What's in this session?

  • How would you go about running an event? What recommendations would you have to pull that off successfully? Also, how would you suggest when you’re in a small church with a small congregation to recruit for volunteers? (1:05)
  • How do we apply the concept of "show don’t tell" in 15 to 30 second Facebook and Instagram stories in such a way to build trust with our audience but also share what we believe in the long term? (7:34)
  • What is your process for finding a host? Someone who won’t just read the script but also who won’t just go off on a tangent? (14:40)
  • The number of baptisms at my church is growing and it's really chaotic to film so many people, what’s another method we could use. Also, what’s another method for filming testimonies of kids? (20:09)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady: Today on the Ask Brady show we talk about acquiring kids ministry volunteers and the absolute best way to do it

Roxanne: Well, hey there!

Brady: Well, hey there Pro Church nation and welcome to the Ask Brady show, episode number 32. We’ve got four great questions from the people of Pro Church nation and I’m joined, as always, to my left, your right, it’s Roxanne.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: True it is. Behind the camera, the editing wizard himself Jonex.

Jonex: [inaudible 00:00:49].

Brady: [inaudible 00:00:51].

And the man with the cam, Alex Mills.

Alex Mills: Thanks, it’s not really as special as it sounds because I work here, but I’m here.

Brady: Roxanne, take us away with the first question.

Roxanne: Alright, so the first question comes from Dan and he sent in a video.

Dan: Hey, Brady, how are you? My name’s Dan Cooper here in Christchurch, New Zealand, but a couple questions for the Ask Brady show. My first one is for when you’re running an event for Father’s Day, which is coming for here in New Zealand this weekend. How would you run a Father’s Day comp on the day? In regards to sitting up, we’re thinking of sitting up along here, along the front here about auditorium, which you can see me in. For five dads to have an onion cutting competition and a potato peeling competition to win a $50 voucher. What recommendations would you have to pull that off successfully?

My second question for you is this, is around church volunteers for different teams. In particular, for kids ministry. How would you suggest, when you’re in a small church with a small congregation to recruit for volunteers? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that on the Ask Brady show. Thanks very much, we love what you do and look forward to hearing an answer. Thanks, mate.

Brady: Thanks for the question, Dan. Even though your accent is silky smooth and sensual, I’d still like to say that two questions in a single video, that’s a little pushing it, Dan. But, we’ll let it slide this time. Pertaining to the first question, when it comes to hosting a competition live in a church, I have done this a couple of times. [inaudible 00:02:30] from stage. Your church looks pretty big. Ours is about seating a thousand, probably, in each service. One thing that I would recommend maybe considering is pre=planning who these five dads or four dads are going to be.

Obviously that present its own challenges, but I know that I’ve been in the situation where in all three services I need to get someone in the moment to raise their hand and then I pick them and then they come up live on stage. There are just so many variables in the moment that can interfere with that. You know, you can say, “Raise your hand!” And then no one does, which is awkward. Then you have to play it up, you’re like, “I don’t know what I should do.” Then eventually someone puts their hand up.

On the flip side, a lot of the times there are certain people that will just never raise their hand and then they can be excluded simply because they’re not the type of person that’s going to raise their hand beforehand, even though if you talk to them and prepare them for it they’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, I totally be willing to do that.” So, what I would consider, especially if you’re just a single service where if you’re doing multiple services it could become a little bit more complicated with 15 dads. But maybe you want to pre-plan who those dads are going to be to eliminate the awkwardness and unforeseeable variables of choosing someone in the moment. Could be maybe make more sense to choose in the moment, but that’s up to you.

Secondly, beyond there you got to consider not the people that are up there, but the people that are in the seats and that basically means, are people going to be able to actually see what’s happening? It looks like you have a little bit of a stage, but if people are down on the floor and not on the stage because the stage is full of musical gear or something like that and you start doing this contest. Especially something like cutting an onion or peeling something, where it’s already going to be small and hard to see. If it’s on the ground level, people are not going to be able to see that because the person in front of them will be blocked by the person in front of them by the person in front of them.

Unless you’re in the front row, it’s not going to be possible. So, if you have an [imag 00:04:13] thing where you can zoom in and actually have the image on the screen, that’ll be great, or if you can put them on any type of podium, lift it up off the floor, that could help. But anything to actually make it visible for the people watching. Because if they can’t see, you’re going to lose a lot of the energy and the excitement in the room of like, “Oh, he’s almost through the onion.”

