New Hope Christian Center is almost 40 years old and it shows. With it’s 90s themed decor their church building is in desperate need of an update. Brady chats with their executive pastor, Adam, about how to make their building look less dated.
Meet The Church Being Coached
- Church Name: New Hope Christian Center
- Church Location: Waterloo, Indiana
- Church Age: 37 years
- Church Size: 400
- On the coaching call: Adam Diehl – Executive Pastor
Show Notes & Resources Mentioned
3 Instant Takeaways
- Understand why you’re wanting to change something. Before painting your sanctuary black because “everybody else is doing it” make sure you understand the reason behind it and whether it’s a good fit for the vision of your church.
- Be simple. Making simple design choices – like monochromatic colour schemes and minimalistic decor – can help create a complementary look. Adding more variables, such as extra colours, creates more pieces you need to be able to pull together, and the more of a chance you’ll have that they don’t work together.
- Aim for cohesion. Whatever colour and decor scheme that you decide on, be sure to continue that throughout the building rather than having a sanctuary that looks completely different than your foyer and so on. You want your building to tell a single story, and for each room to look like it belongs to the whole.
The Full Transcript
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 ship 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 and you’ll get to sit in on our coaching session together. Nothing’s off limits and everything is recorded and today we’re welcoming into the show, Adam. Adam how’s it going?
Adam: It’s going great Brady. How are you?
Brady: I’m doing extraordinarily well and very excited to chat with you. We start off each of these coaching calls with a five question lightning round. Are you ready for the lightning round?
Adam: I am ready. Let’s go.
Brady: Perfect. Okay. So [00:01:00] first question, what is the name of your church?
Adam: New Hope Christian Center.
Brady: Where is your church located?
Adam: Waterloo, Indiana. It’s a very small town in the Midwest.
Brady: How old is your church?
Adam: It started in 1980.
Brady: How big is your church?
Adam: 400 on a weekend.
Brady: What is your role at the church?
Adam: I started as the worship guy and now I’m an executive pastor. I do a lot more.
Brady: Great. So we’ve got New Hope Christian Center. Waterloo, Indiana. Almost 40 [00:01:30] years old. 400 on a weekend, with Adam, the executive pastor and lots more. That’s it? Summarized everything well?
Adam: That sounds good.
Brady: Pretty close. Okay great so at this point I’m going to hand it over to you. We’ve got about 60 minutes together, and however you want to spend that time, whatever you want to talk about, that’s totally your call. What are we spending our time on during this coaching call?
Adam: I want help in how to think through making a building look more modern. We built this building [00:02:00] that we’re in now, we built it in 1995, and then added on two or three years after that. There’s some moments in our building where I feel like I’m walking into the Max on Saved by the Bell. It’s like out of the 90’s. I don’t know how to think about fixing this. Some other churches in our area, they’re doing the paint everything black and put lights on the wall. I’m thinking there’s got to be a way of thinking about this besides just painting everything black and [00:02:30] putting lights on the wall. I would love some help in thinking through how to make our sanctuary, our worship center look more modern and also our foyer.
Brady: Perfect okay. Well let’s talk about the reason why that you want to change the aesthetics, and the looks, the décor of your worship space right now. You said that you’re in Waterloo, Indiana. Can you tell me a little bit more about the town? You said it’s a small town in the Midwest. What size? Where is it located, what’s the biggest major metropolis?
Adam: [00:03:00] The biggest major metropolis would be Fort Wayne, about 15 minutes away. 15, 20 minutes away. The county is filled with small towns. There’s Auburn, Indiana. It’s a little bit bigger. In my town there’s not a grocery store in my town. You go to another town a little bit, 10 minutes away to get your groceries if you’re in this town where the church is.
Brady: You [00:03:30] mentioned that you’ve seen some other churches painting their auditoriums black. Is that something that you think people want?
Adam: There’s been two churches in the past five or six years in my county who have built new worship centers, and they built them from the ground up so they designed them and they look very modern. Yeah. Yeah, look at our attendance. It’s gone down some and in particular among younger people. So yeah, I think people want it. [00:04:00] They’re certainly attracted to it.
Brady: Okay. Because I mean, obviously it sounds like there’s a little bit of pushback in your mind about painting the auditorium black and throwing up some lights. The reason that churches do that is because, right now, the way I see it, you’ve got pretty much two options when it comes to your space. Number one, you can hire a designer. Someone to come in. Look at the space. Look at your unique setting. Your demographic and figure out how can we [00:04:30] maximize the space that we have here and use it to the best of its ability.
That’s option one. The problem with that option, while it will give you probably exactly what you want, it’s going to be expensive. To give you a little bit of an idea, our space is about 3,000 square feet here. When it came to the cost of all the décor, and the cost of the actual decorator, interior designer themselves, you know we were spending in between 50 and $100,000. The cost of the actual designer was right around [00:05:00] 10 I think. If I remember. It was in between five and 15 how much the designer themselves cost.
There’s a reason the churches paint everything black and then throw up some lights. There’s a reason that when you don’t really know what to wear, as I am demonstrating right now. I’m wearing a black tee that says Canadian built on the top. There’s a reason why suits are black. There’s a reason why wearing all black is thinning and easy. It’s not complicated and it’s cheap. [00:05:30] Whether that’s when it comes to the clothing that people wear or the way that people redesign or design from scratch their worship experience basis. Painting something all black and throwing up a couple of lights is extremely affordable and is very, very, very easy to accomplish well.
