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Interview with Ryan Leak

December 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

I have the blessing to know Ryan Leak from a few years back when we were on staff at the same church. He’s a really creative individual and a visionary entrepreneur. He started a production company while also traveling around the country speaking and consulting churches and companies..

Recently his wedding video went viral. In all honesty, I sent him this questionnaire before the video went viral, after we had sat for lunch a few months back. And after watching the moving video and the impact it had, I decided to ask him a few more questions.

So here it is, my interview with the one and only Ryan Leak… Continue Reading…

This week I’m featuring my interview with Jared Callais about ministry, creativity and church communications. Jared is the Communicacations Director at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Most church creatives are gifted in more than one skill. Whether it’s video, graphics, lighting, etc, how did you learn?

My strongest skill is graphic design since that’s what I went to school for. Everything else has been learned from experience, blogs, and books.

What’s your primary role at your home church?
Oversee all communication outlets & design all media (print & digital)

When did you start doing creative ministry? Did you ever volunteer at your church (or any other church) before becoming part of the staff?
I’ve been on staff for about 4.5 years. Before that, I did work for a couple churches and ministries while I was in school and in the period of time right after I graduated.

How has your role evolved since you came on staff?
The first year or so was pretty much figuring out what my job was. After a supervisor transition, I was given Less Clutter. Less Noise. by Kem Meyer and that was a pretty big game changer. Over time, I’ve realized just how far reaching the discipline of communication reaches.

Mention some challenges that you’ve had since being part of creative ministry.
Most of the challenges I’ve faced are all about perception. Working with so many different ministry leaders who all have their own events and needs, it’s difficult to prioritize it all and help them understand those priorities while still helping them feel like their needs have been addressed and communicated effectively.

Mention your biggest accomplishment (or more) since being part of creative ministry
I don’t think I really have one. I’m always excited to launch a new project. As of right now, we’re about to launch a 40-day time of prayer in our church and so I’ve been working on what goes in people’s hands on the Sunday we launch, how we’re going to keep people engaged throughout the process, etc.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew before you started in church communications?
I wish I would’ve known how to manage time better. It never slows down. For a couple years I kept thinking that after the next big project things would slow down and they never have.

Do you have any ministry mentors?
I’d probably say Justin Wise. Since I’ve been reading/learning about how to do my job, the content he produces is probably the most valuable that I’ve come across.

What advice would you give to someone who’s starting out?
It’s an incredibly fun job. It can also be an incredibly stressful job. Be gracious. Make time to really talk to the people you work with.

Jared Callais

Jared is the Communications Director at Brainerd Baptist Church. He lives his wife and three awesome kids in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

You can check out Jared’s blog jaredcallis.com where he shares how he gets things done, what he’s learned along the way and trusted resources.

Follow Jared on Twitter @JaredCallis

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I get the privilege to work with Mike at Northplace, he’s a very creative individual. Currently Mike is the next generation pastor at Northplace and leads our young adult ministry The Movement.

I asked Mike a few questions about creativity and ministry. Thanks for you time Mike!

Prior to being on staff, did you ever volunteer at your church or were involved in media anywhere else? How did you get involved in the church media field? 

I was 14 and pretty upset with my parents because they had made the executive decision to transfer our church membership to a new church without consulting me. I was extremely angry every week about being at church, so in my 14 year old mind, I thought getting on the church camera crew would be my silent protest against the church. It turned out that I was a pretty decent camera guy and it caused me stay more engaged in church as opposed to ignoring it.

What’s your primary role at church? 

I am the young adult pastor, which means that I oversee our ministry for 18-35 years old regardless of martial status and station in life. That makes me also the executive producer of anything produced in that ministry as well.

How has your ministry involvement evolved since the first time you were involved at your local church? 

Not sure there is an easy answer to that. 12 years into this I feel I have more information and less understanding than ever. I think the greatest transition is my understanding of discipleship. I used to limit discipleship to just a classroom, Sunday school setting. Then I evolved into thinking that small groups and providing resources was discipleship. I think today my understanding is that my life is the classroom. That means everything I say, everything I design, every meal or coffee appointment is a venue to grant me access to display the Gospel in people’s lives.

Many enjoy the inception of an idea, others enjoy the side of creativity where you get the work done. What’s your favorite part of the creative process? 

I am an idea guy. I am a dreamer. I think of myself as similar to a diagnostician. I love the problem solving process. Whether I was a detective, engineer, a doctor or preacher- the fun is staring at something that was previously unsolvable and taking the resources, especially limited resources, and coming up with a creative solution.

What are some challenges that young church creatives will likely experience in the field of church communications? 

I think it is a constant moving target. From the change in technology, to the change in design styles. It is difficult to keep pace. However, I think the greater challenge is trying to avoid the tyranny of trying to keep up with the current styles. I think as a young creative you can lose yourself in trying to be someone else.

Mention your most favorite accomplishment in ministry?  

The other day I wrote some personal letters to students who had just started their fall semester of college. One young lady named Brittney has just been on this amazing trajectory, having a summer full of incredible career opportunities- I think she is a political science major. She got to meet UN representatives and this fall, she is interning at the state Capitol. I congratulated her on her accomplishments and prayed a sincere prayer over her as she stepped into these new opportunities, that she would help lead the government in the way Christ rules and reigns over His kingdom. She responded to my message with the following

Mike, I am speechless. Thank you so much for this. If it wasn’t for me going to check out The Movement my junior year I’m not sure I would be where I am today, and I thank you all for leading me to Jesus

Moments like that make you want to get up a little earlier to pray and stay up later working on a mundane task because you just get reminded that God is doing something, way beyond what I could accomplish.

What’s the one thing anybody must know before getting involved in church communications? 

