From the Front Lines of Ministry: Part 5

During the COVID-19 crisis, our team gathers weekly to discuss the latest From the Front Lines of Ministry. We are using ChurchOS to stay clear and focused. See how other church leaders around the country are using ChurchOS as they navigate the new normal.


  • Counting and digital metrics

  • Zoom Life/Small Groups

  • CARES ACT: Payroll Protection Plan

  • How to get only the info you need

  • Having a government point person for gathering information

  • Thoughts on what services may look like as we reopen

  • Several creative ideas on serving your community

  • Digitally engaging your church and setting them up to reach their ONEs

The Senior Pastor of Canyon Ridge Christian Church challenged the core of his church to think about these questions personally as we prepare for the new normal.  They are great guides for you and your team to start thinking about for your church:

  • What have we found that we will keep?

  • What is fine for now, but we won’t keep?

  • What is lost that needs to stay lost?

  • What will we welcome back?


  • Mark Brewer – Executive Pastor – The Oaks Church – Midlothian, TX
  • Dana Erickson – Executive Pastor – Illuminate Community Church – Scottsdale, AZ
  • Kirby Andersen – Content Development & Church Relations Lead – Intentional Churches – Tulsa, OK
  • Jim Stanley – Indianapolis, IN
  • Bob Miller – Ministry Leader/Coach – Thomas Road Baptist Church/ServantOne – Lynchburg, VA
  • Ben Coleman – Pastor of Adult Ministries – Sugar Creek Baptist Church – Sugar Land, TX
  • Tim Winters – Executive Pastor – Shepherd Church – Porter Ranch, CA
  • Doug Cowburn – Executive Pastor – Elim Gospel Church – Lima, NY
  • Mark Warren – Executive Pastor – Eastview Christian Church – Normal, IL
  • Matthew Robinson – Lead Pastor – First Baptist Church – Orlando, FL
  • Ed Kelley – Executive Pastor – Shelter Cove Community Church – Modest, CA
  • Robbie O’Brien – Lead Pastor – Salty Church – Ormond Beach, FL
  • Chris Reed – Senior Pastor – Christ’s Church of Flagstaff – Flagstaff, AZ
  • Matt Wright – Lead Pastor – Willow Creek Community Church – Chicago, IL
  • Mike McDaniel – Lead Pastor – Grace Point Church – Bentonville, AR

IC Staff:

  • Doug Parks – Co-Founder & CEO
  • Bart Rendel – Co-Founder & President
  • Tasha Johnson – Director of Operations
  • Lynda Rec – Accounting/Special Projects


Doug Parks: Hey everyone. Welcome to the fifth in our series of Front Lines Learnings and Innovations coming from the front lines of ministry. You’ll see a number of exec and some senior pastors on here who are using ChurchOs and Coaches for IC. And we’re just thankful you guys could come. I know last weeks call, if you hadn’t checked it out it’s dated for April 8th of last week, from minute 13 to minute 24 is a great set on digital engagement pathways. Definitely worth sharing with your team. I’ve got multiple teams now using that to get their team aligned to start brainstorming and innovating themselves.

Doug Parks: So to get us started off I’ve asked Bart to again share just a quick flyover of the Great Commission Engine which use as our standing outline for these conversations. Bart, can you do that for us?

Bart Rendel: Sure. Okay, on your screen you’re going to see a depiction of our Great Commission Engine. And again this is spoken about at length and becomes our beginning conversation with our churches in our book called Intentional Churches and then every team we’ve worked with, now hundreds, have used this as their base organization of what church is about.

Bart Rendel: So, Piston One just to go over it. It comes out of Acts 2 and Luke 15 both as this analogous picture does that Piston One is the gathering where we do worship and preach. And now in this environment obviously a lot of our gatherings are online, and so it still applies. We believe these are fundamentals that apply regardless of digital or not. So you will hear us talk about that.

Bart Rendel: Piston Two is the need to still develop, maintain and nurture life changing relationships. And that’s again, a tough challenged one right now but even today we might talk a little bit about how that’s becoming the lead entry point for people needing relationships maybe in our churches right now.

