Kyle is a member of the team at Life Church, and heads up The Open Network team which includes their products such as Church Metrics, the Church Online Platform and Develop.me. He joins us to discuss new visitor follow up.
What’s In This Session?
- Leading the way with MORE free resources for the local church (8:27)
- How your church can take advantage of the free items on Open Network (11:19)
- Avoiding band-aid solutions by copying other churches (13:04)
- Tracking the metrics that truly matter to your church (21:25)
- How Life.Church manages follow-up with their new visitors (23:12)
- The gap between automation and individualization in visitor follow-up (27:34)
- The future of Open Network (30:37)
- The Scrum Methodology (32:57)
- How to convince your senior leadership to begin using new resources (37:34)
Show Notes & Resources Mentioned
- The Open Network
- Life.Church Open Network Blog
- Church Metrics
- Church Online Platform
3 Instant Takeaways
- Avoid bandaid solutions by understanding the why. It’s easy to look at what other churches are doing and think that by replicating their programs or other strategies you can replicate their success. This is not always the case because their ministry was built on their context. Before implementing other church’s tactics make sure you understand why it works and why it could work for you.
- Allow people to belong before they believe. Create an environment where visitors are welcome to attend and become part of your church before you expect anything from them. Remove any barriers between them and their next step into your community. This could be anything from making sure the kids’ check in procedures are clear on their first visit, or joining a life group is simple further along the way.
- Lead with the heart of it. When convincing leadership to begin using new resources start with how the resource can help push the heart of their vision forward.
The Full Transcript
Brady: This is the Pro Church Podcast, session number 197, Maximizing New Visitor Followup with Kyle Cutter. Well, hey there Pro Church Nation and welcome to the Pro Church Podcast. You’re now part of a small group of pioneering churches doing everything we can to seize the 167 hours beyond our Sunday services. Why? Because we’re living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 [00:00:30] years and what got us here won’t get us there.
I’m Brady, your host, and this is session number 197. You can find the show notes for this session at ProChurchTools.com/197, and in this session of the podcast we’re joined by Kyle Cutter of Life Church discussing new visitor followup and how to maximize it, so let’s do it.
Welcome [00:01:00] back to another session of the Pro Church Podcast. This is Brady, your host. So great to have you along for the ride with us. We like to start off each and every session by sharing with you a Pro Tip or a practical tool that you can begin using in your ministry or church right away. Today I want to introduce you to something that we’re calling Pro Church Daily. This is going to be session number 197 and the final interview session [00:01:30] that we do with the Pro Church Podcast as we know it, at least for the time being.
We are transitioning as we enter into a new year in 2018, we’re going to be doing daily podcasts starting I believe it is January the 7th. I think that’s the Monday. It could be January the 8th, basically the first week back in January, so that is January the 8th. That’s a Monday. Starting on that day we’re going to be going daily with the Pro Church Podcast. [00:02:00] We’re doing this because we want to take these longer interview sessions and we want to make them a little bit more concise, make them more punchy and make them more digestible on a daily basis.
Basically the volume of the podcasts are going to stay the same when it comes to the number of minutes that we’re publishing each week, but Pro Church Daily Monday through Saturday, those six days is going to be a 10 minutes or less episode where basically we’re giving you a single actionable item that you can take and implement [00:02:30] in your church right away and that’s going to allow you to move, to push the needle forward.
We’ve done more than or close to now 200 sessions of interviews, long form content with the Pro Church Podcast and we want to try something different. We’ve been at this for almost four years now. Yeah, it’s coming up on year four. Just a couple of months away from year four. Four full years of the Pro Church Podcast and we’re thinking you know what? It’s time to do something a little bit different. Not only are these going to be audio sessions, but they’re going to be video [00:03:00] sessions published to our YouTube channel as well. So daily videos and daily podcasts coming from us, the team at Pro Church Tools starting in 2018.
We’ve done a lot of work prepping this and we can’t wait for you to see it, for you to hear it as we launch a new Pro Church Tools brand in 2018. This is really the beginning of that, so lots of great stuff to come with that. We wanted you to be aware of it. Again, the volume of podcasts is going to be the same when it comes to minutes, so whatever time you’ve set aside for listening to [00:03:30] the Pro Church Podcast, that won’t need to change. In fact, it might be a little bit easier because our podcasts are going to be so much shorter and punchier.
Every time you listen, our goal is for you to head on to your next podcast or head off into what you’re doing that day and be like, “Man, I’ve got something that’s super valuable that I can implement with my church right away or at the very least, I’ve now learned about X, something that I never knew before.” So that’s what we’re going to be doing. We’re going to have a cohost on the show every single day, so it’s going to be Alex and I.
Then of course the Ask Brady [00:04:00] Show continuing. That will be published every Sunday going forward, so we’ll still have a little bit of long form content. The Ask Brady Show is about 30 minutes in length, so not as long as a podcast like this one, but you still get a little bit of the long form content that way. I really enjoyed having a host on my shows as well. Having interviews is great, but sitting in-studio with someone and having them host or having me host or whatever it might be has been great. That back and forth interaction and so we wanted to have more of that.
