What's in this session?
- Church Name: Charlotte Assembly of God
- Church Location: Charlotte, Michigan
- Church Age: 70 years
- Church Size: 400 - 600
- On the coaching call: Cassie Kurtz - Administrative Assistant/Communications, Olivia - Social Media/Photography
Show notes and resources
- Andy Stanley
- Seeds/Church On The Move
- Charlotte Assembly of God’s website
- Charlotte Assembly of God on Facebook
- Charlotte Assembly of God on Instagram
- 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials
- Constructing A Visual Brand Using Photography with Alexander Mills
3 Instant Takeaways
- Double check that you’re shooting in manual mode. Some exposure issues can be solved by turning off the auto settings and learning how to correctly use the manual settings on your camera.
- Make time for a run through. A run through will happen before your service and will be where you go through your service as though it’s actually happening. This will allow your whole team, but especially your tech team, to work through any glitches that might come up. It also ensures that everyone knows exactly when everything is happening, which can help create smoother transitions.
- Use photos of people’s faces on your social media. Instead of defaulting to graphics or pictures of hands being raised, try using pictures where you can clearly see individual faces. People connect with people, and seeing the face of someone the recognize from church will help grab attention.
Free Bonus: Click here to download The iPhone Church Photography Case Study – learn to shoot stunning photos for your church with only your phone
Brady: Well, hey there and welcome to the Pro Church Podcast Coaching Edition. 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 years and what got us here won’t get us there. I’m Brady, your host and right now, you’re going to sit in with me as I coach and consult with a church in real time. It’s raw, it’s unedited and we’re solving real church problems, so let’s dive right in.
[00:00:30] Well, hey there Pro Church Nation and welcome to another session of the Pro Church podcast coaching edition. In this podcast, I’m going to be speaking live with a church. You’ll get to sit in on our coaching session together. Nothing’s off limits and everything is recorded and today we’re welcoming Cassie Kurtz to the show. Cassie, what’s up?
Cassie Kurtz: Hey, hey, hey much.
Brady: Not too much. It’s great to have you on the coaching call. We like to start off each of these by sharing … well, by really not sharing, you have to run the gauntlet of the five question lightning round, [00:01:00] which is actually very easy, so are you ready to go?
Cassie Kurtz: I’m ready.
Brady: Perfect, so the first question is, what is the name of your church?
Cassie Kurtz: Our is church is Charlotte Assembly of God not to be mistaken for Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brady: Wait, it’s not Charlotte, it’s Charlotte?
Cassie Kurtz: It’s Charlotte.
Brady: Oh my gosh, I have never heard of this place. Where is it?
Cassie Kurtz: We”re 20 minutes south of the capital in Michigan. We’re 20 minutes south of Lansing.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah.
Brady: Not too [00:01:30] far from us, man, that is … Okay, how many problems have you, this is a side track, but how many problems have you run into with that?
Cassie Kurtz: With the locals not too bad but definitely all of our guest speakers, missionaries, they call it Charlotte.
Brady: Oh my goodness, well, I promise you that I will not and I’m glad that you said it first, otherwise, I would have said that. Okay, I was going to say where is your church located, but we’ve definitely covered that. How old is your church?
Cassie Kurtz: Last October, we just celebrated 70 years.
Brady: [00:02:00] Amazing, how big is your church?
Cassie Kurtz: We right now are low 400s, high 600s.
Brady: Okay and what is your role at the church?
Cassie Kurtz: I am the administrative assistant to our lead pastor, but I have some deep roots here at the church. I still lead worship, play in the worship team, but I am also in charge of our graphics. I do our video announcements, our marketing and communication, and then all the admin side to [00:02:30] pastor’s calendar, emails to the church, social media stuff, along with hopefully, soon my partner in crime with social media and photography will be joining us. She’s running a little late, but that’s what I do.
Brady: You cover a couple of different things, sounds like?
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, just a few.
Brady: Perfect, so we’ve got Cassie Kurtz, the administrative assistant, as well as every other thing that happens in the church, about 500 people, 70 years old, Charlotte, Michigan, [00:03:00] moved, nailed it. Okay, great, so what are we going to spend our time focusing on in in this coaching call, Cassie? Take it away.
Cassie Kurtz: Well today, I would just really like some clarity and some vision on how in the world to film, whether it’s our live video stream that we’re hoping to put out soon and with our photography for our sermon highlights on social media? How to film, take pictures, good quality [00:03:30] pictures with a flat screen TV on stage? Right now our pictures, the TV is ghost white or the pastor is super blurry because he finally got the TV all balanced out and everything else is… So it’s yeah, that’s the main focus today.
Brady: Okay, so, the TV that’s on the stage what is it used for? Is it Imeg?
Cassie Kurtz: Well, [00:04:00] it’s his sermon slides. We pull the TV out, the 55 inch, 4-K, ultra, all that fancy stuff. We roll that out from backstage, pluck it in, turn it on and we do that during video announcements, so while the stage is dark and then we like to have his message, the pastor’s message slide on the TV and then it will also have his Scripture slides up there. That’s [00:04:30] mainly we wanted it up there for our live stream because we used to before we did this $50,000 upgrade with Pro Presenter and ATEM machine, all that stuff, we used to run Song Show. Yeah, Show and it was on…
Brady: Song Select?
Cassie Kurtz: Song Select possibly, very old program and whatever was on the projection screen would be what was recorded for people to take home and watch the [00:05:00] sermon again later. We, Facebook Live and we want to stream live, so we felt with the TV we can still have the video of the pastor on the screen and then have the Scripture reference right there next to him. We’re just having a hard time getting that in focused and balanced out so that it just looks really crisp quality, high-tech.
Brady: Do you not have actual projector screens in the auditorium anymore?
Cassie Kurtz: We do. [00:05:30] We do. We upgraded to widescreen format projection on both sides of the platform.
Brady: You’re using the TV in tandem with those?
Cassie Kurtz: Yes.