Bart Rendel: Surrendered living is Piston Three. That’s where we’re applying the gospel and through that application God is moving, his spirit is moving and changing us and our church is also the energy of life change that fuels the revolution of this analogous engine here. It’s all centered around our one which comes out of Luke 15, and in the story of the great shepherd saying I must pursue the one but also take care of the 99 at the same time. So we center all of our work on the pursuit, building the church, even the inspiration of the 99 is about pursuing and building up and discipling the one.

Bart Rendel: Lastly in that upper right hand funnel image is something we call the engagement pathway, which is fundamental to every church whether we were meeting physically or online. And that is simply how do you connect the one to us, to that is your church, to one another and most importantly to Jesus, and we do that. And right now it’s very important as many people as we are reaching that we’re thinking about that component as well.

Bart Rendel: So, we’re going to talk in these categories now in our call and you’re going to hear some quick hitting from the front lines great ideas.

Doug Parks: Thanks Bart. And I’m going to share on the “are one” piece a relational evangelism. What I’ve been leading out on a strategy for my church is now live for a couple weeks and it’s really a multi-faceted strategy. We started doing a short video, a blog, a vlog twice a week. Those are five minutes or less. They’re done by our senior guy and they’re him in real life. So he’s integrating his kids into those and family. They’re all shot in his backyard or from his house. And we put those into a digital marketing email campaign where we’re actually able to track behaviors, clicks and opens and we’re using those for a couple of reasons.

Doug Parks: Number one, to communicate with our core, who we considered our core. The way we got to that list we chose if they’ve given more than $1,000 over the last 12 months and had not activated an online account, and then the people who had activated an online account, so they would check in or whatever. So that’s how we got to a number, it’s about 4,500 on that list. And the purpose of those, one of the huge ones was that we’re challenging these pragmatic things to be shared with your ones. So they’re going out, of course, the social media platforms for the emails.

Doug Parks: Second is been this new digital age. We feel like you have to be engaging and two way in conversations so it gives platforms for people to comment and interact at new levels. And then we’ve built on the back end of it a collection framework for stories, and those stories are feeding back in then to the weekends and then also into the vlog. So this week he did an interview with somebody who had a relief check strategy of how to give that away because he was military and they felt like they didn’t need it so it was on generosity.

Doug Parks: And then lastly is challenging growth and we’re doing it. So, so far the click rates and open rates have been off the charts. Video watch is I want to say 30% and the click open rate is well over 50 which is kind of unheard of. So it’s a new emerging digital strategy, maybe some of you guys are doing that as well.

Doug Parks: I found it interesting one of the ones he shaped were these four questions and I think they’re good for us to think about individually. I did these with my family but then also for your church to think about. These four questions. What have we found that we need to keep? What’s fine for now but once the new normal sets in we’re going to let go of? What have we lost that we’re not going to keep? And then what are we going to welcome back? So I just thought those were pretty ingenious questions to think about both for your family, you personally and especially our churches. That’s starting to guide our piece there.

Doug Parks: So hopefully that was helpful. I’d love to give you more info if you wanted on that. I’m going to ask Matt first and then Ben. Out of Piston One, talk to us about the use of digital lobbies. First off how you guys are doing that? What are you seeing? How is it helping you?

Matt Wright: Yeah, for us for digital lobbies, we would do section ministry which has been one of our great first time connector ministries that we’ve done, which is essentially giving people charge over various areas of the lobby. So not having that has been tough. So what we’ve done is we’ve established Zoom calls for each of those lobby experiences that happen before the service and after the service. And the volunteers who are in charge of that section, they’re the ones who host the Zoom calls and they can help people get into small groups, they can be overall shepherds of that. And while I wouldn’t say we have 100% of the congregation, a good amount of people are engaging that on a week to week basis. So Zoom’s been a really good mechanism for that.

Doug Parks: That was good. Sorry Ben, I had the note next to something else. I meant Doug Cowburn. Talk about how you guys are doing greeters digitally if you would.