[00:04:30] I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts more that have more than one person on them, and so normally what happens in the content that we create is that I emulate what I enjoy consuming, and that’s what I’ve been enjoying consuming on the podcast side and so we’re going to try that in the new year. So look forward to that starting the second week of January. We were trying to start it on the first because the first is a Monday and it was like this perfect kind of convergence of moments and coincidences, but the sound panels for our office didn’t come in in time. We’re trying [00:05:00] to improve the audio acoustics in this room because it is quite reverby and the acoustics are not great.
Those didn’t come in in time so we had to push it back a week, which is fine because most people are off in the first week of January, January 1st is a holiday as it is, so January 8th is when Pro Church Daily will begin daily podcasts, daily videos for the year of 2018. I hope you’re excited for it as much as we are. With that being said, let’s transition into our interview, our final interview ever maybe, probably [00:05:30] for the Pro Church Podcast.
This is with Kyle Cutter and Kyle is a member of the team over at Life Church. He leads the Life.Church Open Network Team in fact. That’s the team that oversees all of the products and stuff that Life Church puts together, including open … Pardon me, Life … Sorry, Church Metrics, the church online platform Develop.Me and the church online platform, which is what I was trying to say earlier. [00:06:00] It’s all known now as the Open Network.
They’ve kind of changed the trajectory of that platform in a great way, and that’s really what we’re talking about for much of this conversation, but we also talk a ton about new visitor followup. Just to do a quick summary of what you’re about to hear, we talk about how your church can take advantage of all the free items on Open Network. We talk about avoiding Band-aid solutions by copying other churches, tracking the metrics that truly matter to your church, how Life Church manages followup with their new visitors, the gap between automation [00:06:30] and individualization in visitor followup. That’s probably the most important part of the conversation in my opinion, the part that I love the most.
We talk about the scrum methodology and how to convince your senior leadership to begin using new resources. So lots of great stuff in this session of the podcast. Hope you enjoy it. We’ll be back in just a moment with my interview with Kyle Cutter. Well hey there Pro Church Nation, welcome back to another session of the Pro Church Podcast. Great to have you along for the ride. We’re welcoming back a repeat guest for his second time on the show. The first time was on [00:07:00] the 120th session of the Pro Church Podcast. Back again, Kyle Cutter from Life Church. Kyle, how’s it going?
Kyle Cutter: Good man. Thanks for having me back. That means a lot that I could repeat it. What episode is this now?
Brady: This is 197, so just on the cusp of two hundo.
Kyle Cutter: Okay, okay. I’m ready.
Brady: It’s pretty exciting and it’s exciting to have you back on the show as well. There’s a lot been going on at Life Church as well as particularly in the department, the side of things that you are a part of. Before we [00:07:30] jump into that, can you just refresh Pro Church Nation about who you are and where you serve within the Life Church, dare I say it, empire?
Kyle Cutter: Okay. Well man, I get the opportunity to serve on a team that we called Open Network, which is all the things that we do to serve pastors and church leaders. It kind of sits in our digital missions here at Life Church, so there’s a central office, the empire as you called it, but here in Edmond, Oklahoma, right outside of Oklahoma City, and this is basically all the team members [00:08:00] that don’t work at one of our local churches per se. They don’t work at a physical campus, but they work to support all of our campuses.
So I sit on our digital team. We call it Digerati. It’s a fun word, it describes it all, the digital natives here at central and then specifically I lead the Open Network Team, which is all about the digital things we do for pastors and church leaders.
Brady: Amazing. The last time that we had you on the Pro Church Podcast we talked about this idea of leading with irrational generosity, which I believe is [00:08:30] either the mission or vision statement or basically the internal mantra that drives everything that you do within your department and perhaps across all of Life Church. Do you want to just dive a little bit into that idea, because even before we hit record you had already brought it up again. It’s clearly top of mind for you and the team.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah. One of our values is we will lead the way with irrational generosity because we truly believe it’s more blessed to give than receive. That’s one of our code statements, our value statements here at Life Church. It all started back 2006, [00:09:00] this idea of okay, what are we going to do? I wasn’t there as the leadership of our church asking the question okay, we have these resources, we maybe have other churches and pastors asking about hey, can I use that message or that curriculum or that graphics or videos?
So leadership thought what are we going to do with this? What are we going to do? We want to give it away. Man, it would be nice if we maybe created an eCommerce site or all that, so they landed with the decision of man, we’re going to live out this value of irrational generosity. So they launched what is now the Open [00:09:30] Network. For the last 11 years it’s been giving away the resources, the training, the curriculum, really everything that we have to serve others.
Along the years as more things have come up that we’ve built or designed, like the YouVersion Bible App, we then say, “Hey, what are we going to do with it?” Well, we’re going to give it away. We’re going to give it away absolutely free so that we can lead the way with irrational generosity.
Brady: To that end it seems like there’s been a bit of an evolution over the last let’s say six to 12 months with the Open Network. Can you talk [00:10:00] about that because it seems like big things have transpired and …
Kyle Cutter: Oh man.
Brady: … maybe even more big things are afoot.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, you’re totally right. So we basically relaunched fall of 2016 and it was all in the effort of man, what are the things that really are serving the pastors and church leaders? What are the things that they’ve told us is working, not working? What are the things they’ve asked for more of? So we relaunched fall 2016 with Open.Life.Church, calling it the Open Network. It was continuing to launch with resources. We launched [00:10:30] an online community, so a place that other pastors and church leaders could connect together and help each other, not just from Life Church to them, but to each other.
