All posts tagged: Rancho Community Church

Success! If I do say so myself.

This December I got to get my creative hands dirty as we reimagined a previously very successful run of Christmas productions at Rancho Community Church. Traditionally this performance was purely choir/orchestra driven, with drama, dancing, and narration. This year we decided it was time to modernize the tradition – a pretty tall order.

We brought in our worship band, made up of some extremely talented players & vocalists (Jeff Johnson, Emily Tingley, Travis Tingley, Brian Willett, Eric Kern, Eric Beruman, and Joe Catone. We added some motion graphics, put together by Alan Marsala. And added a bunch of new lights and triple-wide screen projection courtesy of Chris Batchelor. Mix that in with our choir and orchestra (minus the dancing, drama & narrations) and you’ve got 2011’s production: “LIGHT”.

It was a beautiful mess, which actually came off better than I was expecting. Our teams played well with one another. Humility and flexibility were abundant, as were creativity and passion. I think we really presented some quality music and production – all telling the story of Jesus, the Light of the world, the real reason for Christmas. And we raised some money for local homeless outreach, Project T.O.U.C.H. About 1,600 people attended over two nights. Feedback was about 10% said it was too loud, 10% said it was too traditional, and the other 80% loved it – so I consider that, #winning!

Huge thanks to all our singers, players, techs, and designers – without whom, we wouldn’t have had a show. Shout out to Brian & Chris (tech), and Marcy (stage/theme), the infamous Marck McKay (musical director), and of course my wife, who showed up both nights with our kids to watch – that’s what you call support!

There’s a ton of pictures here (thank you Tina). Expecting more pictures from Jason Edmonds. And some amateur video here (thanks Joe). Hopefully we’ll have a pro video snapshot soon.

This is the series art for Rancho Community Church’s Fall 2011 series, “4D: Seeing the Bigger Picture”. Here’s the story.

We read the book, “The Big Idea”, as a staff a few months ago. Unfortunately, we never finished it – we just felt is wasn’t quite a good fit for our church. What we did take away from it was the general idea that our whole church could embrace a teaching series and teach through it together. So we decided to do that with our fall series.

4D: Seeing the Bigger Picture came from a big brainstorm meeting with our teaching pastors, worship leaders, and creative types. The series will focus on Christian worldview, it’s also our lead into church membership. The basic idea is that there are truths from the Bible that show us the ‘bigger picture’ – things like: how God sees us, how we see God, how we see others, how we see church, how we see history, and how we see eternity. It’s a great series to teach basics about Christianity and the Gospel. And lastly, these verses from Ephesians kind of wrap it up:

 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Just as a little history context – I’ve been at Rancho for about three years, and I started doing series graphics from the get go. Since then we’ve started getting into a rhythm of series art for promotion, utilizing the arts more and more, and being creative in our presentation. This series features (hopefully):

  • Screen graphics (for both campuses, and for our Murrieta Campus the screen is actually the stage backdrop)
  • Invite cards
  • Bulletin shells
  • Rancho Kidz take home sheets
I also am always trying to use the creative talent that is in our church (I KNOW you’re out there!). This time I asked a buddy who goes to Rancho and is a graphic designer if he would be interested in helping. Jason DeArmond (follow him on Twitter here) took some white board drawings and a lot of descriptive emails and created the conceptual art – he did a fantastic job! All I had to do was put some skin on the art and we were good to go. I love being able to collaborate with artists and see God using the gifts and talents of people in the church.
A follow up post on this will show what we did with the stage. I’m excited about that.


Thought I’d share some thoughts on how I use and manage twitter accounts both personally and for the organizations I represent. I’ve always been an early adopter, and I’ve been a Twitter user since 2008 (Twitter was launched in mid 2006). Since joining Twitter, I’ve set up quite a few accounts for myself, friends, family, c0-workers, and organizations, and I still maintain quite a few accounts. So here’s some thoughts & ideas that might inspire you in how you’re using your personal account and accounts for your organizations:

Personal Account

I use my personal account, well, personally. I believe people should be generally real in person and online. I tweet a lot about my thoughts, my family, my work, fun stuff, news, etc. I work at a church – so the lines blur a lot between work and life.

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I also try and use my personal account to “mention” (use the @account) “re-tweet” (RT) things in my areas of interest which include leadership, design, church, worship, music, tech, etc. This is a great way to build connections and network with like-minded people around the world.

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I use my personal account to tweet out my posts from my blog. I have a plugin on my blog that randomly tweets out old posts – just in case someone might be interested in a post.

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I try and be positive and share things that will be encouraging, fun, useful, and thought provoking. There’s quite a few articles on basic twitter etiquete online – just Google it.