Doug Cowburn: Yeah, we’re taking our previous folks who worked in the lobby as greeters and first impressions and inviting them in to be online greeters, and scheduling them in for various services. Not giving them a lot of moderating responsibilities but really just looking to reengage them in what we already knew they were good at, which is making people feel welcome and just engaging people. And really the more that that chat stays alive the longer the engagement stays. We’re excited about that.

Doug Parks: That’s good, that’s really good. And as most of us are now starting to turn our heads to the future planning, what’s the summer going to look like and with the new guidelines for reopening emerging. I wanted Tim Winters to share, he’s in California and they’re already down the road on thinking about at least what it’s going to look like to meet again. Tim would you just share what you know so far from the government and then how you guys are starting to think about your strategies?

Tim Winters: Well, it’s one of those things, we don’t know, we don’t know. What they’ve told us is that the last thing we heard was it would be next year before they allow a large gathering in the LA area, that includes opening a 4.9 billion dollar stadium for the Rams with no fans to watch the games. It’s crazy. But as far as churches we have 3,400 seat auditorium. They’ve told us that they’re going to allow gatherings but you have to maintain a six feet distance and wear a mask is what they said right now.

Tim Winters: So, we’re wrestling with the again, we have not solved the problem but the tension we’re wrestling with is do we open a sanctuary and have 750 people maybe, sitting spread out through a sanctuary and have 15 or 20 services? We could do that, it’s possible but is it the best thing to do? And it becomes much more complicated. What we’re doing now we’ve figured out. This virtual service, I’m not saying we’re the best at it. We’ve figured out how to do it and it works and it’s fairly easy. Adding this dimension of kind of meeting, kind of not meeting makes it a whole lot more complicated, and then stack on top of that the political part of it of you have a group in the church who says, “They can’t stop us from meeting. We need to meet, we need to get together, we need … they can’t tell us to do this”. Well that’s fine, until somebody dies and then they look at us and say, “Who made that decision?”

Tim Winters: So, we’re just trying to manage that tension of, yeah they’re going to open this thing up, it’s going to happen. But there’s going to be some restrictions, there are going to be some qualifications and there’s going to be two steps forward, one step back. So we’re really wrestling do we stay on this virtual path longer than we have to because it’s the best way to do this? So, again that’s what we’re wrestling right now is how to open it back up. It is going to open back up, but it’s definitely in California going to be smaller. I think they’re going to start with you can have gatherings of 100, which doesn’t help us really at all. Then maybe 500, again doesn’t help us a lot. Most churches will be okay. So again, that’s the tension we’re trying to manage right now.

Doug Parks: That’s super helpful man. I know what I’ve seen out there and what I’m trying to tell any church that’s asking me is you got to start thinking about it. What does social distancing look like in your auditorium when you’re going there. Thanks for that.

Doug Parks: One of the other things I wanted to hit in the weekend service in Piston One is there are tons of conversations that’s going around all the networks about using multipliers of devices to get to an attendance number. And with IC our encouragement would be to, sometimes we need that for encouraging our staff or whatever, but really we use numbers to develop strategies. And so how are you using whatever way you’re counting to develop a strategy to connect them.

Doug Parks: And so I wanted you guys to talk because we had some deferring opinions in our team or practices in our team. First Matthew, talk about how you’re counting and why you’re doing it that way and then how that’s emerging into strategy and then Ben I wanted you to do that as well. So Matthew you first please.

Matthew Robinson: So we’re looking at and keeping track of the peak concurrent number on all of our platforms. We’re on Facebook, YouTube Live and then the church online platform through our website which is four to one as far as volume with anyone else. What we’re really looking at on a weekly basis are the unique devices that are connected. And with our streaming provider the number that’s quickly followed by that, that’s helping then form our strategy is the average watch time. For us it’s about 43 minutes over the course of the last few weeks, and that’s helping shape what we’re programming for. Which is really important because when we’re face to face we’ve been having 60, 65 minute services, but that has helped us shape what our message is and using all the other components we can service is all about.