Third thing would be safety concerns. I don’t know, one of the things that came to mind was that if you’re doing a speed cutting contest with something as finicky and slimy as an onion. Could present some potential danger spots, I don’t know. I’m just imagining, “Do, do, do. Got to win this $50 voucher and I lost one of my fingers. Was it worth it? Yes, because the $50 voucher is for some sweet Vegemite and we love that in New Zealand.” If that’s only an Australian thing, I do apologize.

Roxanne: Mm-hmm (affirmative), sure.

Brady: That’s one thing to consider. The potato peeling seems a little bit better, although I do remember, this is kind of gross, my mom peeling stuff as a kid and peeling part of her finger off with a peeler. I don’t know why she was so aggressively peeling. Probably because she was trying to go fast and that even wasn’t a competition. You add in a competitive factor to that and you got a dangerous proposition, my friend. Just something else to consider. So, those three things. Visibility from the podium or lack of, the safety factor, and also pre-planning.

When it comes to your second question, how do we recruit volunteers, particularly for the kid’s ministry in a small church. What I always encourage small churches to do is to do the actual leg work of what your church can do, which most large churches can’t, which is to leverage existing relationships and ask someone one on one. It’s the absolute best way to recruit volunteers by far. Why do people not do it? Two reasons. One, it’s an uncomfortable conversation sometimes and, two, it’s hard to do on scale.

But, you can do it on scale, because let’s say you’re a smaller church and, two, you just got to get over the uncomfortable part of the conversation and think to yourself, “This might be uncomfortable, but is it worth it to get the volunteers?” It is, I would say, venture a guess, 10 to 100 times more effective to ask someone one on one than to give a call to action from stage, from social media, or through email asking for volunteers.

Why? Well, because when someone is looking you in the eye and leveraging the existing trust and relationship you have and asking for help, you’re inclined to say yes. When someone says it rom stage to everyone, you’re inclined to be like, “He doesn’t mean me, he means Roxanne.” And Roxanne is like, “He doesn’t mean me, he means Brady.” So, what I would recommend doing to make this conversation less comfortable is to ask for a really low commitment up front. Something as simple as, “Look, I know you have a kid, Brady, and I know kid’s ministry is tough, but we’d really, really love it if you could serve just one Sunday a month. It would make a world of difference to us. I’m asking as a friend.” [inaudible 00:07:06], I’ll put that last part in there.

You know, Roxanne, vice versa, if I’m asking Roxanne. “Roxanne, I know you do some babysitting and you’re just great with kids. It would mean the world if you could just do kid’s ministry just once a month on a Sunday. I’m asking you as a babysitter.” Because, you know.

Roxanne: Yeah.

Brady: Leverage existing relationships. So, hopefully, some of that information is helpful, Dan, and I hope that your Father’s Day competition goes off without a hitch and goes off without any fingers going off as well.

Roxanne: Hopefully. Alright, question two comes from Tom and he also sent in a video.

Tom: Hey, Brady, I got a question about Instagram and Facebook stories. I stumbled across this website that talked about discovering the story telling power of “show, don’t tell.” So, how do we apply the concept of “show, don’t tell” in 15 to 30 second Instagram and Facebook stories in such a way to build trust with our audience, but also share what we believe in. Not banging them over the head with the gospel, but long term, what’s a strategy that we can use and how can we implement “show, don’t tell”? Peace, brother.

Brady: Thanks for the question, Tom, I’m glad that you stumbled across this video and I’m very excited to answer this question because a lot of churches don’t like to focus on story telling. It’s not nearly as exciting about reading about some cool, new free fonts. But, it is infinitely more powerful and I have said this for a while and I stand by it. You as a church leader, the most valuable skill that you can learn to help your church and ministry is the skill of storytelling.

Why? Because, it applies to every single facet of ministry. It’s timeless, it’s not going anywhere, and it is the single most powerful form of human communication. Here’s what a story is and Tom has this context because he’s been going through our free storytelling course, which you can find at youtube.com. We’ve got a playlist, it’s called the church storytelling formula. Here’s the formula. Step one, a lead character. You got a character with a desire, step one. Step two, they encounter a problem. And step three, they make a decision.

This is the most basic form of story, can not get any more basic. All of story can be summed up into a few basic formulas. This is something that’s true in cinema, book writing, anything, documentary. So, here’s ours and we use this specifically for churches because it applies, in this instance, perfectly to social media and in really small, micro context. So, again, step one, a character with a desire. Step two, encounters a problem. And step three, makes a decision.

Now, how do we apply this in micro forms on social media? For instance, like Instagram stories. Well, we believe that the church is uniquely positioned to help people in three ways. Hope, community, and purpose. Okay? Hope, is this all there is to life? The church comes in and offers hope through Jesus. Community, I feel like I’m doing life all alone. Where are people? Why is it just me? Church comes in, offers Christ centered community. Number three, purpose. Who am I? What’s my identity? Church comes in and helps people understand that they’re identity and true purpose is rooted in Jesus.

