My 3 Words.

Posted by | Just For Fun | 3 Comments

Blaine was inspired by Clay who was inspired by Chris… and yes it’s January 18, sort of a weird time to be declaring your goals for the New Year, but hey, that’s how I roll.

I’m over making resolutions but I love the idea of three words that you hope will mark your year. Instead of specific goals they are more themes that will guide and shape the decisions you make.


  • Authenticity – one of the great gifts those of us in the church world can have is the gift of BS. In my mind, one of the greatest necessities in life, especially in ministry, is authenticity. And sadly, too often, the church is one of the last places we can be real. For some odd reason we like to have a glossy finish and appear to have it altogether. I’m fairly guilty of that and I want this year of my life to be marked with authenticity in all areas of my life… personally, at work, with friends and in community.
  • Intentionality – I tend to live life a bit haphazardly. I am a fan of randomness and spontaneity but realize that isn’t always the best place to live life from. This year I want to be intentional with my time and relationships. I want to live life with more balance and schedule my life around relationships and things that matter. I want to be intentional in taking time for myself, too.
  • Creativity – I’m a creative but I haven’t felt very creative lately. I’ve done some creative things… but I’m ready to do something new. I want to do things this year to cultivate creativity and inspiration in my life. I want to go to more concerts and art galleries, read more and spend less time in front of a computer screen. I believe that the best creativity is derived by time spent with the Creator, and so I hope to create [no pun intended] time to do just that.

So, all of this sounds great, but making it a bit practical…

On Authenticity, I hope to:

  • Be real. Have some tough conversations.
  • Be honest. If I’m not having a great day, I will be real about it!

On Intentionality, I hope to:

  • Be organized. I want to start actually putting things in my iCalendar and live my whim.
  • Be committed. I want to set up weekly/bi-weekly/monthly times with friends who I can invest in and with those who can invest in me.

On Creativity, I hope to:

  • Be a reader. My reading has been limited lately. I want to unplug and connect with some good books this year. And by that I mean more than 2 books per month.
  • Be a student. I want to take a class or do something to expand my horizons a bit. I’ll definitely be hitting up some conferences this year but it would be fun to broaden my  horizons this year and check out some new ones.

All in all… I hope to have a healthy and balanced year… marked by authenticity, intentionality, and creativity.

The Comparison Game

Posted by | Principles | 4 Comments

I think all too often we see what other people [or in the instance of most of my readers, churches] do and think if we do what they did, it will work for us.

I don’t think anything could be further from the truth.

One of the cruelest games we can find ourselves in is the Comparison Game.

The Comparison Game involves looking at what they are doing or what’s working over there… and comparing what we do against it.

We somehow get the idea or notion that if that worked for them over there that it will work for us right here.
So, oftentimes we’ll copy what they are doing over there and try to make it work right here and well, most of the times it doesn’t work.

I can say what I’m saying about the Comparison Game because I got stuck doing it for a long time.

There’s a HUGE difference between inspiration and imitation. Imitations are just cheap.

I’m inspired by many churches but what they do works for them in their individual contexts. There are things I can learn from them, but when it comes to how we communicate at Park, we’ve had to find a way to uniquely reach the people that make up our church.

I think all too often we spend an inordinate amount of time and energy chasing after what’s worked somewhere else instead of seeking God’s voice and direction in how we’re supposed to reach the people He’s called us to reach.

I think if you look beneath the surface at what a lot of people are doing, you’ll find there’s an intentional reason as to why they are doing it.

I’ve discovered the most important question you can ask isn’t, “what are they doing?” or, “what’s working?” but instead, “what’s behind that?”

When it comes to church communications one of the most vital things you can do is figure out how people in your actually church communicate and receive information.

Don’t just text because everyone else is. Don’t just Twitter because that’s the hip thing to do. Don’t invest in a slick website if people in your church barely go to the one you’ve got [not an excuse for an ugly website]. Discover what works in your context… find where your people are having conversations… find out how they find out about things… and alter your methods and strategy around those things.

And for the love, don’t play the Comparison Game. Don’t just do it because they did it. Figure out what was behind it and discover the answer for what to do and how do it in your own context.

Your church is unique.

You have a story that’s uniquely yours. Your church is made of people that are unlike any other group of people at any other church. Your church has a unique role and voice it’s called to be in your community. Find your voice. Find your unique identity.

