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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Men Who Lounge: Videos in 100 degrees

Inspiration comes from a variety of places.

As we were having conversations around our summer “Giants” series bumper package, the idea flew onto the table to use the Sonic Drive Thru commercials as a jumping off point. Our version, however, would take place on top of a roof vs. in the drive through of a fast food joint.

We had 8 weeks to cover so our crack writing team went to work shaping facts about our biblical giants into “comical” 1 minute spoofs. It would be a big challenge for our team to execute as it involved:

1. Major amounts of prop gathering
2. Shooting on a roof top in the middle of the summer
3. Working with two pastors/actors who would have to be familiar enough with the material to pull it off.
4. We were shooting all 8 … at one time.

For our team, this was a welcome challenge. Every team needs those ongoing moments where it is “all hands on deck” for a big project that is more than we should probably be taking on, but feel compelled to do so. This was that exact thing.

On the day of the shoot – we prayed for cloud cover and went for it. The result was a great series of videos that kept the enthusiasm going for the entirety of the series. We were pleased with the result even with our amateur acting talent.

Enjoy!

 

Weekend Rundown: You Asked For It Wk. 3 (Jan. 17)

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This was a weekend that our team was tasked with extending our creative programming muscles into one of the most vital aspects of our church… our Reach Missions. This is an annual weekend emphasis each January at The Crossing and it left us with a dilemma. There was nothing in our current series or the weekend theme (Are We Living in the End Times?) that directly related to the mobilization and movement of people beyond our comfortable life into a collision with the rest of the world. So we made the decision to create a smooth, but clear line of demarcation.

Let’s pause here and address a key concept for creatives. One of our core values as a church is to always be catalyzing movement within people. This is a combination of spiritual and practical steps. Each weekend our hope is that we will grab the spiritual attention of our church, present a clear biblical perspective and then catalyze movement on their part. Sometimes it is a move spiritually (re-commit to a spiritual discipline, confess sin, etc.) and other times it is more practical as they discover their next spiritual step and act upon it in some way by engaging in an active way (often by signing up, register or joining something ).  If a moment in a worship service, catalyzes movement on the part of the individual towards God, then we are meeting our objective.

So with that in mind, we used the communion moment post-message to shift the tone. This is important. When you are going to make such a potentially abrupt shift, look for a transition moment that eases the shock and sets up the move. For us, communion naturally provides that shift as people are contemplative and it generally puts a reflective period on the message.

Following communion, we introduced our Reach initiatives for 2016  with the stories of individuals who had traveled to another country for the first time in 2015. These were recorded 6 months earlier and worked perfectly  for this moment when combined with appropriate b-roll.

Note: If you constantly find yourself saying, “I WISH we had footage of _________”, begin taking the approach that EVERYTHING has potential for a future story and if you have the means…capture it. Keeping those moments in the video vault will often be extremely valuable in these type of moments. If your video team can lean into this and organize these archives effectively it will pay huge dividends.

Here’s a link to see the video: https://youtu.be/DQh6LWa0RzI

Our Missions Director took the stage following this video for a 4 minute recap, appeal, and information download of their next steps. Specifically on this day we had:

  • Local outreach partners from our community available to interact and provide information on potential service projects.
  • An interactive replication of our Mexico Home Build homes which included “text to learn more” options for each upcoming Global Reach Trip. A simple text  with the key word of the country the individual was interested in would reply with a link to a short video from each trip leader giving info and encouraging them to participate.
  • Information Center for all of these trips.

The moment concluded with the song Invitation Fountain and our Guest Services team distributed Prayer Bands that each contained one of our  40 individual partners. The bands were distributed during the song rather than at the doors to tie them directly to the moment and encourage individual response. The song was also backed with a video loop containing highlight pics from the past years Reach missions experiences.

At our conclusion, they were then encouraged to head out to the interactive area.

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The home is a replication of what is built in Baja Mexico in our regular partnership with Youth With A Mission. Volunteers spent Saturday prepping the house to a point and we then had volunteers on site throughout our services painting, roofing, etc to interact with people.  Tons of work. Totally worth it.

