Alone

“You can’t win alone, but you can practice alone.” You may or may not follow Football (the real name, but we call it “Soccer”), but the picture above is of Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player alive and – many believe – the best to ever play the game. When Leo was a little boy, he was smaller than most kids and youth his age. But he was fast. Very fast. And he had a natural talent with the ball at his feet. He couldn’t play as physically as the bigger kids, but he did learn how to use his diminutive size to his advantage. He has built up some impressive stats: By the age of 21, Messi had received a FIFA World Player of the Year nomination. The following year, in 2009, he won it. He has won FIFA World Player of the Year the last four years in a row. He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. At the age of 24, Messi became Barcelona’s (his club team) all-time top scorer in all official club competitions. At age 25, Messi became the youngest player to score 200 goals in the world’s toughest league – La Liga. Messi has won five La Ligas, two Copas del Rey, five Supercopas de España, three UEFA Champions Leagues, two Super Cups and two Club World Cups. In 2012, Messi made Champions League history by becoming the first player to score five goals in one match. He also matched José Altafini’s record of 14 goals in a single Champions League season. Messi became the first player to top-score in four successive...

What box? Tradition, Rationality and Revelation

“Tradition: what has come before. Rationality: exercise of logical thought. Revelation: a perspective outside of the box.” I recently posted an Instagram photo of a piece of art that said “color outside the lines”. My comment was simply “what lines?” Perhaps it’s my personal viewpoint of looking at things through God’s hard-wiring of my mind, but I really don’t like the idea of being restricted to artificial limitations. I do, however, like knowing the boundaries because they help frame the conversation and focus. I said all of that to set up today’s #thinkchurch post: How are you approaching your ministry work? Tradition. I have preferences. We all do. Some of these preferences have meaning to us, so we create a consistent pattern around them. Before you know it, we’ve told others how to operate within our preferences. One step removed from us, what was once a preference is now a tradition. I think traditions are a lot like money: they’re neither good nor bad – it’s all about how you approach it. If a tradition gets in the way of loving people, it’s a clear sign that the tradition has to change or go. Rationality. Oh, boy, do I fall into this one all the time. I am l.o.g.i.c.a.l. all of the freaking time. Rational thought is useful, but it can easily miss the mark of being redemptive. If this, then that can lead to decisions without heart. It’s a good management technique, but a poor one for leadership. Revelation. What box? I have often been told I’m an excellent conference speaker because, as one young man put it, “Coppedge...

Creative Meetings: Expanding Go-To Resources

This is the fifth post in a series on developing successful Creative Planning Teams. Click HERE for the original post. No matter how creative your team or how cool the location is where you meet or even how often you change out your creative planning team members, there will be times when an idea comes up that no one knows how to accomplish. It may be plausible and even within budget, but how to make the idea a reality may not be evident. That’s where your “go-to” resources come in! Start with your sphere of influence Your first go-to resource is your circle of co-workers, friends and family. It’s amazing to me how diverse and helpful our own small sphere of influence can be when it comes to finding someone or something just by asking who we already know. “Oh, my Uncle knows this guy…” or “my friend works with a girl who…” can be the starting point of making your idea a reality. In your creative team meetings, be open and willing to admit what you don’t know – even if it’s about an area where you’re the expert. For example, in my consulting I’m often asked a question where I don’t know the answer. What I say is “I don’t know, but I know someone who does.” I then start calling or emailing my go-to resource list. Expand Your Networking In the business world, networking with others is the best way of increasing opportunities and finding helpful relationships. It’s no different in the church world, though we often act like if we can’t hear a thunderous voice...

Creative Meetings: When and Where?

This is the fourth post in a series on developing successful Creative Planning Teams. Click HERE for the original post. Creative team meetings live in a sort of dichotomy: they need to have creative freedom while working with a team that meets consistently. Being consistently creative is hard, as anyone in a creative role will tell you. So, how do you keep creativity fresh? That’s the discussion for today. Meet consistently You make time for the things that you place as your priority. This true-ism about life is also true about creating consistent creative team planning sessions. The senior pastor, worship pastor, technical director and others need to carve out time every week on the same day at the same time for at least two meetings. The first meeting is held on Monday or Tuesday to recap the previous weekend with a critical eye, to review the current plans for the upcoming weekend (tweaks and changes) and to start planning for content 30-45 days away. That’s right – you don’t plan week to week if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Allow me to illustrate: You can have it one of three ways: Good + fast – but it’s not cheap. Fast + cheap – but it’s not good. Cheap + good – but it’s not fast. So, what I said above about planning in advance is directly related to the reality triangle. In order to do things with quality, it’s not going to be cheap if you want to meet week-to-week. Your team will spend more money on fast fixes, outsourcing and last-minute man hours...

Creative Meetings: Controlling the Meeting

This is the third post in a series on developing successful Creative Planning Teams. Click HERE for the original post. For churches that have unsuccessfully experimented with Creative Team Planning, what is most likely the worst part of creative team meetings is making order out of the chaos of a chorus of voices and opinions. It’s Not Chaotic or Controlled – It’s Both When you open up the floor to creative ideas in the initial brainstorming part of the meeting, there’s a certain amount of chaotic activity that should occur. This is the time when a slews of ideas, concepts and opinions are shared and bounced around. In this initial phase, the designated note taker (on a white board – or  use mind-mapping software) will capture as much as possible and not stop the flow of ideas. But, there’s a lot more to it than just spewing out ideas and writing them down. A sure fire way to keep people from adding to the conversation is to not allow the brainstorming time to be fun. This should be a time of laughing, silliness, crazy ideas and lots of group interaction. Some pastors are freaked out by this concept because silly, crazy ideas often don’t turn out to be practical. ‘Why bother with crazy ideas if we’ll never see one happen?’, you might ask. That’s a good question and a good example. “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who divide everything into two groups, and those who don’t.” – Anonymous Many of us tend to either have a stronger tendency towards being imaginative or being practical....

Creative Meetings: Picking the Team

This is the second post in a series on Creative Planning Teams. Click HERE for the original post. Picking the people who make up the Creative Planning Team for your church is a very important process. While there’s not a specific set of personality types, staff positions or volunteer positions, there is a basic setup of the core group. Because each church is different, I’ll list titles only because it gives context to the recommend roles involved in the team. The Core Group It’s beneficial to have the following core members in the team: Senior Pastor/Teaching Pastor for the series/weekend – in charge of the message delivery Worship & Arts Pastor – in charge of choosing music, drama Tech/Media/Communications Pastor – in charge of the technical aspects (both pre- and post-production) Worship Producer – A project manager who coordinates the volunteers and keep the service flowing smoothly Now those titles might not fit your church, but the descriptions of their roles will allow you to substitute the personnel to your local context. There are three main groups of people who can potentially fit your personnel needs for a Creative Planning Team: Staff Volunteers Other leaders Staff If you have a staff, these people should know your vision, your heart, your style, your abilities and your personal limitations. What better group to help you turn a weekend message into a weekend experience? One of the misconceptions is that you have to be surrounded by hyper-creative people for Creative Planning Teams to work. Chances are, when you come to the meeting with a basic direction of the metaphor, theme and topic,...