Echo Conference Notes for Scott Williams

You can access a downloadable version of these notes here.

Scott Williams previously served as a key leader and Campus Pastor for Currently he serves at, one of the fastest growing multi-ethnic churches in America. He is the Chief Solutions Officer for Nxt Level Solutions, a consulting company he founded to help businesses, non-profits and ministries move from where they are to where they want to be. Nxt Level Solutions has worked with some of the largest churches, non-profits and fortune 100 companies in the United States. Scott is a storyteller, strategist, and a respected thought leader. He is an avid blogger at, and has been featured in the Top 15 Leadership Experts to Follow on Twitter. He is the author ofChurch Diversity: Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week. Scott is married, a father of two, and lives in Oklahoma City, OK.

Echo Conference | Keynote 4 | Scott Williams

At the end of the day, every single one of us is a storyteller

If you look at the architecture of this building, it tells a story

Unity through Diversity

Galatians 3:28

                Live the Great Commandment

Matthew 22:37-29 “Love the Lord your God will all your heart” “Love your neighbor as yourself”

Helps to win our neighbors who are far from God

Story of the Samaritan woman at the well, outside of Jesus’ race

How many of you would say that because of your ministry, your life is different?

Why don’t you do everything you can to tell the people in the town?

RESULT: People will believe because you told others

Marketing and reaching people is no longer about what you’re selling, it’s about the story you’re telling

Everyone has a story/testimony

Churches and prisons are the most segregated places in America

93% of churches in America are segregated

Sunday morning is one of the most segregated days of the week

Talking about race is uncomfortable

3 things we’re not supposed to talk about: race, religion, politics

We MUST be willing to talk about race

Acts 15 is first church-wide conflict

Why diversity matters:

Matters to God

God has called us to be stewards of this mystery

Every other industry besides the church has figured diversity out

If it matters to the bottom line, it matters to corporate America

Coca-Cola one of the top diversified companies

As Christ-followers we must be open to change

As Christ-followers we’re all creatives, because we’re connected to the Creator

Diversity matters to Coca-cola, they’re selling soda water, we’re selling LIVING water

It’s not a black church, it’s not a white church, it’s God’s church

I have a heart for [diversity], will you help me?

Where is your heart as it relates to diversity?

Cell phone test: if your contacts look like you, you need to change

Until you begin to have dialogue about race, you’ll never understand how to best represent the King

                Do the Great Commission

Matthew 28:19

As you are going about your business, make disciples of all nations, do it now, do it all the time

We’ve omitted the ‘all nations’

How can we expect to take the Gospel all around the world if we can’t take the Gospel down the street?

The local church is the hope of the world, and the future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders

We must be willing to do something about it

If you don’t like church diversity, you’re not going to like heaven

Church diversity isn’t just about the color of the skin

It’s about the wages of sin

The wages of sin for those who don’t know Jesus who don’t look like us is death

God has called everyone to do something about diversity

It’s time for a little heaven on earth

Echo Conference Notes for Blaine Hogan

You can access the downloadable file here.

As an actor, author of the recent book, UNTITLED: Thoughts on the Creative Process, and creative director at Willow Creek Community Church, Blaine is a maker of things. He lives with his wife, Margaret, and their daughter, Ruby, just outside of Chicago.

Echo Conference | Session 6 | Blaine Hogan

“You Are Not a Tool: An Artist’s Guide for Staying Human”

Utility is greater than art.

We have started to feel like a machine, because we’ve been working this way for so long

Sometimes it seems we would rather be tools than be humans

How do we live in the midst of these tensions and questions?

It’s not about creating better art; it’s about creating a better human

If being an artist is regaining our interiority, how do we do this?

Relax & Breathe

We don’t believe God is in this place, or help us make this world

We just feel we have to do it ourselves

How many of us sit in our offices and sing “I’m sure if I sit here, God will give me an idea”?

The Bible is ripe with “Relax and Breathe” ideas

If the artist doesn’t lead in relaxing and breathing, who will?

