Month: July 2017

Give Yourself a Break

Typically, for worship leaders specifically, summer is a “slower” time of the year.  Once September arrives, you are already planning Christmas, doing a quick hit on Veteran’s Day, then before you know it into Easter, Memorial Day, and Fourth of July.  Not taking into account all the other special days your church might have coming up:  baby dedications, sermon series, Mission’s Convention, community outreach, and the list goes on.  There seems to always be something pressing you.

 

That’s why when you have a natural break, you need to take it!  You might say, “Well now that there’s a break, I can catch up on another project.”  I tried that.  For all of May and June, I worked longer hours, to the point that everything else was on hold.  For me, I notice it in my backyard.  The weeds were bountiful, there was no new mulch, the flower pots were empty, the grill was covered, and the pool was green.  It really hit me the first week of July that I was overworked, tired, and burnt out.  And it was my own fault.

 

The past few weeks I have remedied the problem.  I have limited work hours, and made an effort to take time:  for me, to be with people, and to catch up the yard.  Today is a milestone…I went in the pool.  It is crystal clear, the yard is mowed, the weeds gone, the plants and flowers planted.  I am seizing the time I have, because I can see the next project coming.

 

How about you?  Have you been able to give yourself a break?  If you haven’t it’s not too late.  Take advantage of any lull you have and get away from work.  Spend time on your hobby, meet with friends, get your chores done around the house.  You will feel better, and it will recharge your battery so when the rush of work comes again, you will be ready.  When you take care of yourself, you are then able to give to others.

Written by Dave Feltman. Dave is a search coach for Froot Group, a worship staffing company.

You Can Ask, We Can Help

My youngest daughter just moved out of our house and into an apartment. Usually when kids move out their parents are close by to help them with setting things up and everything that comes with it, but not us, we moved 8 hours away! My daughter decided she needed blackout curtains for her room because she can only sleep if the room is pitch black. She called us for advice on how to install curtain rods and as we were telling her she said; “I think I’ll just go to Home Depot and ask somebody there. I’ll just say “hey, can you put curtain rods on a wall?” and when they say yes I’ll tell them to follow me to my apartment.” Where did we go wrong!?!!

Her train of thought was that she would go to the place that should have all the answers and they would help her. How many people do you think you interact with at church that have that same train of thought? You helped them find a parking spot so you must know how to help them get connected into a small group, or what day and time the student ministry meets, right? I am a big fan of cross training all of the first impression team members, but there’s no way anyone can have all the answers!! So what can you do?

We have thought about this and here are a couple of steps we take;

1. Help Center – we changed our “info desk” to “help center” because we want people to know where they can go for help, not just information. We push all information to our website and have iPads at the help center for the team members to not only help people with their request, but to also show them where they can find the answers in the future! We also have 4×5 pieces of paper with “Name,” “Phone,” “Email,” “I would like information on,” and then blank lines for those requests the team members are not able to answer and the staff tackles those on Monday. The iPads also allow guests to sign up for special events. They can pull up the registration form and fill it out right there at the help center.

2. Communication – we do our best to inform all team members of the basic information that can help a guest when they ask questions. We send a weekly email with information about special events happening like the next date for baptism, or membership, or kids camp, student camp, etc. Our coaches do an excellent job communicating the non-weekly activities during their preservice huddles as well as reminding all team members that if they aren’t sure how to answer a guests request, they can walk them to the help center!

Here’s what our Help Center Note looks like!

I hope our first impressions team has an incredible reputation for helping people like Home Depot does in my daughters mind!

PS – she didn’t bring a stranger into her house, she found a friend to help her hang her curtains! Whew!!

Written by Stacey Windover. Stacey is the Guest Experience Consultant for Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.

Shooting An Amazing Smartphone Video

Forgive me Father for I have binged! I sat down for an extended amount of time (for I will not disclose) and watched YouTube. One video leads to another, which leads to another and before you know it you’re asking yourself what you started out doing before you started in on the binge. You spend hours and hours laughing at the videos that people have posted. You ask, “What was he thinking?” Sometimes you’re blown away or pleasantly surprised by the talent or quality.

Here at Froot Group we see videos of all kind. One of the top things that stop a worship leader from proceeding along in our process or even landing a job, is the lack or quality of their video. We can’t stress enough how important your introduction and worship leading videos are. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video may be worth a thousand pictures.

Almost all of us have a smartphone these days or know someone who does. I wanted to provide you just a few suggestions to help improve the quality of your video.