We launched training, which was the idea of all these resources and apps that we give away. We need to tell pastors and church leaders the why behind it, so hey, we’re going to put something in your hand but we want to tell you about how we use it, how we do ministry, so that was brand new.
Then continued with the suite of tools like Church Metrics, Develop.Me and church online platforms, [00:11:00] so all things new but still out of that same heart of whatever we have we want to give it away for free.
Brady: It sounds like the platform itself is just expanding and there’s so much stuff that we use together, but there are these different products and they’re all playing nice with one another, helping churches move forward. Dovetailing off of that, if a church is listening to this, and if there’s one thing I know about churches Kyle, is that there’s one thing that they love above all things, not bad, free.
The simple reason for that is almost every church I know is [00:11:30] under-resourced when it comes to time, money and expertise, especially because we wear so many different hats, so we might have the best intentions, we might just not have very much experience in a certain area. So what is it in the simplest of terms that Open Network can help every church listening to this accomplish?
Kyle Cutter: Love it. I think there’s a couple ways. One, there may be an actual thing that you’re looking for. Oh my gosh, if I just had the manual or the guide or [00:12:00] the PDF or the PSD file that would just cut me down from having to do it myself or to buy it. There’s definitely that there. But Brady, I think what’s also there and when we relaunched it with the new training it was man, there’s sometimes that pastors and church leaders have everything that they need, but maybe their mindset or the perspective, they just need to be challenged to think about problem solving in a different way.
That’s what I’d hope they’d find as well, is not just a thing or a download, but maybe just a perspective of not that you need to copy of how Life Church [00:12:30] is doing ministry here, but maybe there’s just a way that we went around solving a problem or a way that maybe we scaled something or a way that we created something that inspires them to maybe solve their problem that only they’re faced with.
Because what I love is local pastors are called to serve local communities and they know their community, they know their people, they know their staff, and so maybe our perspective of maybe our idea could just inspire them.
Brady: Actually, if you don’t mind I’d love to dive a little bit deeper into that idea because if there’s one [00:13:00] problem that I do see with churches is that because we are so under-resourced and under-skilled and our time is just like the margin is just not there, a lot of the times when we see something that’s working in another church and surly you have so much firsthand experience with this Kyle, when you see something that’s working in another church, it’s so easy to just be like, “Okay, let’s copy them and then it will work for us.”
Kyle Cutter: Yeah.
Brady: My fear with all resource sites, and I’m a part of many resource sites so this is on me [00:13:30] as much as anyone, is that churches will use this, not understand how to use it and just think it’s a silver bullet. Can you speak to that idea and maybe finding ways to counteract that?
Because in a perfect world, like you said, no one knows their community better than the church and the local leadership team that’s serving that city and community, but what I’ve seen in reality is we’re just so busy, we’re so under-resourced that we just kind of plug and play and hope that the next thing is going to be the perfect Band-aid solution, not really truly focusing on [00:14:00] the underlying problems.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, I think you’re totally right. I remember finding myself in that same place when I was at a local church in Texas that oftentimes you’ve been contemplating, thinking about this problem and I think there are times where a site, oh my gosh, it finally has, it does answer the question that I’ve had.
So we don’t want to create a barrier where a church has to believe what we believe before they can get something from us. So we don’t want to create that barrier, but at the same time for those [00:14:30] that are okay, you gave me something but I need to understand how to implement or how this impacted your ministry, that’s what the Open Network is working hard to do is to also give them that. One of the ways that we play that out is when we relaunched again, we give away all of our message content, so Pastor Craig and whoever guest speakers come in, we give away the weekend message content from the graphics, the videos, even the transcripts and outlines that these pastors are using.
But what we also started giving away is we actually connect [00:15:00] with one of our 27 local pastors at Life Church and we say, “Okay, hey local pastor,” let’s say Tommy out of Tulsa, “Okay Pastor Tommy, how are you going to actually lead through this message series in your local campus?” In a 10 to 15 minute video you’re going to hear from one of our pastors not just how they’re going to lead spiritually through it, but how practically. Hey, this series does a really good job leading to maybe small groups, so Pastor Tommy, talk about how you’re going to lead your attenders to get engaged in a small group.
It gives them more of the why [00:15:30] and the practical next steps if they use it. Now again, we don’t want to put that barrier up where they have to do it that way. We’re trying to come alongside our resources and give more of the why behind it. If that answers your question. I agree that sometimes they do just need hey, I’ve been looking for it. I finally found it and it didn’t cost me a dime, but if I am looking for something and I want to plug and play, let’s make sure that the why behind the what is also available.
Brady: Yeah, agreed. I think a lot of the … The biggest element of the solution to that problem is just being mindful and [00:16:00] self aware of it and recognizing that the trap does exist and that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. There is no such thing as a silver bullet. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such thing as a free Open Network evidently.
Kyle Cutter: I like that.