Doug Parks: Good. Ben, how about you guys?

Ben Coleman: We’re following a really similar plan that Matthew described where we’re on the same platforms and looking at the same unique IP addresses and looking at what our average watch time is. We’re also using a digital connect card that we’re forwarding people to and asking them to fill out. It’s not as high a percentage of people filling the card out as we’d like to have, so we’re always trying to figure out how to get more people to it. But one of the questions we ask in that card is how many people were watching the stream with you. And so each week we’ll get at least six or seven hundred of those cards filled out, and we can go through and find out what the average is per stream, and then multiply our unique devices by that multiplier. So each week the multiplier changes for us depending on what we get from the digital connect card.

Ben Coleman: So we’re tracking both unique devices, not every device. Kind of like what Matthew said, we’re weeding out those that are only on for a minute or two. We have a threshold that they’ve got to be on for a certain amount of time for us to count them. So we’re counting unique devices and then also the multiplied number that we get from our digital connect card. Primarily because we want to know how many of our young families, which are going to have more people watching the screen, are watching for a long period of time versus our empty nesters that are only going to have one or two people watching the screen with them. So, that’s helping us to be able to analyze a little better of who actually is watching.

Doug Parks: That’s good man. That’s good. I’m going to break off from going to our Piston Two which is your groups, most all of us are Zoom groups now. But because one of our guys has to jump off here and Ed I wanted you to talk about two things. The first is talk about the webinar you’re doing with your crew. What that means, why you decided to do it, what you plan on doing with that. It’s really about shaping your core I think, but share with us what you’re doing there.

Ed Kelley: Normally we have a dinner deal once a quarter with our [tense 00:14:55] stakeholders anywhere from three to five hundred folks, and since we’re in digital form we’ve decided to use a webinar form for exactly the same thing and basically this is a state of the church. In other words, I think some people are a little skittish on what the heck the future is going to be looking like and they’re a little fearful. So, we want to set that aside by letting them know that, A- we’ve thought about a lot of different things, B- we’re doing creative things, including last weekends Minecraft deal. It was all over the news up here in Central California. We created our own server and did a virtual Easter egg hunt using Minecraft. We have some very creative people over here. Huge response. I just don’t have any … I just can’t tell you.

Ed Kelley: Anyway, we got that from Tate Baptist back East. But anyway, so we’re creating this crew, we call it crew. Rowing in the same direction using the, what do they call those things? Sculling, skill, whatever it’s called. And Boys in the Boat, that’s all I know, I stole it from that book. And it’s really terrific and we’re going to do it April 26th because we really want to set our key stakeholders minds at rest. They’ve been watching us online, this is an interactive thing with all of our staff on a Zoom call just like this but up to 10,000 can watch it in webinar form.

Doug Parks: That’s great man. And then one last question, we covered this prior to the call and I’m just going to go down this rabbit hole with you first so I honor your time. But talk to us, several of you guys have already received the payroll protection plan loans and some have even funded. And I think I heard prior as we were getting ready to record, it seemed like almost everybody either had a big loan or they were with a community bank that were able to land those. And so I wanted you to talk about just what you’re thinking about now as that loans funded, how you’re going to use it and the expensing it out portion we talked about prior to the recording.

Ed Kelley: Yeah, well obviously when it came down, I don’t know if you guys have been working with the SBA but I tasked my associate executive pastor to follow this thing. And he found some really, really strong information from Vanderbloemen. They were running things that were really quite good. If you don’t know Sutton Turner, big source of information on this. We have four different banks for different things and we decided to go with the smallest of the banks because they were the most, what’s the word, customer service oriented. And so they literally came out here and I took my whole team down to their conference room as a subsequent thing and we talked through the whole deal. Jumped on it the very first day the thing was announced based on what they know.

Ed Kelley: Now, that said, they changed all the parameters four times inside of four days. So, you got to keep track of this stuff, you got to have what I would call a “government czar”, and that guy follows everything in the planet that the silly county, our wildly weird governor, Gavin Newsom, and all the national stuff. I don’t know about you but I am inundated with webinars and questions and stuff from my staff and from people around the country who are asking me different things. It’s really quite overwhelming frankly. I’m busier today than I have ever been in 35 years of being an executive pastor. It’s just ridiculous.