That’s the three things that we say the church can do that almost no one else can. That’s what your church is uniquely positioned to do. So, now what we want to do is combine this church storytelling formula with these three unique things. So, basically, you can go throughout your day and look for any type of moment that would fit into either hope, community, or purpose. So, for instance, say it’s lunch time at church, right, Tom, and you’re going out with one of the other people that works at church or whatever context basically, right? That’s a moment of community. Where two people are going out for lunch, right? It seems like something so simple, we eat lunch every single day and it’s not too extravagant. But, what you can do is, you can weave a story in there.

You can talk about, remember three steps, right? Character with a desire, encounters a problem, makes a decision. The key here is that the final step in this storytelling format is that you make a decision. The final step isn’t the solution is found. Basically the whole point is that everyday you’re going through this a million times. You are a person and you have certain things that you want to achieve in life and everyday you’re encountering problems and everyday you’re making decisions and all of these decisions are going to be based, ideally, in being a follower of Jesus. That’s what you want to represent.

For instance, you could be a character, you’re you and you have a desire. Your desire is its lunch and you’re hungry, right? That’s how simple this desire can be. You encounter a problem. You don’t know where you want to eat or you don’t have enough money to eat at the place that you want or you forgot to pack your lunch or you are Ryan Reynold, no, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams and you’re in that gif that’s saying, “What do you want!? What do you want to eat?” And no one can decide, right? It can be as simple as that, but, then, one of your friends recommends Bent Taco and then you decide to go there.

For instance, here is the exact example that happened to use today. Tomorrow we are heading out to the annual Pro Church Tools company retreat. We booked this big chalet in cottage country in Ontario and we’re all going up there. Now, the plan was to leave tomorrow at 1:00, okay? This was the plan, we’re going to leave tomorrow at 1:00 and then we were going to be able to check in at 4:00 and then we were all going to go out and get dinner. The problem was is that I figured maybe some people are late or maybe we encounter traffic or maybe someone has to work a little bit longer than expected, they don’t leave in time. Suddenly, the reservation that I booked falls apart. Oh no.

So, what we did was, we decided, I decided, without telling anyone, “Hey, just get dinner on your own.” Then everyone else was like, “Oh, we’re going to go to Bent Taco.” Which is this cool taco place and I was like, “Wait, am I the only one not going now?” They’re like, “Yes.” I was like, “Okay, no, no, I want to be a part of it, don’t leave me out.” Then we all decided to go to Bent Taco together.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: Character with a desire. I wanted us to all get there on time. Encounters a problem, “Wait a minute, what about all these potential variables that can make us not get there in time?” Makes a decision, everyone else makes a different decision. I make another decision. This is something that happened today and it happened like eight times today in various different ways and you have the ability to basically pull that together into story and just share it again and again and again through social.

The key is that you don’t need to make everything super spiritual. If you are a follower of Jesus, things will be spiritual. You don’t need to force them to be spiritual. This is what I see churches doing, they try to inject spirituality into things that don’t necessarily need them. But, the spirituality is there. If you’re a true follower of Jesus, it’s gonna be there. It’s gonna come out.

You know, I was with my family the other day and we were just talking about, we got really open after dinner, which we don’t normally necessarily do and we were talking about family and being a parent of teenagers. My aunt and uncle and we were talking about what it means to be a young married couple or a young parent like me. Every time I kept talking about what I am trying to do with my life, I couldn’t escape the fact that I kept coming down to, “Why do I do this?” Well that’s the way I saw Jesus and I’m just trying to do that. It wasn’t like I was trying to inject a witness or inject evangelism into the conversation, I just couldn’t escape the fact that when I started talking about the deepest and truest things about my life, Jesus was an inescapable part of that.

That’s the same thing you’re going to try to do here, so it’s just show behind the scenes, practice storytelling. I wish I had some more great examples for you, but, basically, it’s very difficult for me to think of these grand examples because they’re not supposed to be grand. They’re supposed to be really micro. The formula that you’re using is character with a desire, encounters a problem, makes a decision and then combining that with hope, community, and purpose. There are so many different intersections there every single day. Once you’ve begun to recognize in your own life how they intertwine, you’re going to begin to see them everywhere and then it’s just about choosing which ones you want to put on display, rather than finding them because there’s so many that you just have to choose.

Roxanne: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah, that’s good. Alright, question three comes from Darren.