Brady: Let’s transition to a really practical example. I’d love to hear just any story that you want to pull out and share with Pro Church Nation, Kyle. Just to give everyone listening some nice, practical context for how Open Network can help their church. What’s so easy [00:16:30] about this conversation frankly is that nothing is being sold here and this is just the most generous giving away that any church has basically ever done. Tell me about a story of a local church, of a pastor that used something, anything within Open Network and how that impacted their ministry.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah. I think of Pastor Fernando up in the Bronx. What I love about this story is he is a leader. I won’t say he’s in politics. He’s in government work and he is called [00:17:00] to reach his area and his heart was just so big. He thought I finally have to plant a life-giving church in my area to serve his direct community.
He talks about the same thing you mentioned earlier, his vision and passion was so big, but the resources that were available to him were, they were at one point and his vision was big and there was this gap. I love that he said, he goes, “The Open Network filled that gap.” Practically what it was doing was man, my kids ministry, when I found that passionate couple that wanted [00:17:30] to take over my kids ministry, I then can connect them to a kids’ curriculum that I know is quality, it’s been thought through, there’s volunteer training and how to implement it.
I could take a passionate couple that already have full-time jobs to work for their own family and I can give them the Open Network and say, “Let’s just use what’s there.” The same thing, he at times preaches himself, but he can take messages and series that he’s doing this 40 hour by 60 hour workweek job, but then he can go back to and say, “Man, I know that this content is quality. It’s there and I [00:18:00] can make it my own to serve my community.”
So that’s just a story of a guy who recently planted a church and how the Open Network met it. I also love the stories of, I was talking to a pastor out of Australia. He uses the Church Metrics App. He’s not close to Life Church, he doesn’t live near one of our campuses, but this idea he is passionate about reaching his area in Australia and he’s got this free tool now, this free app that works, it’s consistent. He can track data that matters to him and he can keep that data.
It’s a multi-site church now [00:18:30] and he goes, “Man, I can pastor my pastors because I know the data of what’s happening at their campuses. I can’t be at every one of their campuses every weekend because I’m at my campus.” So that’s just another real practical way that a tool like a Church Metrics is serving pastors and church leaders all around the country, all around the world.
Brady: It sounds like you have a variety of ministry experience before being part of Open Network. What challenges did you face as a pastor, as a leader in church, that Open Network would have helped [00:19:00] with if only you had had it then?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, great. So I was in what a lot of probably the Pro Church Nation is in was really in media production. I had a lot to do with technology and marketing and service production. The building we had it in was quality, it was good, but always coming up with fresh ideas because everyone’s looking to you. Okay, what’s the next thing? Even stage set design or series design or campaign that we’re going to do.
I remember man, if someone … I [00:19:30] loved getting the artwork for it and I loved getting that, but I remember when pitching things you always wanted to tell the other leaders the why behind it. So that’s just something I had mentioned before, why I’m so passionate at the Open Network to share the why behind that really cool Christmas medley video background or that cool series artwork. I got to hear the why behind it. I know I was always required to share that, so at Open Network we’re passionate about equipping pastors and leaders with that as well.
Brady: I love it. I [00:20:00] love it. I know there’s a lot of free resources in Open Network like when it comes to downloadable items, and you’ve talked a bit about this, but what else can be found in there? There’s the apps and software, right?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, so there’s apps, software. I think about churches that maybe want to leverage technology to reach people no one’s reaching, so church online platform. We say it’s all around community around content, so we’ve built a platform that you show up with your video streaming provider and you plug it into the platform [00:20:30] and it’s got chat, prayer. People can indicate salvation and you can do announcement slides.
Church online platform is a great one. Dev.Me, Develop.Me is all around goal setting. You’re really building a culture in your staff or your volunteer team of goal setting and reviews. I’m passionate about that. We’re passionate about that here at Life Church. Church Metrics, we used that at my last church before Life Church that hey, we track the data that mattered most to us and we kept it in our reports and dashboards.
So those app suites, man, they’re there to serve. [00:21:00] I even think about a YouVersion and how YouVersion is called to build out the local church through YouVersion events where you can load your pastors’ messages in a series and people can follow along in God’s Word and take notes right there in the Bible App and then save that to their profile. These are all things that we used prior, I used prior to being on staff at Life Church and just continue to be even more passionate about it now that we get to give it away for free.
Brady: One thing that you mentioned that just stood out to me was you were talking about the previous church that you were serving at and you talked about tracking [00:21:30] metrics that were important to you using that Church Metrics platform. What were those metrics? For a church that feels the tension between well, numbers are important but we don’t want to only track vanity numbers, what is a vanity metric? What were the metrics that you were tracking that were important to you then and maybe even speak to what you’re tracking at Life Church now?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, that’s great. It’s interesting, I remember sitting one time when I was newer on staff and looking at all these dashboards and thinking man, look at all these numbers. One of the leaders here said, “Kyle, we don’t track a lot of [00:22:00] numbers. We just look at the numbers in a variety of ways.”
It wasn’t that we tracked a million different types of numbers. It was hey, there’s a few core things on a weekend, so how many people showed up? Because we know man, if something’s growing it’s probably alive and it’s impacting people, so how many people showed up? How many people gave their lives to Christ? How many people took the next step towards baptism? How many people are serving, actually living out their faith and serving others?
Giving, how many people are returning the first fruit through their tithe and giving? Then [00:22:30] obviously then you can roll that down into kids, kids’ volunteers, how many youth are serving. Those would be some big high level numbers that we just consistently track and then review those in a variety of different ways. But again, it could all be about talking to the Hillsong Leadership Network. We’re working on them with a feature in the Church Metrics App and I think about, they talk about first time response. How many people did you respond to in the last week?