At the end of the day, the only thing we need be comparing ourselves to is Christ.

Are we accurately reflecting Him in what we do and say? Are the things we create and the messages we craft pointing people toward relationship with Him? Are we showing Him to our community? Are we presenting Him in way people connect with?

He’s the standard we need to be comparing ourselves to.

Three Steps Forward, No Steps Back

Posted by | MinistryCOM, Notes | 2 Comments

Kerry Bural can often be found sketching concepts and ideas on napkins or notecards as he tries to refine his thoughts and share them. He claims that his best work happens in java-infused creative sessions or when he is divinely disturbed in the middle of the night.

He is the owner and principal of The Resonate Group, a brand consulting and development firm. He recently served as V.P. for Public Relations and Marketing with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He was the brand architect of the “I Vote Values” initiative, which was the genesis for the “values voter” movement. He has served as PR Director for Southeastern Seminary and PR Coordinator for Criswell College. He was also a visual coordinator for the corporate headquarters of Neiman Marcus in their Visual Planning & Presentation division.

His 25+ years in ministry and business have been devoted to brand architecture. He is passionate about helping organizations translate their vision and mission into communication that resonates with their constituents through visual presentation, public relations, marketing and branding.

He has a B.S. in Education concentrating on design and technology from Northeastern State University and a M.A. in Theology and History from Criswell College.

  • Obstacles make the ride interesting.
  • We spend most of our days overcoming obstacles and helping people develop solutions.
  • There are many things in our life or our ministry that feel like obstacles.
  • Ministry is messy.
  • If it’s not, you’re probably not doing anything significant.
  • Everything that happens in your church is part of your church’s brand experience.
  • Every decision your church makes is a brand decision.
  • The need for change has never been greater and it can be felt at numerous levels.
  • Change can be at multiple levels.
  • More often than not, most churches are stuck and struggling as to where to go next.

Change doesn’t just magically happen.

  • Change happens when someone sees the need, has a vision for what could be, and takes the initiative to drive toward it.
  • There are special times in the life of a ministry when someone needs to step up and drive the change, even if they don’t feel qualified.
  • If you see it, you might be the right person to drive the change.
  • Change should be for transformational and redemptive purposes. (2 Cor 5:17)
  • We shouldn’t change for the sake of change.

Intentional Change Framework


  • Simply refreshing what’s already there. (i.e. redesigning a website)
  • Surface/external changes.
  • Things that are seen and easily recognizable.
  • Surface issues tend to be the things we feel the most.
  • Oftentimes, the problems are much deeper.


  • Internal dynamics of your church/ministry… down to a systems level.
  • It’s subsurface.


  • Reinvention is radical.
  • Reinvention is a systemic problem.
  • Systemic has to do with the central nervous system… oftentimes our central nervous systems are out of whack.

Where Do You Go From Here?

  • Qualifying where you are helps you map out where you need to go.
  • Our goal is to do ministry in a way that resonates with the people we are trying to reach.
  • It’s not our job to make the message relevant.
  • Our responsibility is to ensure that we don’t mitigate the message’s relevancy.

Four Tactical Errors to Avoid

  1. When you try to make systemic changes but you apply surface change tactics.
  2. When you try to make surface changes but you apply systemic change tactics. (Making something small very large.)
  3. Thinking you need to change everything at once.
  4. Thinking you don’t need to change anything.

5 Take-Aways

1 – Cultivate a culture and an environment of change and resonance.

  • Whatever we change should be authentic and organic.
  • Let it flow out of who you are.
  • It has to be DNA birthed and DNA driven.
  • Be anchored in your core DNA.

2 – Learn when and how to lean in and lean out.

  • Timing is truly everything.
  • Seize opportunities when doors, windows or cracks are open.
  • Value incremental change. It leads to greater opportunity.
  • Learn to recognize, read and discern dynamics.

3 – Distinguish between surface, subsystem and systemic change.

  • Don’t be afraid to engage in the hard work.

4 – When obstacles stand in the way, change the approach.

  • What’s your perspective when see you obstacles?
  • Pick a different line or get off your bike and walk.
  • Push through the obstacles. Sometimes there’s no other way to do it.
  • Take a different route if you need to.

