Renovating Our New Church Campus

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been in the process of renovating our new location for our North Knox Campus. Though I’ve worked to design the space for our last few campus launches, this has been the largest and most in-depth project I’ve taken on.

First, a few photos that were taken before renovation began. As you can see, it really is a great campus – the lobby and worship center were in great shape already, and the kids space was very well laid out. Unfortunately, we had a limited budget, so replacing the carpet and painting all the walls in the worship center was out of the question. Most of my focus would be on the downstairs area.

I digitally mocked up the spaces to pick out hallway flooring, room colors, and hallway colors. Also, I had to redesign our giant mural files to fit the spaces. Once they were ready, I sent off mural and sign files to be fabricated and worked with our awesome general contractor to get flooring replaced and walls painted.

I’m very happy about how everything turned out – just in time for our soft opening this weekend.

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Of course, all of this happened with tons of input from people on our staff. Without feedback from Heather Burson, Mike Baker, Kandice Baker, and Josh Whitehead, I would have been toast.

Thanks to Noah Case and Chris Shumate for helping me hang signs.

Also, Heather was picking up all my slack on other projects and making sure that our billboard, mailer, tshirt, and invite card advertising were all ready to go.

Kid’s Space Design

One of the coolest things about my job is that I get to work on a wide variety of projects. Since we recently launched a new facility at our Pellissippi Campus of Faith Promise Church, we’ve had the opportunity to branch out into designing components for several spaces in the building.

As Heather Burson (our Graphic Designer) and I talked it over, we decided that it would be nice to try to make our outdoor modular building feel a little bit more kid friendly. The inside was great, but the outside of the building needed something to make it look more exciting.

I mocked up some designs and put them into production, and today my dad and I installed the elements (he’s in the pictures, but I promise I was doing the work too – LOL).

I would make several changes if I could do it over again, but I’m still very happy with the overall improvement to the space.

 

Portable Campus

Over the past three years we’ve refined the look of our signage and branding at Faith Promise Church, but with the launch of our first portable campus with a children’s ministry, we’ve had to find a way to carry the same feel into a portable location. We ended up using clear ceiling grid clips, 1/8″ steel rope, and vinyl applied to polyurethane signs. We started with clear polyurethane, but because of finger prints and heavy shadows, we had the back coated with frosted vinyl.

In addition to that, we used black pvc for our large hanging restroom sign and the keyboard covers for our touch screen check in computers and several sign and poster holders that we ordered online.

We’ve ended up with a solution that sets up quickly (we leave the clips on the ceiling grid during the week) and has a small storage footprint while still providing a strong impact.

Creating a Killer Task Management Workflow

To help improve communications from our two-person communication team to the much larger church staff, we’ve recently implemented a new job workflow. While I know many people are happily using other tools, like Basecamp, we’ve found other solutions to be lacking in some of the key features that are important to our process.

Here’s our new workflow:

1) Ticket Origination via Web Form

This part is nothing new to our organization. For over a year we’ve had a centralized location where our staff can place  IT, graphic, video, or facility requests through an online site. (We use MachForm for our web forms.)

What’s new, is the way graphic and website requests are routed from that point forward.

2) Task Automatically Created in Project Management System

When the request form is submitted, that email ticket is set up to automatically generate a new task in Producteev, which we’re using as a task/project manager. We recently switched to Producteev because of its simplicity coupled with its impressive feature set and API. (But yes, I hate their logo.)

3) The Person Who Created the Ticket is Redirected to a Status Update Page

Status Update Page

This is my favorite part: Using the Producteev API, we redirect the staff person who created the ticket to a page that shows all the open and recently completed tickets on which our team is working. This includes the current status of each task, which we can update through tags in Producteev.

Overview

While I assume this system might not work well for every staff, we’ve already found it to be very helpful to ours for a number of reasons:

  1. All requests are centrally located.
  2. There are no required logins for a staff person to create a new ticket.
  3. Anyone on our staff can easily see the status of all projects.
  4. Status tags are simple to update, and since its integrated with our task management, it’s a seamless process for our communications team.

Five Facebook Tips for Your Church or Organization

We’ve seen our church’s engagement on Facebook go from 200 to nearly 3,000 individuals over the past two years.  Here are a few tips that I’ve  learned along the way:

1. If you’re still using a group for your church or organization, don’t wait another day to make the move to a Facebook Page.