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Business/Organization Accounts
I use our organization’s accounts to try and push information out that would be helpful and inspiring. For example, when our Church has a volunteer team work at the Outreach Farm Project, harvesting food for the local Rescue Mission – I want people to know about it, so I’ll send a tweet like this:You’ll probably notice that that Tweet was sent from Facebook. I have our Facebook Page setup to update Twitter every time there’s a status update. It works pretty well. (So obviously that tweet originated from a Facebook status update, not from Tweetdeck, or

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I also use our organization’s accounts to mention (use the @account) about or re-tweet (RT) other accounts that are putting out good, helpful information, like this:

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You can see how helpful it is for our main Church account (@ranchocommunity) to mention @antiochTV – when we do, a link is available in the tweet that will take them right to the account, where they can see all the tweets from @antiochTV and learn more about that ministry.

Here’s an example of a re-tweet (RT) of our worship ministry:

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As you can see, when I re-tweet that tweet from @ranchoworship, it gave me a tweet with a lot of helpful information, including how many times the original tweet has been re-tweeted, and by whom.

I also re-tweet certain staff members and church-goers, like this:

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This is a tweet from one of our Tech guys, with a picture, that we re-tweeted with the church account, so those following the church account could catch a glimpse of what our staff see. It’s just a cool way to connect the dots.

Some common (or not so common) sense rules I have for organization tweeting:

  • Don’t use personal language. Don’t as an organization say “I hope you can make it to church this morning, we’re talking about grace”, rather say something like, “Join us this morning as we talk about grace”.
  • Right on the heels of the last point: Let people know WHO is tweeting. Obviously someone is behind the screen – let people know; it makes it much more personal and real. I have a little tag I put on our accounts for who is tweeting that is a simple, “@alexmclean tweeting”. Then followers know who it is that is sending out the content and they can choose to interact or not.
  • Don’t re-tweet irrelevant information. It’s nice that your worship leader is talking about his new pair of Tom’s – your organization’s followers don’t care about your worship leader’s shoes and if they do, they can follow him.
  • Asking questions is ok. Again, don’t use personal pronouns.
  • Understand your audience. Are you getting feedback? @ mentions? re-tweets? If not, maybe you’re not sending out good content enough, maybe your sending out too much? Maybe your content is bad, boring, unhelpful?
  • Try and think about leaving room for re-tweeting. Don’t always use all 140 characters; remember, when someone re-tweets, it’s going to add a handful of characters to the original tweet.
  • Try and have some fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously – check out companies like Mailchimp for examples.
  • Don’t be afraid to follow your followers… what’s it gonna hurt? So what if you don’t read their tweets? People like to feel connected and important – a little follow goes a long way, plus you never know what you’re going to get.

Tool of Choice: Tweetdeck

  • I use Tweetdeck on both my computer and my phone. Tweetdeck has a very nice (although not immediately intuitive) layout and user interface (i.e. I looks & feels good).
  • Tweetdeck allows me to manage all my accounts from one place. I simply add my Twitter accounts and the application allows me to tweet from several accounts, either one tweet at a time or simultaneously.
  • I use Tweetdecks “Columns” to organize and compartmentalize Twitter to what/how I want to see. For example: I have a column for “@alexmclean replies” so I can see who is replying to my personal tweets. I also have an “@ranchocommunity replies” column to see who is responding to that account, and so on… I’ve actually changed the way I watch the accounts now, rather than using the @ranchocommunity as the search query, I use just “ranchocommunity” so I can see much more activity (just try it and you’ll see.)
  • You can manage a lot more from Tweetdeck, like adding people to “lists”, which you can then call up in a column, ex: I have a “locals” list and column – the list is managed by my Twitter account – the column is what shows up in Tweetdeck. Confused yet?
  • You can follow, unfollow, block, and manage accounts within Tweetdeck as well.
  • WARNING: When using multiple accounts you have to be very careful before sending tweets, that you have the right account(s) selected. Don’t want to send that personal tweet out of your organization’s account.
Managing multiple accounts is not too hard to do – you just have to use some intentionality, creativity, and time to do it right.
I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve had some fun Twitter experiences. Tell me about them, and tell me about how you use and manage Twitter accounts.
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Our Church and School is getting ready to break ground on an athletic field on our property. Pretty exciting stuff like this needs to be celebrated and communicated in big and impacting ways. Thus: Big, giant banners.

These are 8′ x 12′ banners put end to end to make up the original 8′ x 36′ image. We did for a couple reasons. One, it just looks cool. Two, and more practical, we needed to be able to transport the sign, and three skids make that possible.

For anyone who is thinking of doing something like this here’s some bullet points:

  • Created in Photoshop (Illustrator would work just as well)
  • image
  • Created a file size that is 1/3 the print size (so it’s 32″ x 144″ at 300 dpi, CMYK – and yes, the file is over 1 Gig)
  • Once it was approved, I flattened the file and saved it as a .tiff (still over 1G), then archived it (zipped) and it was about 130Mb
  • Sent it off the printer with instructions to print three 96″ x 144″ banners with grommets.
  • Worked like a charm.

