One of the best breakout sessions I attended during the conference was let by Whitney George. Whit is responsible for everything that happens during a service at Church On The Move. And I mean everything. He is the man with final decision making authority; and he’s cultivated so much trust with the senior pastor (who happens to be his father) that Pastor Willie George didn’t even know what was going to happen during the opening session until he sat through it with the rest of us. So yeah, there’s some good stuff here…
Whitney George—Church On The Move
“You need a singular vision for your service.”
Too many churches have multiple visions for their services. The pastor has one idea, the worship leader another, the tech director another, the kids pastor another still. For the service to be as effective as it can be, there needs to be one vision, and that vision has to be shepherded by one person. Whit said, “Steve Jobs didn’t build the phone you wanted; he built the phone he thought you should have.” We have to develop a singular vision, believe in that vision, and execute the vision—even if that means changing the structure of our team to do so.
“Trust is the breeding ground for creativity.”
Trust is essential to the creative process. And we have to have trust in three areas; Competency, Chemistry and Character. We need to trust that the people we work with are competent—excellence attracts excellent people. We need to get along with the people we work with. It’s important to realize that creative people can become attached to their ideas. But it’s also important to remember that as a creative, you are more than your ideas. Your identity is in Christ, not your ideas. As to character, we’re talking of morals, but it’s more than that. You want people who are sold out to the the church they work in, not holding their best stuff back for their demo reel.
“Don’t just ask ‘how,’ ask ‘why?’”
When things aren’t going well, we tend to ask why. But when things are firing on all cylinders, we tend to ask how. We go to a church conference and ask, “How do you do this?” What we should be asking is, “Why do you do this?”
This is a little sidebar, but here’s an example. Why does COTM do video announcements? Well, because when you’re on stage, you have to justify your reasons for being there. That’s why they go on for so long, and why it can get so awkward. That doesn’t happen with video announcements. They’re not saying everyone should do video announcements but that’s why they do them.
“Do less to do more.”
“Churches could really step up the quality of what they do by cutting out about half of what they currently do.” One of the reasons COTM doesn’t do much beyond weekend services is because they want to do what they do really, really well. It’s easy to get distracted on a bunch of different new initiatives and neglect the one thing you do every week. Sometimes, we put so much energy into Christmas, Easter or VBS that we turn the other 49 weekends a year into dull, lifeless experiences. Manage that better, and your church will be better off.
“There is no magic behind the magic.”
When we see things that are really fantastic, we tend to think that the process that created the thing is just as magical as the thing it’s not. But that’s not true—the thing is the result of really hard work. At COTM, they don’t work until it’s done they work until it’s right.
I observed this first-hand. We got to sit in on that last rehearsal for the first session. I watched them run a transition about 6-8 times until it was right. How many times do we practice a couple of songs, never considering how we get from one to another, then just mash them together during the service? They worked at it until it was right. And it made a big difference.
Again, I could go on, but that’s the gist of Whit’s message. If you don’t already, I suggest you subscribe to the Seeds blog; there is a wealth of material there. More next time…