How many people are in a Life Group or new Life Groups got added this past week? Again, [00:23:00] not a lot of different numbers, but you can take that data and then look at it in a variety of different ways to see how is my church growing?
Brady: This may not be your area of expertise, Kyle, so feel free to just breeze past this question, but you just mentioned something that got me curious. You talked about Hillsong and how they’ve been tracking first time visitors and then what I think of is the followup from that. One of the questions we’ve been getting a ton is how do you followup with people that attend your church? There’s so much that goes into getting [00:23:30] someone to attend your church for the very first time and just so many different elements that have to occur before someone will go through the tedious challenging experience of getting up early on a Sunday, getting the family in the car, driving, figure out the parking spot, walking into the church, figuring out where do my kids go?
Do they have a place for my kids? Where do I sit? What do I wear? How long is this going to be? Do I stand? Why are people raising their hands? These are all crazies. No, I like them. They’re kind. Then that’s not the hard part because then you’ve got to figure out followup [00:24:00] after that. So I would love to hear how you at Life Church are managing that if you have any insight into that. I know so many people in Pro Church Nation would love to hear about it.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, so I don’t serve at one of our campuses with the followup, but I’ll speak to what I know because I get to work a lot with the technology side of how technology is giving people the opportunity to take a next step. So I would say followup for us is we want people to belong before they believe. We want them to feel like they can just come to church and be themselves before [00:24:30] we expect anything from them.
So what we try to do is remove all the barriers so when they’re ready to take a next step towards us, that next step may be checking in their kids. Hey, I’m going to trust you to put my kids in your kids’ ministry so we work hard to create a great environment for that. Hey, I may trust you of giving you a prayer request. You say that you believe in prayer? Hey, let me test this out. I’m going to submit a prayer request.
Maybe it’s a hey, I’m willing to say I’m interested in this event you’re about to have or a next steps class or a Life Group, so whenever someone takes that next [00:25:00] step, our job, all our campus teams and what I feel like with our technology is a steward to that interaction. So we allow that person, if they want to fill out the printed card and only give us their mailing address, then hey, we’re going to follow them up with their mail.
If they put down a cell phone number, hey, we’re going to do followup with them maybe with a text message. If they give us their emails we’re going to follow, so we kind of allow them to take a next step towards us and then the way that they indicate that and they way they took the step will tell us how to followup with them.
[00:25:30] So our campus teams and the amazing volunteer teams that they build in their followup, they stand ready. Okay, how do we want to followup with them? How are they approach to us? We’ll go back in that same direction. With the technology part it’s the same way. Our campus pastors, when they’re on stage communicating we try to build out a digital experience of all the things I just mentioned inside of our Life Church App.
When that attender or new person comes and if they choose to download the app and click on a few of the buttons to then give us some of their information, well hey, that indicates to us that they’re [00:26:00] okay with a technology followup. So then we’ll followup with them with technology. So we basically respond in the way that they took a step towards us in.
Brady: Interesting. It sounds like it’s a little bit more individualized and depending on what they give, you’ve got a variety of different ways that you can followup. What happens if you get address, email and phone? Is there a preferred way that you would prioritize over another?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, so we definitely do, we love getting stuff in the mail still. I think about my kids. [00:26:30] We do a really good job on our Life Kids Ministry, or I think they do. My kids still love it. We’ve been going to Life Church now five years and they still love getting these postcards from the teachers in their classrooms. After the guest services checks in kids and new families, they get to spend the rest of the service doing followup to new people that came and as well as with existing kids that are in rooms.
It’s just another way of touch. I know some of our kids’ pastors, for a new family that comes in and if the family gave us a text message they’ll send a followup. “Hey, thanks so much for trusting us [00:27:00] with your kids for the first time this weekend. Hey, if there’s anything as your kids’ pastor I can help you with, let me know.” We try to, sometimes we go above and beyond and go above and send multiple ways. We definitely love phone calls. That ability, if someone gave us their phone number and they’re open to a call we’ll definitely pursue them.
So again, it’s a variety of ways. I would imagine at our campus, I don’t know the exact, I know they probably have some benchmarks of okay, if we get this we will for sure do X. Obviously email’s easy. What I love about email is someone that can come to the service [00:27:30] that Sunday morning, we have some campuses that man, right after the service they’re already getting followup. They’re processing the communication cards or the digital communication cards during the next service with a group of volunteers of the previous service. Instant and immediate where people can take that next step.
Brady: I’m fascinated by the divide between automation and individualization. It sounds like each campus has a volunteer team that is doing a lot of this followup. First off, is [00:28:00] that true? Is the followup that would be done …
Kyle Cutter: That’s accurate.
Brady: So not the campus pastor, but you’ve got a volunteer team that you’ve developed at each campus.
Kyle Cutter: I would say it’s a mixture depending on the what came back to us or depending on what that next step was will depend who, but let’s just say first time followup, I think about kids first time followup, I know a lot of times people that take the first step in giving, that’s a big deal. That’s a big step for some people and so I know our campus pastors and the staff team are doing the followup, so I would say it depends [00:28:30] on what that step is towards us, but I do know every campus has volunteers that are at least helping process them. Then probably processing them and doing some of the followup themselves.