The reason that you bring in an interior designer is for them to look at the space, look at the unique challenges, look at what you already have. I’m looking at what you have right now. You’ve got beige [00:06:00] painted walls, kind of a beige gray colored ceilings. Some pot lights, you’ve got beige colored sound absorbent panels along the wall. Your stage backdrop is beige ish. You got the drums with the glass drum cage. You’ve got seats that are kind of look like they have a little bit of a purplish upholstery on them. This is a classic 90’s worship space, and for someone to come in, an interior designer to come in, they’ve got to look at everything in your space and figure out a unique way of [00:06:30] bringing that to life in a whole new imaginative way.
Or you could just paint it all black yourself. One is going to be, give you a better result, having someone do it for you, but it’s going to be insanely more expensive. I saw you kind of like shaking your head. The look of disgust on your face when I was sharing the prices that we paid. That’s because it’s crazy expensive. It’s probably not the best use of your resources even if you had those resources. That’s why people paint auditoriums black. That’s why I’m wearing a black [00:07:00] tee right now. It’s easy and it’s pretty successful. It works pretty well.
Adam: along those lines, would it be okay to paint the stage all black and other things not?
Brady: Yeah for sure. I mean if you don’t want to paint everything black, there’s totally, that’s totally reasonable. Let’s talk a little bit about kind of the dynamics of your worship experience. When you paint a stage black, when you paint a room black, what you’re doing is you’re kind of creating [00:07:30] a darker atmosphere so that you can put more focus on the stage, right?
When you go into a concert, when you go to a club, when you go to a bar where music plays, usually the walls around the stage area, the music area, everything there is black so that you can easily focus on the core part of what you want everyone to be looking at, that being the stage and the lighting. Is your worship experience kind of like that or would that be completely antithetical to what your church is all about?
Adam: After the first song we lower [00:08:00] our lights quite a bit in the room. It doesn’t always get dark because can’t always get the doors in the back shut so light just kind of comes in through the back through outside. We lower the lights, but we don’t have any colored lights at all.
Brady: Yeah. I mean maybe you don’t need colored lights. That’s not something that I would say is absolutely necessarily needed. I think just when it comes to a starting point for us, the most cheapest and easy way to execute what you’re trying to do would be to paint [00:08:30] the entire room black. It’s going to be the easiest, most affordable thing that you can do.
Adam: If you paint the whole room black, then do you have to get new light bulbs? Black absorbs the light. Is that going to make the whole room darker?
Brady: The room will definitely be darker. I don’t think you’d need new light bulbs necessarily. Hard for me to tell from just a Skype call, but the room will be darker but I imagine the dimmer switches and the lights could just be put up a bunch or maybe you can add one or two additional lights to kind of change the lighting the way [00:09:00] that you want to change it. Compensate for the aesthetic changes you’ve made on the walls.
Adam: Okay. I’m going to show you our stage real quick if I could.
Brady: Cool. I’m going to do my very best for everyone listening in Pro Church nation to describe what I’m seeing so that you guys can kind of paint a picture in your mind of what Adam’s worship auditorium looks like.
Adam: This carpet reminds me of something out of 1995 Saved by the Bell [inaudible 00:09:26].
Brady: Yeah so we’ve got a stage with kind of a gray carpet [00:09:30] on it. The stage is surrounded by three steps all the way around that are also carpeted. We’ve got some nice fake plants and/or real plants on the stage. A bunch of black music stands. Cords everywhere. Oh nice, the percussion station. A classic. Very nice. More plants on the back. Acoustic guitar. Electric guitar. Yamaha black piano. We got a big wooden cross. We got a fender jazz bass over in the corner.
I have that exact same bass guitar. Very nice.
Adam: [00:10:00] Cool. Cool. In terms of stage design, can you talk to me about what would you do if you were sitting here?
Brady: Well the easy one would be to get rid of every single plant. That would be kind of a given. I would also get rid of the wooden cross. I would get rid of as many cords and music stands as I possibly could. This is what our church does and this is what most big churches do. This doesn’t mean that this is what you have to do. [00:10:30] This doesn’t mean that you are even maybe wanting to do this. It might not vibe with who you are as a church. This is the problem when we just start looking at churches that are bigger than us and copying them.
Here’s what you would need to do to get from where you are now to what most church stage designs are trying to be or are accomplishing. Number one, no music stands at all. Music stands don’t look good. They look amateurish and they take up space. Real estate. They draw the attention away from what you want them, what you want attention to be paid to. [00:11:00] That being said, maybe you don’t have musicians who are able to play without music right there.
Other option is, you could put music on the ground, but you will have some pushback if you remove music stands. Well, you’ll have pushback any changes that you make. It sounds like you’re trying to make some drastic changes so obviously you and the team are prepared for that. One easy thing you can do is get rid of all music stands. You can throw out all of the fake plants. You could get rid of all of the, or sorry, the single giant wooden cross. Those three things would immediately clean up your stage in a pretty [00:11:30] substantial, significant way.
When I look at the stage it’s very cluttered. It’s very busy. Everything is just kind of thrown on there. There’s no real focal point. What am I looking at? Those three things would require zero aesthetic changes. You wouldn’t have to paint the walls. You wouldn’t have to tear up the carpet. You wouldn’t have to build an extension on the stage or change the way it’s configured. All you need to do is just remove right? Addition by subtraction.
Adam: Very good.
Brady: Do people like the fake plants?
Adam: [00:12:00] They love the fake plants. Every time I talk about changing, getting rid of some plants it’s like you know, that’s the golden calf right there. On a more serious note, the cross actually is the golden calf. Is there a way to still include a cross? Would a different cross work? A different [crosstalk 00:12:19].
