anybody who’s a consultant because consultants also kind of a word for non committed. And as a creative consultant myself, there are days where I’m just super glad I am not all in with with the project I’m working on I know it will end. And the thing you know that can that can come from that is just a some people cannot have a very soft way of doing things or talking or looking things and I gotta say, like, for one reason, for better or for worse, I think it’s for better. I think God has really ordained Nik and his his using Nik to say some things to the church that I don’t know maybe if he was in the middle of a congregation today right now trying to lead in the midst of this as tired as the rest of us are. He might not have the challenger at full speed, you know, to be saying some of the things he’s saying right now, but at the end of this conversation, Nick drops a bomb that I think some of you Ready to hear I you know, I’m just I’m just preparing you. He’s dropping some heat. You know, he, Mike, you I think you had to take it took you a little while to recover from this conversation emotionally.

Mike Mage
It didn’t fully hit me in the moment until I went back and edited I was like, Oh, no. Because he says it was such calmness and but yeah, make sure you listen to this full interview because just like Justin said, I think we need to coined the phrase dropping heat, dropping a key, Nik drops some heat here. So, so buckle him. This is our conversation we had with creative church founder, Nik goodness.

We’re talking about the church down the road, and what they’re doing for Easter and what they’re doing for this and it’s like, Yeah, but like what’s God called us to do

Mike Mage
Well, welcome to the healthy church growth podcast. We are so glad that you have joined us for this episode. And this episode is, is really, really cool, really special. We are having a conversation with Nick Goodner, who started a little group called creative church and is a huge creative voice for churches right now. And, Nick, thank you so much for joining us on this podcast.

Nik Goodner
Thank you guys for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Mike Mage
So I just I have a pre question for you. And this I guess isn’t really really a question but I have been crushing on all of your content like a 90s girl over like Leonardo DiCaprio. It has been amazing. Thank you so much for everything that you’re doing right now just through Instagram and all your other stuff.

Nik Goodner
Yeah, well, thank you. I’m flattered I really am. You know, it’s It’s not every day you get that kind of compliment where you’re crushing like Leonardo DiCaprio, like Get 90 year old over Leonardo DiCaprio. So thank you for that. Now, now I’m embarrassed that I’m not gonna be able to do the entire podcast and I’m just gonna be, I’m just gonna be flustered the entire time.

Mike Mage
Yeah, that was the goal. My, my six year old so almost six year old son has been watching the Parent Trap, like the 90s version of the Parent Trap. And they’re all they talk about is Leonardo DiCaprio. So yeah, sorry.

Nik Goodner
So you gotta you gotta tell him there’s more movies than that. That’s what I have to let them know. You have to let them know there’s more movies.

Mike Mage
It’s so with the advent of Disney Plus, there is like this resurgence. I feel like of those, like 90s Disney Channel movies. And like, Yeah, he loves them. It’s so crazy. I don’t understand why. So you said when we were talking a little bit beforehand, and I’ve seen on some of your stuff that you grew up in Florida. And now you sort of moved in this position as sort of like a creative coach. I’d love to maybe just get like a real, real short version of how did you get to the position that you are in right now? Like, what’s a little bit of your background for our audience?

Nik Goodner
Yeah, so I grew up in Florida, and well, I grew up all over the South. My parents were church planters. And so we moved around a lot. A lot of people ask me, you know, whenever I tell him, I’ve moved like 32 times ago, were you in the army? I was so yes, the Lord’s army because we moved around a lot and you know, where the Spirit leads, so to speak. And so he grew up I grew up a parents are church planters. And then after I graduated high school, I decided I wanted to go to Bible college and kind of follow in their footsteps. And just outside of Bible college, I got a offer to go down to a church plant in Orlando. And I was born in Florida, born in Central Florida. I always loved Central Florida and I said Do you know why that why the heck not? Let’s go and I went down there. helped out for about almost eight months I met my wife there she was also she she and I both went to Bible college at the same time. We never knew each other Bible college, but we met each other at this church plant because the youth pastor who was or the student director over the Bible college was the one who went left to go start the church. So we met, we get married, and we moved back to Tulsa. That’s where we went to school at. And about three months after moving back to Tulsa, I get an offer at a church in bartlesville, which is about 35/45 minutes up north from Tulsa. And we haul up and we move up there and become a student minister, and then a creative director. And then the rug is kind of pulled out from underneath me and the church shuts down it closes and I was very passionate about what we were doing at that church. And so whenever it closed, it kind of shook me a little bit, because I could see the I could see the I could smell the blood in the Water. And you know, being growing up as a church planter, I can kind of tell where the or identify the markers of where things went wrong. And so I spent the six months after it closed, kind of beating myself up rehashing, like, here’s where we went wrong. Here’s what we should have done better. And finally, it just came to a point where I was like, I can’t sit here and do this for the rest of my life. We can’t lean on only I was only like, 21. At the time. I was like, we can’t let this define me. And I decided to start an Instagram account called the creative church. That was back when we had all the vowels in the name. And there’s always a fun, it’s always a fun story. About three months go by and I’m like, I want to start a website. And so I look up to buy the domain for the creative church. And it’s not available, someone else owns it. And I don’t even know if it’s still owned by them. But I go, what can we do and movement watches was getting real big at the time. And so I was like, we could take the vowels out of creative and call it creative church. And so I did that best branding decision I ever made, like ever made. And it comes because I couldn’t find the domain for the creative church. And we’ve been called a lot of people call CR TV church, it’s creative church, but I won’t fault him for that. So yeah, so we started that back in 2015. It’s been going now almost five years, it’ll be five years in October. And we’ve had our ups and downs and our evolutions throughout the entire time. And I feel like over the past two years, we’ve really gotten in a groove as to what we want to do what I want to do and who we want to be, and celebrating and inspiring and empowering church creatives to be creative every day. You know, that’s, that’s our goal. That’s our mission. We want to be Spirit led and healthy at the same time. So I love what you guys are doing because you guys big focus is health. And so I love I love what you’re doing with the podcast. So

Mike Mage
what one of the reasons I feel like I’m really drawn A lot of your stuff is, I think a lot of church creatives, really just creative people in general, we have a tendency to almost like think, want to think above people, and it almost like leads to like a pretentious nature to things. And I feel like you all of the content that you’re posting is so grounded. And I really really appreciate that. Because it I feel like it’s it’s stripping away the almost the inaccessibility of what it means to be creative in the church, you know, and I just saw, I don’t know if there’s a lot of people that are doing that. So I really, really appreciate that. You are a great designer, Nik. And it looks like you know, maybe you have some background in that. I don’t know if you went to school. What did you go to school for exactly in Tulsa.

Nik Goodner
I went to school for student ministry and kids ministry . I didn’t go to school for design. Actually, I never, never designed until I got my creative director gig at the, at the bartlesville. Church. That’s whenever I started lid lid, my wife, she was a graphic designer. And she’s the one who taught me how to do it. And I just fell in love with it became really passionate about it for about a year and a half started a business where I was doing it. And then I like some things in life. I’ve lost interest in it over the years. But I can still, I can still do it as a necessity. But I’m more into finding designers to fit the style nowadays and paying them to do it because it’s a younger man’s game. And even though I’m not 30 yet, I still feel old in design, like I feel like I’m archaic. And yet you see all these, you know, kids coming up that like 16, 17 years old and they’re just blowing me away. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, this is phenomenal. And I’m over here you know, still trying to figure out you know if I can use Gotham slanted or not, yeah. So so it’s kind of a it’s a main sent in for me a little bit. It’s something I’ve kind of lost interest in doing over the past few years but I still do it as a necessity because you know, working with a small team, you have to do your own design sometimes. So yeah,

Mike Mage
well i think that’s that’s a really good almost like a baseline for I feel like a lot of where our audience is, you know, these people who you know, maybe they start out as worship leaders, but then as they you know, start to go into their job you know, they realize oh, like the bulletin needs to be totally changed or like you know, these slides need to be totally like I need to learn a little bit of creative work or learn Photoshop or I need to learn you know, Illustrator a little bit more man this video needs to get done I need to learn premiere or Final Cut. So like what were what what are some of your like three resources for, I guess your creative inspiration or as you are getting going Even though you’re not really doing it as much, like how did you actually get your foot in the door, knowing that like, it almost was like you were being creative out of like a necessity, which is what I feel like a lot of churches are in.

Nik Goodner
Yeah, so, um, you know, not everyone’s gonna have Lydia but my wife was a huge inspiration for me, and in a great teacher for helping me do Photoshop those first few years. You know, because she was a graphic designer for like, three years before we met, and she did it all through high school, so she knew all the ins and outs and I didn’t and so she was a great teacher. She was number one resource. I can’t I can’t get away with saying that. Second, definitely YouTube. YouTube is is phenomenal. And if you don’t, if you don’t if you’re not watching a YouTube video once a week to learn something new that’s on you like you can learn anything with YouTube. And I yeah, I’m a fanatic about learning new stuff I love. I love to learn new ideas, new stuff and YouTube is that key Avenue. And then the last thing and this is this has been more so in the past few years for keeping relevant when my designs is Sunday social.tv from Joe and Jonathan Kaos are well, Jonathan mom Joe Kavaos and the thing that you can do with a PSD subscription and you can break down their designs. So you kind of learn by dissecting what it is they did how they did it, and that has been a huge asset for me. Yeah, over the past few years, as I’ve kind of phased out of doing design, being able to grab something from them and rework it for what I need. Is is massive as if you’re a designer starting out right now. I mean, get that PSD Sunday social subscription, because it’s going to benefit you in more ways than one, and you will be able to learn how they did it, and you’re gonna be able to learn, you know, how you can rework things to do things better. Sure. So those are my three big resources that I’ve used to kind of learn design and stay relevant in my designs.