Darren Hawkins: Hi, Brady, this is Darren Hawkins from Columbus, Ohio. Go Buckeyes. Hey, got a question for you. We have service hosts and those service hosts get up every Sunday and talk about the mission, vision, and value of the church. They welcome people to worship. I guess my question is, how do you go about finding that person? Do you audition them, do you talk to them, do you have them read the script to you? What is your process, because we’re looking for someone that won’t just read the script and we’re also looking for someone that won’t go off on a tangent similar to what I’m doing with this question. So, I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. Love what you guys are doing. Keep up the great work and god bless you.

Brady: Darren, your question is a tough one because I think what you’re looking for is someone with the Liam Neeson style, a very unique set of skills and that is that as you alluded to in the question, you want someone that stays on script, but not too on script. You want them to interject their own personality and thoughts, but not go on a tangent. This is a very fine line to walk. I go back to the times that I’ve talked with Whitney George about his church’s announcements. That church on the move. I very much look up to what they’re doing with their announcements and Whit has told me on multiple occasions, our church is this many tens of thousands of people. We have two or three people we trust with announcements, whether on video or hosting live.

It is very, very difficult. That’s why, if you go into a hundred churches, 99 of them, would be my best guess, have very poor announcements. The type of thing where you’ve got one of the associates up there and they’re going on tangents for five, ten minutes and they’re just trying to get through the list of announcements and at the end of the day it’s just very painful to sit through, right? Or you’ve got someone who’s incredibly stoic and just going completely off script reading or from memorization, which is much more rare and they’re not worse, I would say, but they’re equally bad, if maybe a little bit better, because they’re faster. But it still lacks personality and they’re clearly just reading from memory or reading directly from the sheet, which is also no good.

You need someone that is basically a very, very good wedding MC. Think about how many weddings that you go to with very bad MCs. That is, in my estimation, the best parallel between what a church host should be is wedding MC. That’s why at most weddings, you’re like, “Oh, we’ve been doing the speeches for four hours.” Why? Because, no matter what the MC does in that case. Another great example, you have someone who goes up and they, “I wrote a short speech.” 30 minutes later they’re still talking about the time they went to Peru with their sister Patty and has nothing to do at all with the fact that their son’s getting married today, but Sally and Patty are living in their moment and they’re living their best life.

So, at the end of the day, here are some tips that I found to help with this. I like to start with a script and then elaborate from there. Basically, learn the rules and then freestyle once you know the basics, right? This is the way to go with anything. So let’s say you’re learning the guitar. Learn the pentatonic scale, learn some basic chords, and then begin free styling from there. But you need to understand the basic rules first.

If you need some starter scripts, we’ve got a great article with an accompanying video that you can find in our church video announcements course on YouTube or prochurchtools.com directly. It’s called seven, copy and paste church announcements scripts in there. There’s intro scripts, conclusion scripts, giving scripts, small groups scripts, I think there’s a volunteer one. You can use these as the foundation. Learn the rules and then elaborate and build on it from there. You want someone who comes off very calm and collected. Not necessarily someone whose over the top. You’re going to have some preaching and teaching probably, so you don’t want this person to steal the spotlight from them. You want them to just be very normal. Kind of like a radio host, right?

Then the preacher and teacher, they’re the one that’s going to get really quiet and then really loud! Because, that’s what preachers do really well. Whereas the host, you just need them to be like the radio host. There just facilitating the rest of the stuff that’s going on. You know, you’re not there for the radio host. They’re just there to get from one song to the next. The host is doing something similar. Just like a wedding MC is getting from one speech to the next. They’re just the facilitator. So you don’t want them to steal the show. The best hosts that are the people that are forgettable.

They’re not taking away from the most important parts of the service, but you also never think of them because they’re not bad. Whereas you do something awkward everyone remembers that, right? So there almost invisible, that’s what a best host would be. So, learn the basics, elaborate from there. One of the best things that you can have do, as you mentioned, would be audition. I would focus on one, two, maximum three people to be your host. What you don’t want to do is have five to eight and you’re trying to manage all of them. Because this is such a unique skill that you need to foster and develop over time that you want to focus on one, two, or three individuals and not more than that.

So, again, to summarize. Very thin line to walk. It’s not easy. Don’t go into this expecting that it’s going to be easy because most churches really struggle with this. I would guess 99 out of 100 are doing a very poor job of this. Number two, focus on a small group of individuals. One, two, or three people max. Number three, learn the rules first and then elaborate and build on them. We have some church announcements scripts that have been proven to works. Ones that I use every single week as my foundation and then I elaborate in the moment as I feel necessary. So, those are the three big takeaways. Hope it works out for you.