Doug Parks: Anybody else feeling that way? We do.

Ed Kelley: Yeah, part of me thinks the four major parts of our life, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, I don’t know about you but I’m having a heck of a time keeping it all balanced with this mess. So, delegation is your friend. So I find myself somebody that’s competent and they’re going to do it. We were funded this morning fully, and I am worried a little bit about … SBA has done great by the way. I don’t know who the heck is running the Trump effort, but whoever they are, they’ve been on par. They’ve been ridiculously responsive. Terrific.

Ed Kelley: But I’m a little concerned if there’s a change of administration what exactly the audit part will be on the back end. Because as you know if you don’t spend it you got to pay it back currently over two years, half a percent is the rate, even though they started with 4%, they’ve moved it. And that 75% of it has to be paid in payroll inside of that eight weeks. Now I think every good XP is going to have a little … I used to work for Visa MasterCard, so we have a diamond decision marker on our flow chart and I think everyone should have one at 55 days.

Ed Kelley: So they’re saying that it’s the end of June, but other people are saying that it’s eight weeks from the funding date. I don’t know which it is but I’ve marked both of them on a calendar that we’re going to look and see how much money we have left. I hope that makes some sense.

Doug Parks: That’s good.

Ed Kelley: So I’ve created a complete different checking account with this small little bank, and all the funds went in there and I’m funding all the payroll and the utilities and the insurance stuff through that and not co-mingling funds because I do worry about SBAs audit trail process.

Doug Parks: Matthew, will you share for us about how you guys in Orlando are thinking about the P3 loan?

Matthew Robinson: So here in central Florida, a lot like Vegas, our economy is fully driven by tourism. And we’ve seen a significant 30, 35% decline in our giving. What we’re recognizing is after the eight week period with the PPP loan that we’ll be receiving, our strategy is thinking beyond that and what are the adjustments we’re going to have to make with our staffing at levels with giving that substantially decreased? So the conversations that we’re having with all of our currently furloughed individuals who are going to be able to be paid for a couple months because of the PPP loan is what does this look like in terms of that long off ramp and the parachute we’re able to provide and forcing ourselves to look at our staffing and what our structure is going to be, re-envision with a reduced workforce really on the other side.

Matthew Robinson: And we have a tendency to just be gloss over what those realities are, but we recognize from a human resource perspective we need to have those honest conversations with our executive team and with our entire staff of what this evaluation is looking like for everyone on the other side. These are stimulus type funds, they’re not going to last consistently to allow us to maintain this level of payroll in the future.

Doug Parks: That’s good, and then we’ve pushed on for a number of weeks. If you are getting this loan don’t forget to use constraint thinking, meaning act as if you were not getting the money, what would you be doing? Because that’s where the innovation’s going to come from coming out of this thing.

Doug Parks: So yeah, that’s great. I’m going to move us to Piston Two, which is now we’re just going to call it Zoom Life Groups because that is what every church on the planet has converted to it seems like. There may be a few outliers out there. But Ben, I wanted you to talk about, you had some insightful stuff around, and I haven’t seen this anywhere yet, rules that we need to be observing when it comes to Zoom Life Groups to make sure we’re actually doing what we want to do. So you can talk about that and then your warning if you don’t do some of these things about the podcast piece.

Ben Coleman: Yeah, so Zoom groups, experiencing life group digitally is radically different I feel like than in real life. And so one of the biggest things we have noticed is groups that were made up primarily of very passive individuals, they’re not doing great in Zoom, because it’s really boring to log onto a Zoom call and be able to mute yourself and turn the video off and do something in the background while you listen to a small group leader teach a 25, 30, to maybe even a 40 minute lesson. And so what we’ve really encouraged all of our leaders to consider is to try to make their groups as active as possible.