Brady: Yeah totally. If you want to have a cross up there somewhere, if that’s important to the church, which I mean it doesn’t, forget why it would be important or not. I’m not here to debate that, but let’s say it is important to you. The thing is if you went all black [00:12:30] and then had a brown wooden cross, like those are going to clash pretty aggressively against one another. You could replace it with a cross that’s lit up. You could use Edison bulbs and that would be kind of cool.
You could get Edison bulbs or some type of lighting and put it on a wooden cross. You could paint that one black. Attach bulbs on it, so then the cross would be lit up sort of thing. That could be kind of like your central focus point for the lighting or stages. That would be something that’s pretty easy. You could paint it all black. [00:13:00] Attach some lights to the cross that you already have. Paint that black. Suddenly you’ve got a nice little piece of décor on the actual stage. Some nice lighting. It’s a nice unique piece, and you still have the cross and people aren’t getting upset about it.
I got an email from a member of Pro Church nation last week in response to joining the story tape launch list. Basically when you join the launch list we send out a welcome email. This individual decided to reply. That reply went to me and [00:13:30] I want to read you what he said.
I’m going to say that this man’s name was Jason and Jason said, “I currently use film supply for my stock footage. I love their content and how they offer footage from film maker’s that I know and love, but it’s expensive. Even with their discount my last sermon bumper had a total production cost of $1,200 and I still had to use a few of the shots that were my own, but most were from film supply. Would love to get this type of video out of story tape for less dough.”
[00:14:00] When I got this email I was with Alex. We were in Atlanta actually and Alex is one of the videographers and license drone operators here. I remember we sat down and looked at this email together and we were shocked because regardless of how big or small your church is, to spend $1,200 licensing stock footage to create a single video. A single sermon bumper was something that I did not expect to be happening. This is why our story tape platform is going [00:14:30] to be so important for churches because I know so many churches, much less, they couldn’t spend $1,200 on a single video. They couldn’t spend $1,200 on their entire digital media or communications budget for the year. It’s just not feasible to spend that much money, that kind of money on a single sermon bumper.
How could you do that sustainably, and so that’s kind of where stock footage is right now. That’s the world of stock footage. $200 to $500 for a single clip and even as a non profit, [00:15:00] you get a little bit of a discount, but it’s still not going to move the needle too much when it comes to creating videos sustainably. We’re in this world of communication, digital communication in particular where video is the most popular medium in the world that we consume more than anything else. We need access to it, but it’s still very expensive whether we’re shooting it ourselves or we’re licensing it.
Well Story Tape to take aims to change that. We’re launching in November. Story Tape, similar to film supply and others, it’s a stock video site except instead [00:15:30] of having to pay per clip, $200 to $500 to license just a single clip, you get access to every single clip within our database. We’re launching with more than 5,000 and we’re going to be adding 1,000 plus new clips every single month. You get access to all of that on a single monthly subscription. The cost of that monthly subscription is less than the cost of one single clip on the other big sites.
We’re trying to make it more affordable than its ever been. Forget paying $1,200 [00:16:00] to create a single sermon bumper. You can download as many clips as you want to create as many videos as you want. Social media promos, event promotions, small groups, ministries, the pre slide before the service begins, sermon bumpers, b roll for testimony and story videos, overlays for your video announcements. The options are seemingly endless and because you’re not going to be on the restriction of oh I’ve only got five credits left, your creativity is all up to your imagination.
So we’re super excited to offer this to churches. [00:16:30] I think it’s going to be a game changer. If you want to join the launch list head over to Storytape.com. You can join the launch list. When you do that you’re going to get access to a forever discount when we do launch in November. Throughout that launch week you’ll get access to a forever discount, but you’ve got to be on the launch list so head over to storytape.com. We’re coming to you in November. We hope you’re excited. We can’t wait.
Adam: Everywhere in our building, [00:17:00] because it was built in the middle of the 90’s, we have coming up on our stage here we have this oak trim everywhere.
Brady: Oak baseboard.
Adam: Do we have to get rid of that? Say what?
Brady: Oak baseboard, just for those listening.
Adam: It’s everywhere. Is that something that you think would work with black? I’m totally not a designer. I don’t want to pay you $100,000 to tell me that.
Brady: I’m no designer either that’s why I paid somebody else. [00:17:30] Yeah I mean you could …
Adam: Do we have to chuck the wood to paint it black?
Brady: No I don’t think so. I mean you probably want to, I’m no expert painter, but it might need a couple of coats to get rid of the actual oak look to it, but you could paint that black. I mean obviously you need baseboards so you could paint that black as well. That’s the thing about black. You could literally paint anything black and it come out looking good, right? That’s what, again, makes it so versatile, so affordable and so desirable for so many churches.
Adam: Got you.
Brady: [00:18:00] To go back to, again, why the black is so important. When I’m looking at your stage, there are so many different colors, right? We’ve got the grayish ceiling. We’ve got the beige background wall. We’ve got the wooden cross. We’ve got the green plants. We’ve got the gray upholstery carpet sort of thing. The purple chairs. The guitars that each have their own color. Music stands that are black. Some instruments that are black and there’s really no joint aesthetic when you look at that right?
There’s [00:18:30] like a pinkish, brownish hue. There’s another type of brown. There’s green. There’s gray. There’s purple. It’s all just like nothing. One of the easiest ways to do design is to do very minimal single color design. It’s just called monochromatic. Where basically you could paint everything black. It gives you this blank slate. This kind of 100% minimal black and white, non colorful backdrop, [00:19:00] right? The word I’m looking for is neutral. It’s entirely neutral.