Some may ask, “Why big, giant banners?”

To that I say, “Great question”. When you see it in person, you get it. Our campus is extremely large, dozens of acres, I don’t even know. What we are doing, building a field, is something that a lot of people won’t “get” until it’s built. It’s hard to see something that doesn’t exist. So it’s my job to help amplify the vision of the project so that as many people as possible will “get” it, earlier rather than later. Big, giant banners scream to the community “this is for real”, “we are really doing this”, and for those who want, “you can be a part of making history” (we’re holding a fundraising auction for this project). This, in conjunction with press releases, printed media, announcements, etc, is just another way to let as many people as possible know what’s going on on our campus and continue to build excitement. Lastly, we’re holding a groundbreaking ceremony this week where our entire school and staff will be on hand for an historic photo with, you got it, the big, giant banners; they will frame shot, and forever tell a story.

PS – anyone looking for a local (Temecula, Ca) banner shop, I use Dave and Chris – both great guys, great companies, good prices and fun to work with.


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I’m currently attending Antioch Bible College at Rancho Community. This is my second year and I’m currently going thru the “Habits of the Heart” course. In our cohort we’re spending a lot of time discussing things like, how we study, what we read, how we spend our time, which spiritual disciplines do we participate in, why, and how?

Tonight we continued a discussion from last week which touched on the idea of putting together a personal “time-line” to kind of map what God has done in our lives, how we were shaped, and how we are growing. I always like to see what I’m talking about, graphics help me understand and explain, so here’s my time-line in a graphic.

And here’s a little more detail in written form:

In what is labeled, “Sovereign Foundations”:

  • I was introduced to church through my parents at a very young age. I still remember attending “First Presbyterian Church of Milpitas“. I’m pretty sure I went to preschool there, attended VBS in the summers, and moved into “Milpitas Christian School” through 5th or 6th Grade.
  • I was introduced to Christ in a more mature way through the ministry of “Big Valley Grace Church” in Modesto, California. Rick Countryman was my youth pastor and through his ministry and a trip to Hume Lake Christian Camp, I made what I believe was my personal profession of faith. I also began personally studying the Bible and serving at church during this time.
  • Our family made a move to Southern California when I was in high school. During the following years I was not connected to a healthy church ministry and was not excited about growing spiritually. I call this my “walking away” period. I won’t bore anyone with details.

“Inner-Life Growth”

  • After a few years of not much direction, I spent a summer in ministry back at Big Valley Grace as a worship leader for their youth group. Then I came back to Southern California and began volunteering a Sunrise Christian Fellowship, a small church plant that my parents were attending in Murreita. Through serving for a couple years, I began to feel the call to further invest in ministry. I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College and became the youth pastor for Sunrise.
  • Marriage brought me into the next phase of my life. I began to learn how marriage and ministry work together and continued working a full time job and volunteer at Sunrise. It was in conversations with my wife that I first began to consider full-time ministry.
  • After a lot of prayer, advice, meeting, and talking, my wife and I decided to make a move into full-time ministry at a new church plant in Temecula called Life Church. This was an exciting time in our lives – we were a young family with one child and tons of time and energy to give to the ministry. we experienced a couple years of rapid growth and exciting ministry, had our second child, and made deep connections with people in our church.

“Ministry Maturing”

  • About three years into our time at Life Church, we began to experience some of the growing pains that come with a fast-growing church plant. I became the executive pastor, overseeing our staff. I learned a ton, quickly. While I enjoyed a great deal of success,watching families come be introduced to Christ and the church, I also experienced great deal of frustration & burn-out. After about another year-and-a-half of conversations, prayer, and mentor’s advice, we made the heart-breaking decision to end our time there.
  • It was a week after I resigned that I got a call from Rancho Community Church. A long story short – we came to Rancho. My position was a little vague, but it had something to do with Communications, helping with parent communications at their Christian School (which I had experience in attending..), and helping with the “look & feel” of the church.
  • Since coming to Rancho, we’ve had our third child, helped rebrand the school and church, joined the executive team, and launched a brand new venue campus in Murrieta.

So, that’s my journey so far, laid out on this time-line. There’s three more categories that I haven’t reached yet. I’ll share those and some goals/ideas in Part 2.

This has been really helpful for me to see how God, from the very beginning has been preparing me for where I am at today. How he has given me opportunities to learn and grow – to have life-altering experiences on the way. For giving me a trusting and supportive wife, a beautiful family, and a place now to continue to grow, to learn, and to launch into the the next phase of my life.