Ben Coleman: And so one of the rules that we created was what we’re coaching people with the five minute rule that every five minutes there needs to either be a new discussion question, or a new activity. And so we’re finding that our leaders that are keeping their Zoom bible study time very engaging, very active and changing it up every 5-7 minutes, their attendance is much more consistent. Even to the point that people are inviting their friends to group for the first time. And some of those groups are growing with the guests. People that haven’t even checked us out on the weekend, they’re coming into these Zoom groups for the very first time. But those are the ones that are purposely being very active in following that five minute rule.

Ben Coleman: So the opportunity for a Sunday school teacher or a small group leader to get on a Zoom call and teach for 20-30 minutes straight just is not working for Zoom. And so we’ve got to get really, really active in participatory in these Zoom groups.

Doug Parks: Yeah, just continue to emphasize even beyond the service. I know my church here is having those conversations. How do we make the service even more interactive? But interactivity is becoming the norm, the way that we keep people engaged through this. So great to hear those rules of thumb.

Doug Parks: I’m going to move to Piston Three which is surrendered living. It’s giving of time and of your skills and talents and then also of your money. And so Mike McDaniel, you’re down in Arkansas and you guys are doing a couple creative ideas to serve the community. You want to talk about the hospitals and what you’re doing for truckers?

Mike McDaniel: Yeah, so I appreciate that. We are trying to make a connection as often as we can with our peoples giving, their generosity and how it is immediately impacting lives here. And so we’re trying to draw a connection. We’re staring a new initiative even with some local communities nursing homes and how we can do for them. But what we’ve done in the past couple of weeks is we’ve already had relationships with a couple hospitals in the area, but one of the hospitals was very responsive to us walking beside the personnel. From the janitors, to the ICU nurses and all points in between.

Mike McDaniel: And we’ve worked with a local restaurant owner, so all local restaurants that we could identify within our church and we went to them and we said we want to buy meals for the hospital workers. And we committed upfront that we were going to do an allotment of money and going, thinking we’re helping both the nurses and the doctors and whomever, but also thinking that we’re helping this local hospital, excuse me the local restaurant. And actually the local restaurant was very appreciative and then they kicked in, they matched whatever we were going to give.

Mike McDaniel: And so it actually became an even deeper gift. So again, just buying a meal for a nurse and the family of that, just one night. It’s not going to be an ongoing forever thing. But it’s just showing appreciation for them and we’ve had a good response back from that.

Mike McDaniel: But another thing is because of the over demand for toilet paper from all of our local stores, and plus everything else on the shelf, we’ve worked with local trucking companies that are in our area. We have several major trucking companies, and many of the drivers are working more … The government has loosened the regulations on the amount of hours that they can be on the road just to get product to the stores.

Mike McDaniel: And so we worked with the local companies to provide them with just small care package. And the way we did that is one Sunday in our generosity appeal is that we said to our people, “Hey, we’re going to be blessing the truckers to keep them encouraged because they’re driving down the road and they no longer have restaurants to go to because they’re closed and everything’s like that.” And our people jumped all over it. We had kids that were packing these old big Ziploc gallon bags with crackers and prepackaged food and water and hand sanitizer, if they could afford to give it up. Things like that and they brought them and dropped them off at the church, we then wiped them down again, took pictures of all that so everybody would see that we were being extra cautious. And then we delivered them to the truckers.

Mike McDaniel: Now what’s been incredible is the number of truckers literally all over the country that are writing us, getting on our Facebook, even calling us and saying thank you, I got a care package. We’re in Arkansas. In Maine, I got care package delivered to me so that I could just stay on the road. That was all it was. And so, it’s small things but our people are really latching onto it. I think the key principle for us is our people need to see the generosity is connecting and touching people’s lives right here, right now.

Doug Parks: Yeah, that’s good Mike and just for reference, you’re in Bentonville home of Walmart, right. Yeah, so Mark Warren, you guys are doing a ridiculous love fund. Can you talk just a minute about what that is and then what you’re seeing happen because of what you guys are doing there?