Brady: Okay, interesting, maybe explain it a little bit more to me because I’m having a little bit difficulty grasping why you would use both in tandem?
Cassie Kurtz: The projection screens on the size, we use those for the song lyrics during service. [00:06:00] They play the video announcement and then they also have live feed and his Scripture slides, but we only have one camera in our sanctuary and it’s dead center behind the sound booth on the pastor. The TV is so that when we go live or when people want to watch instead of listen to the sermons from Sunday because we have a generation that still likes to watch it to feel [00:06:30] like they were there, instead of cutting to a full screen that’s just Scripture for five, 10 minutes when he’s talking about that Scripture, we wanted it so that … Excuse me, the recording would still show pastor live and have the flat screen TV behind him with his Scripture, so we didn’t have to cut back and forth to these full, gigantic solid Scripture slides.
Brady: [00:07:00] Okay, I gotcha and was this recommended to you by the person that put in the system or are you modeling in other churches’ strategy for this?
Cassie Kurtz: A little bit of both, he really liked what Andy Stanley was doing with the TV. We first started with we matched our light blue, textured for our series and put it on a TV and it was just so washed out. We were watching back again on Andy Stanley’s stuff and we’re like, “All of his TV, anything he puts [00:07:30] on the TV is all either really dark or all just flat black with white words.” We tried that. It helped a little bit. We were looking into getting a $300 anti-glare screen for the TV,.
It’s just such a big investment that I wanted to see if there was any way to do it without that? We will make that purchase if that’s what is recommended. The Seeds Church on the Move [00:08:00] website that you recommended, they actually did quite a similar thing with a flatscreen TV and they did put an anti-glare screen on it, so I’m wondering if we just have to bite the bullet and buy one and maybe that will help?
Brady: Well, let’s talk a little bit about the actual problem that you’re encountering with it, has to do with Flickr or it sounds like it’s more just the inability for it to be clear and readable?
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, it’s definitely … There’s no Flickr. We’re not encountering [00:08:30] any of that, which I’m lucky.
Brady: Interesting, okay, yeah, I don’t have too much experience when it comes to this unique, specific problem. What I will say is that obviously, you have two options. If you think that the anti-glare screen is what’s going to fix it, then you’ve got that option, right? The $300 option. Then you can also just make sure that that does work, test it and then if it doesn’t you could always send it back sort of thing, right? The other option [00:09:00] is to actually go back to the other way of doing things. Let me ask you this. How many camera angles are you having on pastor? Is it just the one or do you have multiple?
Cassie Kurtz: For the live stream just the one.
Brady: Interesting because I actually like, and this is obviously your preference and it’s your prerogative, but I actually like the idea of using the full screen graphics, whether it be of a message point of a slide of a sermon reference of Scripture. [00:09:30] I actually prefer that going from the single camera angle to the full screen because I think what it does is it breaks up the monotony of just looking at the exact same camera angle for the whole time.
Now, if you had multiple camera angles, then we could revisit the idea of keeping the screen on stage. Of course, the problem with that is then you have two cameras that you’d have to fix with the anti-glare and who knows? Maybe the one wouldn’t have the problem with the refresh rate or the Flickr but the other one would, who knows? Point being what you could do is just go back to the whole, [00:10:00] full screen graphic.
Now, I don’t know why you would need to leave it on five to ten minutes? That might have been just been you exaggerating perhaps? But I’m thinking 10, 15 seconds of that, if that, putting the full screen graphic on the screen and then going back to the actual pastor on stage camera view, I think that’s a great way of breaking up the monotony of having a single camera angle the whole time. That would be an option that would allow you to save the $300.
But I also think that might mean you spent money on a TV that maybe you no longer use, which is some cost theory. You don’t need [00:10:30] to spend more money to make up for the money that you’ve already spent, but there is that. The fact that you go backwards after doing something and maybe there’s a third option that I’m missing right now, but what are your thoughts on that initial thought?
Cassie Kurtz: No, yeah, I totally agree. I would have to look into the return procedure for, anti-glare screen. Yeah, I would definitely … I know a lot of it right now, too, going through [00:11:00] our pictures is that with the flat black background, and this is so rare because usually we have a full back wall, textured, lit design that stays lit during the message, too, and that really helps with creating some type of consistency as far as exposure on the stage, as far as lighting and whatnot. But right now, it’s just so soloed with [00:11:30] the pastor and the TV that if you’re taking straight-on pictures, it’s awful.
If you move to the side because we have these sidewalls under where the projectors are, that have these really cool white triangle shapes that are lit up during worship and during the message, those pictures out of the park. They’re great. I’m like, “Maybe we need to finish that back wall,” and sometimes there are moments where I’m like, “Maybe all this, [00:12:00] the Pro Presenter and the ATEM machine, maybe it’s all over our head,” but yeah. I think there’s just so many variables right now that I’m watching to get some clear “Try this if this doesn’t work, then say goodbye.”
Brady: Yeah and diagnosing it from afar is obviously difficult than having someone in person. It sounds like I’m looking at the problem that you’ve also had when pastor walks in front of the TV and then he gets dark and [00:12:30] the TV looks blown out, which to me is a clear sign of auto-exposure just not being able to compensate for the movement within the image itself. Is everything on manual? Maybe it’s as simple as an auto-exposure thing?
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, there are some settings that we put to manual. The exposure I believe was still one of them. You know what’s really weird, Brady? When you’re looking in the viewfinder and then when you have a TV that’s off to decide, too, that [00:13:00] duplicates what you’re seeing in the camera, it looks great. It’s perfect. You look up on the projector screens. We have these beautiful, new hi-def widescreen format, director screen and it looks awful.
I understand. I think it might have been one of your other podcasts maybe or a blog that you have done that is the TV for in-house or is meant for live feeds? You have [00:13:30] to be okay with it looking bad inside because the TV is really meant for live feed and it looks great on live feed. I don’t know? There’s another variable that that’s very interesting. Should we turn the brightness down on our projection screen?
