Check Out Crossing Creative on Unseminary Podcast

creatives_lee_coate.jpgIt was great to be able to share some of our processes as part of Rich Birch’s Unseminary Podcast. Give it a listen –
Plus: New Creative Cohort in Vegas announced! March 3rd-5th in Vegas. Get more info here.

Thanks so much for joining us for this week’s unSeminary podcast. We have a return guest this week: Lee Coate, executive pastor from The Crossing Church in Las Vegas.

Lee is with us today to talk about the The Crossing Church’s weekend services and how the creatives and teaching pastors work together to communicate the truth of the Gospel in impactful and creative ways each weekend. He gives advice on how you can take these strategies and apply them to the processes at your church as well.

  • The weekend experience is the primary piston. // At the Crossing, they use a “Great Commission Engine,” which has become a part of their language over the last few years. It is the idea that there are four key components that drive them: what people will experience when the come in, getting people into the community, helping them discover where they can missionally serve and use their gifts, and focusing on the one who is not here yet. The weekend experience is the primary piston. This doesn’t mean it is more important than the other components, but if it is not performing at its best, the others won’t either.
  • Draw people in with the weekend experience. // People will find your church because of what you do on the weekend. At the Crossing, they’ve made the decision to create a 65 minute experience each week that will resonate with people even after they leave the building. Create your weekend experience to be something that will stay with your visitors once they’re gone and make them want to come back again the next week.
  • Find the process that fits. // When it comes to communicating creatively during the weekend service, every church has a different process based on the personality and interest of the communicator. Some churches may have a lead communicator who is all in and drives the creativity. The creative team then executes on the ideas that the leader wants. A second type of team has a lead communicator who is bought-in. They aren’t fully engaged in the process and don’t lead it, but they support it and expect to buy into it at some point. The third type is checked out, where the creative team and the lead communicator are happy to have each other around, but they each do their own thing. And then lastly there is all out, in which the lead communicator may not be happy to have an extra video or other elements taking up time in the service. At the Crossing, they work on a bought-in process where the lead pastor is not in the room with the creative programming team during their messy, chaotic planning process. Lee found early on that process was the best method for all of them involved. Your creative team needs to find a process that works best for you and your lead communicator.
  • Ebb and flow. // The process you work with now doesn’t have to remain the same all year long. There can be an ebb and flow that may change with holidays, or the lead communicator may have an idea that he wants to develop for a certain series. That may lead to him working more closely with the creative team for a short while to see this idea come to fruition.
  • 2-4-6 Programming. // Creative people can have a reputation of working without planning, throwing things together spontaneously at the last minute. But working in a structured format is what allows you to turn things around quickly or add in a new idea at the last minute. The creative team at the Crossing meets weekly to discuss creative elements for upcoming weekends (up to 6 weeks out) using a 2-4-6 Programming process. One and two weeks out are “green” weeks and they spend a small percentage of time talking about any tweaks that need to happen, the flow, or anything else they haven’t thought through. Three and four weeks out are considered “yellow” and they discuss the content here in more detail, beginning to nail down ideas. Five and six weeks out are “red” and there is some rough discussion about these. When they meet the next week, each item will shift one week forward so there is always discussion about what’s coming up a few weeks away. You can download an example of the 2-4-6 Programming Handout here.

You can learn more about The Crossing Church
at and or contact Lee at

Learn about the Creative Cohort at



Using a Follow Up to Rev Things Up

This past weekend we set aside time specifically to encourage people to 1. Make a decision for Christ and 2. Make a public statement of this faith through baptism. In the planning for this worship gathering, it became evident that people needed to not just understand the power of the decision, but also the effects of stepping out in these decisions.  At The Crossing, we celebrate baptisms every month and we do this through both story and the experience in the room. As we pondered recent life stories we had heard, we landed on Kelci’s story. She had made such an impact initially and we wondered what it would be like to do a follow up and hear where she is now.

She was so excited and agreeable to make it happen. And her story was so strong and compelling (especially coming from a young person), the decision was made to actually fold the video into the conclusion of the message.

