Sunday School in HD: Video Shoot

originally published on the B&H Staff Blog About a month back I went on my first video shoot with B&H Publishing Group to First Baptist Church of Woodstock in order to film for Sunday School in HD, by Allan Taylor, and Building Your Leadership Resume, by Johnny Hunt. The video shoot went wonderfully well - it was simply incredible to hear the stories of life change coming out of the church and the way they do Sunday School. Here's a little video about my experience even just hearing the stories:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8tgdKlVz-o] You can view the rest of the videos here. Enjoy!
Read More

An Hour and Twenty-Two Minutes of My Thoughts on Digital Publishing

I somehow totally missed talking about this on my blog. A few months ago, I was invited to speak at the ECPA's PUBu event.  The ECPA is the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.  The Publishing University event is strictly for a publishing audience, with workshops designed to instruct and share ideas of what's going on in the publishing space.  I was asked to lead two workshops: 1) Consumer Interaction with Digital Devices and the Creative Commons 2) Moderate a teen panel on their habits and use of technology In putting together the Digital Devices/Creative Commons presentation, I was given two goals: introduce the attendees to a variety of devices and introduce them to Creative Commons (so please note, my techno-savvy friends: much of the content here will be introductory to you.  You can skip to the end where I briefly get to talk about the future of publishing.  Maybe a full presentation on publishing futures next year?).  Digital devices and the Creative Commons are two very disparate goals.  As I was putting it together, however, I think I was able to meld the two into a fairly informative presentation. It is, to be honest, quite the lengthy presentation (and one that I had to rush towards the end as we were running out of time).  I've gotten permission from the ECPA to post the presentation, in it's entirety, here on the blog.  Feel free to watch some of it (or the whole thing, if you think I'm awesome).  You can download the actual PowerPoint presentation here. [vimeo vimeo.com/2215728]
Read More

LifeWay Conversations: KNOWN with Rick Prall and Mike Wakefield

In the last video about KNOWN, I got to talk with Scott and Jeff about the general student strategy for KNOWN.  This time I got to sit down with Rick Prall - the editor - and Mike Wakefield - the product manager.  Rick and Mike did a great job of introducing me not only to the KNOWN product, but all of the history, research, and testing that went into the product. This was my own personal first look at the KNOWN materials and I think you'll hear in my reactions how impressed I am with it.  The student team has made some great choices and have developed a truly creative piece that fits with student culture that's out there right now.  It really is unlike anything LifeWay has done before and anything else I'm seeing in the student realm. What I love about the KNOWN team is that they aren't afraid to take risks.  It's a small thing, but even moving away from a quarterly student book to a monthly one is a huge change for us.  And once you open the book, it's appearant that these guys really nailed it on what a student learner piece should look like. [vimeo 1233040]
Read More

Being Open and Transparent: Another Reason I Love My Job

Whenever I begin a new role in life, I seek to set some milestones for myself.  In my current role, I recogonized some immediate needs (exceeding revenue expectations, improving the quality and diversity of the product), but also ancillary tasks I wanted to complete.  One of those was to bring our customers into the walls of LifeWay to see the personalities and passions of the incredible people that I get to work with.  So far, over 20,000 people have viewed the various LifeWay Conversations strewn about LifeWay.com (and collected right here for my blog readers). I'm proud to say that LifeWay has had the foresight to offer a product that's based on this very concept: to not only give an open look at how LifeWay crafts its resources, but to give the customers a chance to contribute as well.  This project is called Open Access. Last week, I got to see the fulfillment of my dream to help bring people into the walls of LifeWay.  Somehow, the team decided that it was okay for me to shoot one of our meetings.  The entire team approved the idea. I know... it's a strange thing for me to be so excited about.  But I love the fact that we can be open enough with our business that we're able to give people a glimpse into what it's like to work here.  Sure, it may be a boring video and you might get dizzy with my movements (the filming was just me and a handheld... we've got to look at a better way to film in the future), but it's raw with real people doing real work and making real decisions. You can view the video here. I think it would be great to see other corporations have the boldness to pull back the curtain a bit and give a glimpse into their corporate culture and processes.  Being able to do things like this makes me honored to be an employee here at LifeWay.
Read More

