the next big thing

Many of you remember my blog post from many months ago about feeling like God was calling me to the next thing. (Read it here). The only problem for me was that I had no idea what that “next thing” was.

I’m excited to announce the beginnings of that next thing.5769206938_c61403a500_z

Remember Gurus of Tech? After attending an amazing event in Louisville, KY back in 2010, the production team at Willow and I decided to give it a shot, and we had a great time hosting that amazing event for a few years. We saw it grow and expand. I have lost track of how many people have told me how meaningful it was to them and their walk with Christ, as well as their development as a technical artist.

The other big question people ask me is “When is the next one?” Through many twists and turns, and many, MANY conversations, I can say…I don’t know when the next Gurus of Tech will be. But I can tell you that I’ve been working on something new and am excited to announce the hopefully first of many: First In Last Out Conference!

One of the things we noticed about Gurus at Willow Creek, was that 80% of the people drove, which meant there were many people all over the country that chose not to come. When you start adding up travel costs and hotels, even the “free” event started to cost quite a bit.

Taking this information and all the things we learned from doing Gurus of Tech for three years, we’ve assembled a team to craft a one day conference that we will hold throughout the year in different regions. Our goal is to have one close to where you live, making it easier for you to take advantage of the skill development, inspiration and encouragement that comes from being around other church technical artists like you.

Check out our new webpage and let us know what you think! Right now, we have our first event scheduled for April 28th in the Chicagoland area. As time goes by, we’ll be adding new locations, so keep checking back to see if there’s a FILO Conference near you!

We hope to see you there!


the big as*

No. Not that big as*. The big ask.

Everyone of us who lead teams of volunteers know about the big ask, because for most of us, it is something we stay away from. We have all these people who are giving up their valuable time to serve in the church and we know their lives are busy. Instead of asking them to commit all kinds of time to serving, we just don’t.

402299217_ca3c41e14e_zI do this way more often then I’d like to admit. However, I’m in a season of ministry where if I don’t make the big ask, stuff isn’t going to get done. The funny thing to me is that I’ve had people tell me that they want to help. So what’s keeping me from the ask?

I think it boils down to a couple of key traps that I fall into:

Saying people’s “no” for them

People are busy. And if I were honest, some of my best volunteers are killing it in the rest of the lives, because they don’t do anything mediocre. That’s why I like them on my team. Since I also know what it is like to be busy and to be gone from my family one more time, I’m hesitant to ask people to give up something else in order to help me.

In reality, I’m cheating these high capacity people from being able to serve by not asking them. One thing about these types of volunteers is that they haven’t become high capacity by saying yes to bad things and no to good things. These are smart people. So ask them and let them decide.

What if I’m not offering them something significant enough?

If I were honest, this is the thing that keeps me from asking people to serve in the first place. There’s a lot about production that is unsexy and frankly boring. Do I really want to ask the sharpest people I know to be a part of something that feels that way?

I personally have no problem with the mundane and the boring parts of production since I know that they are foundational to a great production. These are the parts that nobody sees and that the average person doesn’t care about. This makes it hard to cast vision to volunteers for making time to be a part of it. Do I really want the lawyer-by-day to sit around while we are waiting for the band to figure something out? Or to have the neurosurgeon wrapping cables? Aren’t there better ways to use people’s time?

I feel pretty strongly about how vital these mundane tasks are. So if I feel strongly, why don’t I feel better about asking people to participate? I think it is because I haven’t really sat down long enough to make a compelling case for why people should serve in this area; I haven’t convinced myself that it is worth our time to create the best service possible.

I’d be the first to admit that production isn’t for everyone, especially if they aren’t into the unsexy parts of what we do. But if we aren’t creating compelling reasons for people to serve, it is no wonder that we aren’t asking them.

People want to be a part of a winning team. Nobody wants to serve on a mediocre stage team, or a video team that is just OK.

Volunteers, most especially the killer kind, want to be on a kick as* team.

Create an environment that is oozing with significance and then make the big as*(…the other one.)