Embrace the Obstacles

“What would people say if I went on SNL wearing a red suit?” – P.Diddy

“If I had never had this obstacle, I wouldn’t have had this great idea”

We fight, we whine, we complain, because our idea’s better in our opinion.

Do we see obstacles as mysteries to be solved or battles to be won?

From the Inside Out

What is God doing in me? How does he want to use that to speak to the community?

I see my art as a confession.

“You can’t take anyone farther than you have gone yourself”

Every week you’re inviting your congregation to the deepest, darkest places of themselves

Unless you lead, I don’t know if you have any business speaking the Gospel

You Must Need it More Than They Do

“Our communities need (THIS)”, rather than connecting it with ourselves

I need the Gospel more than they do

Whatever it is you put your hand to day in and day out; you need more than they do

Name it first, before you point it out somewhere else

“You have to know the final climactic scene first” Donald Miller

If we’re going to try to make things that function more as art than utility, we must ask ourselves, “What is this really doing?”

The product is not the art. The art is the process

The work that we make will inherently be better if we choose to be better humans


Echo Conference Notes for Roundtable Discussions with Brad Zimmerman

You can access a downloadable version of these notes here.

Brad Zimmerman is the host of, A resource website and internet tv show with tutorials, inspiration and free content for people working with media in the local church. You may also recognize Brad from‘s Church Media News and the ProPresenter 5 video tutorials. Brad has an incredible wife, a beautiful daughter, enjoys collecting bobbleheads and is the creative communications director at a church in Grand Haven, Michigan.

*Please note* These notes are from a roundtable discussion entitled “Media on a Budget”, so look to this as more of a list of resources than a normal presentation style.

Echo Conference | Roundtables | Brad Zimmerman | Church Media on a Budget

Subscription vs. Purchase-per-need

Purchase per need seems to be more popular,

FirstCom – most expensive subscription service for music ($1400-1500/year) – quality not quite the same as more expensive

Envato – Good stuff

IVAudio – Good, high quality

Graceway & Igniter partners

NewLife Church –

DSLR – Cannon, don’t deal with audio very well, super cheap though

Panasonic AF100 $5-8k

BlackMagic Cinema camera $3-5k

Streaming in HD is stupid; no one has the bandwidth for that

Coraplast for screens – sermon audio files, video available as well

Wowza – $20/mo – more technical knowledge required

CDN Builder $50/mo

Same as ustream, but the professional service

Premiere vs. Final Cut

Premiere is better especially for churches

Echo Conference Notes for Joshua Blankenship

You can access a downloadable version here.

Joshua Blankenship is a designer who serves as the Design Director at NewSpring Church in South Carolina.

Echo Conference | Session 3 | Joshua Blankenship

Why do we do what we do?

Mission is a mindset

                “Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” Euripedes

KNOW THEN ADORN, not the other way around

The tactics are NOT the mission

Sit in a lot of ministry meetings to listen, then articulate what they’re trying to say

If you don’t say no, you’ll waste the church’s time


Design is every decision made about a product or service

  1. An essential supporting structure of a building, vehicle or object
  2. A basic structure

Skin is not bones

If a guest can’t find your bathroom, you’ve failed as a designer.

Act I – Define the win

What’s the takeaway?

That’s the mission

If you can’t make decisions, you can’t design.

Case study: NewSpring Church Brand

Steward the brand well

“NewSpring is a church where change takes place” – Vision

“Reach 100,000 people in South Carolina with the Gospel” –Mission

Mission is what you want to the future to look like, vision is how you’re going to do it

Does a project reach the mission?

It’s a design tool.

Practical trumps pretty.

You can succeed as a decorator, but fail as a designer

Mission statement specifically for website (i.e. teach people about Jesus)

Value people over pixels

Discipline is the vehicle

Discipline isn’t easy; it’s simple – Lee McDermott

Talk doesn’t cook rice – Chinese proverb

Act II – Build the bench

You need the right people

If you get the best people, you win. If you don’t, it becomes significantly more difficult. – Todd Park

Every person is responsible for 1 volunteer that they pour into

Our job is to get other people involved in the Kingdom

People make missions work

The product can always change – Facebook Design

Dig deep moats

Hire slow, fire fast

“This is the mission that we’re on, how do you feel about that?” ß Ask this question when making hiring decisions.