Justin Price
I’m looking at it right now the Photoshop templates are 19 bucks a month, you can’t pay a graphic designer for an hour. That’s a that is an awesome resource to get, you know, church related set up PSD files and man talking about breaking down somebody else’s files and seeing how they structure a project is so eye opening, you know, you look, there’s 100 ways you can do something. There’s typically like 10 of those ways that are easier. And that that was a huge thing for me, Nick was when I was learning After Effects was buying template program like projects and breaking them down and like actually repurposing them for church stuff. But then you start to pick up like your Tips and your own styles and looks and things like that even in an after effects I in Photoshop. I mean, I remember man there was like graphic template, old old graphic templates sites that you know you’d buy, like for poster events and things like that back in my youth ministry days, we would we’d break those things open and I’d be like, I can’t believe how do these people even come up with this 15 years after of graphic designing later? You know, you’re like, Oh, yeah, this is all kind of makes sense. But man, just thinking about that template tip is so huge.

Mike Mage
Well, Nick, the the one of the coolest things that I think you’ve already sort of said is like, you know, design is, he said as a young man’s game, which I think is great. And I think that’s that’s accurate, to a certain extent, and you’ve instead of trying to figure out in spending more and more time on trying to like, figure out how to do that better. You pivoted yourself into building like a creative community and like leaning on other people, which I think is like such an incredible mindset and point of view that a lot of people don’t necessarily have, when it comes, especially when it comes to ministry, like sometimes, you know, our goal isn’t to do the work, it’s to equip other people to do the work. And so you’ve been building, like a creative community online for, you know, five years or so. What has been like the hardest lesson you’ve learned? And, you know, what tips can you share to those just now waking up and realizing that like, their community could be grown online in tandem with sort of the digital expansion of their physical communities?

Nik Goodner
Yeah, so the hardest lesson I learned, man, that’s uh, I there’s been a lot of hard lessons. You know, we’re a little bit unique in the fact that we operate like a church online. But yet at the same time, we’re operating like a business. And that balance and striking that balance because we don’t have people who donate to us or we don’t have people who give to us. We, you know, sell partnerships, we do events, things like that. Striking that balance has been very difficult for me, and to how do I, how do I give like a church? How do I operate like a church? And then how do I operate like a business at the same time? So that’s, that’s one of the challenges that has, I mean, that’s the one that comes up immediately. The second one is there’s a little bit of arrogance in running an online community like this, that you have to combat a little bit of ego, that you have to get the fight down. And, you know, throughout your time, running it, it has its ebbs and flows, where it’s like, oh, I’m fine, I’m good. And then it’s like, oh, it’s really it’s really bad. It’s, you know, I really feel egotistical right now and that’s typically plays out for me in a competitive spirit where I want to, you know, if someone comes up and they’re doing something similar, I want to figure out how we can just, you know, for lack of a better term, wipe them off the earth, let’s just let’s let’s become better than they ever can. And let’s let’s, you know, make sure that they don’t have a voice in this community. That’s something that I’ve wrestled with from day one. And that’s honestly our there. Because it’s, it’s, you know, whenever you’re doing what God’s called you to do, and you see someone doing something similar to what you’re doing. You can feel like they’re, they’re taking away from what you’ve created or what you’ve done. And you have to really look at it through a lens of the church down the road. It’s not my competition. God can call two completely different people to do two relatively common things, same things, and I think about Paul and Apollos Whenever he said, You know, I was planted, I watered, but it’s God who gives the increase. Yeah, and that’s kind of my my fallback verse for whenever I do get in those moments of, you know, I should be the one that has all the recognition or I should be the one that has all the, the views or whatever it is, or I should be the one that, you know, you know, is, is more quote unquote famous, but it’s really wrestling with that ego and settling it back down and remembering that, hey, other people can be called to do this, other people can be in this space, I can operate in this space, and we can all work together versus, you know, drawing lines and being divided. Because whenever we do work together, the kingdom of God grows and gets better. And that’s what’s important. And that’s the real mission and it’s not who gets the recognition. So yeah, so that’s one of this. That I’d have to say is probably the one that keeps reoccurring because I’m in a season right now where it’s like, I You know, everyone can do what they want, I’m all fine. And I know there’s gonna come a day whenever it’s gonna flare back up. And it’s it’s it’s been a constant struggle and constant wrestle. And I think it, it might have to do with, you know, the fact that whenever I started creative church, nobody else did something like this. And now we have about seven or eight people doing something like this. And so it’s kind of like, you know, the O G status that you want to maintain. But you got to realize that that’s not that’s not the kingdom. That’s not that’s not a thing. So you gotta go. You gotta let it go and move on. So yeah, yeah, that’s my, that competition thing has been something I’ve wrestled with. Yeah.

Justin Price
When you say doing this, what do you how do you describe? You said like creative church is like part church part business. What do you describe like this as? Is it simply the online community? Is it the I almost feel like you’re you have been inventing new revenues. streams within the whole thing. So, you know, how do you even define what is a competitor? What’s not? It’s, it’s, you know, for Mike and I, I actually think this is an excuse for us to hang out and to get to talk to people who are inspiring. You know, we haven’t we’re not smart enough to figure out a business model. I don’t know, you know, how do you describe it, Nik? Like is what is what is this.

Nik Goodner
In the business side of this, We are, you know, you have a demographic, which is church creatives. And you have a reach, which is what what you’re doing to influence church creatives. And whenever somebody comes in and wants to reach church creatives with the same type of content as you that’s what I start to define as a competitor. And that’s how to identify them as like a competitor. And what often happens is they’ll start small, and you’ll see them in Facebook groups, kind of trying to grow their their following In their business, and then as it as they get more and more than they become more structured, and then what you start noticing is they begin to replicate your actions five years ago, and you go, Okay, so there’s a little bit of experience that comes with it where sure I can, I can sit there and go, Oh, well, they’re doing exactly the same thing that I did five years ago. This is they obviously want to position themselves as a, as almost like a creative church competitor. And so that’s, that’s something that I’ve been able to identify, I think for whenever I’m looking at churches, I think it’s any church that moves in, down the road from you. Like, that’s the competitor that you’re always fighting. It’s the big church in town. For instance, I worked with a lot of church plants, and I don’t know how many meetings I was in, where we’re talking about the church down the road. And what they’re doing for Easter and what they’re doing for this and it’s like, Yeah, but like, what’s God called us to do? And why did they even like, yeah, they matter because they’re, they’re fulfilling a piece of the kingdom. But they don’t matter in this scenario, like they’re not like our decision shouldn’t be based off of what they’re thinking or what they’re doing. And that’s the, that’s the wrestle that I have to that I have to that I have to take with me into creative church. You know, whenever a new kid on the block comes up, I think to answer your question, actually, I want to go back I’m I messed up the podcast flow a little bit. But I wanted to answer your question. I did this think of something. And it actually doesn’t have to do with how God worked through me. But how God worked through someone else. Whenever I was first getting started. There was another church. It was church stage design. So it was Jonathan mall. And I don’t think he’s gonna, you know, be mad at me for sharing the story. I’ve complimented him several times. And whenever I was coming up, there was a moment there where he wrote a blog post, about how he sees these younger people coming up, and kind of filling the role that he used to have. And he’s now pivoting into something new. And he became kind of an inspiration for me with all this and with that, kind of, you know, driving that ego down. I constantly think back to that time. If someone else is coming up new and they’re doing it a little bit better than what you’ve done it as what you’ve done it, maybe it’s time for you to pivot and let them have the space that they’re in now, which is a very hard thing to do. I’m not, I’m not gonna paint that one as easy at all and then I’ll give you an off of that. I’ll give you the scenario. That happened here over the past year. We started out and it’s been ingrained in us to repost artists work and mix in our own content. Whenever we started, we were the only ones doing that on Instagram. There were websites and blogs that did it. But we were the ones doing it on Instagram. Nowadays, there’s at least four accounts who are doing it and they’re curating feeds that are way better than what I could curate at. And over the past year, I realized that we’re going to have to leave our space and doing this like we’ve done it for so long. It’s been a staple, but it’s time for us to go ahead and pivot to something new and allow them to flourish in this space because they’re doing it way better than I’m doing it. And I can give up the reposting and we’ll start doing creative coaching, consulting, and we’ll start doing the content and making that pivot has been a breath of fresh air for us. And it’s also I think, given the opportunity to these other companies, these other competitors to really flourish in their own space. So that’s that’s my that was my example to answer the question that we may or may not have cut out the podcast.

Mike Mage
No, we’re not. We’re not cutting that out.

Justin Price
Good. That was so good. There’s actually two things I want to revisit there. First of all, if you’re not learning something getting online with a Skillshare YouTube masterclass at least once a week learning something new, you are going to be passed up. And it’s not learning the new stuff that’s actually allowing you to adapt to change into find that new thing to be able to see where God is wanting you to go next. The second huge gut check was that that thing you said about sitting in meetings talking about the church down the road, whether you’re a startup, a church plant, a business mega church. We all have sat in those meetings where we have been talking about other churches worried about what they’re doing, thinking about what they’re doing getting frustrated if, if it was too close to what we were doing, and instead of focusing our energy and time on the thing that God called us uniquely to do at our church, I can’t reiterate how strong those two points were. I hope all the listeners grab on to that. Hold on to that. Thank you, Nik. Love, absolutely love so good.

Mike Mage
Now that you’ve been able to engage with creatives for a while, in this community, do you see a common denominator amongst creatives who are doing amazing work and growing in, you know, similarly healthy ways? Are you seeing a trend among other creatives who are doing like relatively so like these people that are coming up under you? what’s what’s sort of the trend, what’s sort of like these things that are sticking out about what they’re doing and also growing in a healthy way?

Nik Goodner
Yeah, so I think anytime there’s growth that’s actually sustainable, that we’re producing good fruit, there’s always good roots. So whenever I see something successful and getting past their first year and their second year, I always suspect that the people behind the scenes have really put an emphasis on their health and their self care, and their spiritual health and our spiritual well being, and keeping their sinner settling their calling. That’s a big one. Because we can oftentimes try to imitate other people’s callings that we like or that we see or we think, oh, we could do that. But settling that calling for yourself and saying, This is what God has called me to do. This is how I’m going to operate. And this is how I want to operate is really important, because there’s a other there’s the other token to that the other side of that is the ones that do it for about three months and that I never had hear from them again. And it’s often because they weren’t trying to be who they were called to be. They were trying to be who someone else was called to be. So whether it was me or whether it was someone else, they were trying to replicate or imitate that other person’s calling. And that’s, that’s always the To me, that’s always a center of burnout for people, is whenever you decide that, hey, I’m going to not settle what I’m called to do. Instead, I’m going to try to imitate what other people are called to do. Because I believe strongly that God gives you a grace for what you’ve been called to do. But he hasn’t given you that same grace to do, and other people have been called to do so whenever you’re feeling like on the edge of burnout. Now, I’m not saying this is the only symptom. There are definitely other or I’m not saying the only the only cause but there are definitely other causes. But for the most part, I can typically trace a creative burnout back to someone trying to do something that they’re not designed to do they’re not designed to do they don’t have the grace to do it.