Roxanne: Perfect. Alright, last question comes from Cody and he says, “Before I came on staff here the church had this method to film people’s testimonies two months before baptism Sunday and would show them on baptism Sunday before that person was dunked. Well, the number of baptisms is growing and it’s really chaotic to film so many people, so what’s another method close to this one and what is a method to film for testimonies for children that are 10 or younger?”

Brady: Great question, Cody. It sounds like you have a very good problem, which is you have so many baptisms that you can’t do stories for all of them unless the service drag on forever. It’s a great problem to have. Similarly, church of my size has a similar problem in that normally our baptism service is 50 people getting baptized and you can’t do a three minute video for each one of them. You would be there for four hours and that would just be for the baptisms.

What we do now is we do a single quote on the screen for the person as they’re being baptized. So, basically, they walk into the tank, we’ve got music going on in the background, and then their chosen quote is shown on the screen. Maybe along with a picture, maybe not, but basically be like, “I was running from God for years, but I finally found hope in Jesus. Cody.” And his name.

Then what we can do is we can see them being baptized and we can see their big thesis about why they’re doing it on the screen at the same time. This is also a great way to manage minors, where it can be difficult to actually get them on camera because of their minor status, but also because it’s hard to be on camera, much less when you’re a kid it’s that much harder. You can get just a single sentence from them and show it up there. Again, take a picture of them and couple that picture with the quote and suddenly you’ve got something really meaningful, but it only takes about 3 to 10 seconds to be on the screen.

This is a short and sweet answer, because I think that’s the best way to manage it and this isn’t something I came up with. I’m stealing it directly from my church’s creative team and experience directors and I think it’s a great way to manage multiple baptisms and minors getting baptized at the same time.

Roxanne: Do you know how they collect those sentences? Does a pastor sit with them and hear their testimony or is it they fill out a form? [crosstalk 00:22:13].

Brady: Unless you’re doing spontaneous baptisms, there’s usually multiple touchpoints for someone getting baptized. You need to register, so sign up for it. So you can have it on the signup form directly. Usually, not usually, many churches have a class where like, “We want you to get baptized. We want you to know exactly what’s happening.” So, then they have a class. You can have it collected there. You can have it collected the day before, the week before. But there are so many touchpoints whether it be the pastor himself or herself. The person that’s running the class, the person that’s managing all the signup forms, and there are multiple places.

It’s so easy to get a single sentence from somebody and you could even have it where you just send out a quick email. Send out a text, a slack message, whatever it might be, a Facebook message, and capture it that way. The best thing to do is, you could send a couple of examples along with it. Be like, “Here’s what other people have written.” And that way people feel like, “Oh, okay, this is what John wrote. Now I have kind of little bit of a context for what’s expected here.” If you send a blank canvas, that can be tough. It’s just like, “Hey, can you tell us why you’re getting baptized in eight words or less?” They’re like, “That seems tough.”

Roxanne: That’s what I was picturing, is like, I don’t know, I got baptized at 11 or something like that and I was like, I don’t know if I would have known at the time how to condense my testimony to be one sentence.

Brady: Where you really baptized then?

Roxanne: I know, I might have to go back.

Brady: We’re going to have to redo this all over again. Stop Ask Brady, we need to ask Roxanne if she needs to be baptized again. And when you’re working with minors, this is where the parents can come in too, right? Obviously for the most part they’re going to be involved in this and, so, they can help the child, help the kid write that one to three sentence, little testimony as well. Sending examples is always super helpful, so I’m glad we stumbled across that because that’s a key part of this answer, which is you give someone a template just like with those announcement scripts from [adearance 00:23:56] question and then they can elaborate beyond that.

But sometimes we just need some context first, right? We see this in so many different arenas. No one ran the four minute mile until the one due did, pardon me, I forget his name, and then a dozen other did the next year, right? We’re seeing that same thing right now with the two hour marathon. The last person was what, 30 seconds off, I believe. Someone’s going to crack that two hour marathon and then we’re going to see a dozen others do it. It’s the weirdest thing.

We can’t accomplish something for the entire existence of humans. One person does and then 20 other do it in the same year. Something about that. When we see templates, other people going before us. It makes us confident that we can do it ourselves. Sweet. Thanks so much for watching this episode of the Ask Brady show. If you want your question answered, send in a video. It’ll be sent immediately to the top of the queue and you can be a rogue like Dan from New Zealand, a kiwi, and ask two questions in the video. No, don’t do that. Dan, you got off this time. Hello@prochurchtools.com is the email to send your questions into. You can also #AskBrady on Facebook, YouTube in the comments below, or on Twitter and Instagram, #AskBrady, and we’ll track your question down.

Thanks for so much for watching, Pro Church nation, we’ll see you real soon.

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