What you can do is you can introduce a single color or a single design element. This is kind of like one of the easiest ways to do design if you’re not familiar with how to do it exceptionally well if you haven’t done it a ton. The more that you add variables, the more that you introduce different items and different options, that’s when you have the complexity come in. Every time you add a new variable, you create [00:19:30] a possibility for all of these different options when you add that variable with the others that exist, right?
It’s very difficult to take pink, purple, brown, gray and put that all together into something that’s cohesive and looks great. Now if you’re an expert designer that’s been doing this for years and years, maybe you can make that happen, but if you’re not, what happens inevitably is you have complexity. You have a mess. It’s not cohesive. There’s no theme. There’s no focal point.
Everything’s just thrown together. We see this with church graphics, right? This is [00:20:00] very similar. That’s why I like the design carries over from the digital world, to the print world, to the physical interior design world. You’ll have a churches graphic and be like oh we have a cool background of water, and then we want to have a big headline, and then we want to have a person who’s in the water.
Let’s throw some clip art on there. Oh and then we also need to have our churches logo. We need to have the time. Okay it’s a baptism thing we’re advertising. Let’s throw in where it’s happening. Okay here’s how you can sign up and suddenly what could’ve been a minimal, simple graphic has been stuffed to the edges of [00:20:30] just everything possible that could be put into a graphic. It’s complex.
It’s overdone and it doesn’t really mean anything anymore, right? There’s so much stuff in there, what am I looking at? What is this graphic trying to tell me? Same thing comes for physical, interior space design. What you want to do, here’s what I would suggest. Incredibly minimal because you don’t want to bring in someone that’s going to work with all the complexities and create something beautiful.
If we’re going to resolve ourselves to that kind of position, that reality, then we need to make sure that we don’t complicate [00:21:00] things for ourselves and for others that are going to be working on this. You start with a very neutral, blank canvas. Everything black, and then you introduce a single design element that everyone can get onboard with.
For instance, maybe you go with the Edison bulb sort of thing. That’s kind of cool right now. You put some bulbs on the cross, that’s kind of your main element. You put some bulbs here and there and now you just have a blank canvas, neutral, with a single design element. That being the bulbs, or you go with something like chloroplast, and you got with a single color. Does your [00:21:30] church have like a color that’s yours?
Adam: We have three colors in our logo that we use all the time. A blue, a green and an orange.
Brady: Okay so there it is again. Ideally you’d have a single color to make things simpler.
Adam: We’re using blue more and more.
Brady: Great. Let’s say you resolved, okay blue is the color we want to go with. You could get some chloroplast incredibly cheap. You can put, cut it into strips and you could throw some blue light on to these chloroplast, and you could have some black with some blue chloroplast that has [00:22:00] some blue shining on those chloroplast strips that you cut up, and suddenly now you’ve got, again, a neutral blank canvas with a single design element on top.
This is the easiest way to make something look good, simple, elegant. Again, you’re going to feel the desire to add more things in. You’re going to feel the push or compulsion from others around you. Maybe it’s not you Adam, maybe it’s the others on the leadership team. They’re going to be like well what if we also put a second cross? What if we also put in a burning flame with [00:22:30] doves flying around and a globe that spins forever. Okay obviously that wouldn’t happen, but they’re going to ask to put in other things. The more that you add, the more variables you have.
Think about it like a math equation, right? Let’s say we have two variables. Two plus two. Simple. Every time you add another variable the equation becomes more complex. Two plus two times 90, divided by 6 with the square root of three exponential to the seven. The more variables you add, the more complex it becomes. If you’re not a math wizard, [00:23:00] or in this case if you’re not an interior design wizard, what you want to do is limit the number of variables as much as possible. Black gives you that neutral canvas. That start from scratch. That reset button, and then you can introduce new variables and limit them as much as possible.
That’s kind of like the philosophical, big macro idea here. How does that sound?
Adam: That sounds really good. You said a word a few minutes ago, and I’m sure everyone listening knows, but for my sake. Could you explain what chloroplast is?
Brady: [00:23:30] Yeah so chloroplast is this white, okay here’s the best way to describe it. Did you ever make a bulletin bristle board project as a kid for a science fair or something?
Adam: Oh sure.
Brady: Chloroplast is that kind of thicker fabric. It’s not like a single piece of bristle board but it kind of is a quarter inch thick and you can get it in all different colors. Basically white is the color that you want to get it as. It’s this [00:24:00] extremely cheap material that you can for like $2 at Home Depot or wherever that you get construction supplies. What it allows you to do is this white kind of thick bristle board material. It’s very reflective. If you shine light on it, it will look really nice.
You just want to shine a single light on it, but what you can do is you can cut it into well whatever you want to cut it into. Now you don’t want to get fancy, well we did it our church plant last time, which was very small and this was very affordable was we got the chloroplast and we cut it into these [00:24:30] long rectangles. We took the rectangles. We kind of stacked them on top of each other. Think kind of looked like a really wide ladder without the shafts on the side holding the rungs together. So think of like rungs on the ladder, really wide, but they weren’t all connected on the left and right.
They were just on top of one another. We did like four rows of this. We shined the light on it. We had some lights. Throw a blue light on it, that was also our color and our backdrop was completely black. We [00:25:00] had a really dark backdrop with these blue chloroplast, and then our stage, again, was very minimal. We were a very small church. Smaller than yours. About 150. Maybe even 100 on some weekends. No music stands. No plants. No crazy props like giant crosses or anything like that.