Mark Warren: Yeah, so one of our parts of our vision statement is to have ridiculous love. And so it’s one of our core values, key components for us as a church. And so we started a ridiculous love fund for the community and encouraged our church family to give above and beyond the regular giving to this fund. And then we also linked arms with other churches in our community and they’re donating into it as well. And it’s just a fund basically for our entire community for food pantries, for first responders, for community partners. Just you name it and we’re out … School districts, working with a lot of school districts, especially those that with kids that were using the schools for funds for their lunches and so forth, and giving out lunches still through this fund.

Mark Warren: So we have a give help and get help on our website. And so it’s another way if people say I need help, this fund will help them individually as well. That’ll go towards individuals and the partners throughout our community, and it’s been something that our community and our church has really latched onto. And as just stated, it’s really helped with the generosity initiatives and see firsthand how that can really help someone in a time of need. And it really breeds and breeds generosity. I think with a scarcity mindset it gets after that and attacks that scarcity mindset in a time that we can all just give more and make a real difference in our community. And so the ridiculous love fund has that kind of impact.

Doug Parks: That’s great man. You have any stories that you would be, like that this was awesome, this happened. Any stories that have come back to guys?

Mark Warren: Well two real quick. One is we’ve been able to bless our first responders with meals just like Mike talked about earlier with the hospitals and nurses, we’ve given meals to first responders and they’ve just been really appreciative of that and just been very encouraged. And then our school districts. It’s helped us gain relationships across the community that we just needed to have strong relationships, built relationships, community partners and that evangelistically really is going to pay dividends that we’re working with partners.

Mark Warren: And the other thing that’s done is really leveled the playing ground in our community because the denominational name tags, the different partnering organizations, just doesn’t really matter in this time, at least in our community people are just willing to serve whoever, whenever, however and that’s been really significant for building relationships, especially in this third Piston.

Doug Parks: That’s good, that’s good Mark.

Mike McDaniel: Can I add one more thing?

Doug Parks: Sure, go ahead.

Mike McDaniel: On those packages a group that people might consider are the under-resourced children in their community. I know that the schools are doing things, at least here in the area, to provide for the under-resourced kids. And in the beginning there were a lot of nonprofits and even churches that were doing some initial snack packs for the kids, but compassion, fatigue, resource shortage, something like that, I don’t know. And now the schools are saying we need these. Five weeks in in Arkansas now that we’re in this, and so maybe if we go at it as a marathon and not just a dash, I think we’re going to be better off.

Doug Parks: Yeah, that’s good guys. That’s good. Hey I want to make sure I honor our time here. I do want to hear from that right about talking to people about giving financially to the church is just a very tender topic right now. And so Matt, would you just talk about what you guys are doing with some of your donors and why you’re doing it and how you’re going about it?

Matt Wright: Yeah, absolutely. For us, first of all we’re trying as often as we can to say, to give people an opportunity to give through our church, not just to our church but giving through. And highlighting like everybody else is talking about on this call, highlighting the things that we are trying to do to help the community. You mentioned the schools. So we’ve got plenty of schools around us that have kids that are either on free or reduced fee lunches and breakfasts. And so we’ve been doing grocery drives and we bring groceries to those locations to be able to help those families with extra groceries because they’re probably in a spot where their whole family needs it.

Matt Wright: So what we’ve done to try and help connect those things with giving is we’re doing Zoom calls with top givers and we just will invite the top hundred of them as a part of a Zoom call and we’ll do a blitz of hey, here’s how everything is going, here’s how we can weekend engagement is going, here’s how groups are going. And then we’ll spend a good amount of time about here are the ways that we’re trying to reach out and serve and love the community. We’ll talk about finances and how that’s going to giving trends and just do some question and answer. But it’s a good idea to just help continue to keep them engaged and for them to hear what is it that we’re doing and what’s helping. So, that’s been helpful for us.