It’s not about you. I think most of us agree with that, but rarely do we live by it. For the young creative in church communications, it means the message supersedes the method. It means when that lead pastor or ministry director is displeased with the stylistic genius of your design or video or motion graphic, you change it because it is not about you. It means when you put hours into the minute details of a project and people only glance at it, it is okay because it is not about you. It means when lives are transformed, thank God for allowing you to be part of what He is doing because it is not about you, it is about Him.

Mike Dsnae the Movement at Northplace Church

I am just a guy lucky enough to be invited into what God is doing in my generation. I have the privilege of being the husband of my incredible wife, Sky and the pastor of great people.

Follow Mike on Twitter @MDsane23

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Interview with Jonathan Malm

October 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

Jonathan is the founder of Church Stage Design Ideas, Sunday Magazine and MoPho.to. I asked Jonathan if I could ask him a few questions about creativity and church communications and he accepted. Here’s the interview.

I know you were on staff at a church a couple of years ago. Prior to being on staff, did you ever volunteer at your church or were involved in media anywhere else? How did you get involved in the church media field?

I’ve always been involved in church—throughout my life. I grew up as a missionary kid in Guatemala and was used to being involved in ministry. I began working with my youth group at age 16—DJing and running sound. Then I worked with my college group doing marketing, graphic design, worship leading. I’ve always been passionate about every ministry I’ve been involved with and trying to make it as solid as possible.

Many enjoy the inception of an idea, others enjoy the side of creativity where you get the work done. What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part of the process is building. I love getting that exciting spark of an idea, then turning it into something real. It’s really both. The part I never really enjoy is maintaining. I love building a tower but I don’t want to toil to keep it standing once it’s been built.

How did you come up with the idea for Church Stage Design Ideas? Continue Reading…

Kelvin Co is the Creative Arts Pastor at The Oaks Fellowship. I’ve had the privilege to work directly with him, and let me tell you he’s a great person.

He’s been kind enough to let me ask him a few questions about his role at The Oaks, and his trajectory and ministry in the creative arts.

Most church creatives are gifted in more than one skill. Whether it’s video, graphics, lighting, etc, how did you learn?

You can probably relate but most of what I do I learned (and continue to learn) on the job. The catalyst for learning how to do something for me is usually driven by an idea. If it’s an idea I come up with or copied from pop-culture, research and a lot of figuring out is involved. If an idea is from another church, an email or phone call simplifies the learning process. I must admit, I almost love the figuring out and learning as much as the creative process itself.

What’s your primary role at your home church?

I have a variety of things I am responsible for under my portfolio. Primarily, I would say, I am responsible for driving the creative vision of my church.

When did you start doing creative ministry? Did you ever volunteer at your church (or any other church) before becoming part of the staff?

I started as a volunteer in creative ministry in 1998. We were a mobile church. We set up and tore down each week in a movie theater.

How has your role evolved since you came on staff?

I started as the Communication Director at The Oaks Fellowship overseeing marketing strategies, PR, web and social media strategies, etc. About 3 years ago, I was promoted to my current role. I am grateful for the incredible team I get to work with.

Mention some challenges that young church creatives will likely experience in this field.

The biggest challenge, in my opinion, and often most neglected aspect of doing church creative ministry is relationship. Most of us are inclined to do what we do because we are introverts. We prefer to work behind-the-scenes. We are perfectly content being left alone in our caves and work. Unfortunately ministry is not primarily about our gears, the pixels we push or the ideas we put into production. It is about people. We need to be intentional about building relationships with:

  1. The people we serve. Know the hearts of the pastors and ministry leaders we support.
  2. Other church creatives. It is incredibly encouraging and strengthening to be able to connect with someone who can relate with what we are experiencing whether it is dealing with a challenge or celebrating a win.
  3. The people we are ministering to – our congregation. Worship with them. Join or lead a small group. Do not neglect being part of your church by doing life with the people of your church.

I did an interview for Church Marketing Sucks for their Getting Started series. You can read about other thoughts and tips for the young creative here.

If you had the chance to go restart your career,  would you change any of the mistakes or challenges?

I absolutely love what I do and embrace the journey God has taken me through. There are only 2 things, I wish I could’ve done differently:

  1. Bathe my work in prayer more
  2. And, built better relationships with people.

Mention your biggest accomplishment (or more) since being part of creative ministry

I don’t know about my biggest accomplishment but my favorite so far is seeing someone who has the creative ministry itch find their sweet spot.

What’s the one thing anybody must know before they get started in church communications?

Here’s an excerpt from my interview with Church Marketing Sucks re this question.

“I wish I knew that the most powerful and important communication weapon in any church’s arsenal is its congregation. The natural tendency in marketing is to focus on saturation of the market through various forms of advertising and promotional campaigns. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mass communication. I’ve learned that most people start coming to a church because of relationship.” 

You can read the full article here

Do you have any ministry mentors? How important are mentors in our field?

Absolutely! As important as having creative mentors is having people who care about your spiritual growth around you. It is too easy to deceive ourselves that because we are doing ministry we are growing closer in our relationship with Jesus. For that reason, I think it is absolutely critical to have a spiritual mentor.

Have you ever mentored a beginner?

Yes. And I love seeing them step up and run with it.

What advice would you give to someone who’s starting out?

Have a lot of fun. Pray. Read your Bible. Make friends, lot’s of them.

Kelvin Co gets to do what he loves as the Creative Media Pastor of The Oaks Fellowship located in the Dallas Metroplex area. Kelvin has been doing life together with his wife and best friend Lucy since 1991. They have been doting and pouring into their son Luc since 2002.

Follow Kelvin on Twitter @KelvinCo

Do you want to contribute to Young Creative Ministry? Send an email to contact@youngcreativeministry.com

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