All we had was the people on the stage. Stage painted black. No carpet with these chloroplast kind of like stanchions or ladders without the connecting bars on each side [00:25:30] and then we shined some light on it. Very minimal, but a pretty good looking stage design where there was a key focal point and the backdrop was nice. Not distracting and there weren’t so many variables conflicting with one another creating a complexity that we weren’t able to manage.
Adam: Very good. Now, would you think the things that you were saying. If black seems like too big of a step, would dark gray be a good step in the right direction and maybe [00:26:00] five years from now we’ll get black?
Brady: Yeah. Absolutely. The difference between a dark gray and a black is very, very minor. If you don’t want to go full black, yeah you could do kind of a dark gray, which isn’t as aggressive maybe. It isn’t perceived as angry for some people in your crew, but a dark gray would still have the same effect. It gives you that neutral, dark canvas in which you can introduce a variable or two and not have any confliction, [00:26:30] any conflict or any complexity.
Adam: I like the idea of a dark gray because I guess in my mind I’m thinking that if we were to do everything black, we’re kind of jumping on the bandwagon a little bit late. Like oh yeah we’re trying to do what the church down the street did. It’s like, I don’t want to do that. I want to be us.
Brady: What you’re hitting on is interesting right, because pragmatically, the difference between all black and all dark gray is non existent. It’s the exact same thing, but [00:27:00] we perceive things very interestingly. In your mind, if you just change the shade of the black to a little bit lighter, in your mind you’re like this is different. This is unique. For the people in your church, if you change that from black to a darker gray, their perception is hey look, this isn’t as angry or aggressive. It’s just a dark gray. It’s nice. It’s gentile. It’s the exact same thing, but we perceive things in very interesting ways.
Our decision making is almost always emotional, [00:27:30] right? The emotion that’s coming into play for you, Adam, is you’re like I don’t want to be perceived as a copy cat of another church. For myself, I don’t want to be the type of pastor that just follows trends just because they exist and other churches are doing them. Your emotional reaction to that is okay I can’t go all black, but I can go dark gray.
Pragmatically, there is no difference there, but that’s okay. Emotionally, it feels okay for you and so you can champion that decision and get behind it. From your congregation’s [00:28:00] standpoint, maybe they don’t want to go all black, because, and this is just me speculating, if they don’t want to go all black because look we’re like a family church. We’ve been around for 40 years. We’ve done things a certain way.
We’re not ready to just go full modern and contemporary. That’s not who we are. I don’t like that. I don’t like change. I don’t want to be this big rockstar church. Oh a darker gray. Yeah that’s not big rockstar church, that is just a darker, more modern look. I’ve been painting my living room a little bit darker lately. That’s some changes I’ve been making in my own home. I’m [00:28:30] okay with that here at the church, right?
Brady: Again, pragmatically, identical. But the emotional response from both leadership and the congregation could be very different. This is where decision making and navigating change as a whole, this is a big takeaway for you and everyone listening. It all comes down to our own emotions that are almost always irrational. So, if you can find a way to make a change that’s pragmatically the same, but yet bypass the emotional barriers that both us as individuals and leaders, and the people we’re trying to serve are going to put up, [00:29:00] that’s a huge way to get a win in.
Brady: Complicated, but once you’re aware of that dynamic. Once you see that that dynamic’s in place, you can navigate it. Again, people are going to be upset when you introduce change in any time, but if you’re aware of the emotions behind what’s making them upset, you can bypass them to a certain degree and make that change as smooth as you possibly can.
Adam: Very good. Can you talk a little bit about the need [00:29:30] or maybe is there a need for what we do in the sanctuary by the feeling of the room. To look the same in the foyer and the rest of the building?
Brady: Yeah ideally you’d have a cohesive look that flows throughout the entire building right? That’s what you ideally would want. You think about going into a certain restaurant. If you went into a McDonald’s and the bathroom was completely looked different than the main area, or if the seating area was completely [00:30:00] different from where you ordered your food, that would be weird, right? Or on a micro level, imagine if you’re in a McDonald’s, or any fast food joint, and you’re looking at the menu. There’s four different panels of the menu. Each panel had a different brand look to it.
So the breakfast menu had one font and one color set, but then the lunch menu had a different font and instead of having a black background, it had a white background. The third one was also completely different. Instead of text and different fonts it just had only pictures. The fourth one, [00:30:30] the dessert menu, or the café menu was also completely different. You’d be like this is weird right? That’s micro level. On a macro level your building is the very same thing, just on a much bigger scale. You want the flow to be cohesive. You want it to feel familiar and you don’t want every room to feel like its own unique thing.
Adam: Right. Very good. Thank you. Can we talk about our foyer.
Brady: Let’s do it.
Adam: This might be my biggest concern. It’s right where people come in. Some of the mess [00:31:00] that you see down the hallway, we have a daycare. That’s all put away for the weekend. This is right when people walk in. There’s a sign up here that says making disciples to make disciples. It’s a vinyl sign. Some signage about where to go for children. There’s some people that stand here behind this desk. Over [00:31:30] yonder there’s a table. There’s junk on it. It’s all oak.
Brady: There’s a lot of oak that I’m seeing. For everyone listening. Every door is like that classic church looking oak. Every table is oak. Baseboard again still oak. It’s that kind of like light brown, almost orangy color of wood that I have seen in the church that I grew up in. This was like the only wood that we used. I’m very familiar with this type of décor. Lots of yellowish tinged walls, which kind of vibe with the oak, but again [00:32:00] kind of create that 90’s feel for sure.