So that’s the trend. The trend that I’m seeing is whenever you have growth, oftentimes you have those good roots, those healthy roots, and you’re able to produce that really good fruit and get past those 2-3-4-5 year marks.

Justin Price
I love that. I’ve never heard that phrase said that way. Specifically, the grace to do it. That’s cool. I don’t know if you got that coin Nik, but I love it.

Mike Mage
We’re gonna steal it will steal it. Yeah, that’s fine.

Nik Goodner
You can have it. I don’t know. You don’t have to steal it. You can have it. Thank you.

Mike Mage
Well, hey, just sort of like following up for you. Sort of about the because I do love I do love the idea that good fruit comes from good roots. Because I think that’s 100% accurate. People who do things in a sustainable way, are not in it for almost the results, it’s almost like because 95% 90% of the work is all like the grind of it all, you know, whatever you whatever work that you’re in, creative or not, and you love what you do you have a passion for what you do. It’s almost like you’re suffering for this, like 10% 15% or whatever, because like the rest of it is just like this slog almost. So like, What are you? What are some things that you’re doing to sort of keep up healthy and good routes?

Nik Goodner
Yeah, so let me start by telling you what I didn’t do, right. About year, two and a half and year three of creative church. I was in I think I was in a worse place than whenever I started creative church. I had really begun to distance myself distance myself from the community because there’s there’s this idea in leadership and I’m sure you guys have heard it and that is like as a leader You have to be distant from the people that you that you lead. Yep. And whenever I first started, I didn’t think that at all. And I guess I just listened to some teaching and I don’t know, I just felt like that was right for me like, Oh, I have to distance myself. So I became very isolated. So I wouldn’t talk to people in the community. I was, you know, kind of get that air of, again, that ego of, you know, I’m, I’m the leader, and you guys are the followers. And I have to, and I have to, you know, isolate myself from you guys. And so year two and three, to 2.5 to three was was very hard for me. Because as a young young leader, I was very arrogant to think that I could do this all by myself and have this kind of weird divide.

And that, we produce some really good stuff, and this is the this is always interesting to me. We really produce some really good results during that time. But the burnout for me at the end of year three was so apparent that I didn’t know whether I wanted to do creative church anymore. Like I was like, I’m done. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be a part of this. I’d really neglected any form of self care. I wasn’t, you know, developing myself spiritually. I wasn’t spending time, like I should read my Bible. It was, it was this again, it was this isolation factor. And coming into year four, I really, I took a kind of a sabbatical in which I took about three months off. And I you know, I didn’t do creative church for three months, we ran reposted content, and then we took a whole month off where we’re like, we’re not gonna say anything, we’re not gonna do anything per month. And during that time, I met with some people talked with some people got some, you know, some friendship counseling, not official counsel, but friendship. counseling. And I realized that the way I was doing things was completely. It just wasn’t me. Like I’m a person who if, you know, if I’m going to be the leader of the group, I want to know every single thing that the group is dealing with, like I want to be in the group like I don’t have this whole platform mindset. And I think that that was what was was killing me is because I was trying to put myself on a platform that I didn’t belong on. And again, that goes back to the whole grace thing. Grace for things you’re not you’re not called to do. And so coming into your four in this past year, I’ve really been focusing on developing myself care, getting with people hanging out with them doing zoom calls, this COVID-19 that we’re dealing with right now. It’s been huge because I can I’ve seen how we can connect with the people that are in our community through zoom calls through Skype calls and things like that. And we’re doing I’m doing More, to talk with him to meet with them. And it’s been a lot of, there’s a lot of life in that. And so the, the thing that you have to do in order to maintain good roots is, the first thing is always to make sure that you are surrounded by a community that lifts you up that brings you in that supports you. And then you have to maintain that spiritual aspect of yourself. I had a pastor growing up, he’d always say, the natural and the supernatural come together to make an explosive force for God. And that’s kind of the tension that we all have to live in as a Christian is there’s a supernatural side to what we’re doing naturally. And if we don’t curate this supernatural side, if we’re not growing in the supernatural side, what we’re going to wind up doing is burning out on the natural side. So it’s really a marriage of those two coming together to be that bold Christian or be that explosive force for God. So yeah, that’s it. That’s been my experience. That’s what I’ve taken away over the past, you know, five years of doing this.

Justin Price
That’s awesome. I’ve got a I’ve got no follow up on that.

Nik Goodner
That’s’s always good to hear

Mike Mage
he answered the question perfectly. That’s why.

Well, that’s that’s incredible. I think that, especially right now, if I mean, I, I shudder to think about if you were struggling with not us specifically, Nik, but you like General, somebody struggling with isolation, and then all of a sudden a worldwide pandemic hits. And, you know, it’s what a horrible time to start dealing with issues of isolation, whether self imposed or not, when we literally can’t see anybody right now outside of digitally. So I would imagine some creatives are going through that right now. What’s been a way for you, Nick, to sort of mitigate that to not feel so isolated And to continue on with like creative work what’s, what are some some best practices to sort of mitigate isolation right now?

Nik Goodner
Yeah.

Solving the isolation problem is always a two way street. You can have people reaching out. But if you’re not reaching back to other people, you’re not solving the isolation problem. So there is a give and take on both sides. So we can, you know, as a platform creative church can only do so much we can do zoom calls, we can reach out to people, we can text people. You know, we can comment on their feed, we can do things like that. But if someone has drawn into themselves, it’s very hard for them to solve their isolation problems. So the advice comes from both ways be reaching as a platform as a church be reaching out, be doing what you can zoom calls, opportunities for connection, okay? And even even don’t do mass calls do personal calls, I mean, do personal texts, things like that personal emails to connect with people. Don’t just rely on your mass calls because oftentimes, the really, I’m an introvert, that really introverts, the introverted people. I don’t want to be in a room of 100 people on a zoom call. I just don’t I have no desire to do that. Yeah. And that’s always a weird thing for people to hear whenever they’re like, Oh, well, you’re so you know, you’re so you’re so extroverted online. It’s like, Yeah, but that’s exhausting for me. Yeah. I don’t get any life from that. I am very exhausted at the end of that. But, uh, so you know, reaching out to people on that personal level and saying, Hey, man, just thinking about you. You know, what are you up to how you doing? So anything I can do for you things like that things that we’d normally say to reach out to people. And then if you’re on the other side, where it’s like I’m isolated. I i’m not i’m separated from everybody. You have to be able to self identify and say, Hey, I’m going to Do something about this isolation. So I’m going to take up those opportunities for connection. Whenever people text me or you know, I need to text them back, and things like that. So it’s really a two way street that we have to. We both sides, both parties have a responsibility that we have to get the exercise.

Justin Price
Yeah. Hey, Nick, recently on Instagram, you made a post that stated that you were on the innovation side of the creative spectrum. Remember that?

Nik Goodner
Yes.

Justin Price
And you were saying that it was great because it gives you an opportunity to say goodbye to some sacred cows. What are some sacred cows that you feel like as things go back to normal? That you would are specifically calling out?

Nik Goodner
Yes. So can I can I do you mind if I explain the the innovation adaptations for quick? Absolutely, yeah. So this is something I read in a book that I was again, this is one of the things I learned something new every week. I learned this I just picked up a book and I was reading I was like, Oh my god, this is this is interesting. There’s a guy named Michael curtain Creighton, and he’s a cognitive psychologist. And he authored a book in like 1970 ish. And he had a theory on creativity in which everyone is creative. First off, but you have a preferred style for your creativity. So there’s people who are highly adaptive. And then there’s people who are highly innovative. So your adaptors are people who are remixers they take something and they’ll remix it make something beautiful. They trust and pursue that status quo. They look for in rely on inspiration. And then they’re essential for growing organizations you want adapters in your organization’s to be there to run the systems that a pioneer is creating that comes from the innovation side, which is they want to be pioneering. They’re going to be constantly questioning the status quo. They’re gonna be overflowing with like new radical ideas. These are the people like you get around them. They’re like, Oh, we got a new idea. I got a new idea. Oh, got an idea, you’re like, slow down, slow down. We barely got up. This is this is what angers the adapters about the innovators because they’re like, we just we just got the first idea off the ground stop

Justin Price
You’re describing the exact conversation between our operations guy and myself.

Nik Goodner
You know the struggle because the innovators though they’re essential in times of change. So like the COVID-19 is bringing out some innovators right now. And they are thriving, like I’m thriving in this environment. Like we talked about couch Fest, either before the podcast or just beginning of this podcast. And it was stuff like that to just over filled me with joy to do because I felt like we had become a lot super stagnant. And here we’re able to take on these challenges. So we’re so innovators are always very critical in times of change, whereas adapters always flourish and kind of the status quo, maintaining Building. So that’s a innovation adapter spectrum and everyone kind of falls on that spectrum somewhere, I lean towards the innovator side, where I still kind of almost have a foot in that adapter side. And now that I’ve done that and got excited by explaining that, what was the question?

Bring it back around.

Justin Price
We’ll bring it back around. The question was being an innovator. What do you think some of the sacred cows are that we’ve got to let go of as a church?

Nik Goodner
Yes. Okay. Thank you.

First, sacred, first sacred cow and I’m gonna risk my life and career for this one. Do it is is the Sunday morning service. The idea that Sunday morning is the only time that we can gather as a church. The idea that Sunday is our Super Bowl.

I think that’s the first that’s that’s the first Creative, or that’s the first sacred cow.

Mike Mage
Just a small thing there.