Open Access: Choosing a Title

In this Open Access video, Dale McKleskey talks about the importance of choosing the right title for a product, and some of the processes that we go through to do so.  Dale not only hits on the Open Access project's study, Going Beyond, but also some of LifeWay's past studies by Beth Moore. [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&embedId=47244421&uri=channels/30228/156826]
Read More

Macromarketing vs Micromarketing

It's an ugly word that's surrounded by controversy into today's hyper-transparency culture: marketing.  But is there a difference between macromarketing with one consistent message, and micromarketing and targeting the real needs and interests of individuals?  Is there a place for marketing ideas in the Church?  And, if so, what are the macro and micro messages we are sending? [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&embedId=32464978&uri=channels/30223/149163]
Read More

LifeWay's Open Access Project

For the past few weeks, I've gotten to be a part of the planning for a "secret" LifeWay project called Open Access.  I'm incredibly excited about the potential that this project has for us, as it is going to do a lot to develop an online community for us.  I'm looking forward to the continued movement towards transparency and development of employee personalities here at LifeWay and this is a major step in that direction. The Open Access line of projects will be products that allow customers to access our materials while we are working on them.  Participants who purchase the product will get a rough draft of the study and literally get to see it mere weeks after the author turns it in to us.  This will allow the participants to give us feedback about the ideas and concepts in the study, as well as share any personal stories that might be applicable to the study.  All of the feedback will be read, and turned to constructive criticism for the author and editors to choose how to implement. The participants will also be able to communicate with each other via an online forum, so we can see how the group as a whole react to the study and how they interact with each other.  LifeWay employees will, of course, interact there as well. The first product that we're doing with Open Access is a new Priscilla Shirer study... that doesn't even have a name yet!  I believe there are meetings next week to finalize the name; hopefully we'll be able to announce it soon. The Open Access project will have a blog as well, here. The blog will talk more about the development process than the actual product, and we hope to utilize it to give people a behind-the-scenes look at how a study is crafted here in the offices.  As a part of that, I'll get to interview various employees throughout the next few months about what they're working on for the study. The first of these video conversations is/was with Jennifer McCaman (our project manager) introducing what Open Access is and what we hope to accomplish: [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&embedId=22245474&uri=channels/30228/143907]
Read More

New Media for Ministries: Creative Commons

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&embedId=20371254&uri=channels/30223/142741] Creative Commons allows content creators to easily give permissions (and restrictions) on their content, while maintaining the actual ownership.  When properly used, Creative Commons licesnsed materials allow for free sharing, creation, and manipulation of original and repurposed content.
Read More

New Media for Ministries: Interactive Metafiction

One of the best examples of things that are distinctly "new media" is interactive metaficition. Traditionally, metafiction would be a story that is aware of itself being a story; self-referential, if you would. Interactive metafiction takes that a few steps further where the reader/viewer/engager can interact with the characters and influence the actual story. [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/30223/132712&embedId=20374448] It's hard to apply this concept to ministry, because we seem to often take a very serious tone to our evangelism and seek truth more so than crafting a story. Perhaps there are opportunities for the church to develop new parables and ways to engage a more creative mind instead of always focusing on the establishing our spiritual truths as entirely literal.
Read More