Brady: Yeah, well, I would definitely revisit this idea of what auto settings are on your cameras because within the Pro-Church Tools Offices, this is something that we deal with. We’ve got this one wall [00:14:00] that’s 100% windows and when you have a really bright exterior and a darker interior, unless your camera has extreme stops of dynamic range and even the best film cameras with 15 plus stops, still have difficulty with this when the contrast between dark and light is so intense.
Let’s say I’m sitting at my desk and someone’s filming me and their camera is pointed towards the windows. I basically become a silhouette on auto exposure because the [00:14:30] camera will expose for the majority of the image and if the majority of the image is this really bright part, then the camera is going to expose for that. Then I, even though I’m the subject matter, the camera is it sophisticated to know that and then I become a silhouette and I’m not properly exposed.
This kind of example where the pastor walks in front of the TV and then suddenly your settings that were perfect are now ruined because the TV becomes blown out and your pastor becomes dark, that silhouette that I just mentioned, it just sounds like your camera is adjusting the exposure [00:15:00] on the fly, which is obviously not what you want at all. You set up your settings the way that you like them and then you want to make sure that your camera is fully manual so that this doesn’t happen.
If that’s the problem that you’re having that is 95% likely going to be auto exposure, whether it’s ISO that’s on auto, whether it’s Aperture Priority that’s on auto, whatever it might be, shutter speed that’s on auto. Any of those three things could be automatically taking control of the scene and changing mid-scene and because you’re [00:15:30] shooting a scene that is in changing, the lights are the way they are, the framing is the way it is, your camera is on a tripod and is not moving, you can have everything on manual so that your camera doesn’t start thinking to itself, “Oh, I think I should change things because I am in charge.” No camera, you’re not in charge. You’re an idiot, look what you’ve done.”
I would just make sure that shutter speed, ISO and Aperture are not on automatic at all and that they’re all with her percent manual because they each contribute to the exposure triangle. If any of those, [00:16:00] if your camera is on Aperture Priority or on shutter speed priority or if the ISO is on auto-ISO, it’s going to be changing it as it sees fit. The same thing happens for white balance.
You put up something on the screen that’s a little bit blue, that could trick the camera, depending on how tight your framing is that, “Oh, the white balance has changed,” and then the whole look and coloring of the shot could change. You definitely want all of those on manual. Before I go into buying an anti-glare screen or changing everything I would just make 100% sure, check the camera manual, check online, make sure your cameras are 100% set [00:16:30] on manual in those respects.
Cassie Kurtz: Okay, perfect.
Brady: Because I would not be surprised if you get back to that and you’re like, “Oh look, it was on shutter priority,” which sounds okay until you realize, “Oh, that means that the camera is prioritizing shutter speed and it’s making adjustments in other places to compensate for that and that’s the problem.”
Cassie Kurtz: Okay, yeah and I know I probably need to dig in because it’s all brand-new equipment.
Brady: Yeah, totally, this happens every time we get a new camera as well. Look at it and we’re like, “Oh yeah,” [00:17:00] and then we make a mistake on a shoot and we’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s funny.”
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, okay.
Brady: That’s not funny. We ruined the shot, but we learned at least?
Cassie Kurtz: Yes, oh yeah, okay, that makes sense to definitely help with checking the manual settings, making sure it’s on manual and then yeah. Another to dance off of that topic for a second, we have … We’re all 100% volunteer rand on [00:17:30] Sundays and we basically have it to where the projection, the lead projection tack comes in, turns the camera on and a volunteer sits at the camera and that’s it. How in-depth training do we give to those volunteers because we want them to feel they have ownership, like they have creative expression between what they’re doing.
At the same time almost to [00:18:00] me I feel that sometimes too much information is dangerous for a volunteer when they could totally just ruined the shot and then we’re trying to fix it in the middle of service. That really makes our lead pastor upset when all of a sudden something’s been changed during his message, like we are trying to fix it, and he sees himself on the screen and he’s like stuttery or there’s a super lag and we’re like, “What is going on?” How in depth [00:18:30] of a training would you give your volunteers to still make them feel like they have a personality for their ministry versus, “Okay, all you do is point and shoot, don’t do anything else.”
Brady: Yeah, it’s interesting. I spent my first time in the booth at our church because for my entire church life, I have always been on stage playing music, being a part of the worship team literally at every church I’ve ever been to, so I’ve never been in the booth before and this week they needed me in the booth. We were having baptisms [00:19:00] and they were one person shy. They had their regular Pro Presenter running, but during the baptisms they had a quote for each person getting baptized on a separate computer running the center, so I needed to run that just for the baptism portion of service.
I’m back there and our service director has got his headphones on and he’s talking to each of the camera operators. He would punch in a camera two would punch in and he’d be like, “Okay, camera two, you need a bit more headroom, a bit more headroom, okay. Okay, you got to zoom out a bit and we need his feet n the shot, okay, perfect,” and then once that was ready he would go to camera two.
[00:19:30] Because we have two different camera angles, he could be instructing each of the camera operators in the moment in saying, “Okay, before I switch camera angles, I’m going to make sure that this camera operator locks in and knows what they’re doing.” This would also happen during service transition, so we’d have baptism. Pastor walks up the screen off the stage and then the worship team starts walking out and then one of the worship leaders start seeing and so we’re transitioning on the fly and he’s like, “Okay, camera one, zoom in Mel, the worship leader. Okay, yep, a little [00:20:00] tighter. Okay, now let’s go to her and. Camera one, here we go,” and then he would switch. Because you’re only working with one camera, correct?
Cassie Kurtz: Correct.
Brady: This is something that you don’t have the luxury of doing, though what you would be able to do is if you went back to the full screen versus the camera angle, you could at least use that as the buffer, so if you did have someone that went and framed improperly on the main camera you could cut to the actual slide that’s on the screen. Is everyone wearing headsets or what does [00:20:30] the workflow for that look like at your church?
