#Echo13 :: Phil Bowdle – Creative Series Planning

Phil Bowdle

Communications Director at West Ridge Church in Atlanta, GA. Passionate about creating high-impact experiences through communications that lead people to Jesus Christ. http://philbowdle.com/

 Creative Series Planning

  • How do we create a process of series planning for our church?
  • Part 1 – Key roles for series planning
  • Part 2 – Series planning funnel
  • Part 3 – Lessons learned
  • Part 4 – Examples and resources
  • Key Roles
    • Teaching
    • Communications – promotion
    • Creative Arts – worship and songs
    • Inside of all three of these is the Big Picture
    • Someone needs to own the mindset of how all three of these roles come together. This could be the creative arts pastor.
  • Teaching
    • Message content
    • Theme
    • Scripture
    • Big idea of series and messages
    • Most series do not start with some abstract idea. It’s important that the content from the pastor is driving the conversation.
  • Creative Arts
    • Songs
    • Service elements
    • Stage design
    • Transitions and flow
    • Creative elements
  • Communications
    • Branding
    • Visuals
    • Promotion
    • Story
  • Big Picture
    • Make sure that someone is coordinating all three roles.
  • It’s important to know that this doesn’t necessarily always mean staff. It could be a set of volunteers who are skilled in this area.
  • #1 Thing that will make or break your series planning is planning ahead.
  • This allows for better creativity
  • This saves money.
  • This shows that you value your staff and volunteers and their time and health.
  • You don’t do your best work the Saturday night before the series starts.
  • You can pick two
    • Fast
    • Cheap
    • Great
  • “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • Series Funnel
    • Series calendar – 6 months
    • Series overview – 10+ weeks
    • Creative brainstorm – 9 weeks
    • Communications brainstorm – 8 weeks
    • Weekly program – 4 weeks
    • Service and evaluation
  • Series Calendar
    • Give the pastor a platform for what he is learning personally
  • Series Overview
    • Where we’re going with this series from a big picture perspective
    • A document that goes from the big picture idea and break it down by weeks.
  • Creative Brainstorm
    • This involves the creative arts team and communications team.
    • How can we bring the series to life through our services and promotion? What is the hook?
    • Think through elements like the offering and pre-service. Create some unexpected moments to build anticipation in services.
  • Communications Brainstorm
    • How do we visually bring this to life?
    • Go through a creative brief.
    • How does this apply visually?
    • What are the timelines and milestones for promoting a series?
  • Weekly Program
    • 2-4 weeks out, build a shell of a service to be 80-90% complete.
  • Service and evaluation
    • After you have the service, one of the things we often overlook is evaluating what happened.
    • Service Evaluation: What worked? What didn’t work? What was missing? What was confusing?
    • We started sending out a video just of our bands, and our bands started to realize the things they needed to improve on.
  • Lessons Learned
    • Block out meeting times in advance.
    • Timelines
    • A lot of people are behind and don’t plan ahead because they don’t realize the implications it has for the rest of the team.
    • Setup project milestones – we use a tool called Asana.
    • When the plan hits the fan, adjust expectations and communicate consistently.
    • As long as you’re communicating frequently, people aren’t as upset, because you’ve adjusted expectations.
    • What do you when a pastor or team member doesn’t value planning? Add value to the process.
    • Learn about what your pastor values and add to that. Give the pastor some options.
    • Look for ways to tie a teaching series into the whole church (kids/students).
    • The system and process is a guide. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it. It’s there to serve you, not control you.
    • Often we view excellence as a bar, but sometimes I have to view it as, do the best we can with what we have.
    • When planning and promoting a series, identify the problem you are going to solve.
  • Sometimes the purpose of the series graphic is not to explain anything, but to build intrigue.
  • Create an emotional response for a passage in scripture that someone might just normally skim over.
  • What you do matters!

 

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