Nik Goodner
It’s a small thing. It’s a little one. It’s so true. It’s a it’s a little in for some people. It really has become a sacred cow. Because whenever this started happening, and you know, the government suggested that we closed churches down, we don’t have gatherings of larger than 10 people. People got, I mean, watching the community on social media people got upset. Yeah, like you could tell this. Like, for me, I love online church, I go online church, you know, probably 50 75% of my time on online church. So for me, this wasn’t that big of a deal. But I could see for other people this was almost like ruining their lives. And I think we’ve we’ve held on to the idea that church has to happen on Sunday morning. That it has to that this is, this is this is the only way that we can do church is if we push everything into Sunday. Sunday’s are game day. And then from there, everything’s a ‘B’ program. I think what we’re going to see moving forward is a lot more churches saying, churches an all time thing, like we got to do this every day of the week. This isn’t just once a week thing. We can’t just come in here on a Sunday morning. We have to be doing things to connect people throughout our week and, whether that’s physical or digital, we have to be doing things to connect with people. Like we can’t just come on church on Sunday, and then, you know, throw out our sermon recap videos throughout the week and call that a week. We can’t we can’t do that anymore. We really have to be engaging with people and being with people every single day of the week. So that’s the first sacred cow. It’s a big one. And again, I’m risking my life, career and everything to to say it. I’m sure I’ll get feedback

Justin Price
Can we just camp on that for one second.

Nik Goodner
Yeah, sure.

Justin Price
What you’re describing though, is a problem that Businesses globally are adapting to now. And that is diversification. And anyone who’s got all of their work in one account is risking the health of their organization. I love that you’re describing something that’s actually really dangerous for churches to go back to.

Nik Goodner
Yeah. It is very dangerous. I like in this is a weird thing that people probably don’t know about me, but I like the stock market. And I like investing into companies. You probably don’t know that about me. I don’t really talk about it very much. I didn’t but you didn’t know a lot. Like I said, it’s, it’s very personal. Um, but I’m watching right now what’s happening. I’ve invested some into Darden. Darden is the collection of restaurant melons like olive garden and cheddar and that’s cheddars in this because I worked for Olive Garden for a few years whenever I was in like high school. And so I had investments there and then I put more investments in there. But like what’s happening right now with the Olive Garden is is really showing them that they Can’t go back to what the way things were, like whenever you think the Olive Garden you’re thinking, I’m going to go in there and sit down. And some of you are thinking, dude, that’s gross. Why is he talking about the olive garden?

Mike Mage
The, the real, OG

Nik Goodner
The real OG. and they don’t have I mean, the online ordering for that thing. I tried to order something last night because I call when Olive Garden. It’s income, like it’s it’s impossible to get what you want. And it’s it’s so many layers. It’s not like ordering off of doordash or Uber Eats, it is complicated. And for Darden what they’re experiencing right now as they their stock was at 120 before COVID-19. Their stock is now at like 68 trading at 68. What their what their what they’re seeing right now. Meanwhile, other restaurants in the same spectrum who are already had an online presence, their stocks going up. They’re trending upwards. What they’re seeing right now is we can’t go back to doing things the way that we used to Do them. And the way this idea of you know all we have to have everyone come to the restaurant in order to enjoy our food. We got to rethink how we can do that. And I think the churches in that same Olive Garden boat we are, we cannot depend on everyone coming to us anymore. And that honestly goes against what Jesus told us in the Great Commission, which is to go out to all the world, we’ve become very familiar with the come to us strategy, come to us, come to our event, come to our platform come to our church service. And we’re sitting in our buildings every week waiting for people to come to us versus going out and being interactive with them. And I think, if anything, that’s what COVID-19 is going to change in the heart of the church, and what’s going to make them realize is, oh, this is a very act of faith that we’re involved in. And if we’re going to have longevity and influence and relevance. 30 years from now, we’re going to have to get even more active in the lives of the people that we’re serving in the lives of our community. And that’s not just doing, you know, Park cleanup days that’s actually being on social media that’s actually creating content on a day to day basis. Versus making everyday like I said, game day on Sunday. So that’s the again, it’s, it’s, it’s really. I feel like it’s really breaking creatives. We knew this a long time ago. You talked to creative community, they knew it already. But it’s really breaking down the minds of the pastors a little bit and opening their eyes to Oh, now I get what you were saying, Oh, that makes sense. That’s why we need to be on social media. Okay, so yeah, I get what you mean about going live every day. I thought you were just joking. You know, I mean, you talk to creatives, and that’s what their pastors are saying right now. And it’s very, very clear that a lot of the pastors they weren’t I don’t think they were digging their heels like all we’re, you know, we got to do things this way. I think it was just like, there was no inconvenience for them to change and Change is always prompted by great inconvenience. So like whenever we’re like, that’s the breaking point of change, like, we’re not going to change if it’s really convenient to stay the same. But whenever it becomes inconvenient to say the same, we have to change. And that’s what a lot of pastors are realizing right now is, oh, it’s not convenient to stay the same anymore, which we have with the inconvenience has caused us to rethink our approach. And it’s really a blessing in disguise for how the church can continue into the future.

Mike Mage
Man, I totally agree with you. I think that this idea of the attraction, its attraction, I don’t mean that in like, you know, a negative sense to a certain degree, but like the idea that we need to build buildings, and we need to create services and experiences on one day a week, so that people will come to us. You’re right is like very antithetical to what Jesus called us to do. And that is go out into the green. So go out to where people are. And, you know, I was, we’ve been talking about this a little bit here at the church that I work at. But like, when you have people experiencing God more than just one day out of the more than just one hour out of the week, so there’s 168 hours out of the week, and you have 167 they are not connected to a community of faith, or to a life with God or whatever, you know, the average person is super busy. But yet, we’ll have these weeks, you know, when things were normal years ago, you know, these weeks throughout the summer, where we’d have our kids camp, and we’d have, you know, hundreds of volunteers on campus, and that’s going Monday through Friday, and then we get to our Saturday and Sunday services. And wow, wouldn’t you know, that, like our worship experience was actually so much higher, like the engagement was through the roof or, you know, we do our student camp and it’s the same thing. They’re going out on mission projects, and then they come back in You know, like they, they have their own worship experience too. But again, it’s involving everybody in the church, from kids to students to adults. And then when we get back like those are some of the best weekend’s we have in engagement for worship, because people are actively engaged in what God is doing throughout the week. So it’s almost like what you’re describing Nik is, like this flywheel effect of like this momentum. And you know, we come in whenever it is, or we experience God, but it only goes to like, encourage and build upon itself. Isn’t that kind of what you’re describing?

Nik Goodner
Yeah, yeah. It’s really getting everyone to become participants in what God is doing. Because the more we participate, the more buy in that we’re all going to have. And I think that, you know, making sure that because right now, the majority of the church doesn’t participate in the Sunday morning service. And that’s, I don’t need I don’t need data to tell me that I can go to any church in America. Know that, you know the majority of the people sitting in these pews, they’re just here to enjoy worship. Enjoy the speaking and then they’re going to go home. And yeah, that’s that’s a little bit of participation but I’m talking about actual serving in the church actual being a part of the church, the majority of the church isn’t, isn’t doing that. And we know what you and we all know here is that whenever you’re actively serving in the church, your buy in to what’s going on your relationship with God, it goes up because you’re actually participating in the work that he’s doing. You’re seeing that behind the scenes. And if you’re in a healthy church, it’s fueling you to be to develop spiritually if you’re an unhealthy church. It could be burning you out. But as long as you’re in a healthy church that serving is going to be something that cat is is is catalysts for your relationship with God. And I really get the participation factor for getting that church at getting the church. Everybody participating on a weekly basis is so, so important.

Justin Price
Nik, we want to be respectful of your time. But I would love to give you the opportunity to talk about another sacred cow if you’d like to, if you had another thing.

Nik Goodner
So the other sacred cow since I did one for pastors, I better do one for creatives.

Justin Price
Buckle up, Mike

Mike Mage
Yeah, sure.

Nik Goodner
Hold on everybody.

The other sacred cow is for creatives that I’m seeing is in this season. They’re finding it hard to relinquish creativity to everyone else. They’re kind of holding it as I’m the creative. You all aren’t creative. And the I think we’re talking about a little bit earlier how there’s kind of this stigmatism amongst creative that we kind of think above the people, right. There’s a little A lot of that going on, I think what the sacred cow for us creatives is, you know, the pastor that I’m serving, he isn’t my enemy. He can have creative thoughts and ideas, just like I can have creative thoughts and ideas. And that leads to better collaboration, because what I hear from a lot of creatives is they want to collaborate, but they want to collaborate with other creatives. And what I always go back and ask them when I’m talking to them is, what are you doing to collaborate with your pastor, your student minister, how are you collaborating on that level? Or are you just trying to collaborate with the big name creative right now because you want that recognition? Because there’s a there’s, you’re going to be a lot healthier. If you’re used to collaborating with the people that you’re serving with, versus trying to collaborate with somebody who’s making a name for themselves in the creative church space. It’s, it’s important that creatives during this time we have to remember That we are not the sole bearers of creativity, that God does not give us all the creative ideas for design for film for video, we are here, and God has placed us in this season in this time in this place, so that we can serve the people of our community and the people that are around us are going to have ideas that we’re going to be able to build off of and facilitate that are going to change the world for the lives of the communities or for the lives of the people in our communities. So that’s the sacred cow for creatives right now is relinquish some of that creative standing and understand that it is okay to collaborate with people who you deem not as creative as you.

Mike Mage
I don’t relate to that at all. It’s fine. Fine, no. You’re not talking about me, it’s fine. Everything’s fine.

Nik Goodner
I think I just risked my life and career on that one too.