Doug Parks: That’s good, that’s good. We had a few others, but again, I want to honor our time here. One of the things that I’m learning and trying to help my home church with strategy and planning, is that collaboration over Zoom is interesting and it’s very different. So a couple rules that I’ve come to and maybe this will be helpful to you guys, maybe not, maybe you’re already doing it. Is number one, it’s better if somebody takes a stab at a document first, but then we can collaborate around and massage and edit as opposed we try to create it with four, five people on a Zoom call. We’ve gone to that, it’s made the Zoom calls way more efficient because everybody’s prepped, we’ve looked through the document and it has to be held with loose hands if you’re going to, like for instance this vlog strategy I created and then a lot of hands got on it, collaborated around it to make it way better than it was.

Doug Parks: The second one is I just have really covered this in the last day or two, is this was a screenshot from the engagement pathway, digital engagement pathway phone call that was on the video call last week. And I’m realizing that if you do not have a visual like this, which incorporates all facets of the Great Commission Engine, the virtual reach zone, what you’re doing in Piston One, Two and Three and then the linkages and how you’re connecting them. I would recommend that you use this in your meetings because your people, and your staff, need to see how things are linking together visually and it’s not just through verbal or notes. I just seen a real advancement in our guys by this is the baseline now and we’re all working from this architecture and framework.

Doug Parks: So hopefully that was helpful on the digital engagement pathway. So Bart, you want to, do you have any last words? You want to wrap us up for today?

Bart Rendel: Yes, so I’m going to lean into what Ed said. I think for the first couple of weeks it was so disconcerting, it was almost hard to get a handle on, we were all so busy and we still are. But for whatever reason in my own, why I felt I hadn’t been able to have margin to think about, things in my life plan for instance. Most of you have a life plan or you’re familiar with something called the replenishment cycle. And so my final encouragement to everyone would be, Ed mentioned it and Doug and I both used the P-I-E-S construct, the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual, and starting to be proactive. I know I just have started. I was trying but it was hard. I don’t know why.

Bart Rendel: But it seems like now we should have the energy to come at a plan for each of those areas of our own life, and I know we can’t lead beyond the fullness of our own tank and it’s hard to contribute beyond that. And if you do you’re certainly going to be headed toward a burnout. So what can you do to keep your tank full in the physical, the intellectual, the emotional and the spiritual? And just being proactive about that in your calendar. Again, I confess I just started this past week.

Bart Rendel: And then the other thing I thought about in life planning that could be helpful for all of us is the element of vision. We’re going to talk about this a little bit, Doug and I are, on some material we’re putting together where in this day and age, and even in our churches, but even in our own lives, the vision horizon is kind of silly to put out two, three and five years, but you could put it back to this fall when we’re coming out of this and say personally, what is the vision for my life and my learning coming out of this pandemic environment?

Bart Rendel: So how do I keep my tank full and what is my vision, and then that gap between where I am today, where I want to be directing my action in the coming weeks. I know that sounds silly but I think it can be any one of those domains or areas. I caught Katherine yesterday practicing her handstands in the bedroom because she wants to learn how to walk on her hands in CrossFit. So I know that sounds silly, but it’s physical, it’s mental, it’s emotional. I know it sounds silly, but it covers a lot of territory for her. She’s probably not even seeing it that way, to have something she’s focused on that by the end of this she’s going to have down. What is something in our own lives that could be that way.

Bart Rendel: I just started trying to dream about that for myself. So I picked a couple songs I’ve always wanted to learn on guitar and I just don’t do this anymore and I found YouTube videos and I’m working on it. So anyway, those are my two thoughts. Stay full, stay visionary and we’re going to get through this.

Bart Rendel: All right, let me pray. Loving God thank you for our time to be together with these great leaders and shepherds, and just help us to stay clear and focused yes, certainly on our own lives, but so that we then can be poured out for others. Like you said, “Be my sheep and be shepherds” if we love you. So we’re going to take care of ourselves and our churches and our people, and we’re going to give you the glory for the great things, the amount of applied stuff that was in this call. And it’s in your name I pray and give all of these ideas to you, and submit them to you. In your name I pray. Amen.

Doug Parks: Thank you guys again. I know your time’s precious right now. Have a great weekend, okay?


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