Cassie Kurtz: I am ashamed to say it. We don’t have a productions manager, coordinator. We just have … Right now, we have to people upstairs, a lead projection tech and a live stream tech, who also … cause I guess it sounds like the TV on the stage is also controlled from a different Pro Presenter on a different computer and it sounds like it’s the same one [00:21:00] that also runs the live feed. He’s switching back and forth with the ATEM machine, which also pipes the feed into our foyer, which has flatscreen TVs for people who have the step out with a screaming baby or sometimes our hospitality workers sit out there. They’re in what we call “a crows nest.”
It’s upstairs, but it’s open, like the backstage, [00:21:30] upstairs you have to walk up a spiral staircase to get to it. Those two gentlemen are sitting up there. Downstairs is the lighting tech, the sound tech and then the camera person is behind them, so it’s very disconnected and there’s no … We don’t have radios or anything. It’s really texting and one person that runs around and relays the message hopefully, fast enough.
Brady: Yeah [00:22:00] and you know what? Don’t feel bad because like you said, you just invested in all of this new gear, but I think the fact that you invested all of that money, it warrants you actually putting in a little bit more effort, at least volunteers and all that, to make sure that it’s working that it possibly can, right? It’s like you could get the most amazing camera and lenses and then if it doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to bring it to life, maybe that wasn’t the best way to spend the money? Now, obviously, you can’t go back and undo that, so how can we change that and make it [00:22:30] a bit different and improve on the workflow that we are working with right now?
That would probably be step one. But back to your original question, another way to work around a volunteer who is just a little bit not sure what they’re doing or doing things improperly, what you can also do is do you have a run-through in-service? How do you Sunday morning early before service starts, how do you practice?
Cassie Kurtz: We used to do a Thursday night run-through. [00:23:00] Worship table would do their songs, the projection techs would run through the lyrics with them. We test all the videos, the audio for the videos. We would whitemale onto the camera, make sure everything, the light settings were all properly working and then this generation, this season of people, Thursdays, everyone was canceling because family, children are at soccer. Children are in camps, man camps, football, [00:23:30] so we got rid of Thursday night practices because nobody was showing up.
Now honestly, it’s Sunday morning and 7:30. I personally will take all the elements into the sanctuary on Thursday at 3:00 because we’re not open on Fridays. Thursdays our deadline for any media, graphics, anything like that, sermon slides. I take them in Thursday at 3:00, turn everything on as if it was a Sunday and I will upload [00:24:00] and test everything myself on a Thursday. Then the only elements that change is Sunday is when our workers come in and maybe that’s just having a meeting with everybody and testing clear vision because it feels when people come in they take over and some things so that they’re not as I have asked them to be.
Brady: Yeah, [00:24:30] yeah, what we do at our church is we have a Thursday night practice for our actual worship team one, but one thing that I highly recommend, and again this is you have invested all this money into this gear and I would say that you probably need to start mapping your service structure and prep to match all of the investment and adjustment in-service that you’ve done. This is one of those reasons where I’m like, “Hey churches, don’t necessarily live stream because there’s so much that goes into it,” and that’s not to say you made a bad decision because I think that [00:25:00] we can figure this out.
What we do at our church is we do every Sunday morning, so you can do it on a Sunday, we do this thing called a run-through. At 7:20, our first service is at 9:00: at 7:20 we do a complete run-through of service as if the service was actually happening. The only thing that we don’t do is the pastor and preach his whole message, right? Countdown comes on, two minutes left in the countdown, I walk out. I do a quick intro. Countdown hits zero. Worship team comes out. They play through all four of their songs. Songs end, I walk [00:25:30] out and do the announcements. I do the giving. I transitioned into the message. Sermon bumper place, pastor walks out, does a quick run-through of this message. We put up the copyright of the end, done, and we walk through the entire thing.
Because there are more variables in service now, now that you’ve introduced live streaming, there are more variables in service, it’s so beneficial to run-through the whole thing because we always stumble across something that doesn’t work in this time. I’m on stage and I’m practicing posting and I realize, “Okay, that way of doing that announcement is it the best thing to do.”
Instead of using [00:26:00] our 9:00 a.m. service as the practice round, we do a run-through with no one actually sitting down and the same thing goes for those that are live streaming, the ones that are camera operators, the directors in the booth. They are walking through all of these transitions. They are practicing everything and when you have that one practice under your belt, if you do something wrong in that time, hey no harm, no foul because nobody was there. If you do it in service, obviously, your pastor can be upset like you said he or she is.
If your pastor is upset about inexperienced camera operators and these mistakes, [00:26:30] one thing you can do to offset that is do a run-through and have it where you walk through all these difficult parts of the service because at the end of the day as a leader, I always say this, as the leader anything that’s going wrong within my organization, it’s my fault. It all comes down to me because I have either not given my team enough that they need to execute on what I’ve asked them to do or it was a bad idea and I instructed them to do something and again that was my fault.
I always say this comes down to your pastor. Either he or she needs to make [00:27:00] the adjustment to have a run-through at to prep for all of these different transitions because again, you’ve added so much to your service, all of these new variables when it comes to streaming online. You needed to adjust for that and compensate for that. The other option is to not get mad when you’re inexperienced camera operator makes a mistake because you did not give them either enough training or enough opportunity to practice in a non-threatening, no risk environment. Does that make sense?
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, that’s real good. I have a question though. At your church where you’re running [00:27:30] all of your equipment, cameras, do you have a service, like a productions manager, like someone who orchestrates all those cues to one single person or are there are many different over the lighting, over the camera, over the sound or is that the worship pastor’s job? What does that kind of infrastructure look like for you guys?
Brady: Yep, so we have a director over [00:28:00] top of all of that production. We have what’s called “a weekend experience pastor.” One of my best friends, Justin, and he’s in charge of the entire experience on a whole and then we have the production director when it comes to actually managing either the booth and all of that. Then we have individuals that are the directors per service. Think of it like having a worship, three different worship leaders and one worship pastor of the entire ministry. That’s what we have. We have a director over all of it and then we have three, four different, actual [00:28:30] operators when it comes to the directors of service.