More purple. We got purple chairs. Purple carpets. Purple drapery hanging from the walls.
Adam: Yeah. Okay now for the people listening, I just got to defend myself with the exception of the banner. When he says purple chairs, it’s not like Barney purple.
Brady: More like burgundy kind of.
Adam: Definitely burgundy. The chairs aren’t bright. It’s not Barney okay. Just [00:32:30] a little bit.
Brady: Not Barney. That’s very good. That’s a good caveat. Important to make sure people know about.
Adam: I don’t want to, Brady do you want to describe what you’re seeing right now?
Brady: Okay so I guess one of the first things that you see coming in on the outer wall of the auditorium I believe is a framed map. Think of a flat globe. The entire world, kind of in a semi circle, but the map has been turned upside down. At the top of the map, which again of course [00:33:00] is framed in an oak frame, says turning the world upside down for Jesus and the map has been turned upside down. Care to defend yourself with this one Adam?
Adam: Dude. I didn’t do it. I can’t, I could redeem myself by showing the physical representation of our nuculus right here on this table.
Brady: There you go.
Adam: We have a couple.
Brady: Couple iPads. Tablets set up with the nucleus. [00:33:30] Very nice. I do like that.
Adam: There’ll be a sign up here that says [inaudible 00:33:36].
Brady: So let me ask you this Adam, obviously your building is, décor wise, stuck in the 90’s. What is the general feel of the leadership team when it comes to the reality of the business. I’m sorry, the business, of the building? Is it something that everybody wants to change or is it something that you’re fighting for and getting pushback about?
Adam: [00:34:00] Somewhere in the middle. I think it’s closer to I’m fighting for it and getting a little pushback.
Brady: What’s the pushback?
Adam: The deal is our carpet is actually falling apart. Our carpet cleaner said we shouldn’t clean this anymore. You need to replace it. If we’re going to have to replace it, let’s replace it on purpose I say. Get the color we want and not reproduce what we currently have. I guess the pushback is [00:34:30] why does that matter? It just kind of baffles me that people don’t realize this matters or they think the oak is not stuck in the 90’s.
Adam: They think well it looks good. That’s what I picked 20 years ago.
Brady: Do you have any people within the congregation, any people that have been vocal about the décor? Are there any young people in the church that have been like, “Yeah this is not exactly, you [00:35:00] know.” This isn’t just not modern, this is two decades ago.
Adam: When I bring it up, yeah. If I talk with them and I say, “Hey what do you think about this?” Today they’re like no. That’s out. Nobody’s vocal. I think the one’s that would’ve been vocal already left. They went to those other churches that are killing it.
Brady: This is interesting right because I can empathize with the people in your leadership team that are saying what difference does this make? We’re here to share the hope of Jesus. [00:35:30] It doesn’t matter if our walls are black, gray, or Barney purple. They’re not, but what if they were? It doesn’t matter. The thing is, when we talked earlier about everyone’s emotional response, right? We’re not making rational decision. When a new visitor or a family that’s been there for a while, when they attend your church and they look around, and they see the décor from 20 years ago.
When they see the worship space that hasn’t been updated since the 90’s, when it was built in 95 or whatever year that was. When these people see this, the emotional thinking [00:36:00] in their head goes like this: They haven’t cared at all about their physical space. They must not care about what they’re doing on a level that applies to everything they do. They probably don’t care about the actual importance of this. They probably don’t care about this. They probably don’t care about that.
Your physical representation of yourself applies to everything. Think about this. If someone met you Adam, and you weren’t wearing a nice collared shirt that was, and your hair wasn’t done [00:36:30] nice, and you hadn’t showered that morning. If you had just put on a ripped t shirt that mustard stained and shorts that hadn’t been washed in 18 months, and your shoes were tattered, and your hair was askew, people would look at you and be like this person can’t even get their physical appearance together. Obviously they’re not going to be able to manage their finances.
They’re not going to be able to hold a job. They’re not going to be able to excel in their personal relationships. That’s the way [00:37:00] that we make judgments. There’s a reason, there’s a saying called don’t judge a book by its cover because we all freaking do it in every area of life. We judge people’s internal decision making ability, and their personal value based on how they look. We do that for physical spaces. If you were going to a restaurant, and the floors weren’t clean. The menu, the outside sign, you see this at restaurants. The outside says burgers, two for five dollars, [00:37:30] but the R had fallen off and it said like bugers two for five dollars.
Again, the floors aren’t mopped. You go into the bathroom and it hasn’t been cleaned and it’s nasty. There’s water all over the floor and tissue paper, and the garbage is overflowing. You would not want to eat there. There is a difference between lack of cleanliness and old décor, right, but again this is how we’re making decisions. When we see things that are out of date, visually, [00:38:00] we just assume that everything else is out of date. This church will not, you can even take it from a standpoint of just the reality of the demographics in America. One in three workers is a millennial. The vast majority, the biggest demographic in your region will be people that are millennials.
When a millennial, when a younger person, walks into a church and sees this, they think to themselves, this church is out of date in terms of their décor, they probably are [00:38:30] out of date in terms of their ministry. They probably aren’t able to speak to me in the place that I’m at. They’re probably not able to relate to a person in their 20’s. A person in their early 30’s with a young family. If this is what they think is okay when it comes to their physical building, they probably aren’t able to meet me where I’m at. That’s the way that we’re making decision.
