#ThatCC 2018: Day 1 Notes

Robert Carnes
Sep 25, 2018 · 8 min read
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That Church Conference is the bomb.

JENNI CATRON: Creating a Thriving Team Culture That Attracts and Retains Great People


  • You have extraordinary influence and the power to change & affect the lives of others.
  • To do that, we have to create engaging environments to attract people.
  • If leaders are thriving, our teams and our organizations will thrive, too.
  • Leadership is sacred work, and we need to understand the influence we have over others.
  • How we steward our influence determines its trajectory — we need to use it for good.
  • Leadership isn’t about you, or for you — it’s all about others.
  • The momentum from intentional culture and leadership allows you to accomplish more.
  • Everyone wants to be a part of something that’s meaningful. They just need a leader to show them the way.


  • Culture either draws you in, or repels you away — what kind of culture are you creating?
  • “Culture is a set of living relationships working towards a shared goal.” — Daniel Coyle
  • Culture is all about people.
  • When we create great cultures, we’re partnering with God to help people find their place.
  • Culture exists whether you create it or not. And everyone contributes to that culture.
  • Culture is either growing or eroding every day — it cannot be ignored.
  • Culture is what you do, not what you say.
  • Values * Behavior = Culture — you’ve got to define it and then do it.

Steps to creating a good culture

  • Take inventory of your values — you’ve got values whether you define them or not; then make a list of your organization’s aspirational values
  • Codify your values — put memorable language around your values
    Eg. if you move really fast, let people know where you’re going
  • Define your behaviors — how do you act to show what you value?
  • Do these steps for the organization, and then on your specific team.
  • These steps create guardrails that keep us all moving forward together.

KENNY JAHNG: Top Marketing Trends Your Church Needs to Pay Attention To Now

Big Picture Strategy

  • Develop an end-to-end pathway that leads a church visitor towards engagement
  • Once you’ve targeted and attracted the right audience, help them connect the dots
  • Most church communicators don’t have the time to think big picture strategy
  • Too many churches are stuck on the old operating system; upgrade to addressing felt needs
  • The job of communicators is to remove friction from visitors getting engaged
  • Don’t just instruct people; equip the audience on how to take action

Connect the Dots

  • Visitor-centric participation. Appropriate promotion. Connect personally.
  • If we only focus on participation and promotion, we lead to one-hit wonders — to get visitors to actually come back, we have to add multiple personal touch points
  • If we just have promotion and personal, it comes off as creepy — participation makes the interactions feel more natural
  • If you just have participation and personal touch, it feels deflating

Appropriate Promotion

  • Paparazzi previews — show people what it’s like to attend worship at your church
  • 17 million people who are not regular church attenders visit church websites every year
  • Conversation collateral — turn your attendees into a referral engine; equip them
  • Invest then invite — build a culture of relationships to make it easy to invite people

Visitor-Centric Participation

  • Stranger friendly — it’s hard to walk into a room full of strangers
  • Environment & program — do we structure events to be welcoming and not creepy?
  • Buy mystery shoppers from Task Rabbit to get an outsider’s perspective
  • Guests decide if they will come back to your church in the first 6–8 minutes.
  • The Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath
  • Elevate: break the script; do something different
  • Insight: cast vision; recast vision over and over again until you’re sick of it
  • Pride: thanks for you; be proud of the community you’re a part of
  • Connection: creating a shared experience; people can build relationships online

Connect Personally

  • Tag team — name tags are awkward because they don’t understand why we use them
  • Follow up Excuses — create some reason to stay in touch with them; take selfies
  • Reconnect. Retarget. Reinvite. — Eg. Guest gift bags

MICHAEL LUKASZEWSKI: Boring is Better: Why Your Church Needs Your Skills in the Most Ordinary Way

Focus on the ordinary

  • We get so infatuated with the cool stuff, but we forget about the simple stuff.
  • Everyday is more important than the big day.
  • So much of our time and energy and money focused on some that happens once.
  • We follow the special events, and the ordinary stuff gets left behind.
  • If you improve anything by 5%, nine months later it will be twice as effective.
  • “Your next big thing might be the little thing staring you in the face right now.” Darren Rowse
  • The most popular ice cream flavor in the world is vanilla.

You don’t have to be fair

  • What are the keystone ministries that we should contribute most to?
  • What ministries in your church drive growth?
  • What deserves an unfair advantage? Invest in what is already working well.
  • Do more of what is working and less of what is not working.
  • The things that matter the most deserve the most attention, time, money & volunteers.
  • All churches have ministries that should just go away. There’s a reason why bulletin has the word bullet in it (because we should you it).

What you should do with ‘that’ thing

  • Option 1: Leverage. Focus on the thing to make the most of it.
  • Option 2: Let it go. If it doesn’t fit, you should get rid of it.
  • Option 3: Leave it alone. Some things are not worth fighting over.

Make things more effective

  • As communicators, it’s up to us to lead the church with a strategy.
  • Don’t make things better — make it more effective. Better is an opinion. Effective is a fact.
  • Tell stories of busy volunteers; it’s a boring story, but it’s a relatable one.
  • Focus on fixing one thing that can make the biggest impact.
  • SportsCenter only shows the highlights. They don’t show the basic plays.
  • You don’t need to get better at the fun stuff. Get better at the boring stuff.