This week the director was named Derek and went to the main manager of all of it is also named Derek, but two different Dereks, though they are both white and bald. It’s difficult sometimes. Two thin, white bald Dereks and one of them was the director and one of them was the overseer. It’s like the difference between having a worship pastor, who leads sometimes, and then the worship leaders, who are underneath the worship pastor. Does that make sense?
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, are they all on staff or are they volunteer?
Brady: [00:29:00] One of them is on staff and then everyone else is volunteer, I think?
Cassie Kurtz: Okay, how often do they meet with your lead pastor or… Because I don’t know how larger churches and so I don’t know the infrastructure’s as small or as large as ours, but Pastor Shane, our lead pastor, is pretty creative and so he likes to have a lot of feedback and creative ideas with when transitions are, what color schemes are. [00:29:30] He has a very hands-on not at all micromanaging, but he’s very creative as well, so he likes to have input on that. How often does that team and meet with the lead pastor or the person that oversees the Sunday what they want it to look like?
Brady: Well, this is why the run-through is so important because if our pastor is noticing something, and our pastor is also very, very smart and creative as well, and so if he notices something during run I’ve been [00:30:00] through that doesn’t feel right that is just a little bit off, he just makes note of it and he says, “Okay so, that transition, I don’t know if I loved how that felt? Can we make an adjustment?” and then we do it on the fly. There’s no substitute for having a run-through because there’s one thing …
Let’s say in a perfect world you could all meet every month or even better, every week before service to talk about what you’re planning on how you want to execute things, how transitions are going to go. You still won’t be able to compare that to actually going through [00:30:30] a run-through, right? There’s no substitute for actually practicing a service. It’s like the difference between listening and learning about social media and then actually becoming a practitioner and doing social media. There’s only so much you can learn on the sidelines talking before you actually get in the trenches and begin doing things.
I would recommend the same thing. Again, it comes back to the run-through. Your pastor is going to be part of that run-through and then he or she will be able to or he, you said, he will be able to be like, “Yeah, this part feels weird. This framing was off. Just a reminder to get that [00:31:00] framing right and can we talk about this transition because I don’t know if I’m fully sold on it? It felt a bit off.” You know what I’m saying?
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, it’s good.
Brady: This will require a shift in the way that you do things, right? But you don’t have to make the shift, but you have to sacrifice something of that in return, right? If you are like, “We don’t have the infrastructure or the desire or the leadership sign-off to do this run-through each week. It’s just too much. We can expect our volunteers to do that,” then you have to be okay when more mistakes happen because the best way to undo those mistakes is to have a run I’ve been through, [00:31:30] make the mistakes then and adjust as needed. You’ve got to choose one and then accept the consequences. Either it’s going to take more time and more buy-in from everybody or we’ve got to be okay going on the fly, recognizing that that will lead to mistakes inevitably.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah and that’s a sermon in itself, Brady.
Brady: I’m just preaching now.
Cassie Kurtz: Preach, preacher. No, that’s really good, thank you, because that’s where we are at. We had a discussion yesterday, I’m like, “Are we at a place where …” Because I [00:32:00] feel like my knowledge of what we’re doing with Pro Presenter, with the live stream, all that stuff, my knowledge I would really just need a couple more months of training, hands-on training to get me to that next level where we’re utilizing that upgrade to its best abilities. Along with the graphics and all that other stuff, I’m pastor’s assistant and I would like to have somebody else [00:32:30] run off and take that to a whole new level. We are just at this place where we see the need. We see that this is obviously, it was a need. We spent $50,000 on the need.
Brady: Yeah, really.
Cassie Kurtz: Is that our next best investment to train somebody within our congregation to then become that productions director or do we [00:33:00] hire out someone from a sized church or church that’s doing it the way we want to do it? Hire from that pool and bring them in and help take us to that next level? We’re just in this transitional place where can we do it ourselves or do we want to hire out for a year, train some people so yeah, but that’s good.
Brady: Again, you’ve got two options, right? Pros and cons to both. Based on this short conversation [00:33:30] my first reaction is that hiring someone out would probably be the better option, but again, there are cons to that, mainly it costs money.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah.
Brady: The other con is if you go with someone in-house, the constant that would be you’ve got to have extreme patience because they’re going to have to be trained up in it and (2) it still might never get to the level of quality that you would hiring someone else out, right? Pros and cons to both, I think if I had a choice I’d hire someone, but that’s in a world where money is not an object [00:34:00] or, at least is not too much of a prohibit or in this case.
Cassie Kurtz: Yes, oh yeah, that’s good, thank you.
Brady: All right so, anywhere else that you want to take this conversation? Any other questions? What else can we tackle?
Cassie Kurtz: Well, my friend, Olivia, she’s also on staff here. She’s over our social media platform. She also [00:34:30] is in charge of our photography team and helps with, she’s also on the worship team all that fun creative stuff. She’s here.
Olivia: Hi Brady.
Brady: Hey, hey.
Cassie Kurtz: Olivia, do you have any questions for Brady?
Olivia: Yes, are you involved at all with the social media team aspect, like social media marketing in your church? We don’t have a team right now for photography or social media. [00:35:00] It’s pretty much myself running around crazy on Sundays, taking pics and then doing stuff with them throughout the week. Do you guys have teams and if so, what do those look like or how are they ran?
Brady: Yep, we have someone that’s in charge of social and then we have a variety of different photographers that are in charge of capturing photos because we recognize and believe that photography, visuals of our church are so much more important than any type of graphic and there’s [00:35:30] really no substitute for that. We have that. Most of the photographers are volunteer and even the person that’s in charge of social, that’s not their entire job. We’re about a church of 1500 to 2000.