Most important, turn your phone sideways: By using the “landscape” (horizontal) orientation when shooting video, you get more of the worship center and musicians in the shot. Another reason is that you don’t want your viewers to see those black bars on each side of the video when it’s played back on social media, or viewed on a computer desktop or widescreen television.

Hold your phone steady: You can position yourself and try to be as still as possible but your best option would be to pick up a monopod or selfie stick at your local dollar store. If you have access to one, it would be even better to get ahold of a collapsible tripod. Having a still video will ensure your viewers don’t get turned off by a shakey video.

Composition rule: Sometimes you only got one chance to capture a great worship experience. If you want your videos to look professional, consider the “rule of thirds”. Break up the phones viewer screen into two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, and place your subject wherever the four lines intersect. Think of it like a Tic-Tac-Toe board; our eyes naturally look at one of these intersection points.

Lighting is important: Pay attention to the light around you, and take advantage of it. Good lighting – be it natural or artificial — can make or break a video. Play with the angles until you like what you see. Don’t shoot subjects near a window or with their back to the sun, as they’ll look like a silhouette. Even though you might be tempted to chose the auto feature on your phone, it’s ok to revert and play with the other features. This will allow you to make up for any differences that you may have for natural lighting.

Sound advice: Don’t underestimate the importance of good sound. This is one of the most important features of a great video. Your best option would be to have a professional microphone but if you can’t, try to get as close as possible to capture the clearest audio. You’ll be surprised how good your smartphone’s mic can be. If you’re too far away, you’ll get some of those ambient noises in your recording. Although you’re not going to avoid everything (sneezing, baby crying, etc) in a worship service, it will at least be better if you’re closer to the person you’re capturing.

Edit away: Video can live forever so you might as well make it as good as it can be. Tweak it on your phone – or better yet, on a computer with its larger screen to assess your work. This includes cutting, cropping, adjusting color and brightness, adding transitions, special effects, music, narration, captions, and more. Always keep the original just in case, but spice up your videos a bit before giving it to the world.

If you stumble upon someone to shoot a professional grade video for you definitely jump on the opportunity. Just remember though that if a church is investing enough in you to bring you out for a visit to their church, you should invest in them by having a great video.

Written by: Meggan Jacobus. Meggan is the Staffing Manager at Froot Group, a worship staffing & consulting company.

It’s Time for a Walk

Want to get out of your rut?  Do something that you can’t do.  I don’t mean juggling, or touching your tongue to your nose, but something that is bigger than you are capable.  I just finished the biggest challenge of my career.  A four month, no instructions available, sink or swim challenge.

In my fairly new job, a lot of what I do is hire people.  Back in January, I helped hire 12 people here, another 18 there, even helped with hiring 40 at another location.  But in March, I was tasked with hiring 950 in 3 months for a major sporting event.  I had a team of 5 other people to help.  Three of them were interns just out of college, another was brand new, and the other less than a year of experience.  It was the blind leading the blind.  And after the first month, we had hired only 100 people.

In addition to the numbers not being nearly as high as they should be, there were many other obstacles.  Our internet connection was 2 weeks late, 8 inches of snow fell before the first night of work, none of the rental furniture arrived, and the house we had rented was infested with bugs.  Yes, infested.  We stayed a total of 3 hours in the house before I knew it was too much to overcome.  All of this and more, and not hiring near as many people as we needed; the first month was bad.

At the end of the second month, we had grown our number to 300, leaving 650 to hire in the last month.  Simply daunting.  We hustled, tried new things, worked 15 hour days, and at the end of it all we hired 810 people.  Not the goal of 950, but a good number.  And when it was all said and done, we were actually over-staffed during the entire event.

I would have never thought it was possible.  This project was far greater than anything I thought I could have done, but it was that constant push to do something more that caused my team and I to get the job done.

When you are feeling stuck, or predictable, or bored in your routine, find a new challenge.  It is like the time when the twelve disciples were in the boat and the storm came.  Jesus walked to them and called Peter out of the boat.  Something that was impossible, something Peter had no reference for, and was far bigger than what he thought he could accomplish.  But Peter stepped out and walked on water.  He did something great.

It’s time for you to get out of your boat.  The boat that brings safety and comfort may be the thing that is holding you back from doing the extraordinary.  Take the step.  Challenge yourself in what you know.  Be all that God has for you.  Be bigger than yourself and be incredible!

Written by: Dave Feltman. Dave is a search coach for Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.