BRADY SHEARER: How To Navigate The Biggest Communication Shift In 500 Years

  • Case study of six churches for three weeks & screen shotted all social posts
  • #1: 1-in-5 Rule: promotional content should make up less than 1-in-5 posts; social media is the TV and promotional posts are the commercials.
  • #2: Ditch the polish: every post don’t have to be perfect — people like more authentic content; Snapchat conditioned us to lower video quality.
  • Social media tears down the polished “pastor persona” — it’s every day, not just Sunday.
  • #3: The Promo Hybrid: a promotional post can still add value.
  • The Algorithm Gods are constantly judging the value of your social posts.
  • #4: Let Others Promote You: social proof is a powerful mental trigger and motivator.
  • #5 Provoke Spiritual Practice: what would your church post online if you didn’t have Sunday worship services?
  • Don’t depend on Sunday worship to fulfill its mission — it can be done online.
  • Social media should be a platform that helps people realize our church mission statement.
  • 60% of Millennials who used to attend church, have dropped out.
  • #6: Visual Branding Doesn’t Matter: attention is what matters, not your brand
  • Attention is the most valuable commodity your church can possess on person or online.
  • High visual variance, no consistency and random screenshots gets most engagement.
  • Post something that makes people stop scrolling through their feed.
  • #7: The Troll Shield: Pair a sermon quote or excerpt with a passage of scripture
  • #8: No Fancy Gear: you don’t need expensive cameras to capture sermon video
  • Your mobile phone can shoot HD video, so there are no excuses.
  • Content value matters more than production value.
  • It doesn’t matter how great your content is if they don’t hear it.
  • #9: Stop the Scroll: how can you grab people’s attention?
  • Repeat = defeat; if you do predictable things, people will start to ignore you.
  • Choose three of these takeaways and put them into practice.

TAQUINDA MARIE: Displaying Your Church’s Culture Online & Offline

Identifying your culture

  • Runs the social media account for Eastern Michigan University, and church volunteer.
  • Culture is a set of shared attributed, values, goals, and practices.
  • The culture supports an organization’s vision.
  • The best way to describe culture is: this is how we do things here.
  • Identify your church’s culture — what makes up your church’s DNA?

Bridging the gap

  • As church communicators, it’s our job to understand and display the culture.
  • You’ve got to be intentional with how you display your church’s culture online.
  • Bridge the gap between your church and culture — what affects one affects the other.
  • Opportunities for dialogue with your community are vital.
  • The church and community aren’t two different things — God wants them to be the same.
  • People are looking for an answer — the church has the chance to give one to it.

Know the people around you

  • Bring the church to your people instead of trying to bring them to the church.
  • “Don’t be afraid to be the woke church.” Know what’s going on around you.
  • We can’t assume that anyone knows (or cares) how our church operates.
  • Culture changes. Jesus doesn’t.
  • We may be the only part of Jesus someone sees in their daily life.

How to do it

  • Know your audience: realize who you’re catering to; build an audience persona.
  • Tell stories that count: church should be an experience, not just church.
  • Think like an outsider: we can’t assume that they know what we know.
  • All about the big C church — want to be a part of the bigger body of God.
  • Xennials: generation mix of Generation X and Millennials.
  • Posted profiles of church members on social media to bring personality.

STEPHEN POSEY: Help Your Pastor Preach Better Sermons with Resources You Already Have

A content pastor is a real thing

  • Church on the Move transitioned from the founding pastor to his son.
  • Senior pastor should not preach a message on his own, in a vacuum.
  • His title is the Content Pastor — helps crafts the message for the preacher.

Why do better sermons matter?

  • Communication is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for a pastor.
  • With every sermon, there is a sender; there also needs to be a receiver.
  • It doesn’t matter how good a sermon is if it doesn’t connect with people.
  • There are forces that are trying to keep people disconnected from Jesus’ message, and a preacher has to work against those forces to reach people.
  • Why sermons? A lecture seems like the worst way to communicate a message.

We’re digitally distracted

  • Our world is disenchanted. We are more distracted than ever before.
  • 2007 was the inauguration of the digital age; technology has moved us away from wonder.
  • You have to be older to remember a time with boredom.
  • We more connected, and also lonelier than ever before.
  • “I want my inner life to be bigger than my outer life.” Eugene Peterson, via C.S. Lewis
  • The gospel has the power to re-enchant the world.
  • Fiction takes the shortest paths to our deepest longings. No man can do what Jesus can.

What can you do about it?

  • The sending of the good news must be aligned with the recievers.
  • Gather evocative resources. Acknowledge our emotions and move us towards truth.
  • What things awaken you from distractions? What things move you emotionally?
  • Give a robust perspective. The best preacher still only has one perspective.

What’s my personal approach?

  • Plan series and seasons in phases. Assess what’s happening & what’s coming.
  • Present sermons that are tone-checked, fact-checked, and heart-checked.
  • Recruit trusted volunteers. People love to contribute by reacting to content.
  • Make yourself available. Show people you’re on their team.
  • Pray for your pastor. Every pastor needs more prayer.

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