There are tons of benefits of pages over groups.  My favorite benefit is that when you post to your organization’s wall, that post will show up in the new feed of the people who like your page.  My second favorite thing (and this is a new feature of the updated Facebook pages) is that as an administrator, you can receive all new Wall posts via email.  This is especially helpful if you maintain multiple pages.  These email updates will keep your Facebook spaces from being polluted by spam wall posts for Russian brides and mail-in pharmaceuticals, and it will also help you to respond to to people in a timely fashion.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing automatic about making the change from a Facebook Group to a Facebook Page, but it’s fairly painless.  Set up a new Facebook Page and then message all the people in your existing group to let them know that you’re making the switch.  Make sure you provide a link to the new page, and let them know that you’ll be shutting down the old group in a certain number of days (a week seems to work nicely).

2. Give the responsibility to the right person.

While you’ll probably wan’t to hand off your Facebook admin rights to someone who is technically savvy, make sure that their love for people exceeds their ability to write code or navigate the internet.  Responding to people’s questions and concerns in a public setting requires tenderness, compassion, and discernment.  Pick someone who will represent your church well.

3. Make sure that your updates are interesting and engaging.

If you can, post videos and include photography. Posting short highlights from past weekend messages and upcoming events has worked very well for us (I would guess that 75% or more of our wall posts include graphics or video).  None of these things require new video footage – we just re-purpose existing video.

Also, when you post content, spend some time crafting the words.  There are many ways to say the same thing, so try to craft your phrases in a way that they elicit curiosity and spark interest.  This takes practice, but even a little effort will take you a long way.

Note: If you find yourself posting the same wrote message over and over again, or if you only post times changes and cancellations, you’re on the wrong track.  Always ask yourself, “Is this lame?” before you post something to your church’s Facebook Wall.  If the answer is yes very often, it’s time to change your strategy.

4. Don’t mess with your logo.

While you may be tempted to think it would be good to update your Facebook Page profile image to reflect a current sermon series or upcoming event, I would highly suggest that you reserve the profile image only for your church’s logo/brand.  Sermon series graphics are great, but post them to your wall instead.

5. Be strategic about your communications hub.

While Facebook is an excellent tool, I think it’s a good strategy to keep your church website, not Facebook, at the center of your communications. For Faith Promise, we’re deliberate to keep our website and blog at the core of our communications.  Facebook is one of the many tools we use to engage the congregation and open up dialog. (For some of the other options, check out our “Updates” page.)

What about you? What features make a Facebook Page compelling?  What can we do to better engage our congregation through Facebook?

Another Reason I Love My Job

One of my favorite things about my job is getting to watch graphics come together for upcoming sermon series.  As we finalize designs and begin to implement them in print and on the website, my excitement about the series builds, and I begin to imagine the impact that those weekends will make in people’s lives are changed through their encounter with Jesus.

Over the past few days, we’ve finalized a couple of new graphics, and I wanted to share them here:

I’m pretty sure the graphic above is the first graphic I’ve ever personally created for a sermon series.  I used a photograph of a typewriter and drew it out digitally from there.

Our Graphic Designer, Heather Burson, creates 95% of the graphics around Faith Promise, and as usual, she knocked it out of the park with the graphic above.

How We’re Using our Blog at Faith Promise

-every ministry can have a voice.

-content is directed to those who want that kind of information.

-by using an HTML mail template, content goes out looking good in HTML format automatically from the blog post.

-unsubscribes, updates, and bounces can happen automatically.

-Several ministry areas were slow to warm up to the idea, but the clear turning point was when we moved our Pastor’s email to the congregation to this system.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago, Keri, the kids, and I flew to Knoxville, hung out with our friends, Josh and Kim Whitehead, visited Faith Promise Church, met up with Pastor Chris and Michele for lunch after the services, and visited a small group. That weekend marked the beginning of our transition from Fort Worth, TX to Knoxville, TN.

Wow, we had no idea what we were getting into! :)

Honestly, these past two years have been the best years of my life in so many ways.

Thank you, God, for the privilege and joy of serving at such a great church and with such an amazing staff.