Brady: When it comes to the followup, the divide between automation and individualization, you don’t need to know the intricate details I don’t imagine, but are there standard operating procedures for okay, if X happens, Y happens? Or do you have volunteers or the leader of the volunteer team making a decision based on [00:29:00] the feedback that you get on an individual basis?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, I do know just talking to our campus ops leader here just a couple of weeks ago, he talked about that to where they’re implementing standards where we’ve seen a variety of ways it’s been happening. At least the job’s getting done and we’re learning from the best that we are lucky the fact that having 27 different campuses at this moment, we’ve got 27 amazing leaders so they’re able to build and to find ways and tweak things to make things more efficient.
So as we learn from each other, how do we then implement [00:29:30] that across the other campuses? But there’s going to be definitely consistency in our followup. No one gets dropped. No one gets left behind, so there’s consistency there, but we’re always learning, always adapting to make sure we’re covering everyone and responding to everyone.
Brady: Yeah. Such a fascinating, fascinating world because I think for such a long time our churches have focused on we need more people, attract more people, attract more people. Then they come and maybe they don’t come back and we’re like, “Oh, oh no. We forgot an important part.” Someone who runs a variety of different [00:30:00] software products like the number one metric that we’re tracking each month is churn, right?
Kyle Cutter: Yup.
Brady: It’s so much easier to keep a customer than acquire a new customer and if you’re losing a substantial percentage of customers each month, that’s a very, it puts you in a very vulnerable position. The same is true for churches. There’s that old adage like close the back door when it comes to people leaving or not coming back, never to be heard of again. Okay, that was helpful. I was just kind of curious and so I’m glad we were able to kind of move in that direction briefly. [00:30:30] Let’s get back to the team that you’re leading. Talk about kind of what’s next for Open Network. My guess is you’ve done a ton revamping the platform and you guys aren’t finished yet?
Kyle Cutter: Oh man, we’re never done. We’re never done. Yeah, I think it’s cool seeing some momentum, some real specific areas right now. That would be around our partners. So other pastors, other churches, other ministries that have that same heart to lead [00:31:00] the way with irrational generosity, they believe it’s more blessed to give than receive, so we opened up Open Network to be a platform where those other ministries and those other organizations can give away their resources and where the local pastor and church leader that maybe want to download kid’s curriculum from New Spring or a weekend message from Elevation or worship content from Fresh Life Church or Willow … Whatever that may be, they’re able to download that and then that ministry gets to keep connected to that pastor church leader.
[00:31:30] So now on the site there’s about 13 different ministries as of today that are giving away their content, their resources and the Open.Life.Church, that website, that platform is able to house that digital experience if you will with a pastor church leader receiving resources, training, community from these ministries.
Brady: I wanted to get a little insight into the way that you manage your team at Life Church. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s the Digerati Team? Is that what it’s called?
Kyle Cutter: [00:32:00] Yeah, so Open Network is one of the Digerati Teams. Again, Digerati is really the digital native teams here at Life Church, so the church online team would be under that, the YouVersion Bible App would be under that, our Bible Labs, our brand new Bible Labs team’s underneath that. Then some of the digital team that serve our local church like IT with the more traditional information technology. We have one team called Interactive, which builds all those interactive touchpoints with our attenders. Yeah, that’s [00:32:30] all our Digerati, our digital natives.
Brady: Okay cool, so what interests me is leading a team of creatives and doing the stuff in the digital creative world because we’ve been working so hard here at Pro Church Tools on Nucleus and Story Tape and these products that we’ve been developing for so long and it all comes down to creativity and managing these sprints and these goals.
Kyle Cutter: Oh yeah.
Brady: Here’s where we’re trying to reach. I know you guys kind of do, I don’t know what the exact term is but internal sprints. Okay, this week we’re really going to focus on [00:33:00] X. Let’s lock in on this. Can you talk about that leadership side of things because I know pastors would greatly be benefited by that.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, I’d love to talk about it. So you call them sprints. It’s a scrum methodology and the idea of it at a high level, a lot of times it’s used in the technology space with developers and engineers for product development. Really what it’s about is incremental delivery. So oftentimes we can get a big project, a big thing that we’re leading towards. In the weekend service, [00:33:30] let’s call it Christmas, Easter, we’re leading towards something, but to get to that final product we’re going to have to break it down into small incremental steps.
In the product world, in technology, oftentimes you’re shipping is the phrase, small incremental elements before you actually ship the final product, the final release. Call it the final service, right? You’re going to have those incremental steps. All of this is taking something really big, call it an epic, that’s what in technology it’s called an epic. Something [00:34:00] really big, and you’re breaking it down into the finite tasks that it’s going to take to get that done.
You may have heard language like milestones. You need to create milestones. You need to create endpoints. Sprints, all that is is just really you set a set amount of time and you pre-sprint before the sprint. You say, “Okay, what can we get done in this set amount of time with the set amount of resources we have?” Be it staff, be it volunteers, be contractors, then what are we getting done?
Okay, so at the end of the sprint [00:34:30] we’re going to come back together and we’re going to look at what did we say we’re going to get done, how di dit go and then all right, then we’re going to start another sprint and we’re going to plan and prepare for our next … Maybe that’s a week. Maybe that’s two weeks. Maybe it’s a month. So it’s really just taking a really big thing, a big project, a big idea, breaking it down, making sure all the right stakeholders are there, breaking it down and then biting it off a chunk at a time.