I met with a church similarly, in this similar area of both of us in upstate New York, I think they were from Rochester. The pastor that I was talking to, we met face-to-face in a Starbucks. He was the full-time children’s pastor of this church and he was given 10 hours a week to oversee social. It’s not uncommon [00:36:00] to have churches that still just aren’t putting money or time where their mouth is when it comes to social. They recognize that it’s important, but they’re not truly investing in it. That’s still the norm. It’s unfortunate and I really, really believe it’s going to change. It’s going to have to change, whether or not churches want it to the next decade or so. That’s how my church is structured and how another church of similar size is also structured.
Olivia: Okay, we’re pretty much … How big would you say our church is?
Cassie Kurtz: Oh, I told him low end 400 and [00:36:30] high end 600.
Brady: Cassie said 10,000.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, we have millions in here, yeah, no.
Olivia: Our social media following on Facebook is almost close to 1300 and our Instagram is super low. I know more people in our church I feel have Instagram, but we’re just … I don’t know? Maybe they’re not … I don’t know why they aren’t following? I’m trying to figure out how to start breaking some of those barriers in those numbers. What would be [00:37:00] your advice or your approach to growing your social media when you feel like … I don’t feel stuck at all, but I feel Okay, I want to get us that next level not for numbers, obviously, but just for presence and presenting good content and whatnot?
Brady: Well, I’m looking at your social media page right now and there’s a couple of good things that stand out to me. The first is that you’ve got two to three times as many likes on the Facebook page as you do weekly [00:37:30] attendance, which is always a good sign. You’ve got 108 reviews, 4.8 stars on average, another great thing. You’ve got some photos, some videos. I think the first thing that would stand out to me is I’d love to see more photos of actual people’s faces, which you’re doing a pretty good job of and I think you can bump up even more.
It looks like about half if not more of your photos are people from the stage, a worship moment, a speaking moment and I think you could do so much more better when it comes to small [00:38:00] groups, people in the lobby, people in the parking lot, volunteers, the actual lifeblood of your church. I think this is going to allow a lot more interaction from people and it’s also just more conducive to what social media wants you to post.
Then also scrolling through, I would say you could step it up big time in terms of video. One of the best if not the best, what I’ve dubbed the best social media strategy for churches in 2017, is to just have their pastor do a Facebook Live of five to ten minutes one time a week. [00:38:30] All you have to do is have your pastor take out his mobile device and do a five to ten minute Facebook Live straight from his phone, wherever he’s at.
Why is this awesome? You’re going to get a huge boost in organic reach because Facebook wants you to use their live feature. You’re going to leverage your pastor’s existing strength of communication and it gives the opportunity for your church to see your pastor show what it means to follow Jesus and not just tell them. Every week people are hearing your pastor tell them about following Jesus from stage to a message. What you can do is change that. [00:39:00] Let’s swap that and to have it show don’t tell, show instead of tell.
What I mean by this is have your pastor talk about what he’s learning being a husband this week? What he’s learning about being a father? What he’s struggling with in his spirituality? What he’s growing in when it comes to his walk with Jesus? Talk about his health and nutrition goals. Talk about getting stuck in traffic and also, change the setting and location. That’s why it’s key to do this from your phone. We’re loving vertical video in 2017. Snapchat and Instagram have paved the way and democratized video. You don’t need to [00:39:30] make this to professional, in fact don’t. Have him do it …
Olivia: That’s what I’m not sure about, yeah?
Brady: No, you don’t need to do that and that’s what makes this again, awesome as a strategy. It’s free, so have him do it when he’s stuck in a traffic jam. Have him do it after the gym. Have him do it picking up lunch. Have him do it from his home office. Have him do it while he’s making dinner. Show what it means to be a person living for Jesus every day and following that’s going to speak so much louder than anything else you’re doing on social. You’re going to get a free boost of organic reach on Facebook and you’ll leverage your pastor’s existing strength [00:40:00] of communication. Oh, it’s also free.
Olivia: Yeah and it’s also free. That is so cool. I never really thought of that because vertical video to me is like, “Oh looky, does it look cheap or did it look like… I don’t know, tacky?” It’s not with our Canon cameras.
Brady: Yeah and Snapchat and Instagram stories have paved the way. You should call up Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat and be like, “Evan, I appreciate you. You 27-year-old kid for making vertical video and democratizing video.” I posted on Instagram today when we were recording [00:40:30] this about direct from phone Facebook Live sessions and that “Hey, this is the best social media strategy for churches in 2017.”
It’s not the first that I’ve talked about it. In the comments on this, one of the constituents of Pro-Church Nation, her name is Angelique, she said, “We recently started doing this and it is the best way to grow Organic Reach Fast. Our first Live got a thousand views. We’ve never gotten that much engagement on any other post ever.” This stuff works. It’s the real deal and it’s so easy to do. Like I say, five to ten minutes each [00:41:00] week, so much of an insignificant commitment in terms of time, so the ROI when it comes to time versus results is going to be huge.
Olivia: Wow, that is so … Wow, I can’t wait to tell him, it’s time to start blogging a little bit.
Brady: We’re actually publishing a complete post on this on Monday and if you’re hearing this Pro-Church Nation, this has been live for a long time. We’re recording these way in advance, these coaching sessions, but we’re posting a blog post about this on Monday. If you need to send him that there’s going to be a video that accompanies [00:41:30] it that walks through this entire thing because this conversation won’t be live yet so you won’t be able to send it to him. You could send him this post and give him context for the idea as well, which would probably be helpful.
Olivia: That would be really helpful. Another question on social media. What are some tips or ways that, I don’t know, this could be a hard question, but to make our presence different or unique? A couple of the creative talks we’ve had lately it’s just like, “Okay, how can we brand ourselves [00:42:00] in a unique way? How can we stand out?” Not that we’re trying to out-do anybody, but just really how can we make our presence and what we post different than even churches around us?
Brady: Is the city of Charlotte, Michigan, very heavily churched?