If they can’t carry out the mission, they’re a bad hire.

Mercenaries are not missionaries.

Be really aware of who you partner with.

If you’re just there for a paycheck, you’re taking someone’s seat who wants more than that.

Monetary =/= missional. Perks will go away

Mission work needs teamwork

Renaissance men are a myth

Heroes are villians

Act III – Defend the Gates

The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of what matters least

Priorities, people & politics are big factors of your job. If you don’t like them, find something else

Missionaries are murders. They can kill an idea for the right reasons

Act IV – Cultivating the Garden

You’ve been given something to cultivate, don’t screw it up.

If you think the grass is greener, think different: it’s just different grass.

Pray for a mission you want to invest in, if you’re not passionate about your current mission

Life’s too short for you to not do what you’re passionate about.

Echo Conference Notes for John Saddington

You can find a downloadable version here.

John Saddington leads teams that explore the art of digital publishing and the science of human capital. He likes blogging, really likes video games, and loves@mrsbear@roenne, and @arden.

Echo Conference | Session 2 | John Saddington

Allow certain people in a limited context to do great work that change their story and echo biblical truths

Allow Certain People

                It’s about finding the right people

The team is a leader’s greatest asset

It’s not what, it’s who

Choose wisely who is on your team

In a Limited Context

Spending countless hours in an endeavor that may never render results, is that what you want?

Same paradigms, same visions in a radically different reality

To Do Great Work

Self explanatory

That Change Their Story

What is the cost of your role?

Take seriously what you are asking someone to do before they do it.

And Echo Biblical Truths

Not everything you do in ministry is completely evangelical

Great teams matter

Remember me, o my God, for good.


Echo Conference Notes for Justin Wise

You can access a downloadable version here.

Justin Wise is the Communications Director for Monk Development, builders of Ekklesia 360. His previous work experience was serving on staff at the nation’s fastest-growing Lutheran church as the digital director. With nearly a decade of parish ministry experience, he specializes in digital ministry and social strategy. Justin is a daily blogger at and co-director of the Center for Church Communication. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife and two children.

Echo Conference | Session 1 | Justin Wise

3 problems with church websites

“Ghost town” pages are not updated, are irrelevant, and website is deserted. Staff page is a good indicator

“Eyesore” No brand standard is present, no cohesiveness, lack of effort

“Bottleneck” website implies ‘find at your own risk’, no order to anything, lacking function

Why do these things happen?

No time between other duties or obligations

Fearful emotions from leadership

Too busy to cultivate and pour into the resource

Disconnect between vision of the church and vision of the website

                Misunderstanding of the uses of the website

What is the purpose of a website?






46% say the Internet is the most essential medium in their lives

46% say a website is important in deciding to attend

23% found a church via search engine

64% agree a website is important to facilitate community

33% say the website was the 1st place they looked for a church

TRUTH: Membership #’s are down

Money spent building religious buildings is down (US Census)

Church website is the new front door

If a church can’t be Googled, it doesn’t exist

Top features requested

  1. Sermons
  2. Serving opportunities
  3. Service info
  4. Forward content
  5. Read visitor’s information

“Not changing your strategy merely because you’re used to the one you have now is a lousy strategy.” Seth Godin

Who are the people in your church?

New visitors            Regular attenders                  Committed attender(member)                      Leaders

How do you ensure ministry is happening on your website?

Content Strategy

Content Audit

Quantitative (Analytics, etc.)

Qualitative (Usability, knowledge, findability, actionability)

119% HIGHER click through rate with pages that have call-to-action

Every page should have a call to action


Strategy matters

Content matters

Simple is difficult

Ministry can (and does) happen online

Echo Conference Notes for Barton Damer

You can access a downloadable version of these notes here.