What I love about it though, especially in a product development world is you pull all the people together, not just the people that are passionate about the end [00:35:00] product, but the people that are actually going to take to create the product. For us maybe it’s engineers or designers, and they all have to kind of come and agree upon the work, those tasks because it may be like oh yeah, I think it’s going to take these five tasks. That’s just my mind.
But if I get team members around me and other people looking at it, they may see things that I didn’t see, so it’s definitely, it’s a process that invites a lot of people into it, breaks it down and then you bite it off chunk by chunk.
Brady: I haven’t had very much success with project management tools, but one that I’ve [00:35:30] really enjoyed is Trello for this reason, because it puts everything in cards and columns and you’re moving cards from one column to another. When all the cards get to the end column it’s like yea, they’re done. Right now as we speak and as we’re recording this the development team over at Nucleus has a bunch of stuff for me to look at and right now it’s in the ready for client review column.
Kyle Cutter: That’s good.
Brady: I get to go in and if it’s good I move it over to the ready for production deployment column. That just feels good, little shots of dopamine for [00:36:00] success and accomplishment. Then with Story Tape when we launched that, we had to launch with 5,000 individual video clips. We were starting from zero and so that was this massive giant task and then we kind of broke it down to okay, if we need 5,000 clips then we’ll need 500 scenes.
If we need 500 scenes then each scene needs this many clips. Then how would we get that many clips per scene? Okay, we’d have to shoot five gimble shots, five slider shots and then you just keep breaking it down more and more and more. Then as [00:36:30] a creative team you lock in, get some good food and coffee and just go for it I guess. Very nice, very nice.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah, Trello is a great for that con-bon method of going from buckets is amazing. Trello even has some really cool plugins where you can bring in the idea of scrum or sprints into it where you can give point allocations, because oftentimes what happens is a card, one card is an easy task and one card is a hard … Oh my gosh, it’s going to take me half a day or that card’s going to take [00:37:00] me 30 minutes.
So in the scrum methodology you assign points then to it. I look at that card, that’s a one point and only the team really know what that means. Then oh, that’s a five point, so even though they visually look the same, that number actually tells us okay, how many points am I getting done this sprint? But yeah, the con-bon methodology of just moving things from column to column, it works great as well.
Brady: There’s a lot of lead pastors that are listening to this podcast, Kyle, but there’s also a ton of associate, [00:37:30] communication directors and people that aren’t the ones making the end decision, so so much of the dynamic of implementing new things, using new resources comes down to the relationship and the dynamics of that relationship between senior leadership and those underneath them.
If you were speaking to a local pastor that wasn’t given that kind of senior leadership authority-making decision, how would you convince, how would you encourage them, coach them to convince their pastor hey, let’s start using Open Network? [00:38:00] What are your insights into that kind of dynamic?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah. I think leading with the heart of it oftentimes, I mean I sit in the same seat where it’s like man, I want to create our own. I want it to be ours, right? The idea of a little bit of like man, we need to make it ours. How does another ministry or church know what we need? We need to know.
I think you’re totally accurate. You know what your local community needs. I think identifying that the vision that we have is X and okay, so how are we going to get that accomplished? Would it be best, [00:38:30] pastor, for me to be spending my time in creating and doing or would it be best if maybe I could use that resource, make it our own, tweak it, modify it to make it where it’s unique for us and then I get to spend that time building that volunteer team and the tech booth the way you want me to where we can multiply that.
Or hey, I can go be meeting with our community leaders out for coffee or for … Whatever that may be, building into leaders instead of always creating and doing. I’m not saying that’s for everyone, but that may [00:39:00] be the season that that local church finds themselves. Hey, we’ve got a limited number of staff members, we’ve only got so much time in the week, so how could Open Network fulfill the vision of your local pastor really just by supporting you or supporting him?
I would never say, “Hey local leader, go convince your pastor to use Craig Rochelle’s messages.” No, not by any means, but if it’s a hey, you had this really cool idea, pastor, and I found this graphic and this resource or this curriculum that really matches it well. Do you think we could take that and [00:39:30] adapt it or hey, does this help you in any way, give you kind of some next steps on how we could implement that here?
So I would never come trying to convince. I’d always connect it to what is the vision that that local pastor, your local pastor has, and say how does this help solve the problem that we have as a church maybe because of the lack of resources? Or it just says hey, we have the resources we need. We have a lot of churches that they have their own creative media teams or technology teams and Open Network really just helps them move faster.
Hey, because we’re going to use that series or hey, [00:40:00] because they manual for how to implement volunteers at a campus is already mapped out in this PDF I downloaded, and that saves me three hours of time this week. Now I can do X for the mission. So I would never try to convince. I’d always lead with the vision of the local church and then how does Open Network maybe solve some of the problems you guys are facing.
Brady: For every church listening to this that now is aware of some of the resources available to them at Open Network, let’s say for the church, the church leader that isn’t using any of it yet, [00:40:30] what would be the best place to start?