LEARNING: As we consider creative elements, there is always the question that needs to be asked around placement and the feel/mood in the moment. One thing to consider with your team is not just the heart, quality and execution of an element, but also it’s PLACEMENT. We have wasted many a good idea by placing it in the wrong spot in the service flow.

This was the right spot.

This is Kelci’s story.


Kelci Cardinal Baptism Re-Visit_4 from The Crossing Creative on Vimeo.

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You Say… (Let’s have a Choir)

As we kicked off our Flawed Heroes series through the life of David, the theme centered around our identity in Christ. Matching theme to music is always a win without being overt or … cheesy.

The new release by Lauren Daigle “You Say” provided the perfect vehicle for that. To add to the impact, we assembled a choir. When we do a choir we predictably get the feedback, “we should do a choir every week”, which is EXACTLY why we don’t do a choir every week or even that often. But when we close the service with this song, it put a strong period and resolve on the day.

Performed by Kevin Love and Hannah Shaheen with The Crossing Worship Team and Choir

“You Say”
by Jason Ingram, Lauren Daigle, and Paul Mabury
© 2016 © Fellow Ships Music, Flychild Publishing, So EssentialTunes, and CentricSongs
Songs used with Permission, CCLI License #1857249, CCS License #9072


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No. Words.

In the midst of our Hills We Die On Series, we dealt with the parable of the One over the 99. The natural song to accompany this day was … Reckless Love. Easy decision. So it would seem. But with our team, we are always attempting to mine for the last 10% in order to take the expected and normal to a greater impact. With Reckless Love, this was a challenge as the song is extremely familiar to our people and the lyrics can even become numb to our hearts.

We made the decision to present the songs with only visuals and only a single cello. Yes, a single cello. Basically an instrumental version coming out of our communion moment that was accompanied with environmental lyrics. No leading from the front. No cues for what the audience should do.

We paused. And then we went for it.

Our favorite cellist David Warner agreed to come in and added to the moment by bringing his unique cello on which he has constructed a harp like element. He made the decision to use the harp during the song to add emphasis. You will see on the video.

It was a powerful, powerful moment that we did not expect. In each service, people sat. Stunned. Weeping. Some standing, others just absorbing. The power of the song was increased because each individual filled in the lyrics in the head. They heard the song for the first time as they felt it.

Here’s the video of the moment which is tough to do justice:


  1. Don’t always feel like you have to hold people’s hands. Give space for the Spirit to actually move. Don’t tell people what they should feel. Let them feel it.
  2. Giving space can be a powerful thing. 
  3. Take something familiar and rework it to make it fresh. Make sure and give your team enough space to consider this and execute to it.

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Hills We Die On… Vision Series

Fall is definitely a time where churches (our included) often spend a few weeks re-establishing our unique vision and moving people towards connecting with that. We see the Weekend Experience as our primary initial connection point and growth engine, but it fails if it does not both communicate and illuminate our bigger vision towards discipleship and connection.

In other words…if you are just producing a Sunday “show”, you are missing a bigger and more lasting objective. This is especially true in an environment like Vegas where there are plenty of more entertaining and astounding opportunities. We will lose if we try to compete with just flash and thrill. The tension for us is to constantly combine fresh, heart grabbing moments that move towards a purpose.

In August, we re-visited some of these themes around a series we called, Hills To Die On. Each weekend focused on our non-negotiable’s.  Here’s each weekend’s focus:

  • Purpose Over Preference
  • Relationships Over Isolation
  • Others Over Self  
  • The 1 Over the 99

The next few posts will highlight our emphasis each week. Keep in mind that we wanted the message to be surrounded with complimentary content that would drive not just emotion, but a specific action.

Week one we kicked it off by focusing on our weekend gathering objectives. We pushed a bit on people especially in the area of what we “prefer” vs. what actually connects in moving people towards Christ. It was a needed and important reminder.

Our video concept that day included a brief look at the various “touches” that people experience on their journey towards Christ and specifically towards baptism publicly. We had a short amount of time to execute the idea, but our team was able to get the basic concept. This was also used as part of our “IT Matters” Team Conference the day before. (see details here)

Baptism Rewind

The service concluded musically by combining the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” with the song “What a Beautiful Name.” It was a subtle mixture of the old and new highlighting purpose.

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