Seattle Vacation Super-Post

So for vacation this year, Ashley and I went out to try on Seattle.  We liked. The trip was, simply put, stellar and jam-packed goodness.  The only bad part was that we had no internet access the whole time to be able to blog from.  So, in vainity, here goes my recap! Microsoft, John Porcaro, and the Gamerscore Blog Team Since we were heading out to Seattle, we managed to match up schedules and meet with John Porcaro and the GamerScoreBlog team.  I've been reading John's blog for years (since before the 360 launch, I think), so it was nice to finally meet him for real. John has been with Microsoft for nearly twenty years and one of the first people to be a part of their mentoring program.  It shows as John was able to sift through my issues and answered a nagging internal question with perhaps the simplest of answers: "so what?"  It was well time and hit the issue right on it's head. During the trip we took a pit stop and got to play with the new Microsoft Surface table computer. After visiting the new research building we parted ways, but not before I was able to convince him to give the class thumbs-up pose: Seattle Vacation 2008 007  A Weekend to Remember The bulk of the weekend was spent attending the Weekend to Remember event put on by FamilyLife.  Here we can see Ashley unlocking the secrets of marriage. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC4RlyFqaFM&hl=en&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999&border=1] All-in-all the conference was decent, but was skewed more towards sorting out troubles and issues than growing in a healthy relationship.  One of the best parts of the weekend is that it presents you with ideas that you're then prompted to discuss with your spouse.  This allows you to have conversations you might not otherwise have, or be comfortable bringing up.  Ashley and I had some great conversation over the weekend, and the conference was worth it just for that. The Space Needle Ashely was all kinds of excited to visit the Space Needle.  Lacking proper transportation, however, we got there really early and ended up just walking around the Seattle Center.  It was there that we stumbled onto the World Rhythm Festival and got to hear Raquy and the Cavemen. We ended up eating at Sky City in the Space Needle.  The rotating restaurant is powered by 1.5HP, or the equivalent of a sewing machine.  It moves you this fast.  And, just to be sure we put things into perspective, the Space Needle is tall. Seattle Vacation 2008 048   The First Starbucks During the trip to downtown Seattle with Kris and Laura, we got to visit the first ever Starbucks. The Experience Music Project We also got to visit the Experience Music Project; basically, and interactive Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Seattle artists (it also had the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame, which was cool... and random). At first, I thought I had found my calling on the drums but, alas, the drums were a lie. But then, like a muse calling from the darkness, we found the studio. And we recorded. Oh, did we record. Leonard Sweet We also got to meet up with one of my occasional-mentors-who-don't-fully-realize-the-impact-they've-had-on-my-life, Leonard Sweet. I first me Len back in 2001 or so, but this was the first time Ashley got to hang with him. The two definately hit it off, and were ganging up on me on more than one subject Seattle Vacation 2008 079 Portland and Multnomah Falls Finally, Kris and Laura drove us to Portland/Vancouver to view their hometown, a big Best Buy, a two-story Target, an Ikea, and Multnomah Falls. And, I got to steer a building. Seattle Vacation 2008 093 There's More But it's late, I'm tired, and Leonard Sweet told me blogging was vain anyways. So for more media from our trip: Flickr Photos YouTube Videos and the musical wonder that is, The Spicey Boot.
Read More

Considering the Microsoft Surface (for Ministries)

I recently had the opportunity to play with the Microsoft Surface.  The unit was just running all the basic tech demos that have been show here and there, but even still just touching the unit maade me see what all the hype is about and let me know that I was touching what will someday be as common as the television set... continued
Read More

New Media for Ministries: 101 - What is New Media?

This video is as simple as I could break it down: new media is about the intent to interact. I do some basic defining and examples in this video. Nothing too out there, just an opening conversation. Basically, I filmed thise because I ran into several people who were asking the same thing: what is new media? Does it have a place in ministry? This is my first attempt to answer that, on the most basic level. If I get the chance (after vacation), I'll probably do several more of these, brainstorming on how ARGs, creative commons, and other less obvious new media stuffs. [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/30223/127403&embedId=10131020]
Read More