Justin Price
Risky

Mike Mage
You’re so right though. It’s crazy like this. It feels like Right now is a it’s just a magnification of so much of what’s happening. And, or a polarization almost. And, you know, like in church work, you’re seeing who you’re seeing who’s worked, who works hard and who doesn’t work hard. Or you’re, you know, you’re seeing creatives really tried to be creative, but it almost feels like you’re trying to draw this line in the sand. And, you know, like, that’s not, that’s not that shouldn’t be our goal. Our goal should be to try and, you know, reach as many people as we can to, to connect as many people as we can, in whatever way that is successful. And, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s rising above that, and I think that you’re so right, because it’s just, and then again, you know, when we when we head back into church, we need to keep that same mindset of being able to work with our children’s person who literally wants to use clipart and you know, like in there Whatever their their Sunday morning, talk to their kids. And, you know, try and work with them and get good video content or whatever, there’s, there’s so many things that we can do better. And this whole experience of the pandemic and everything is really shining a giant, magnifying or light in a magnifying glass on all those problems. So you’re totally totally right,

Justin Price
Those two sacred cows, when you think about it, they could change for the creatives and for the churches, such an, a huge impact that they could have on the kingdom, and on the world, just letting go of those two things. Think about the kind of people whose ideas could be heard by creatives, if you would relinquish that thought that I can only work with really great creatives or they’re the only ones that have good ideas, the kind of impact that that kind of inclusiveness could make mixed with letting go of Sunday morning, as another sacred cow is, is really, really exciting for me as somebody who has Loves dreaming and thinking about the future, Nik, man, you’re the real deal Your heart is showing through in this. For anybody who’s wondering if creative church is just a show or a sales gimmick or something. It’s not Nik, what you’re throwing down is so inspiring. I hope that what what you’re saying in this message does stick and we’ll reach, you know, our friends, some of the church community, and will make an impact.

Mike Mage
Yeah, Nik, real quick before we let you go, where are some places people can get you or can connect with you?

Nik Goodner
Yeah, well, first, I just want to thank you guys for what you’re doing here. The Healthy church growth podcast. I believe what you guys are doing is phenomenal. Because in this season, and then the seasons that are going to follow, having healthy church growth is going to be is going to matter more than having explosive church growth. Because if you have explosive church growth and you do not have it healthily, what you’re going to wind up is burnout. You’re going to wind up with burning out other people, and you’re going to wind up with toxic environments. They were Spit people out and have have have these these people have a bad experience with the church. So what you guys are doing here with this podcast, I really appreciate it. And I thank you guys and I just didn’t want to champion you to keep doing what you’re doing and I’m so excited to see what you guys are gonna create next. Yeah, totally, uh, you know, You embarrassed me at the beginning of the end. So if you guys if you’re looking for me, the best place to find me is on Instagram, @NikGoodner.That’s me personally. Also Facebook, on Facebook a lot. And that’s just, you know, just search Nik Goodner, names all the same. And then if you’re looking for creative church, if you’re creative, who is isolated, they want to community someone that they can feel connected to someone that can encourage them, inspire them, empower them to be creative every day. You’re gonna fall in one of all creative church in @CRTVchurch. And that’s it. creators on Instagram at all the other platforms and then of course CRTVchurch.com. And then if you’re if you’re younger and you want to see some really awful tik toks no I’m joking.

Mike Mage
Let’s do it.

Nik Goodner
It’s Nik Goodner at a I don’t even know how Tik Tok works. Just searching a dinner and I’ll pop up. You know, I have 20 I this. Three days ago, I posted a video and I have 20,000 views. And I keep telling my like baby sister, like who’s 14 who’s been trying to get you know, all this recognition. I mean, like, yeah, you know, I’m famous on tik tok. Now, you know, being smug about it. But what I learned the secret to my tik toks are is if I’m not in them, they’re a lot funnier. So, yeah,

Mike Mage
there’s that ego thing kind of all back to it. That’s that’s, you learn how to come up with that. Yeah. Yeah.

Well, cool. Well, Nick, thank you. You so much this has been an absolute treat. like Justin said, Love your heart.

Nik Goodner
Thank you. Thank you guys for what you’re doing. I appreciate you having me on. And I look forward to you know, getting to know you guys more.

Justin Price
Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Nik.

Holy smokes Mike. I don’t think anyone could argue what an encouraging word that was from from Nick, that we can definitely pull creative ideas from everywhere from everybody’s got good, valid things to add to bring to the table. Yeah. That you know, I love. I’d love a phone call from anybody who feels like that’s not a valid sacred cow. Sure, but I’m curious for you. Who has to plan worship for Sunday morning this week? Yeah. morial Day weekend. does not get a four day weekend, right or three How did you feel about that statement? I mean, he just kind of ease right into it. He did.

Mike Mage
Yeah, he’s smooth talk to us right into saying, Hey, I mean, you heard his voice. that dude’s got a voice on him. And yeah, yeah, so he’s just dropping that bomb so easily. And yeah, it took me a while to really like sit with that. And I, the more I started thinking about it, the crazier it is. But honestly, the more right he is, and I just I really do think that there’s something to the idea that people need to experience the church more than just on one hour a week. And you know, the math is simple, like there’s 168 hours in a week. And if people go 167 hours without hearing from the church once and then they pick it back up for one hour out of the week. I mean, like it’s, it’s going to not be as good as it could be. If they were able, in some way, shape or form to experience the kingdom of God throughout the week, and and I think, you know, moving past that to it doesn’t need to be programming. I think it like, I mean, you know, you worked at a church, like churches love programming, they love it. And like what do we do there? Mike? Yeah, it’s events and it’s classes and it’s, you know, all that kind of stuff. And I, honestly I don’t know. And like, again, you know, it’s weird too, because people’s jobs are tied into programming, you know? And so what happens when all that programming goes away? And you know, how do I do my job then? Because it’s not it’s not a calling anymore. It’s a job. And so how do i do my job now? And so I think those are the type of questions that people really do need to be asking.

Justin Price
It’s gonna be really tough, I think for people to process forward. And I’m super excited. I think as I can Unity for creatives to come together and try to figure it out together, I think if one church had to try to just figure it out, and then tell everybody else how to do it, I think that’s not a great recipe for what the world needs moving forward. I do think, though, that there is a lot to uncover about even how we measure success. You know, I mean, Jesus, like we all measure the success of our church based on the amount of donations we get, and the number of butts in the seats, or even views on the online church. It’s like, but that doesn’t measure discipleship that’s happening like daily. Yeah, well, even if we’re like, well, these people are engaged in small groups. But that doesn’t really measure discipleship, but you could, through digital devices, measure engagement by people who are checking in getting resources on a daily basis, you could definitely check, right, your social media engagement. I think some closed groups certainly could be better utilized from some church congregations for people Unity sake, even like groups like, this is a needs based like I don’t do you guys have that a bay hope like, here’s something that we like I’ve got a need I can go on Facebook and a private group of gay hope people and I can put that do you have that?

Mike Mage
yep yeah we have we have a cool we have a moms mentoring moms group we have a a just recently we started because we haven’t seen a worship team at all, you know, we invited everybody who’s on a worship team into our Facebook group and like, you know, like that’s a point of engagement that we have now that’s like even better than we had pre COVID because like that people are on there interacting. But it’s, it’s closed. It’s not for like worldwide consumption. We’re not trying to market stuff like we’re right. We’re only doing it because we know that people we need to connect with people and people need to connect with Jesus

Justin Price
in those groups just from a like a marketing standpoint. those groups Are are great because they do notify you really well. Yeah, and there’s all those groups. So like it’s it’s harder to miss something. And when it’s like your friends, these are the people that you’re used to being on stage with. They’re talking, you want to jump onto Facebook for that I don’t really want to jump onto Facebook for a whole lot, but that either would jump onto Facebook. There’s a lot for us to learn. I feel like we just kind of ripped off the bandaid on something that maybe a lot of people haven’t really considered. I think a lot of people are still like, well, maybe there’s just a you know, eventually we’ll be able to get back to how it was. Yeah, yeah, this week has been nothing but talk of new normal. I feel every single conversation I don’t know who who’s starting that but good job, whoever is getting that going. Because it’s it’s very relevant. And yeah, and definitely a good way to describe it. So we’ll be talking about the new normal a lot here and cannot wait for you all to to hear the rest of the the conversations that have been happening. They get released every other week. Right here. If you are not subscribed, now is the time. Mike, tell them how they can subscribe. Oh, yeah,

Mike Mage
you can subscribe anywhere that you find your podcast. So Apple podcast, Spotify, I’m sure that there’s plenty of other places, but those are that’s the majority where people are listening. And you can also go to our website, healthy church growth.org. And you can also find us on Instagram and Facebook, make sure to go there. Check out all the content that we’re posting. I’m trying to be on there a lot more, wanting to have conversations with you as much as possible. So, next podcast, Justin and I just recorded an interview with the experienced director at bay hope church, Melissa Minor, who just happens to be my sister. And we are talking a lot about what is it going to look like when churches do reopen eventually, and it’s an incredible conversation, one that I think more and more of you are going to be having.

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 10 – Justin Price

How to pivot.

 

Hosts Mike Mage and Justin Price discuss practical steps on how to pivot and reimagine what your church or non-profit could look like in the wake of a new reality.

 >> Episode 9: Kevin Ely

 


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage:
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

(Intro Music)

Mike Mage:
Well, welcome to the healthy Church growth podcast, where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life. I’m one of your hosts, Mike Mage. We just really want to continue our conversation as we’re going through this Coronavirus crisis. Ah, and just I wanted to have a conversation with Justin Price, who’s our other co-host, and really just talk some or about things that we can do things that we’ve seen, things that we’re inspired by. Just maybe as an encouragement for you, our audience and maybe just to get some more ideas, maybe just to kind of feel like this whole thing is not trending downwards into nothing that people are really, um, you know, taking up the mantle and trying to be as resourceful and creative as possible. And for us is church creatives just like, you know, in this past podcast we have with Stephen Brewster. Um, and he said something that has struck with me over the past week or so. But church is not closed, just our buildings are, and that is something really, really good to remember. And that’s something we need to continue to, um, cultivate as you know, the thing that we have been doing for so long looks so so differently. So, like I said, I want to bring Justin on and for us to have a conversation because he is the head of a creative agency Vers Creative which deals mostly with non-profits and in the commercial sector. And so, Justin, I just wanted to ask you how have you guys been able to sort of pivot or re-imagine how you guys do your work in this really weird and strange time?

Justin Price:
Mike thinks it’s gonna be a fun podcast. I’m really, really looking forward to unpacking a couple of these things with you talking about the church, talking about some of the non-profits and some of the for-profits. Uh, and what is what we’re seeing happening. It’s gonna be a good a good time.

Mike Mage:
Totally.

Justin Price:
So you’re good.

Mike Mage:
I’m great.