Cassie Kurtz: Yes, but we are the only AG in a 15 – 20 mile radius.
Brady: [00:42:30] I guess I’m trying to drill down to the goal, like why you need to stand out?
Olivia: Okay, so yeah, so we’re, I would say maybe a little bit more current in as far as everything we do compared to the other churches around us and then so getting out of that 15 – 20 mile radius there are other, similar, more similar churches to us that are more like the people you want to stand out in from. There’s bigger churches in 15, 20 minutes away [00:43:00] and then within the AG community, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, things like that, I guess we’re talking more from that pool of churches than rather from Charlotte because there’s really no other church presents from any really churches in Charlotte that much at all. It’s pretty much that pool of the bigger churches that are 15, 20 minutes away from us.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, so you probably [00:43:30] wouldn’t be able to tell from or maybe you can from our social media? We don’t look like we’re a church of only 400 or 500. Our social media presence looks like the mega-churches that are within the hour surrounding us.
Brady: Yeah, correct. You seem bigger on social.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, is that a bad …?
Olivia: Is that bad?
Brady: No, no, oh no, I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all.
Olivia: Everything you think of this page, I love that you’re looking at it.
Brady: If you feel that’s disingenuous to you, then that’s something you [00:44:00] could revisit, but that doesn’t strike me that way. What I would say is that when we’re talking about beyond a 15 – 20 miles radius, do you have a significant portion of your church already that drives from that much farther away?
Olivia: It’s a decent amount.
Brady: Yeah, so it’s not unheard of to have someone to drive from that far away?
Olivia: No, no.
Cassie Kurtz: Right.
Brady: Okay cool because before we get into actual strategy of social, if that was unusual, then there would be nothing you could do on social to undo that. When it comes to being unique what I would [00:44:30] do … Firstly, it is not hard to be unique in the world of churches on Facebook. You are already out-shining everyone in your immediate area simply because they don’t have a presence at all that’s consistent, right?
Brady: When it comes to really being the top 1%, the best of the best, all you need to do is answer it this simple question: what would my church post online if our Sunday service didn’t exist? Every church is posting about their Sunday service and the events. That’s all they post about, “This is what’s happening this Sunday. Here’s our new series. We’re doing communion. We’re having baptism. This is [00:45:00] the event that we have going on.”
Brady: What is your church’s mission statement? How would you some it up?
Cassie Kurtz: To be a place where stories unfold.
Brady: Perfect, so at the crux of that I imagine is helping people to love God, love others and serve the world around them, correct?
Cassie Kurtz: Yep.
Cassie Kurtz: Loving God, loving people, living to serve.
Brady: Perfect, every church has the exact same mission statement and that’s a good thing. It’s rooted in the great commandment, the great commission, right? It shouldn’t be really rooted in anything else, so that’s okay. The key is [00:45:30] how can you help people accomplish that in the 167 hours every single week beyond that one hour that you have them in service? Because most people don’t attend church every single week, that one hour you have them every other week? You’ve got them maybe 24 hours a year in service if they’re a pretty committed part of your church. You’ve got them six hours every single week on social on its own, just social six hours. How can you help people love God, love others and serve the world around them using social? How can you do the [00:46:00] exact same thing that you would do on a Sunday, but do it digitally?
What I mean by this is your three specific topics that your church can focus on that people really value and that the Christian walk in the Bible can speak to directly. That is marriage, parenting and finances. How can you help people with that sort of thing, informed by the Christian faith, informed by Scripture? Those are three things that you can talk about on social that would make you stand out so much. That’s the type of stuff that’s been valuable, too, because you have to think about the culture of Facebook. What are we using Facebook for? I’m [00:46:30] scrolling through. I’m getting information. I’m seeing my friends. I’m getting entertained. Social is informative. It’s entertaining and it’s relational.
If your church jumps in and goes, “Look, we’ve got a new sermon series. It’s sweet.” I don’t care about that. That’s not what I was using Facebook for. Now you’re being intrusive. But if you come in and help me in some way when it comes to marriage, parenting, finances are three great examples, now that’s valuable and that’s finding the intersection between what your church can help people with and what they would already value intrinsically.
Think about the way that [00:47:00] Pro Church Tools does social if you follow was there? Everything that we post is about helping accomplish our mission if all you saw was this little Instagram post more this single tweet or this one video on Facebook. We’re not saying, “Hey, guess what? We’ve got a new product. Hey, sign up for Nucleus. Hey, buy this, hey do that.”
We have one or two sprints a year, just like your church would have one or two big campaigns a year, but on the daily, on the reg, every single day we’re just posting valuable content on its own. What we do over time is we get your attention. [00:47:30] What we’re doing is we’re teaching the social media algorithms that people like what they see when you show them what we post, so you should show more people. Then we gained the algorithm without actually paying any money and we build this trust. Then one day, jump on an hour coaching call with me and trust a 26-year-old Canadian to give you advice on your church.
Olivia: This is great.
Brady: All because of what I built on social, building trust and providing you value first. It all starts with that single question, what with my church post online if our Sunday service didn’t exist? [00:48:00] If you didn’t have this crutch of just posting about events and services and series, how would you accomplish your mission statement beyond a real live in person event? Start there, use that exact Facebook Live strategy and you’ll be a great place.
Olivia: Wow, that’s super cool. Okay, this is a little question. What does that look like as far as posting parenting or posting a marriage thing? In your head, what does that look like?
Brady: Well, I don’t post about marriage, parenting or finances [00:48:30] but here’s an exact thing that I posted today. I was scrolling through Facebook today and I saw someone post about how Elevation Church had one of the 100 … They were right by Fortune Magazine, by Fortune as one of the 100 best places for millennials to work. I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting,” so I clicked over to the report I started reading through Elevation’s profile. I think they were number 91 on the list. I looked at … One of the things that stood out to me and I was like, “That is so interesting,” when I saw it. It said, “8 out of every 10 employees [00:49:00] at Elevation Church is a millennial.” 80% of their employees. I was like, “Interesting.”