Barton is a motion designer and digital artist who creates under his studio brand, Already Been Chewed LLC. For over 12 years, he has designed for a variety of mediums including print, web, live productions and broadcast television. His digital illustrations are influenced heavily by his motion work. In 2009, Barton was awarded Digital Artist of the Year by Computer Arts Magazine, Intel, and 3d World Magazine. Check out more of his work at

Echo Conference | Session 5 | Barton Damer

Motion design reel – editing clips from favorite projects, think portfolio via video

The Creative Process – Organized chaos

Problem: Art is subjective

You could pour your heart/soul into a project, and they don’t feel the same

Your pastor is your client

Focus on solutions rather than art

You have to understand the problem in order to find a good solution

What problems could there possibly be?

Design with Purpose: Gives reasons for why you did certain things

When you can explain yourself, it’s no longer a pretty image; it’s now them going against your solution

Everyone walks away trying to find the right solution

Motion Design Process

Design and receive approval first.

Animate AFTER receiving approval on the designs.

No moving backwards (without a cost)

You MUST communicate time constraints

You can’t just assume they’re horrible people that are torturing you

Just creating what you think works is the way to set yourself up for a lot of heartache and headache

Barton’s Discoveries

My creative agenda is not always the right solution

Look for ways to find solutions, not just be an artist

The right solution is not always the most creative and/or difficult to produce

Clients want/need options

The wrong solution does not mean poor quality work

It’s possible to be proud of something that is not your best work

Design is part of the solution; it should not be part of the problem.


Echo Conference Notes for Scott McClellan and John Dyer

You can find a downloadable version of the notes here.

Scott McClellan is the Director of Echo and the Editor of The Echo Hub (formerly COLLIDE Magazine). Scott and his family are involved in a ministry to foster and adoptive families in the Dallas area.

John Dyer is the Director of Communications at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Echo Conference| Breakout 4 | Scott McClellan & John Dyer

Medium vs Platform

Medium – Broad term

Platform – specific outlet

Available mediums and platforms

  1. Announcements
  2. Teaching
  3. Slides
  4. Video
  5. Signage
  6. Handouts
  7. Kiosks
  8. Classes/groups
  9. Direct mail
  10. Email
  11. Sms
  12. Phone
  13. Twitter
  14. Facebook
  15. The City
  16. YouTube
  17. Website
  18. Ads

What is a medium? Dependent upon context, text can be cold and informative. An image is worth 1,000 words, a sentence is worth 1,000 emotions

Mediacology – There’s a system with the way that the world works with media. If you start focusing on one, you’ll lose another

How Media Works

Media enhances. It makes something better. It’s going to enhance the basic human function.

Media makes something obsolete.

Media retrieves. Restores something we do.

Media reverses into. What is media going to give me? What is it going to take away?

Stranger platforms and family platforms

We have to communicate with strangers through very different platforms (Direct mail, Google Adwords)

Best suited to reaching people we don’t know

The City, announcements, bulletin, stuff like that is good for family platforms

“Family” has given you permissions to share with them

A lot of the stranger platforms are things that we buy (advertisements, etc.)

Family platforms are something we have to cultivate

The network must be in place long before the crisis

What happens when strangers see family messages (images, lingo, etc.)? They don’t make the connection

What would it be like if I didn’t know ANYTHING about this church?

What kind of family does this portray to a stranger?

Active, Passive and Selectively Active Platforms

Active interrupts the audience

Passive platform – displays content, then waits for audience to come discover

Selectively active – hybrid, passive, but active when they are monitoring it

If it’s not urgent, it doesn’t require an active platform

What kinds of things are best suited for the correct platform?

Cultivate each one of them in

Use them appropriately so you’ve earned the right to use them, you haven’t abused them

The Home Base and Outpost

Identify what your home base is (website)

Everything else is an outpost

Outposts by their very nature make poor hosts

Home base does a poor job of inviting people to it

Just because someone is in your family doesn’t mean your home base beckons to them

Not all platforms are created equal

“We have trained you of a certain hierarchy of our communications”

Well established home base can put all your other outposts into perspective


                Job is to determine the value of a specific communication effort

What is important to this project?

