All posts tagged: church
11052496_933013900063859_304484585569031894_n-860x572

Every few years I end up re-inventing myself. I love learning and trying new things. I love to dream up and build new things. I’m blessed that I’m in an organization where I can do just that.

When I joined Rancho about six years ago, I answered a phone call that came out of nowhere. The week before I had resigned my position at a church I helped to build, but a church that was quickly unraveling (that’s a story that I need to tell someday). Jen and I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we did know that God was opening doors for a new season of ministry with Rancho.

I came on as a pastor to help at Rancho’s school, Rancho Christian. It was during this time that I was introduced to Rancho and I made some deep and lasting relationships with many staff members. I spent a few years there, and by God’s grace, some great people, and a lot of work, the school grew – new leadership was installed and I was able to enter another new season.

This time I worked with the Worship Department at the church. During that time I was able to hire and work with some amazing people. I also said goodbye to some incredible people, thankfully – I’m able to still call them friends and still stay connected to them to this day. One person that I was able to help bring to Rancho was a friend I met named Tim Manigault. He quickly became the obvious choice to take our Worship Department to the next level. And so another chance to reinvent came my way.

I’ve always loved culture and people and the church – so my next journey was overseeing “Connecting” at Rancho, which basically meant anything that connected the church with people: look & feel, design, social media, online ministry, welcome ministries, small groups, etc. Just as I was getting my feet wet in this new role, my friend who was also my boss entered a new phase of life and ministry himself, which left a void at Rancho… so guess what – yes, another new season.

Next I joined a new team of three as the Executive Pastors of our church. As a team, we would oversee and lead our staff. It was a new idea – so I was on board. Together we began dreaming what Rancho could be as we headed into a building phase, doubling our campus size. Then, just a few months after this transition came the opportunity, once again to reinvent. And that brings us to this past weekend.

Last weekend, I officially took on the role of Executive Pastor of our Murrieta Campus. We’ve been going to that campus since it launched and have watched it grow over the years. Now we can really put some serious energy into the campus and work with our great friends, the Beavers, and see what God has planned for Rancho Murrieta.

I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love as a job. I’m thankful for a wife who is supportive and a family ready to take risks with me. And I’m thankful for the hundreds of people who call Rancho Murrieta home and looking forward to serving with them as we live out the love and life of Christ in this community.

Check out Rancho Murrieta on Facebook here. And come join us any Sunday at Murrieta Mesa High School at 10:00am – we’d love to have you and make sure you come by and say “hi” – I’d love to meet you!

P.S. here’s some of the fun stuff we do at Rancho Murrieta:

 

Alex-Church-Resources1Church Resources for this week: for some reason I was doing a lot of reading on “the workplace” this week. Below are three of my favorite articles that deal with work. First culture  – how you are creating either a positive or negative culture. And second, two articles on staffing. I believe that we (churches) can learn a lot from business and vice-versa. You can find a lot of biblical principals in these types of articles. Our organizations should be smart, honest and well run, while creating positive, life giving cultures that encourage the best “work”.

#1 Why You Hate Work

If your employees feel more energized, valued, focused and purposeful, do they perform better? Not surprisingly, the answer is almost always “Yes.” Next we ask, “So how much do you invest in meeting those needs?” An uncomfortable silence typically ensues.

I really like this article – however the title is a little of a turn off. If you are a leader in your church or organization and you don’t take some time to think about the health of those who work or serve with you, you should. I think this article points out some really great areas that you can spend some focus time on.

#2 How and When to Hire Staff for Your Church Plant

So that’s kind of the litmus test of bringing someone onto the team. It’s a simple principle I learned from Chris Hodges. He said, “Don’t ever hire promises.”People are great at painting a picture of what they COULD do if you would just hire them. But the truth is, most people, if they’re willing to make the sacrifices FOR A SEASON, can produce those promises within your church without being on full-time paid staff.”

I think this article should just be titled, “Read Before You Hire” because it’s packed full of little nuggets of wisdom on hiring, leadership, what leaders are looking for, how to get a job in a church, and more. Of course no method is perfect, but this is some great insight. Read the whole article here.

#3 Hire Slow, Fire Fast

To “hire slow, fire fast,” start by being absurdly selective in who you hire. Mark Adams, the Managing Director at Vitsoe, the worldwide licensee of Dieter Ram’s furniture collection, approaches hiring with incredible selectivity. What he wants to discover is who is a natural fit. In addition to multiple interviews, he and his team have prospective employees come and work with them for a day. No commitment has been made on either side; it’s just a chance for each side to see each other as naturally as possible.