Kyle Cutter: That’s a good question. If I didn’t know what the problems they were trying to face, right? Like hey, I don’t know what they need, we created the training site or the blog even. The blog might be the easiest way. Hey, we write just high level stuff, ideas, things that we’re working on maybe for the season. They’re encouragement, empowering, the blog. You’ll get an email maybe once a week, maybe every other week with just an encouraging [00:41:00] thought or a little sneak peek of what’s coming on the Open Network.
That could be a great way. It could be a training. Hey, whatever seat, maybe you’re the Life Kids, the kids’ pastor at your local church. Hey, I’m just going to watch that one training video about why Life Church is so excited about kids’ ministry. It’s hey, I can agree with them on that. Then let that see where that leads you.
I would say that again, if I didn’t know what problem they were trying to solve in the moment, maybe subscribing to the blog or checking in on the training page [00:41:30] and see what resonates with them.
Brady: Yeah. I’m looking at the recent articles on the Life Church Open Network blog and some that are standing out to me, we’ve got Year end Giving Campaign Ideas for Churches, Five Must-Have Resources for Christmas. Now obviously both of those things are in the past now, but we’re recording this well in the future or well in the past of when you’re listening to this, and so that’s the stuff there. I’m sure there’s plenty of good new blogs since.
Kyle Cutter: Yeah.
Brady: Well, this is probably a little bit of an underwhelming question Kyle, but what is the URL for [00:42:00] people to get subscribed, in touch with the platform of Open Network? Where is the best place to begin?
Kyle Cutter: Yeah. They can just go to Open.Life.Church. If you go there you can get access to all the resources, all the training, community. We can link you off to all the apps and their websites. They blog is there. That is a great way to stay connected with us is Open.Life.Church. Signing up is completely free. It’s a few pieces of information. It’s your name, it’s the church you’re part of because it is geared towards [00:42:30] pastors and church leaders, not just for business, for for-profits. It’s geared for the ministry in mind. You can sign up for free there and stay connected with us.
Brady: Perfect. Is there anything that I have not yet asked you that you’d like to leave Pro Church Nation with before we sign off?
Kyle Cutter: Man, I would just say to a local pastor and church leader, it is our honor to partner with you guys however we may do that. If it is, if it’s a simple blog post you read and it encourages you or a free download, it is, [00:43:00] the heart of Open Network is to equip you, pastor and local church leader and so it’s our honor to partner with you, to come alongside you.
We know that God has tasked you with big things and serving your community and the same way that Life Church is serving our local communities, you’re serving yours so if anything of ours can help you, please take it. You’re not stealing. You’re not taking from us. We freely give it to you. It’s our honor to partner with local pastors and leaders.
Brady: I love it. Well, it was great having you back on the Pro Church Podcast Kyle for a repeat edition. Thanks so much for making the time. It’s been a blast.
Kyle Cutter: [00:43:30] Thanks Brady. Thank you Pro Church Nation. It’s been great.
Brady: There you have it, my interview with Kyle Cutter talking about how to maximize new visitor followup. Just to do a quick recap, we talked about avoiding Band-aid solutions by copying other churches, tracking the metrics that truly matter to your church, how Life Church manages followup with their new visitors and the gap between automation and individualization in that visitor followup. We talked about the scrum methodology and how to convince your senior leadership to begin using new resources and of course, those new resources perhaps [00:44:00] could be some of the free resources offered up by Life Church through their Open Network.
So head over to that website to check out all they have to offer. With that being said, it’s time for our review of the week. This one comes from, let’s do one let’s say from let’s say the USA. This Apple Podcast user, their user name is 0163829196519. So now if you are hearing this and you [00:44:30] recognize that as your Apple Podcast’s name, congrats. It’s a great review though.
It says, “Five stars. Seriously only one podcast? Yes, this is the only podcast I listen to. With my schedule I rarely have the opportunity to carve out 30-plus minutes for something. Well, I make time for this podcast. Brady brings an enormous amount of knowledge in such an easily digestible way. It would be terrible to not also mention his presence on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is awesome.
He actively engages with his audience and offers extremely helpful insight to a myriad [00:45:00] of different situations that a church may encounter. Implementing many of his tips has significantly changed our online presence for the better. If you’re not subscribed or following him, do so now.” I really wanted to read that podcast review because it talks about how in this instance, this person is making time to listen to a longer form podcast and how difficult it is.
While I’m very grateful that he or she has done that, what we’re going to be trying to do with Pro Church Daily in the new year is to make that even easier. Everyone has five to [00:45:30] 10 minutes every day to listen to something, especially if it’s going to make a big difference, has the potential to make a big difference in their church, and so we’re going to be doing that in the new year with Pro Church Daily. Cannot wait for you to hear the first episode. We’re really excited about it, so look forward to that.
Head to ProChurchPodcast.com, subscribe. You’ll get the first episode of Pro Church Daily sent immediately to your mobile device. We’re also on Spotify and we’re going to be syndicating this on YouTube through the video show. It’s going to be on the Apple Podcast video [00:46:00] version. We’re even going to try to syndicate it I believe to Alexa as an Alexa skill and Anchor, I believe we’re going to try to do that as well.
So anyplace that you listen we’re going to be trying to syndicate and repurpose Pro Church Daily on that medium, so look forward to that in the new year. Enjoy the remainder of your holidays. I’ll see you in the first episode of Pro Church Daily. Can’t wait. Talk soon, Pro Church Nation.