I took that and I turned it into a social media post because that speaks to what I’m trying to talk about as a company, so you could do the exact same thing when it comes to parenting. Some crazy stat that when you hear it you go, “Oh wow, that’s really helpful as a parent,” and then you’re valuable. The fact that I just shared that quote with you and you were like, “Whoa, that’s interesting.” I was valuable to you because I shared that quote with you, right? [00:49:30] I do this all the time. I do this with stats. I do this with studies.
Yesterday, I posted how only 8% of millennials say they don’t attend church because it’s out of date, “Oh, interesting.” So maybe new stage design won’t reach a millennial? The day before I posted that church attendance had dropped 12% in the last 15 years. These are just stats that I post. I’ll do it with quick tips. I posted a quick tip, the one I just shared with you. I did this on Twitter. It said, “Quick tip: go Live on Facebook outside of your Sunday service. People need to see you living for Jesus life, not just hear the messages.” These are all just little [00:50:00] things and these are viable on their own and so you can use stats. You can do stories. You can do steps. The three S’s as I like to call them. That’s another great starting point.
Olivia: That’s so cool. That’s some stories. Well, that’s super cool.
Brady: Well, I’m glad you liked it.
Olivia: Yeah, that’s really helpful just because … Yeah, I’m just trying to think and brainstorm and creative to do things different. I don’t want to just go on [00:50:30] Elevation’s page and look at how they did a graphic and find the same font. I’ve been trying to figure out different things to do, so it’s really helpful.
Cassie Kurtz: How would you, I have a question to branch off that and I know our pastor talks about it a little bit this last week. He feels it’s time for a re-branding, not necessarily it’s a new logo or a new mission statement but just a new …
Cassie Kurtz: Refreshed way to brand ourselves on, [00:51:00] social media, print, stuff like that. How often do you recommend doing that? I just don’t want to leave the people behind that haven’t caught up with us yet? Just got a new logo…
Olivia: Last September.
Cassie Kurtz: Last September.
Brady: Yeah, I don’t have a firm rule on how frequently you should re-brand. If you look at the way we’ve done it, we’ve done it probably every two years when it comes to a refresh, not a complete redo. I think that we’re living through an incredibly fast changing social and [00:51:30] technological landscape and so this requires a little bit more change that’s faster then maybe it used to be a little while ago? What I will say is this. I think the best way to do a refresh of your brand would be to get a photographer, who always takes photos and treats them and colors them in the exact same way.
This is something we’ve been doing at Pro Church Tools and so every time we take photos, we have it with the same type of lighting in the same type of coloring and framing. Then what we’ve done is every time we just keep shooting these photos and then we use them on every platform with our videos, with our photos [00:52:00] obviously, on social, on everywhere. Then what happens is we’ve begun to build this visual brand that’s not type. It’s not logo. It’s not colors. It’s our actual visual brand. It’s Pro Church Tools. I recommend doing that and we don’t have time to tackle the whole strategy, but on Tuesday, so again very convenient, we’re publishing an entire podcast on how we’re doing this with our actual photographers in-house.
If you’re listening to this right now Prochurchtools.com/169 is the episode that we did [00:52:30] that on and you can go check that out. It’s 40 minutes guys of me just sitting there with our photographer and being like, “Why is this important and how are we doing it?” I think that’s probably your best next step there. It would it require any redo of the logo or any redo of the colors or typography that you already have, but you can create a visual brand with photos that when you see it, you immediately say and recognize that subconsciously it’s, “Oh yeah, that’s Charlotte AOG.” it gets just easy.
Cassie Kurtz: Yeah, that’s exactly what we’re wanting to do. We’re using, I’ll give the secret, [00:53:00] we’re using Unsplash for a lot of our stock photos because …
Cassie Kurtz: I know, right? Oh my word.
Brady: You’re saying that’s not your really cool, foggy beach?
Olivia: Yeah, right.
Cassie Kurtz: Wow, we have a secret cove in Charlotte that you don’t know about. Olivia’s done a great job with her and our worship pastor. They took a picture, marketing picture for our basics class that they just went out in the parking lot [00:53:30] and I’m like, “Man, I want us to take more of our own stock photos,” because I think that would just help with the branding. You’re saying with the whole, the coloring and the lighting scheme, people would be able to say, “Oh that? They took that themselves.”
Cassie Kurtz: [inaudible 00:53:47] to go to Unsplash for every other church …
Brady: Yep, yep and I think that’s huge. Look, I’ve got to run to another podcast because we’ve jampacked this one so hard, which is awesome because I know everyone listening is going to find it super valuable and hopefully, [00:54:00] you guys did as well. It was great meeting both of you and thanks so much for coming on and hopefully some of this was valuable and actionable, right? It’s one thing to talk and it’s really fun to get jacked up in this hour, but now we have to take action and actually do it, right?
Olivia: Yes, sounds good.
Cassie Kurtz: Absolutely.
Brady: Perfect, well thanks a lot, guys. Again, it was great meeting you, finally.
Cassie Kurtz: Thanks for chatting with us, Brady.
Olivia: Thanks, Brady, you rock.
Cassie Kurtz: We love following you. We love what Pro Church Tools is doing. We’re so thankful for you guys.
Olivia: Yep, thank you.
Brady: Thanks for being a part of Pro-Church Nation, you’re why we do it.
Cassie Kurtz: [00:54:30] Have a wonderful day.
Brady: You too. Thanks for tuning into the Pro-Church Podcast Coaching Addition. My hope is that by hearing what’s happening behind the scenes in another church, you can see that no church has it all figured out and we’re all on this journey together. To that end, if you have a question for me, the best way to get it answered is on our weekly question-and-answer show called “The Ask Brady Show.” You can submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sending in a video question will put you immediately at the front of the line [00:55:00] and you can watch every episode of Ask Brady at AskBrady.tv.