Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

Examples in Leadership

Long Hollow had never done anything quite like ?The Fortunate Death of Phillip Randoll?. They had just finished their Christmas program when the senior pastor tasked Jason Dyba with dreaming up an awesome dramatic presentation. There was a lot of pressure coming off of Christmas, without too much time to dream something up from scratch.

So after a few weeks of wrestling, Jason had a concept and script. He knew the hardest part of the production was what happened next ??revealing the idea to leadership and selling it to them. He knew if he didn?t have buy-in from the leadership, staff, and volunteers, it wouldn?t be as strong as it could be.

So he sat down and spent two full days in After Effects making a stick figure story board. He added music, stock videos, narration, and even the countdown clock that was so central to the visuals of the production. He popped some popcorn and showed it to his team of creative volunteers to get their opinion. He knew he was on to something when people started crying during the 30-35 minute video ??because behind those stick figures was a story of real humanity. With that success under his belt he presented it to the leadership.

That After Effects, stick figure video helped him sell people on it. The leadership knew exactly what they were getting themselves into and it made it an easy thing to buy in to. They liked the video so much, in fact, that they switched it from their previous position on Palm Sunday to the Easter services. What a great example of leading up.

Once leadership was on board, Jason presented the pastor an idea for a sermon outline. He offered some points that followed along with each major scene from the dramatic piece. He?d built a local, regional, and global element into the story. And while their pastor loved the idea, he went a different route and decided to stress the importance of the salvation moment ??playing on the ticking clock. He wanted the clock rebuilt during the message, counting down to a hypothetical point of death for the pastor.

Because Jason had done so much preparation on the front end of the project, the presentation looked almost exactly like they planned it. That isn’t always the case with things like this. But the mockup helped and forced him to analyze every single element before he included it ??from the basketball hoop?s positioning, to blocking the screen, and zoning.

Doing Things Differently

One of the hardest parts of leadership is the evaluation after the fact. It?s through this raw and candid evaluation that you grow from year to year, production to production, and service to service.

One of the main mistakes they learned from ? something they?ll remedy in the future ? was the extreme secrecy around this Phillip Randoll character. In order to keep it all on the down low they really kept people in the dark ? even some of the key volunteers and staff members. And while that kept the mystery element very tight, some of the staff and volunteers felt excluded from the process. That?s never a great place to be.

It was also such a big concept, it was really hard for them to break it out and include other ministries in the project. How could you effectively support this in the kids ministry? And while there wasn?t much they could have done differently about that, it?s something they wish they could have done better.

Finally, the biggest mistake they made was in making it a 6-week series. Instead of having one great week, they decided to turn it into a series. Jason described it like singing your favorite song five times in a row. They got sick of it.

At about 3-weeks into the series they hated it. They realized they?d built an entire series on a fake character.

Regardless, the production was a success. People came to Christ and people are still talking about Phillip Randoll today.

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