Last week, Van and I had the immense privilege to attend the Seeds Conference. I’ve spent the last few days processing what I learned and trying to figure out how to re-cap some of the things I took away from it. The more I thought of it, I decided that it would be nearly impossible to condense twenty hours of sessions down to a few pithy posts. So here’s what I’m going to try; I’m going to go through my copious notes and pull out some of the quotes that really struck me. I don’t now how long this will take, but there is gold here, trust me. Ready, set, go!
Session 1—Steven Furtick, Elevation Church
“It’s not a competition, it’s a calling.”
“We need to stop comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ with everyone else’s ‘highlight reel.’”
Wow. How often do we compare what we are doing to the church down the street or across the country. We’re not in competition with each other; we’re called to do what we do. It’s an amazing privilege and we should consider it thus.
“The people that God uses in the greatest ways don’t have the best of everything, but they make the most of everything they have.”
I’ve been guilty of thinking, “Well sure, that church can do that, they have all the best gear.” But we know it’s not about gear, it’s about what we do with what we have. And we’d do well to be grateful for whatever it is we do have, and make the most of it, trusting God to fill in the gaps (and being God, He can probably handle that…).
“We’re not going to get to heaven and find that the people who were ‘just’ volunteer, or ‘just’ greeters or ‘just’ production people will be at the back of the line. In fact, they may be in front.”
That is a real encouragement to me, how about you?
“I will not stand in front of God and give an account for our our pastor led (or didn’t lead) the church. But I will, however, give an account for how I did what I was called to do.”
Ouch. Because we’re process guys (and gals), and because we know how to lead and get things done, it’s tempting to think we could do a better job at leading the church. That is not our calling, however. And if it is for you, go become a lead pastor. The technical arts is a support role, and we’ll perform that role better if we’re supporting the lead pastor, not criticizing his leadership.
Furtick was great and there was a lot more, but we’ll move on.
Session 2—Willie George, Church On The Move
“There is no victory without a strategy. Nobody ever won a victory without a strategy. Everyone’s strategy will be different, but you need a strategy.”
“There is a difference between ground-gaining and ground-maintaining.”
Pastor George was talking in larger terms about the church, but I think this applies to our ministry as technical artists as well. As technical leaders we need to have a strategy to grow our ministry. Maybe that’s a strategy to procure new equipment so we can get more done. Maybe we need to grow our volunteer base or better train the ones we have. Whatever the case, we need a strategy. Simply maintaining is not a winning strategy. We need to develop a strategy, and start working it, taking ground continually. That is how we will grow our ministry and our influence.
“You are not the first one to do what you are doing. If you have a problem borrowing things, you have an ego problem. Learn how to borrow from other people.”
One of the best parts of writing this blog and doing ChurchTechWeekly is that I get to talk to a big range of people who are smarter than I. When I do that, I learn things and continually appropriate great ideas. Many of the things you read about in this blog were originally lifted from someone else. They are often adapted and changed to meet my needs, but I borrow a lot. Sometimes, I even give credit for it. Don’t feel like you need to constantly re-invent the wheel. Learn what you can from others, take their ideas and make them your own. You’ll get a lot more done.
“We don’t use our people to build the church. We use the church to build our people.”
At first blush, those things sound the same, but they’re very different. The reason I want volunteers in my technical ministry is not so that I can have a bigger ministry (which should lead to a bigger church), it’s because I want bigger volunteers. I want to see my volunteers (and staff, for that matter) grow into who God has designed them to be. By working in the church, using their gifts and being used by God, they will become great men and women of faith. Pouring into the lives of my teammates is the most significant thing I can do.
“You can do anything you want if you just cut it into steps. We get it in our head that we can’t celebrate until we get to the top. But we have to celebrate and be happy with what we have and where we are today. Don’t minimize the steps; rejoice in every one.”
I had a discussion with one of our video directors recently. He was lamenting that our video team wasn’t quite where would like to be yet. I reminded him that we have made significant progress over the last few years, and our video looks better than it ever has. No, we’re not “there” yet, but I still want to celebrate how far we’ve come. Don’t fall into the trap of grinding on people until you reach the mythical “there” point. Celebrate when they improve and reach the next level.
OK, that’s it for this round. But don’t worry, there is more to come. Also, I want to note that the quotes may not be exact quotes. I’m highlighting what I wrote, which is pretty close to what the speakers said. I’m trying to convey the concepts as best as I could capture them (so don’t write to complain that I mis-quoted them, OK?). More next time...