Redefining Excellence

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For my first five years working in creative ministry, I was obsessed with the idea and the destination of “excellence.” I always felt excellence was a value often forgotten or overlooked in the church world, and I tried to make it my mantra as a young creative to fix everything and bring it up to a level of excellence I could be proud of.

I still love and value excellence. I think it’s critical to effectively communicating the story of what God is doing in and through our churches.

However, as I look back at that first season of ministry, there was something missing. Now I realize that drive for excellence created a steady rhythm of being overwhelmed, frustrated and feeling like I never arrived anywhere.

Everywhere I would look, I would find things that need fixing, frustrated by things that I couldn’t control or speak into, and facing challenges with limited resources and staff. I was wasting sideways energy on so much that I couldn’t control, feeling like excellence was the destination that I’d never actually get to arrive at.

If I was going to survive and be effective in the call God placed on my life, a couple things needed to change. Continue Reading »

Simplicity and the Spaghetti Test

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“Simple isn’t always shallow. Complicated isn’t always deep.” -Jon Weece

Everybody loves the idea of simplicity. Few actually practice and apply it to how we communicate.

The harsh reality of simplicity is that you have to fight for it. It never comes naturally. Complexity has a sneaky method of finding its way into our lives, our organizations, and what we communicate.

Here’s the harsh reality: if we don’t fight for simplicity in how we communicate, we will simply not be effective in helping people take their next step and experience life change. Our audience is getting bombarded each day by advertisements, messages, images, videos and agendas that are all fighting for the valuable commodity of their sole attention. If we don’t fight to find the clarity and simplicity in the chaos, our message will get lost in the clutter. Continue Reading »

A 5 Day Experiment on the Power of Social Media

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A few weeks ago at West Ridge Church, we conducted a social media experiment. I’m a big believer in the power of social media, but to be honest, the results shocked me.

On Tuesday, January 7th during our Lead Team meeting, we were talking about Terence Lester, one of our church planters who created an innovative ministry called Love Beyond Walls. His focus is giving a voice to the homeless of Atlanta and building relationships with them to help change their lives. Terence put together a campaign called 6,000+, where they were looking for donations of socks, gloves and hats to give to the 6,000+ homeless in Atlanta that go to sleep without a home. The deadline to submit donations was in 5 days, and they were 2,000 short of their donation goals at that point. We wanted to be a part of taking care of this need and mobilize our church to play a part. Continue Reading »

The Most Overlooked Side of Branding

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What do you think of when you think branding? Logos? A set of colors? A product or a tagline?  All of these can play a key role in the development of the branding of an organization or church. They each play a role in connecting with the head of your audience.

However, I believe there is one aspect of branding that too many organizations, especially churches, are overlooking. Logos and tag lines can all communicate to the head, but what about the heart? How are people connecting emotionally with your brand? Most likely, when someone thinks of your church or organization, they are not thinking about your logo. They are thinking about how you make them feel. Great branding connects the heart of the audience with the heart of your organization.

Nothing puts this concept on display more than Super Bowl commercials. It’s the one time during the year that I’ll use my DVR to go BACK to a commercial instead of using it to quickly fast-forward through commercials. But on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s different. This is a time when the brands of our country are on display to get noticed and create a lasting impression.

Here are a few recent commercials that stand out to me as brilliant in how they connect their brand with the head and heart of their audience. When you watch these, see how they’re able to tell a story you can connect with, and bridge that with how it connects to their brand.

Continue Reading »

Playbook: Ministry Communications Audit

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Are you a Communications leader in your church or organization? Is it your role to help your church and its ministries communicate effectively? If so, there’s a meeting that I want to get on your radar. It’s what I call a Communications Audit.

A Communications Audit is a meeting to touch base with a ministry area, evaluate how things are going with their communications, plan for the season ahead, and update them on key communications information. Here’s what the meetings look like for me: Continue Reading »

Top 5 Posts of 2013

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On February 6, 2013, I began my journey as a hesitant blogger. Through this last year, I have learned a lot and have had a blast connecting with many of you! I’ve been blown away by the emails and stories from church communicators, pastors and more all over the country that are looking to communicate more effectively. I’ve got some big plans and resources that I can’t wait to share with you in 2014! So if you haven’t already, you can subscribe by emailRSS, or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Looking back at 2013, here are the top 5 posts:

  1. Series Planning Process
  2. A Year Later: The Legacy of Andrew Pray
  3. Developing A Communications Plan
  4. 7 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting A Stage Announcement
  5. Social Media Strategy In 3 Words

 

Communicating To An Audience With A Goldfish Attention Span

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Check out this sneak peak at a guest post I did for SundayMag.tv, and see the full post here:


The average attention span of a goldfish? 9 seconds.
The average attention span of people in 2012? 8 seconds.

In today’s culture, there are more things fighting for our attention than ever before. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded by advertisements, messages, images, videos and agendas that are all fighting for the valuable commodity of your sole attention.

How are we responding? We’re fighting back. Our attention span is at all all-time low, making it more challenging than ever to be communicated to. We don’t want to be marketed to or manipulated by another company or organization that has its own agenda. We want something real. Something personal. Something authentic. Continue Reading »

A Year Later: The Legacy of Andrew Pray

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Today is a hard day. A day I’ve dreaded for months now. On November 21, 2012, a year ago today, my friend and our Worship Pastor at West Ridge Church was tragically struck by a bus while cycling in NW Atlanta.

I can truly say that Andrew was one-of-a-kind. He was the most steady, encouraging, joyful person I’ve ever been around. He was a gifted worship pastor, a loyal friend, and left a legacy for all who knew him (and even some that didn’t).

As I reflect on the incredible legacy of Andrew, there are four things that I’ll remember most that left a mark on me and inspire me in how I live my life.

Continue Reading »