Student Ministry Strategy: Scott Stevens and Jeff Pratt

I'll be honest; the point of this interview, from my end, was to promote the upcoming KNOWN resource coming from the student department here at LifeWay.  But these guys - even though they're in charge of that launch - didn't care about getting that message out.  They wanted to get the message of what they are passionate about (student ministry strategy) out.  And so, that's what we talked about. This was also a learning experience as an interviewer, because I was determined to get at least a mention of the product in at the end, and tried to force a segue and, being the honest guy he is, Jeff called me out on it.  He knew what I was doing and was trying to get at, but he did not like the implications of my segue, so he argued about what I had actually said. It was awesome to interview two people with so much knowledge in their field, and the evident passion they have for equipping the local church with the best possible knowledge, strategies and resources for understanding youth today.  This is a must-watch if you are involved in youth ministry. [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/30228/111031&embedId=10085325]
Read More

Missions at LifeWay

One of the great things about working for LifeWay is knowing that we reinvest so much time and talent into building missions oppertunities for churches across the nation, and maintaining relationships with cities across the country. Because of the oppertunties that LifeWay organizes, youth groups and college students are able to go on short-term missions that have long-term missions impact.  It's a great oppertunity for the participants to grow on a personal level, while still impacting the people and communities they come in contact with on a long term basis. The first conversation I got to have was with Laurie Lee about the missions oppertunities that LifeWay provides for youth groups.  Through FUGE Camps, students are able to participate in missions first hand, as well as give to a missions fund that provides for the cities FUGE Camps partners with long term.  The video with Laurie is thirty minutes long, but if you choose to watch it you will see Laurie's passion for missions work just flow out of her.  If you have an interest in short-term or long term missions, I would highly suggest you give it a listen. appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/30228/102476&embedId=10070657] Last Friday I also got the chance to talk with Angel Ellis about the Threads event for college students, Beach Reach.  At Beach Reach, students travel to Florida during spring break to help drunk student get home safely.  Students get to take part by driving vans, praying together, or just talking with the students they are helping find their way home. You can listen to the podcast episode here.
Read More

FUGE Creative Directors: Neil Hoppe and Darrel Girardier

One of my first real friends here at LifeWay was Darrel Giradier.  He was working for Fuge when I started working in the Fuge offices in 2002.  I found a peer that I could talk with, brainstorm with, learn from, and look up to. I first met Neil back then, too, when he came in to help write some of the creative elements for portions of the camp experience. Now, they're both full-time employees of LifeWay, heading up the creative direction of the kids camps and student camps.  These two are both so completely on target with the current trends in culture and marketplace needs for their respective demographics that, if you have any interest in the culture of student from grades 4-12, I highly recommend watching this video.  These two are genuine experts in their field that don't get nearly enough time to share their knowledge. (Seriously, guys - why aren't you speaking at conferences and such?) [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/30228/100794&embedId=10063178]
Read More

David Webb and Christian Fiction

A while back, I got to meet with David Webb about the B&H pitching process.  Our conversation back then really turned into a "get-to-know-you" meeting, and we talked a lot about the Christian Fiction market, what his job was, who some of the new authors were, etc etc.  The information he was sharing - as well as his passion for Christian Fiction - seemed to me to be something that anyone interested in Christian fiction might want to know.  How often do you get a chance to sit down with one of the top guys in the business? The video is also a lot of fun because you get a peek into David's mind as to how the whole process works, and how involved an editor might be in a story (David talks about how one time a story really needed a character to die...).  David also talks a bit about upcoming books by authors Jamie Carie, Leanna Ellis, and Rebecca Seitz. So, without further ado, here's a video conversation with David Webb.  [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&embedId=10054074&uri=channels/30228/96816] 
Read More

Chris Johnson and Influencing Like Jesus

The prototype video project I've been working on getting online at LifeWay has been the Influencing Like Jesus project.  The videos are complimentary to the Influencing Like Jesus product, by Mike Zigarelli, that we just released.  This video was done with Chris Johnson, the Editor-in-Chief for a lot of our undated Bible Study products.  This interview was a lot of fun as Chris was willing to answer some tougher questions, like the difference between "influencing" people and "manuipulating" people...  [kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/30228/94137&embedId=10051667&locale=en]
Read More