Justin Price:
I love doing these podcasts with you. Can I just get that out there? Just thank you. You’re my favorite podcast host.

Mike Mage:
That’s good. I hope that gets some traction.

Justin Price:
Of all the co-hosts I’ve done podcasts with, you’re my top.

Mike Mage:
I’m writing that down. I know. I’m writing that down in my journal

Justin Price:
For today. Ah, man, there’s so many cool things to talk about. First of all, uh, somebody told me the other day she was like, Man, you know, I’ve been sensing a like I’ve been hearing God’s voice saying like, Hey, there’s a revival coming and she’s like and I’ve been excited about it and I’ve been like saying like, man, like our country specifically, obviously, we know this is bigger than our country, but our country’s in need of a revival. Yeah, it hit her as we were talking this week, she was like, Man, um, I forgot that one of the biggest catalysts for a revival is a crisis like this. And we look at the history of our country. In the last couple 100 years, we can see, like our country’s best revivals have come out of crisis. And she was like, Man, it just kind of, it sucks to be in it right now, but it’s also incredible as a Christian to be in it. If you can see it through the lens, that there’s a sovereign God who has, uh, who loves us and who is looking out for us and who has a plan to come out of all of this. There is so much hope, and I would just say, like, this has been. This has definitely been in its own way, you know, for me, you know, we’re not a massive company, but, you know, we, um we’ve got 16 employees and we have, ah, about that many contractors that we employ as well. And we’ve had to pause a lot of projects. It’s been awful. I mean, just thinking about every single, every single person we have had to say. Hey, you know, we’ve got to pause you right now has been a phone call I have made. That is, that is not fun at all. And so, like, it’s in the midst of that happening. I still get to see God doing incredible things every day. Maybe that’s just the hope of Christ. Like, maybe that is just that’s, that’s the thing. Like, that’s it. Is that he gives us hope and he gives us just enough each day like, no matter what we’re fighting through, whatever we’re dealing with, Ah, he does that. But, man, I would love to unpack a couple of the really cool things that we’re seeing. I’d love to inspire our listeners. With some of the cool things that God is doing and ways in which, you know, we could sit around and, like, talk about like, uh, how to capitalize on the Coronavirus, which even just even having that come in on that sounded wrong. Please cut that out.

Mike Mage:
No, I’m not going to because, like, I think that you’re right. I have seen too many, already, I’ve seen too many messages, sermons. So I saw one message series that said “I tested positive” and the tagline was “but not for the Coronavirus”. And like, you can’t do that. You can’t do that.

Justin Price:
No. That came from a good place. Like it came from somebody trying to be culturally relevant. Which that’s step one is to acknowledge what’s happening.

Mike Mage:
You have to

Justin Price:
But. So you know, Vers, we kind of work, we partner with non-profits and for-profits, and we come alongside of them as their advertising agency, as their branding agency, and as their marketing agency. We have kind of combined it to be a strategic agency, which really focuses on bringing value to them. We cover all three of those areas because we can integrate all of our services at much more cost-effective way and help them actually grow and help them reach their fullest potential while spending a whole lot less money. Um, and so that gives us a pretty big breadth of the kind of work we do. And it gives us a lot of variety with the kind of people we get to work with. And, you know, as we were preparing for this, you know, I thought, maybe there’s, like, three kind of cases that we can unpack and my hope and my heart here, Mike, pick any of these things apart, ask questions. I’m happy to share whatever I can. But, I wanted to start with, like, maybe the most difficult situation to be in the heaviest and then, like, work our way up lighter. That sound good?

Mike Mage:
Yeah, absolutely.

Justin Price:
All right. So the heaviest one of all our client groups are our clients that are in product manufacturing. Who are not deemed a necessary business right now. And so there’s two issues with it is the stores they’re selling to are closed because they’re not necessary business. The kind of company who makes something like an art instrument like a paint brush, right? And so, ah, paint supply store. Ah, paintbrush. The arts and crafts store is not necessary to stay open in most states, and so the store’s closed down the store can’t buy more and the supply chain looks like this. Like they have an inventory at their warehouse that is full. And if the store doesn’t sell them, the warehouse doesn’t have to ship it out to the specific store. And so they don’t make this month’s order back to our client, the manufacturer of the paintbrush. And so you’ve got maybe a, factory with a couple 100 people who make paintbrushes and they supply. You know, maybe they’re one or two of the largest paintbrush suppliers around the world. And what happened was back in February, their order from China slowed down. So with us, they said, Hey, um, we need a little bit of help. We’re gonna need to slow a couple of things down because we just had a $1,000,000 order just not come in from China. But it’s OK because you know that $1,000,000 was only like, 5% of our global sales. But then Italy got hit and so within a month, ah, Europe, the Europe market was dry and not making orders. And then the U. S. Market, the North American market followed suit. And so the three biggest markets that they have Asia, Europe, and North America completely shut down the stores, distribution. They can’t ship, but even if they could ship to these places, they can actually get those orders because they’re not selling them anywhere. And so what you’ve got is basically an entire factory completely laid off. You have ah, any of the internal marketing people, the sales people, like, what are they going to sell? Yeah, um you don’t think about, like, just the whole impact of this. And this is the reason why I wanted unpack this is because the reality is is like that paintbrush company still has a little bit of responsibility to keep some marketing going in the lights on online. So insert Vers.So now all of these people who work for this company are not getting a paycheck. They’ve been laid off and we’re still getting a paycheck. The weight that just shifted on our plates, like the VP’s who are not going to get a bonus. The people that are way smarter, way more important than us are not getting paid. And ah, and the little bit of work that has to be done is in our court, it’s our responsibility right now. So for manufacturing clients like that ah, and product, you know, clients that are selling products that are not necessary, or anybody who’s not staying open right now who made a product like that. Serving them at this point and being a good partner for them means we’re basically, uh, cutting our costs down the like, 90% helping them keep their lights on and then looking at every opportunity to reposition them to either make something out of this time or not. And so, um, you know, one of the things that that has done is it’s just caused us to say we have access to people like we’ve never had before. You know, uh, people were too busy, but we could potentially make actual sales call on behalf of the account to a distributor who was not available three months ago. But now that person sitting at home, we can negotiate new contracts. We can work on product videos in a studio right now. Um, and we can do crazy things with the extra time we’ve got in preparation to launch a new product. We can also refine the product. We could do product development. Um, we can reposition, Um, what the usage of the product is, you know? I mean, one of the things that’s gonna come out of this is people just being a little leaner, a little bit scrappier and so it’s like man, let’s just go back to the paintbrush analogy, but like, a smart manufacturing company is now going to focus in on their most, uh, their product with the most viability and the safest purchase. You know, experience. And so this is the idea that, like a let’s focus in on, like, really pushing our product, that maybe isn’t our newest product, but it is. Ah, it’s our best seller. It’s like it’s the trustee faithful product. And in a time of crisis, people need to go back to something a bit more reliable. Well, it’s safer.

Mike Mage:
So talking about this company and, um, you know, with a large business manufacturing business like this, you kind of said that, you know, you you got to get back to whatever. Your people have to get leaner, you gotta focus in on maybe something that’s a little bit more reliable. So what is from you as like a creative agency, Um and really, I mean, we could make this this tied to, like, a church creative department as well. Um, I honestly, I don’t feel like it is too different what you do and what a church creative department does, anyway. It’s just the product that a church is, um, marketing is the church. It’s the mission of Jesus, obviously. So, like in this time for your creative agency, what is like your lean focus? What’s the thing that you feel is the most reliable thing that you guys can sort of, um, I guess lean on if that… it’s a terrible usage of words there. But, um, what’s like the most reliable thing a creative agency that you can sort of fall back into?

Justin Price:
That’s a great question. So you’re asking, like, how did we get lean? What did you do? Well, so immediately when we saw our budgets starting to shift. We had, you know, manufacturing clients say “hey, it looks like we won’t be able to pay next month”. It looks like you guys could potentially, you know, a lot of the projects you have been working on. May be the last production we’re able to do for a quarter or two, so be smart. We finished those things up. We had to be very, very quick on our feet, I think. One of the things. So, you know, I spent 10 years as a creative director in the church. I was very reactionary in the church. It was just kind of like when the chips fell, then we would respond. I don’t as the with thinking about, like, 16 families relying solely from our staff on Vers staying open. I don’t feel like I have the opportunity. If I see one chip starting to tip a little bit, I need to be ready and prepared and I need to be thinking about the runway we have. And I started being lean and so I mean, there was purchases that we you know, we spend a few $100,000 a month as an agency, and so there was purchases that immediately I just said, hey, let’s be lean right now on purchases. And it’s amazing, we were able to produce just the same amount of work. And just as good of work. Um, we just we held off on a couple of purchases. So just immediately just looking and evaluating at the necessity of, purchases, we quickly shifted there before we lost any kind of work or anything was paused. Um, the other thing that we have tried to do as an agency is work really hard to contract work out that is not stable, long term work. And so you know, we have already had 20 – 50% of the work force we had working on a contract basis. And so if those contracts dried up, that part of the workforce, you know, didn’t have any work to do we weren’t on the hook. And so I think that’s a big thing for churches to take away from this is like, man, how big of a staff do you really have to hold? Like you really need to have three video guys on all the time? You probably can keep them busy, but do you need it? And, ah, is there a more efficient way? And is there some contractors that you could be using or some people you can outsource to, um, and maybe even be saving money and maybe have less overhead so that if, if your church was to be hit, that you’re able to kind of shift quickly and go, OK, well, that’s just a luxury we don’t have right now.Totally. So a question I wanted to ask you is coming out of sort of, that whole thing. Was, how do you as like a creative director, as someone who manages people, as someone who is taking a organization of some sort and moving forward. So, how do you become more proactive as opposed to just reactive? Like what are some steps that you can, sort of, begin to train yourself in doing to become more proactive, as opposed to reactive?That’s great. Um so one of the things that we do is every Monday, the first meeting of our week, we actually forecast. So, we forecast the projects we need to be working on. So we’re not daily micromanaging, ah, how to be proactive. But, we look at every account. We look at every project, and the project managers have the responsibility of calling out and flagging, ah, potential issue. And so how we’ve been proactive is it has been just burned into all of our account management and project management roles that it is their job, they’re the only ones with eyes on the whole field. And if they see something starting to go south, so if they catch, they, some of it is just like being, aware and intuitive of about what’s happening around you. And that takes a little bit of training to say, like, man, I noticed, you know, I started to look at the trend and say I noticed X, Y, and Z. So and so has been asking more questions lately. Well, that’s usually a sign of distrust. It’s usually, people don’t just ask questions because they get curious. They start asking more questions and wanting more explanation when they don’t trust you to do it on your own