You can say to your leadership, I agree with you, it shouldn’t matter, but it does. There’s a reason, Gizelle. There’s a reason, [00:39:00] Ellen. There’s a reason, Charlie, why you continue to make your house as good as it can be. I’ve been to your house Charlie. You recently put in a new kitchen. Why’d you do that? Nobody cares about your kitchen charlie. Why’d you drop 30k on updating that? Well you did it because you wanted your house to look as good as it can be, and you recognized that yours was out of date.
Or why did you continue to put in on a minor level. Why’d you paint the bedroom in a different way? Why’d you put in a new countertop? Why’d [00:39:30] you buy some new clothes this year, Ellen? I know you bought new clothes. It’s all the same thing. If at the very least, you can get your leadership to recognize that people are making emotional decisions based on your building, you can maybe get them to bid on board with the understanding and with the idea that we need to improve this.
That’s kind of the starting point for it because I’m looking at the space that you’re in right now, and obviously it needs a lot of work. Whether you do it yourself or get someone else to help with it, or get someone [00:40:00] else to do it entirely, it’s going to cost a significant amount of money. Thousands of dollars. If you’re not able to get your entire team, or at least the majority of the team on board for it, you’re going to have a huge trouble obviously getting that money and getting that change to happen. I just, I’m not convinced that you’re going to be able to do it championing it on your own.
Because it’s not a subtle tweak here and there is all it’s going to take, it’s going to be a pretty big overhaul. Probably not what you want to hear, but these coaching calls I’ve [00:40:30] got to be honest, and I’ve got to be assess it how I see it and I don’t want to give you a bunch of false hope and be like yeah if you just swapped out that purple mat, sorry that burgundy mat for a dark black one, it would change things because you know, this is going to be a big job.
Adam: Yeah. When it comes to, yeah. I’m just processing what you’re saying. I think I can get some people to come on board with me. I just have this desire. [00:41:00] I don’t want to talk bad about my church. Ever. I go to a counselor for that. If I have to talk bad about my church, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to speak negative things, but I think I can get some people around me on this. Not to start a fight, but I’ll do it hand in hand with my pastor. He’s just kind of like yeah that’s cool. That’s important to you? All right. Go for it. He’s kind of a, he’s going to turn 70 soon and he’s kind of a [00:41:30] cheerleader for the younger generation. Admittedly, he knows he doesn’t get the things that younger people think are important. He’s just like, “That’s really important. Okay shoot for it.”
Adam: I think if I start talking with some people, I think I can get some people, like a team that can go to more leaders and we can say hey, this is what we want to do guys.
Brady: Yeah because, again, [00:42:00] to navigate that change and to see it happen you’re going to have to have the majority of people on board for it. I don’t want to make light of the situation that you’re in. That this is going to be easy or something. There is something to picking your battles and choosing when change needs to happen. I also wouldn’t want you to badmouth your church, but at the same time being critical of something, especially in a constructive way, that’s not being negative. That’s coming from a position of love and care for where your [00:42:30] church is at. You look at things around you and say I want to be better than this. Right?
If you looked, when I look at myself and I look at areas that I’m struggling in, there is a fine line between self loathing, self criticism that’s unhelpful, but then also looking at yourself in a sober mind and saying, “You know what? I need to be better in this area.” That comes from a place of love and desire for self improvement. The churches that are excelling and the individuals that are excelling when it comes to their own personal [00:43:00] goals, it all comes down to a willingness to be able to look at yourself and really assess where you’re at and where you want to be.
When it comes to our own levels of unhappiness, our own levels of discontent, our own levels of criticism both towards ourselves or towards our organization where we’re working, the bigger the gap is between where we are and where we want to be, usually the more restless and unhappy we are. That can be tough, especially if you look at where you’re at and then you look at where another [00:43:30] church is at, and you’re like man we are miles apart. Now you have this space, this area where a ton of discontent, a ton of resentment can begin to build. You’ve got to fight against the resentment and the bitterness.
Instead, foster a healthy desire to be a church that’s always improving. A church that’s never satisfied with where it’s at. It sounds like the pastor that you’re obviously serving under, with the age that he’s [00:44:00] at and the position in life that he’s at both when it comes to his career, and his ministry, and his retirement, and his future, how he’s going to spend the remaining quarter decade of his life. It’s very easy to be in that position and not to be like we need to take things to another level. We need to, it’s time for us to make a big change because we’ve got to see another wave and move of God in our area.
That’s tough because you’re older and you’re getting closer to the finish line when it comes [00:44:30] to your professional career. Or if you don’t want to use that word, your ministry. I also don’t want to make light of that. That’s a huge part of this dynamic, because when you have a leader at the top, the way that they approach ministry is going to trickle down. If the leader at the top is very kind of, let’s just say impartial or vanilla when it comes to change. When it comes to pushing things forward. If they don’t have that kind of strong desire, [00:45:00] here’s where we are now. Here’s where we’ve got to be.
Everything in the middle becomes a lot more difficult, right? Let’s say you wanted to lose weight. Someone listening? We wanted to lose weight. I went through this journey like last year. The first step is recognizing where you’re at and being discontent in that position. You’re like here’s where I’m at. I don’t want to stay here. I could stay here, but I don’t want to. Then you have to look at where you want to go. You’ve got to say okay, here’s where I want to be. [00:45:30] Here are the characteristics of that.
Here’s how I know when I’ve got to the place that I want to be. You look at the starting line and the finish line and then you’ve got to reverse engineer based on what the finish line says how to get from the starting point to that finish line. Here’s where I am. Here’s where I want to be. What kind of habits, what kind of action, what kind of investments do I need to make to get from point A to point B, and what’s going to get in the way of that. For instance, when it came to my personal health, one of the [00:46:00] ways it got, one thing I knew was going to get in the way of it was the fact that my family eats a ton of fast food.
