Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sign Of The Times

I’m on a diet. I can maintain my weight by my normal eating habits (usually), but the problem is that the entire extended time between Thanksgiving and a couple of weeks past New Years has been one gigantic string of parties, restaurants and family gatherings (all with food – lots of it). Add to that the fact that we pretty much have all we need, so many of our Christmas gifts this year were food related gift cards. So basically I gained about 14 pounds (!), and now I need to lose 20 (!!). While I’m complaining bitterly at the moment, I know that I’ll feel much better when the weight’s gone – I’ve been tired, listless and sickly lately, and that’s not a good sign. So, I’m on a diet…

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Why It’s Dangerous To Be An Intern

Warning: Do Not Read If You Are Squeamish

(Seriously, you’ve been warned…)

Our intern, who I will refer to as “Lyle” (although his name really begins with a “K”), decided to give into to juvenile peer pressure and go for a “polar bear” swim on day two of our three day retreat out in the woods. All went well until they came back inside. “Lyle” headed into the bathroom to dry off, slipped on the tile, and caught his big toe under the door. The door acted somewhat in the fashion of a can opener, and  pulled back his big toenail until it was in a vertical (ie. sticking straight up) position, which doesn’t work well for wearing shoes or socks (or not being in screaming pain).

Our ever-vigilant techies came up the stairs to let me know that “Lyle” had cut his foot. I suggested that they get him a band-aid. Then our worship pastor came up and asked if I had any pliers. That’s never a good question, so I went down to see what was up. Six hours later (4am), we returned from the wildly overcrowded small-town emergency room, with a fully wrapped and pain-killed “Lyle.” We arrived home the next day, with only two stops to allow “Lyle” to throw up next to the highway from the pain meds.

I hope that we’ve all learned something here…

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” –
Steven Wright


Our lead pastor comes in a walks the aisles during our Sat. runthroughs, praying over every seat as he walks past. During the first 10+ minutes of the service, he walks from person to person, welcoming them & asking how they are. We’ve had some pushback that this is disruptive of the proper environment for worship, but I disagree. I think that the care shown, the welcoming feel, the individualized concern (esp. in a big church like ours) more than makes up for a brief interruption in the flow of worship. In fact, I’m constantly on the lookout for more ways to show this care to our people – and our visitors!!!

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Spiritual Moments



Should percussionists be allowed to use tambourines in worship services?
That has been one of the greatest questions of the ages…

In all seriousness, we have a pretty good sized worship center, and a tambourine w/o a mic can sometimes be too loud, even in a 90+ db mix! Taste is the key word…
(K Paul, in the photo below, does a good job showing restraint)

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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized, Worship Team


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The Realities Of Custom Video

Video is everywhere these days – if you can have video on your phone, why wouldn’t it be available as an option in presenting the Gospel in church? Everybody – including Senior Pastors – know this. And they want video. Lots of it. Of every event at the church. All the time.

Two options are open to you (there may be more, but this is all that I can think of while simultaneously playing Bloons Tower Defense 4).

1. You can make custom video.

Making custom video takes time. Making quality custom video takes lots of time. It’s impossible to film all of the events at even relatively small churches. You have my permission to print this off and show it to your Senior Pastor. I actually consider protecting the time of my video staff as one of my key duties as Creative Arts Pastor. We focus primarily on filming congregational stories and video announcements.

2. You can buy pre-made video.

Some of this video is stunningly well done. Song backgrounds, countdowns, mini-movies, motion backgrounds, etc… – we purchase some sort of video virtually every week. The price point is FAR below what it would cost in staff hours to make it in-house. The drawbacks? It may be difficult to find the exact topic or feel that you’re looking for. It might cause you to have to deal with some church/personal pride issues – you may even have to dial down the “I’m the source of all creativity within this church, and everything creative must come from me” vibe. Sites like offer inexpensive (and often high quality) alternatives to making it yourself.

There are some in-between possibilities. Pre-created AfterEffects files can offer good quality options for the creation of announcement or sermon series “teaser” videos. Pond5 have been a good source for us, although we’re also on the lookout for new sources of material. If you know of any good sites, shoot me an e-mail at

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Creative Planning


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Ideas That Didn’t Work: Backgrounds

It’s not so much that this background didn’t work – it’s that I had been saving it because I thought it was cool. In real life, it just didn’t “pop” for whatever reason. When I keep in mind that it’s the worship, not the look, that really matters, it falls into perspective pretty quickly…
Still, I wish it had worked better. It was fine, just not great. Sigh…

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Ideas That Didn't Work


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The Back-Up Plan

What’s your back-up plan? Sooner or later, you’re going to hear those words. You’d better have one, because things WILL go wrong eventually. A few weekends ago, the Super Bowl was in town, and that meant an incredible spike in the wireless signal traffic in the Indianapolis area. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t have unwanted signals stopping us mid-service, so we had extra wireless mics available, and wired mics ready to just in case.

When I was serving at Willow Creek, we had multiple levels of backup for everything. Pastors were often wearing a wearing a backup mic (occasionally two), and there was always a wired mic waiting in the hands of a front-row techie. Any long video had a backup copy running on a backup drive that could be switched over to with a minimum of hassle. As a music director in the past, I learned backup parts, and had people in mind that could fill in if someone got sick, etc…

The idea is not to be perfect. It’s just to take seriously the fact that we have been charged to do our very best for God, and for the people that He has entrusted to our care. It’s OK to make mistakes – it’s just not OK to make the same mistakes over and over, and backup plans help!


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