Justin Price:
That’s like a super small example of something that we might say, like, hey, what caused the disparity in trust? And what can we do to rebuild that? What can we do to surprise and delight them? And so as soon as something gets flagged, they get put into a category of accounts that need special attention, so that just might mean a phone call. So how do you be proactive with your main income source? Um, you leverage what you have, your relationships, the work you do, the value you bring. And sometimes people just need to be reminded of that. Sometimes people just need to see that in a way that they maybe haven’t seen in a while. So sometimes you have to rethink what you’re doing for that relationship. So, um, you know this is a great the way I translate this to church is like if your church is not responding to the new thing that you’re trying to do and people are not really engaging it. You can’t just be reactive and wait till people stop coming to church. Right? You have to actually talk to people at church. You can’t live in a production bubble. You have to actually talk to your congregation. You have to actually, and I’m not talking about your little group of friends, I’m talking about, talk to the people who you’re the furthest away from demographically, um, talk to people who are completely different space than you. Um, talk to people who challenge you and complain about the things that you do. Listen, to why they’re complaining and stop thinking you’re so above them because when they leave and they stop supporting your ministry, you’re going to maybe say, like, there may have been some of those people that actually had something pretty valid. Think how you can be proactive and not reactive. It really starts with humility and listening to the people that you’re serving and that you’re around.

Mike Mage:
Right. Yeah. I just I just wrote down like you have to follow up and ask questions and then follow up some more. Um and yeah, I was I literally wrote down like something about humility or whatever, but because that’s basically what you’re saying in this whole thing is like you have to, you have to get yourself out of the way long enough to hear what someone else has to say about what you’re doing. Okay, well, that’s great. So what are some other, what are some other things maybe that you guys were doing in your agency?

Justin Price:
Oh, man. So we just talked about the immediate. So we staffed. We built the agency to be flexible, so we immediately we put to action right away, as soon as there was talk, we didn’t wait until we didn’t get an invoice paid. As soon as we acknowledge that, we said, Hey, we have to be smart. And the smarter, the faster we moved, the longer the runway, we maintained for the valuable staff that we have invested a lot of money in training and developing and finding and recruiting and getting on boarded, and all the time that goes into that. When we started the agency, I never could have imagined how long it would take to train and recruit and onboard. All three of those things are just ridiculous. And so I consider everybody that we work with as somebody who we’ve invested a lot into and I want to protect them. It makes us really slow to hire. So that’s been kind of a fundamental part of how we built the business in the first place. So that was very natural for us to react that way. And then the last thing that we did is we kicked in as a strategic agency. Ah, and this is one, maybe, I think that, you know, I’m even. I love doing this. I love talking about it, and I love helping people with it. And so I’ll just throw it out there, If anybody needs help talking through this for half hour, an hour, like, call me. We had to look at every single thing that we were doing, and we had to be accountable for that money to be the best partner that we could be. We had to turn around and we had to change. So for that manufacturing plant, it was like there’s new opportunities for you, even right now, and the little bit of money you’re giving us to keep the lights on, we could take it and we could hoard it and we could do very little for you. Or, we could actually try to get some market growth for you right now. Yeah, there’s still online sales, and people are still spending a little bit of money, and you might still need some paintbrushes while you’re home. Right now, that’s something you can do at home. Instead of letting the heaviness of the event stop you and handicap you, you can look at the event, and I think this is the glory. This is like the the message of the gospel is that, like in its darkness and in sin, is a light that gives us hope in the fact that Jesus is the light is the hope for us. It’s kind of ingrained into our staff as a group of believers that work together at Vers, that like, and there’s no situation that is too dark that doesn’t have something in it. And we, you know, we take it pretty personally as an opportunity for the people we work with that are not Christians, but the clients that are not Christians to be a light. And to find that that thing that is still there, that the good that could still come out of it. That’s what we’ve been doing. We shifted every single strategy. We either pushed pause or shifted the strategy, wherever it made sense.

Mike Mage:
Yeah, instead of you focusing on how much things are changing and how much the thing that you and really prepping yourself to do, you had to pivot, you had to shift. And what you shifted to was how this one thing that you are representing is going to add value to people in sort of a time of crisis. Which it will like, none of that is wrong. You know, and so I think I do think that’s a really good thing for someone in a church to really start to grasp if you haven’t already. Um, but we are way more than just our Sunday services and our buildings being open. And so how can we leverage what we have right in front of us to be able to do that. And there’s plenty of ways to do that.

Justin Price:
It’s amazing to see there is a ton of opportunities where we are watching churches just totally step up. Mik, you’ve been saying that quote a couple of times that ministries like, the church is not closed, the building is. But, there was somebody else who quoted, um that the church has been deployed. Yeah, it’s not been close, has been deployed. And I think I’ve seen the church do so many cool things in the last couple of weeks. That is just like, man, why were we not doing this before?  Why did it take this for us to start acting like the church to our community? Why did it take this for us to, like, speak up and say these issues matter, or we’re gonna be there and support people who are in need. Like there was people in need, like a month ago. Why were we not listening? The last point I wanted to talk about was, uh, such an exciting one, because it has taken a total 180. This is certainly the most challenging account we have. It’s a pregnancy care center. The topic of abortion in the advertising world is like, the most taboo thing. Um, and here I am, like a mid-thirties creative, and we have, we have to write creative that talks to sexually promiscuous 18-year-old girls. So this is a 180 story, and it’s absolutely beautiful. This is how I think God shines in the light of darkness so well. So we work with this pregnancy care center, and I thought it would be like a easy you know, we’ve done tons of ministry. Most of our staff have all worked at churches and been creative directors at churches and things like that in the past. And so I’m like, I take on this pregnancy care center, thinking like this will be great and we can do a lot of the things that we do in the secular market for them. Um, but the thing is like, even if you donate money to a pregnancy care center. You do not want to, like, do any kind of social awareness about it. Like there’s amazing people who are like, yeah, it’s not that I don’t care and I’m happy to give money, but, like, I’m not gonna share your post. I’m not gonna help you with your social campaign. As a donor, I will give my money, but not my voice to a topic as taboo as an abortion clinic. Or an anti-abortion clinic, which is like I’m just, like, paraphrasing like negative, uh, taboo thought around it. And like so that’s the client, right? That’s the situation is, like, very negative it’s very difficult. Like every time we talk about it, we have another ministry that helps single moms. It’s like the easiest ministry in the world to talk about. Everybody wants to help single moms. When in the last 25-30 years has, um, somebody with no money, that typically our demographic, that needs of a free pregnancy care center. Who has an unplanned pregnancy and needs free medical services. A, woman, a young woman. When has she ever had no entertainment available to her. Everything’s shut down. She can’t do anything except make babies. She has, uh, every reason not to go out and, like, you know, to use protection. Um, this scenario that this circumstance is causing is like, um is one of the greatest scenarios that this ministry has to capitalize on. It’s one of the greatest scenarios this ministry has to really live out their mission. And to love and to lead people who are walking in their doors to Christ. And to be able to help them walk through this crisis situation that they’re in. You know with the unplanned pregnancy. When has there ever been a time in the life of this ministry where it was ever more ripe? And so they have massive opportunities. Well, their clinics are deemed emergency necessary clinics that can stay open. They have four clinics in the Tampa Bay area. They’re a great ministry. They have a big staff. And so what we quickly talked about is like, man, you might be able to actually help more people, lead more people to Christ, and save more babies by doing telemedicine right now. And so they shifted, they have to shift, very quickly, into doing telemedicine, opening up only two clinics. One in each county that they’re in. And having people come into those clinics by appointment only. And they can cut their staff down by almost half. They can do more ministry with less right now. They can save more lives right now. And they can leave more people to Christ than they’ve ever had the opportunity to. But they have to quickly put in the technology. And people are willing to actually it behind this. So if you’re a donor and you’re watching all this unplay and the ministry goes, “Hey, we have to shut our doors were closing down our clinics cause our volunteers and our staff don’t want to be exposed” you know? But please keep giving. Are you gonna keep giving? You’re not. So the financial success of this organization is at jeopardy. But if they can be smart enough and they have been and they are, you know, they were amazing. They were jumping on calls, we were talking strategy very quickly, making these shifts. Like they can now go back to their donors and say, “We’re doing more than ever with every dollar that you’re giving.” We’re doing more than ever. And so there’s incentive for more people to give there’s incentive for those people to share about the great salvations that are being made, being had. And babies that are being saved. Every day there is something really cool that we’re seeing where God is clearly at work and he’s doing good. And I’m not saying God caused this. And I’m not saying that God wants this for us But I’m saying that his sovereignty is certainly greater than this virus.

Mike Mage:
I believe I don’t think that God causes these tragedies. I think that we live in a broken world and stuff like this happens. Um, just like Jesus actually died. Um and you know, But like, we serve a resurrecting, restoring, renewing God. And there’s always space, and there’s always a place for that. And so, like, you know, in these in these types of moments, you know, this shakeup that’s happening it’s almost like, um, you know, for you to plant anything of worth, you actually have to, like, disturb the ground a bunch. You know, you have to sew it. You have to dig it up. You have to move it around. You know, for something to grow and like, I really think that that’s part of what’s happening right now. This or that’s maybe that’s a perspective that we can have. Is this crisis is shaking us up, which it is. It is disturbing all of us, which it is. Ah, but like there is incredible opportunity for God’s restoration and renewal, to like take place. And if you are in ministry that’s the one thing that you can, capitalize on is, you know, like and at this point in time, because people are being so shaken up there might actually be more of an opportunity for you as a ministry to change and help people’s lives. Which is incredible because that’s the church’s, the church can do that, you know, right now

Justin Price:
I love it, Mike. So tell me a little bit about what it’s taken for you guys to be successful at Bay Hope. Give us a little bit of insight there because it’s been amazing to watch from the outside.