5 – It’s all about leadership.

  • We’re all leaders… it’s just a question of who we lead and how intentional we are about that leadership.
  • Who are you influencing?
  • Don’t try to influence the lead pastor… who has the lead pastor’s ear? That’s who you need to influence.

Action Steps

  • Write down the name of the person you need to talk to about changes that you need to make in your ministry.
  • Write out 3 areas of change you need to talk about.
  • Make the call now and set up a time to meet.

Living a Creatively Curious Life

Posted by | MinistryCOM, Notes | 2 Comments

Von Glitschka is principal of Glitschka Studios and has worked in the communication arts industry for over 23 years. His work reflects the symbiotic relationship between design and illustration. This duality of skills within his creative arsenal, inspired his title of “Illustrative Designer.”

In 2002, he founded Glitschka Studios, a multi-disciplinary creative firm. The studio shines as a hired gun for both in-house art departments and medium to large creative agencies working on projects for such clients as Microsoft, Adobe, Pepsi, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, MLB and NBA Licenses, Johnson & Johnson, Bandai Toys, Merck, John Wayne Foundation, Disney, Lifetime Television and HGTV.

Even though we work with large clients, we also recognize the importance and enjoy designing for numerous small business owners too. We welcome the creative challenge of facilitating small business, so they can successfully market themselves on the same visual level as the multi-national brands they compete with daily.

Design Apologetics

  • Apologetics – to speak in defensive of.
  • So as a Christian creative/designer we should en able to speak in the defense of our design.
  • We often bump heads over aesthetic.
  • Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created…”
  • God is infinitely creative.
  • God has no creative blocks.
  • It’s not “In the beginning, God used clipart…”
  • “The heavens declare the glory of God…” – Psalm 19:1
  • God’s portfolio trumps us all.

God’s Portfolio vs Man’s Portfolio

  • God’s portfolio has the human smile.
  • Man’s portfolio has the pug. (You either think they are really cute or really ugly.)
  • God made tropical plants and fish… patterns, colors, texture, smell, etc.
  • Man created the hairless cat.
  • God made jellyfish.
  • Man grows an ear on a rat.
  • God created mountains and modes of transportation.
  • Man created the Pinto.

Man Tries to Mimic God’s Creation

  • No matter how hard we try we can’t compare to the intricate design of God’s creation.

God’s Visual Aesthetic

  • God creates strange things… like spiders.
  • God does scary… the Great White Shark.
  • God does fearsome… an alligator.
  • God does creepy… a scorpion.

The Wonderful Paradox of God’s Design

  • He makes things that look sinister, evil or demonic… Angler Fish

Christ is the ultimate creator. He didn’t water down his design to appease a consensus. Christ-like creativity means we live out the reality of being made in His image.

What is Creative Curiosity?

  • Comes from fun not fear.
  • Creating is all about sharing.
  • Anyone can be creative.
  • Refrigerator Effect: Since childhood, we’ve always wanted people to appreciate our work and creativity.
  • The most frustrating time for all of us is when people don’t appreciate what we do.
  • Good thinking leads to good design.

Humor is creativity’s best friend.

  • Humor and creativity complement each other.
  • Creativity takes the mundane and ordinary and sees something unique in it.
  • Creativity is a universal trait.
  • We’ve all been creatively curious.
  • We all have the inherit ability to be creative.
  • We see it in various areas of life.
  • Our creativity has to be on tap because of our job description.
  • We have to look for those moments of creative opportunity.

Kids are Wellsprings of Creativity

  • Creativity comes to kids, naturally.
  • Kids are naturally curious.
  • They lose their creativity when they become adults.
  • We need childlike curiosity.
  • We need to look at things differently.
  • If you need perspective, watch and listen to kids.

Exercising Creativity

  • Look for things that aren’t there.
  • Seeing art in the mundane… maps, subway maps, trees, chicken nuggets, potato chips, etc.
  • You’ve got to train your brain.
  • Check out Caffeine for the Creative Mind
  • Check out Veer Lightboxing

Creativity is Fostered not Discovered.