Strangers are listening in, keep this in mind

Motivate people to take action

Invite people to visit us

Get feedback

Don’t invite gossip around this message

Human beings speaking the message

Establish the values for the project

Values are what really matter to a communication effort

Working backwards

Comments are the devil’s preferred digital medium

YouTube invites trolling

What kind of responses do we want to this message?

We as church communicators have to be critical of how we communicate



Echo Conference Notes for Todd Henry

You can find a downloadable set of notes here.

Todd Henry is the founder and CEO of Accidental Creative, a company that helps creative people and teams be prolific, brilliant, and healthy. He’s also the author ofThe Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, which offers strategies for how to thrive in the creative marketplace and has been called “high-octane fuel for creative productivity” by Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art.

Echo Conference | Keynote 2 | Todd Henry (@toddhenry)

Student practitioner of creativity in the marketplace

“The Accidental Creative”

Is it possible to be prolific, brilliant and healthy at the same time?


Healthy+brilliant-prolific=fired (we’re not going to keep our jobs this way)

80% of people regularly report feeling disengaged in the workplace “Malicious cooperatives” ß secretly hoping the organization will tank

No matter how many times we “snap the yardstick”, we always ask “can I do it again?”

Create-on-demand world – we’re accountable for a process we don’t understand to keep our jobs

Your problem (sits at the center of your world)

Random bits of stimuli (data)

Sometimes we begin to see the connection between the random bits of stimuli

We short-circuit our creativity when we force this out

5 Steps

Define problem

Explore options

Choose best option


Rinse and Repeat

CoD Process

Panic about problem

Explore option


We struggle with the fact that our ideas are TOO appropriate

Possibilities vs. pragmatics | All creative professionals deal with this tension

Time vs. value – you’re paid for the value you contribute to the company (church)

We know that our job is to contribute value (why we check our email repetitively)

Predictable vs. Rhythmic – You can’t predict creativity, but you try anyway

Product vs. Process – 99% of what we do is process, but we’re judged for the 1% (product)

Rhythm (5 elements) supports the creative process

Focus – What are we REALLY trying to do? If the problem isn’t defined, we can’t do our job

Ping – Pinprick in my gut that tells me to check email, twitter, etc.

(Most of us check our email 24,000 times per year)

Define: Challenges

If we want to be more effective, we need to be more microscopic of our process

Refine:Big 3 (Big challenges in your life right now)


Head to Head (Most effective way to learn is to teach)

Seek leadership – we need someone (outside of organization) to affirm/critique

Energy – We need to channel our energy into places that will be effective

Practice pruning (If you don’t prune, whole tree will succumb to systemic mediocrity)

We can’t be effective at everything, make a list of what’s going on in your world

Think Whole Life (Making commitments without looking at how it takes our energy)

We only have a limited capacity of energy, you MUST

Stimuli – You create what you take in

We’re taking in creative junk food, if you do, you’ll create junk food

Have a study plan (are you aware of the deeper questions you have in life?)

Take better notes, pay attention to the meta-conversation in your head

If you ignore it long enough, it starts ignoring you

Could be your mind prompting you to go somewhere creatively

Stimulus Dive (do things that REQUIRE you to use your senses in a different way)

Hours – Where we put our time determines our effectiveness

We’d rather feel productive than actually BE productive

When was the last time you made something that someone wasn’t paying you for?

Unnecessary Creating –have something outside of your job to express yourself

Idea Time (It doesn’t feel very effective to THINK about our projects)

We need a sacred space in our life to pursue possibility in the face of pragmatics

It’s not what you know; it’s how you do what you do that matters

Why do this? Why would anyone care if you disappeared into a big sinkhole in the earth?

We believe in what we do, but we don’t have the capacity to ask the tough questions

Cover bands don’t change the world.

We cannot afford to lose your contribution. If you give up your contribution, it’s a crime against humanity.

What do you think the most valuable land in the world is? The graveyard, where the most potential is

The death rate is hovering right about the 100% mark (haha.)

Die empty. I want to know if I leave this world today, I want to know that I’ve poured myself fully into what I’ve done.

Approach your life with more purpose.