Mike Mage:
I think the first thing that you have to do is you have to define your reality for whatever is happening and be honest with your situation. Which I don’t think anybody is not being honest, that the fact that, like this is crazy and this is a crisis and this is all really weird. But that has to be a place that you start of of just the self awareness, and then simply asking, “What can you do?” And doing as much as you can within the the resources and abilities and talents that you have, and then trusting that God is going to do, whatever he’s going to do with it. So, like, we’re not called to make an amazing production right now. That’s not what we’re called to do. We’re not called to, you know, the stuff that we were doing six months ago, we’re called to be obedient with what God has given us. And so, we have, we broadcast our services every weekend, and so we just immediately went to this idea of like, Oh my gosh, there’s a lot that we could do online right now. About a year ago, we hired a digital pastor, which happens to be my brother, who did all of the hard work and understood the ins and outs of what it means to, you know, for the broadcast. So he’s been obedient for a year. So now, in just really putting in the hard work so that when a crisis hits, we actually have something in our tool belt to really make something happen. We set up a production schedule and a programming schedule and, we just said, You know, can we do worship every day from Monday through Thursday like, Yeah, we can do that. So that’s something we’ll do every day. What can we do, obviously, we need to have something for kids and for students. Well, let’s put that at 10 o’clock every day. So every day, 10 o’clock, we have some sort of message to students and kids. 12 o’clock is our worship time. At two o’clock, it’s a check-in with any pastor, we have a couple of different pastors on the platform. Or a couple of different pastors who are employed at the church. So that’s a two o’clock and then at four o’clock as we wrap up the day that is our lead pastor. That’s his time to sort of give, like a State of the Union address every, every day at four. So it was this, and then we started, we’ve started to see over time this consistency develop. So it’s almost like whatever you are planning on doing create some sort of consistent schedule because what we’re seeing is engagement through like, through the roof. Just not so much, you know, we’re seeing sort of the same amount of views. But we’re seeing the same people come back and then seeing them move to like deeper levels of engagement and inviting people to come into. So we’re almost seeing this, like exponential growth in engagement because of the consistency that’s happening. So then on top of that dude, and this is the thing that is like the craziest thing of all, is you’re seeing churches and businesses shut down. And you’re seeing people you know, lose their jobs and all that kind of stuff, and it’s terrible. However, our church in the month of March because of all of this stuff that we’re doing, it’s brought in, like, close to 90% of all of the of the money that we would need to keep the lights not, to keep things going, to keep people paid, to continue to do what we’ve been doing. To continue to bring value, and to continue the ministry that we’ve been doing. So we brought in close to 90% of what we needed. So on top of, like, all of our spending cuts, because we’re basically just not trying to spend any money. So on top of that, plus, you know, bringing in that much money, I mean, like, it’s a huge testament to what we’re doing. People are supporting it. People are getting behind it on so many different levels. And so based on that, you know, we’ve created a consistent schedule of programming, but then, you know, then it’s starting to branch out some more. So, like today, we had a home school class, one of our pastors, she homeschooled her kids and so she did an interview with our digital pastor, Andy. Just like an hour long conversation about the trials and the tears of what it means to home school your kids for someone who’s never homeschool before. Setting up prayer lines, setting up, you know, food drives and all that kind of stuff. So but, like, we’re thankfully at Bay Hope Church, we have, like, a relatively large staff, and so, like, it allows us to do, you know, a couple of different things. But, like, it could also allow us just because, like, oh, we have a big staff and we have a bunch of money and reserve like we’re just gonna sit tight and wait this out. You know, like there is very much. Because it’s not easy to try and create whole new schedules and whole new ideas of how you’re doing things and even why you’re doing them, you know, like I’ve come home the past three weeks more tired, and I mean, like, I’m physically in the building as little as I possibly can. Just because, you know, like of all the social distancing rules and all that kind of stuff, and we are very much keeping the six-foot distancing. In one room specifically, there is no more than 10 people. On the campus, I mean, like, we might have 15 people on the campus at it’s height anyway. So, like, you know, like, most of the people are working from home anyway. But, like, I come home every evening, like, more tired than I have been in, like, a long time. Just because we’re working, you’re working harder and like, that’s very much our reality. Right now, if you are a creative person in the middle of this crisis, like you are going to be more tired. And you should be because, like,

Justin Price:
You’re stretching the muscles. Yeah, you’re working out you that creative muscles hard it can.

Mike Mage:
Yep. So it is tiring and but like it is also, especially that first week and 1/2 like, you just get that thrill of like, you know, I mean this in, like, the most sensitive way possible. Like, obviously, the world is at a really tough spot. But from like a creative standpoint, like for those of you that get fired up about ministry and for those of you that get fired up about, you know, bringing people Jesus, wherever there at. Which is what we’re actually called to do. And figuring out new, exciting ways to do that and seeing people respond positively to it. Like that’s something that really lights a fire under your butt and makes you want to continue to do it. So, um, yeah, it’s been really cool, to see and to be a part of and to do, um, and super hard.

Justin Price:
I just I love that you guys air not stuck on like we can do our programming on Sundays.  The fact that you’re like offering more programming is really exciting to me. I think I haven’t seen a lot of churches be as aggressive as you guys are. Yeah, and that’s to me. Just super impressive to see how hard you’re working. And I wonder how sustainable it is. I wonder if it’s like, well, this is fun for now, but, like, how would you feel if you were doing this next year?

Mike Mage:
Sure. Yeah, well, and we talked about that, too. Like like we said, Like OK, if we know that we’re doing this and this is, you know, two weeks ago. If we know we’re doing this until Easter, we can keep up this pace. But like, if we have to go further than this, like, how do we make this sustainable? And so we’ve had discussions like that, and, you know, this is for, like, we don’t have a studio. You know, like we’re having to like, make stuff out of, you know, rooms that we have that aren’t being used right now. And, like take pieces of equipment that were in other spots of the church and bring them to certain areas. Thankfully, you know, we have equipment to do that. But like, you know, we started saying like, well, like. Kind of like in the Steven Brewster podcast, like the playing field is being leveled right now. You know, like you’re seeing Justin Bieber do a concert on his phone. You’re seeing you know, Brad Paisley do a concert from his phone. You know, like the production quality is not what people care about right now. Thankfully.

Justin Price:
As creatives who work with a lot of production stuff, I just I want you to say that again because, man, it’s just so hard for us to remember and think about. It’s so painful. It’s just so painful. To think about the money we spend because it’s like, well, that’s the level that it needs to be at. And then to be like, yeah, but if you just deliver the good content on a cellphone, people would be just as happy with that. And it’s just amazing.

Mike Mage:
Well, and it is, it’s doing, because you’re right. Like it’s doing some weird things to our preconceived notions as to like what “good” is anymore and so, like it’s having to. We’re having to redraw the end zones, you know, like the end zone is not this brand new light that I got for $3,500 and it could do this cool, gobo. And, uh, you know, I don’t know, like, if not this brand new guitar that I got that…

Justin Price:
This is coming from the guy who just got a 45 foot led wall in his church. Just for his spotlight shot, just like his A Cam shot.

Mike Mage:
Just for me. But it’s a nice,it is a good check, to like for you to remember that, like those are just tools. Like that does not make the good content that you’re doing. And so you know, and like it honestly. It frees you up to leverage the things that you can do, like, get involved in the comments section, or, you know, have somebody get in on, like, ground level, almost like guerrilla style marketing for your church. And, like, have a share campaign, you know, like, just share this crap wherever you see it. You know, just immediately click that share button. You have no idea who this is going to. So, um, it kind of like Like I said, it’s kind of nice to, like re-evaluate like how you’re doing things because of why you’re doing it.

Justin Price:
It’s amazing. We think about churches, when I think about churches, A lot of people think like, well, churches are scrappy by nature. But some churches have gotten bloated. Like some of us have gotten really spoiled with big budgets. And it’s really cool to see how we’re responding and how we’re able to do more across the board. It’s, also been amazing just to see, you know, some of the inspiration that’s coming out of it. You know, you mentioned some of the shows. I was just thinking about, you know, just the connection It’s gotten us to some of our our favorite talent. You know, um, John Krasinski’s piece has gotten press from everywhere. I mean, he struck the jackpot with piece. Everybody just loves picking that up. He was smart to include his daughter, props to him. His producer was smart… but you know, I mean, I think we all are smiling right now at those good, authentic things that are being produced right now. And I think, what’s interesting, you mentioned about leveling the playing field a little bit. I was thinking like, man authenticity has always leveled the playing field. We just have ignored it. We covered it up. You know, we’ve like we’ve smothered it with bacon and cheddar cheese. You put bacon and cheddar cheese on anything and it’s like you can digest it. It’s my life motto right there.

Mike Mage:
Not anymore, Justin.

Justin Price:
Not anymore. Bacon and cheese no more. But you know what I’m saying? There’s just so much good coming out of this. I hope that anybody who’s listening to this could be inspired. I really, I really do. If you need any help, call Mike, reach out to either of us. My email address is Justin Justin@verscreative.com. Mike what’s your email.

Mike Mage:
My email is MMage@bayhope.com. So just my first initial and my last name at bay hope dot com.

Justin Price:
I’m so glad you got rid of your AOL the sexy guitar player @aol.com.

Mike Mage:
Well, there was so many of them I had to have, like, I had to add, like, three numbers on the back end of it was just it was too much. Too many underscores. Yeah, well, this has been an incredible conversation. Justin, thank you so much for just being willing to talk about this stuff. It’s our goal as healthy church growth and the podcast. To be able to sort of, you know, speak into this time as much as we can about you know what this all looks like for you and just know that you’re not alone. Know that, whatever challenge that you’re facing, we’re all facing together. So be encouraged. Know that God is still moving, and God is still working. We say this a lot in the podcast world and to share and to like and subscribe and rate and all that kind of stuff. But it really does help us. Not necessarily just get more visibility, but allows us to understand what content you are resonating with. And allows us to dive deeper into that. So engage with us, talk with us, rate, share, subscribe. We would love for as many people to be a part of this conversation is possible. So thanks again for listening. And once again here at healthy church growth, we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.