It’s just a part of our life. We had to find a way to start cooking more at home. I had to be honest with my situation because it’s easy to look at point A and point B and be like okay great. Point A is the fact that I weigh 200 pounds and I want to get to 150 pounds. If I eat this many calories a day, and work out this much a week, in six months I’ll get to where I want to be. What that doesn’t recognize [00:46:30] and take a full honest look at is all of the emotional factors, and life factors that are going to come in play.
What if I’m really busy? What if I have a compulsion for food? What if I have an addiction toward food? What if I have binge eating disorder? What if the family life that I have doesn’t ever eat at home or make real meals at home, and then it’s really hard to hit goals because you’re always eating out. In the same way, you’ve got point A at New Hope Christian Center right? In your mind, [00:47:00] there’s a point B. The auditorium looks like this. The foyer looks like this. The walls and stage and cross look like this. Getting from point A to point B is simple if there are no other factors in play, right?
We can pay a ton of money and someone will get us there. Okay but we don’t have a ton of money. Okay, well we can just do it ourselves, get some help from people in the church. Do it in a cost affordable way and we can get to point B. Oh but there’s another problem. The leader at the top doesn’t really care about this. [00:47:30] There’s another problem, the person, I’m sorry, the rest of the leadership team maybe they’re not as passionate about it as I am. That’s a problem. Navigating change, especially drastic change if this is hard when not everybody’s on board on the leadership team because what about the congregation?
If the leadership team’s not on board, when these changes happen, they’re going to start whispering to people in the congregation and then there’s going to be two sides. Now, this isn’t just about updating our auditorium, now we’ve got division within the church. We don’t want that. This is why it’s so important to look at the emotional, and the leadership [00:48:00] factors, and the what’s under this foundation because it’s not just as simple as running from point A to point B. We know how to be Usain Bolt at a 100 meter race. Run faster than he does.
There are a ton of factors. Both physical, and emotional, and external internal that are fighting against that. How do we navigate around those?
Adam: That’s good. I really appreciate what you said a minute ago about our, [00:48:30] the design of our building. The colors we use. Making it look more modern. Being like the collar of a shirt because design, in people’s minds as they come into our church and they go to other churches. We are miles apart from the other churches. I think we’re, in some ways, miles ahead in what we actually offer in terms of ministry. In preaching. [00:49:00] The level of worship. I think we’re miles ahead, but I don’t think people would even notice that.
Brady: They’re not going to give you a chance right? Think about meeting a girl. You know? If she, to your eyes, is not, her hair is all gross, her clothes are all gross, and it looks like she hasn’t had a shower in a couple days, it doesn’t matter if from her perspective she would be an amazing wife, an amazing mother, an amazing person to do life with because you’re not going to give her the light of day just because [00:49:30] she looks that way.
Brady: It’s similar in this as well.
Adam: That right there I think is the more reason than anything to put a fire under my butt and get moving. That’s really good.
Brady: I think it’s a great place to start, right? Like I said we could spend another three hours on this coaching call talking about okay well I think if we painted the walls in the foyer this way, and if we exchange the oak wood table for this type of table, none of that matters because there are bigger underlying issues at play, right?
Adam: [00:50:00] Right. Right. Decoration and colors aside, can you talk a minute about what you think people should see and experience when they’re walking through the front doors. I mean, certain signs, regardless of the color, like we have people standing behind a desk to help new people that come in. Do you think that’s terrible that people are sitting behind a desk when they need to be standing et cetera?
Brady: I think there are a lot of different elements at play here. We don’t have too much time [00:50:30] to dive into it all the way, so I’ll give you kind of what I think is the most important thing. I think what you want is you want someone coming in to be able to, without talking to anyone, navigate exactly what they need to do to check their kids in, to get to service, and feel like they know exactly what’s happening without the compulsion to talk to someone.
For instance, when I went to a website yesterday and the language and the sales language on the website, the features the offering wasn’t clear, I had to chat with someone on the website. [00:51:00] I would prefer not to do that. It was there and it’s necessary to be there because you’re not going to be able to communicate super clearly to everyone, but I would prefer not to chat with someone. It was kind of upsetting that their website wasn’t clear and I had to ask someone via chat. Same goes for when someone’s walking into your church. If it’s not entirely clear where a person needs to check their kids in, that’s a problem.
If it’s not entirely clear when service is beginning and where they should sit, and what they should be expected of, that’s [00:51:30] a problem. I think the biggest one is the kids thing. This is something that I’ve experienced at a variety of churches. You go in, and you have kids, and you’re like I have no idea what to do with my children. Where do I send my kids? That’s tough. I would say that’s the biggest one.
Adam: Very good. Thank you Brady.
Brady: Sweet, well I think that’s the perfect place to leave things off at. Obviously you’ve got a huge list of action items that you can take after this. Hopefully it was helpful and not too discouraging or anything like that.
Adam: No, it was very good. Thank you.
Brady: Awesome man. It was great chatting. I’ve had a blast. [00:52:00] Thanks for coming on to the Pro Church podcast coaching edition.
Adam: Thank you Brady.
Brady: Thanks for tuning in to the Pro Church podcast coaching edition. 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 [email protected] Sending in a video question will put you immediately [00:52:30] at the front of the line. You can watch every episode of Ask Brady at Askbrady.tv.