This is one of those leadership concepts that just makes total sense, yet is so hard to live into. We all have stories of how our heads knew what to do, but our hearts just couldn’t. Or tradition or bureaucracy got in the way of progress when staffing was concerned. This article lays out some very simple ideas for smart, patient hiring, and quick, humane and decisive firing. If you’re a leader of a church or organization – this is a great read.  Check out the article here.

social-media

Part of what I do for Rancho Community Church is run our social media accounts. I’m a big fan of using social media as a tool to keep conversations going or spur them on. It allows people opportunities to share thoughts and comments that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do in person. It really is another community, just like the many communities that make up the church – it’s just online.

Anyway, I’m always interested in how other churches utilize social media. What services they are using – and how they are using them. I’ve been a big fan of Saddleback, Crosspoint and others and kind of watch them for trends. At Rancho, we almost exclusively use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And we have accounts for both campuses (and our School):

Rancho Community Church (Temecula Campus / Main Organization)

Rancho Community Church (Murrieta Campus)

Rancho Christian Schools

So how do we logistically run all these (and more) accounts? For the most part I personally manage all the accounts… probably not the most efficient practice, but we don’t have many other options right now. I’ve given a couple other trusted team members access to our Facebook Pages and we have a couple volunteers that help with our Twitter accounts. I’ve created a couple graphics that show some of the flow (specifically with photos) of our social media sharing…

social-media-flow-M

Click on the image for a full size version

social-media-flow-T

Click on the image for a full size version

 

As you can see this is 100% mobile driven – that’s mainly for sharing photos. I’ve asked our staff and key volunteers to share photos each weekend and at any events that they are running. Any good shots are shared (with photo credit) starting with Instagram which starts a chain reaction to Facebook (page) and then to Twitter. If I have a bunch of photos that aren’t real specific, I’ll just share them on our Facebook page. Whenever we share photos online we use the tag, #ranchopix and try to encourage our followers to do the same. I’ll tag our photos with things like #worship #church #temecula #murrieta, etc. as well.

That’s just a quick overview of what we’re doing. We’re slowly building followers and communities online and as we engage more, the community grows larger. It’s an exciting and fun ministry to be a part of and I can’t wait to see how it grows even more.

If you need help connecting your Instagram to your Facebook Page – there’s a good tutorial here. Unfortunately you have to log in and out of Instagram to manage multiple accounts… however the good news is that Instagram remembers what each account is connected to, which makes it a bit easier to share across platforms – I only share to Facebook from Instagram.

There’s tons of tutorials on connecting your Facebook Page to your Twitter Account – here’s a pretty simple tutorial.

I’d like to think we’re on the front lines of this, especially for a church, however I know there’s always something new or a better way to do things. Please let me know what you’re doing to engage in these communities and what tools you are using. And if you need a hand with this stuff just reach out – I’d love to help in any way I can.

A lot goes on behind the scenes when we launch a teaching series at Rancho Community – It never really starts the same way however. This particular series started with a trifecta of:

  1. A conversation with our lead pastor about a “foundational” teaching series for fall
  2. The song “Cornerstone“, which I actually heard for the first time by our Murrieta Campus worship team
  3. Coldplay’s Live 2012 album & concert art

From that point on I had a pretty good idea what this should look and feel like… just didn’t know exactly how.

The concept would be build around the stage backdrop design – that’s where everything would kind of spring from. I wanted to create a kind of back alley, block wall kind of feel – real strong and bold. So I started with something like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.09.56 PM

Then I added grunge and some elements to the wall – and added the text.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.10.10 PM

Then I added some fluorescent light bulbs…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.10.31 PM

After that came the real fun – the hand-drawn art. For that, I just used a pencil first and then a sharpie…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.25.03 PM
Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.26.03 PM

After the hand drawing it was time to get the images into Photoshop. I used my iPhone 4s to shoot the drawings and bring them into Photoshop.
Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.26.31 PM

After some work with masking and coloring we ended up with this:

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 11.17.19 AM

No light bulbs on this version because this is the stage backdrop – 16′ x 32′ for our Temecula Campus. In order to do that we printed 16) 4′ x 8′ pieces and then our Tech team put it all together. Preparing the file for this almost killed my 2009 MBP…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.47.42 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.48.11 PM

Here’s a pic of one of the 4×8’s right off the press…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.48.28 PM

After the pieces were delivered, it was time for construction by our tech team…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.57.29 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.57.12 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.56.00 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.57.51 PM

While our Temecula Campus got the real thing, our Murrieta Campus got the digital version…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 10.59.40 PM

And last but not least, the bulletin…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 11.00.27 PM

I’m hoping to get some better pics of the stage from both campuses – it’s awesome how the lighting really changes the look of this graphic.