  • Be aware – Boredom  is an opportunity to be inspired by the mundane.
  • Go in Observation Mode… observe the mundane and be inspired by it.
  • If something intrigues you, figure out why.
  • Piqued curiosity leads to creativity.
  • Be sensitive to creative impulses.
  • If something frustrates you, figure out why.
  • Necessity is the mother of invention.
  • The best inspiration is frustration.
  • Seek and you will find.
  • Capture thoughts, visuals and words.
  • Twitter is a diary for my random thoughts that others can follow.

Creating and Sharing – act on your creative curiosity.

  • Personal creativity doesn’t need to be appropriate.
  • Turn normal into unique.
  • Blog about your ideas.

You never know where it’s going to lead. – for more info!

MinistryCOM :: JoBe Cerny

Posted by | MinistryCOM, Notes | No Comments

JoBe Cerny is an actor, writer, director and producer – and a well-known public speaker.

He is best known as the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy, but his Silent Spokesman Character for Cheer Detergent made him one of America’s most recognized television commercial actors. He also has extensive advertising and business communications experience with General Motors, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, General Mills, Sara Lee, Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, United Airlines, Disney, Discover Card, American Express and others.

Mr. Cerny is president of Cerny/American Creative in Chicago. Cerny/American Studios produces national radio and television commercials, feature films, radio programming, and business to business communication videos and live business meetings.

Cerny/American Creative produced the award-winning “Word of Promise” New Testament audio bible, and will soon release a Complete Bible, a 96 hour audio version. This project included over 1,200 artists and took over three years to produce.

First off, JoBe is this dude…

and the voice of this one…

How cool?

  • Favorite Bible verse is Genesis 1: In the beginning, God created…
  • John 1 – In the beginning was the Word…
  • The Nothing Speech
  • Thinking is hard.
  • It takes great effort. That’s probably why we don’t have many great philosophers.
  • What happened to all of the people we went to college with who studied philosophy?
  • Creativity is a more difficult subject.
  • There’s not one correct answer like in math, economics, science, etc.
  • Creativity has an infinite number of possibilities.
  • Sort of like creation, there were infinite possibilities.
  • People love it when they can make something out of absolutely nothing.
  • If you sit and stare at nothing for awhile you’ll start to see something.
  • If you want to be a creative person and come up with new ideas, you don’t need to have a lot of fancy things.
  • Sometimes you can write down ideas and they will stimulate you.
  • JoBe worked at Second City in Chicago
  • “You want to know what they gave us to work with at Second City? Nothing.”
  • JoBe and all of his creative partners go into the shower together… they are invisible partners.
  • Invisible friends can be wonderful friends for people… like the Holy Spirit.
  • We can count on the Holy Spirit to show up.
  • What you need is nothing and your invisible friends.
  • There’s a myth that every great artist needs to suffer.
  • Nothing brings out the best in each and every one of us.
  • Nothingness fuels creativity.
  • Nothings can be motivators.
  • Learn to crawl out on a limb so far that people wonder how you’re going to survive.
  • I fear nothing because I believe.
  • The most impressive creativity comes from living on the edge.
  • The Spirit empowers us to go out every day and do what we are called to do.
  • Christian marketing is evangelism.
  • We live in a real world where people have real problems.
  • His company charges nothing for creativity… if they don’t win, they don’t get paid.
  • “Every day of our lives is like the last day of American Idol…”
  • Creativity is found in the unknown.
  • The simple statement in Genesis 1 is also one of the most complex.
  • “God created the heaves and the earth…”
  • The best place to find new things is to go somewhere where no one has ever gone before.
  • Creativity is about creating new things people don’t know about.
  • Creativity is doing things that no one else has ever known.
  • Creativity means going on a path no one else has followed.
  • It seems safer to stay home and take the safe way out.
  • There’s no path or chart to follow when you’re thinking of things no one has ever thought of before.
  • Creativity is a path filled with adventure.
  • Nothing is really something.
  • Allow yourself to be 10 years old again… allow yourself to think childish thoughts.
  • Whenever you are stuck, look out the window.

I know a place where dreams are born
And time is never planned
It’s not on any chart
You must find it with your heart
Never never land

It might be miles beyond the road
Or right there where you stand
Just have an open mind
And then suddenly you’ll find
Never never land

You’ll have a treasure if you stay there
More precious far than gold
For once you have found your way there
You can never, never grow old
So come with me where dreams are born
And time is never planned
Just think of lovely things
And your heart will fly on wings
In never never land

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