Learnings:

  • If something doesn’t naturally fit in your normal service flow,  give real intentional thought as to how to best transition into that moment with the least amount of disruption.
  • Transitions matter. (Repeat that) Transitions matter. Pay attention to them.
  • Visuals and interactive experiences are always a great enhancement to any presentation. Look for ways to infuse them in these moments.
  • If something is of HIGH VALUE to your organization, put in the effort that COMMUNICATE VALUE (see: Home Build)
  • Look for opportunities for your theme AND your creativity to extend outside the walls of your auditorium.  Constantly ask the question ….how can we EXTEND IT?

Sunday Set List:

You Are Good

My Heart Is Yours

Cornerstone

Special: Invitation Fountain

Run SheetJanuary 17, 2016

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You Asked For It: Wk 1 (Jan. 3rd)

We kicked off a new 5-week series to open the New Year. We choose to go in a bit of a different direction, but based on our sense of where we were as a church and as a culture, we went for it. Little did we know how difficult a series like this would be to ACTUALLY create worship experiences around those topics.

(BTW: Important question to be constantly asking. Merely plugging in series that you dream up or someone else inspires you to is not going to be as effective or impacting)

A survey was sent out in early December with 30 potential questions people may have for God. We asked hundreds of to choose the Top 5 Questions they would like to ask God. Throughout the month of January we will be working through them from #5 – #1. We are not revealing them beforehand, but moving through them one by one.

Today’s question was “What about those who have never heard about Jesus?” We choose to focus on setting up the series as a pre-message moment. In the midst of Star Wars mania, we used a Youtube clip as a father shows his son the original Star Wars for the first time and the viewing is filled with questions.

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Note:
We clipped the video and added setup text at beginning front and our series logo at the end.

The conclusion of the message pointed people towards the truth that most important thing was what they do with what they know about Jesus.  We capped the song off with a post-message song from Hillsongs “No Other Name”. The band did an acoustic version of the song and used a lyric loop with environments to accompany the song. This would be an example of what we call “the last 10%”. Song was solid as it was, but our intent was to discover simple, subtle ways for the song to move on people’s hearts at a deeper level.  Even though we have done the song as a regular part of worship in the past, by reshaping the presentation it took on new life. It’s something we have constant conversations around.

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(Lyric Video)

No Other Name (Hillsongs)
Note: We did radio version. Lyric video is set to 74 bpm on click.

Sunday Set List:

Unstoppable God

Christ Is Enough

Holy Spirit

Special: No Other Name

Lord I Need You

Run Sheet:

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Let It Be Week 1 Christmas Series

let it be.jpgThis week we kicked of our 2015 Christmas series. It is always difficult to choose a Christmas series as it tends to feel repetitive and routine. Inspired by a number of churches around the county, we decided to title our 3 week Christmas series, Let It Be. As a part of the series, each week would highlight the message and the theme of the day by introducing a communion mediation moment. In our programming meetings, we choose three individuals who over the course of the three weeks would share their personal story live on stage, tying it into the theme, and then leading the audience through communion.

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Special music was a new song by Laura Story entitled “Just Another Christmas”.  Standard Christmas song that allowed us to kick off the season with a clear message and set up the theme well, reflecting what people may be sensing.

The first week our focus was on “Being Astonished” as we began the Christmas season and on reestablishing a fresh perspective. Josiah shared a powerful story of redemption during communion and encouraged a fresh set of eyes.

Introduced New Song “Defender” by Ben Kolarcik

singingSet List:

Defender

Glory to God Forever

O Come All Ye Faithful

Special: Just Another Christmas

10000 Reasons

Run Sheet:   December 6, 2015      

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Red Letters Wk. 4 (Nov. 22nd)

FearRedLettersThis weekend is our bi-annual Child Dedication experience. A huge DNA decision for us as we grow is to continue these family moments. It serves to remind us who we are, enhances community, and is a powerful teaching/sending moment for parents.

Set List:

This Is Amazing Grace

Good, Good Father

Trust It All

Special (Child Dedication): With All I Am

Forever Reign

Run List:  November 22, 2015

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