We invite you into the conversation this week with Adam Stephens, Marketing Content Creator at Church Community Builder. Adam is the author of a great eBook "Building a Digital Community in Times of Crisis". You can download your copy here. While there you can explore the other great resources Church Community Builder is making available. In this episode we talk a bit about the return to services that will begin occurring in some areas across the nation. In preparation, we have made a free checklist available to assist in helping you think through all that needs to occur to open your facility back up. We are glad you are here, and stay tuned for more resources coming your way!
All right. Welcome, everybody again to this episode of facilities five and dime. My name is Nathan, partially specialists with smart church solutions. And today we are joined with Mr Adams Stevens, a marketing content creator with one of our good friends, a church community builder, or CCV. As I know, many of you refer to it there on this podcast cause you are using them for your church member management databases. So, Adam, thank you for being on this episode. And rather than me kind of spew and read stuff, why don't you introduce yourself and tell the folks a little bit about what you do and and, uh, church community builder, just to kind of do a little more introduction?
Sure. Absolutely. Thanks for having me Nation. It is. It's a privilege to be with you, excited to chat today. And yes, so I'm Adam Stephens. I am in the market department at church community voter. So I'm a content creator, which means, you know, I'm a copywriter thinker and try and help you know our company, our brand tell the market whether there's are sometimes customers that we already have. What's going on internally. War with folks that maybe you are that were new to and help them understand what we do, what our heart is and how weaken serve them and their church. And so that's come when I would do, you know, inside church, Communion Voter Church community builder is a church management software. So we have solutions for virtually every aspect of ministry work. You know, it's it is our heart to help church leaders engaged their people. So we we think that our products, our services free pastors, ministers, administrators, you know, church leaders you freedom up to better engage the people on bill connections so that they can do the perhaps more important work of ministry of sharing the gospel and serving their people. Yeah,
awesome. Awesome. So and we saw recently tell the folks a little about you you wrote on Put out a a guide or download book. You're wrong about that kind of the thoughts behind that and because we Reddit's great and will provide a link that that folks to in the description of the podcast and direct you to it. But tell us a little bit about that. Kind of What? What went in there?
Yeah. Thank you for saying that I appreciate that way if we worked hard on that and you know, it's called building community in times of crisis so that titles give me an idea of what we're trying to do here. So we wanted to create an asset and evil that what help pastors, You know, with this, a brand new reality, if you will. And then all of us came into it suddenly, right. No one expected a global pandemic. And so, you know, everyone is scrambling to figure out the the way that they can fulfill their mission or vocation or do their work, you know, in the midst of all this. And so we wanted to You know what we have together to see how we could help. And so, you know, barely community in times of crisis. Some some of the features in the air, you know how to have the how the church leader or pastor can take their their services fully online. So if it to a digital presentation, some some ways to encourage folks to do online giving on Really, What was it building a digital community? No, that's what really what we're talking about in there. So there's there's a playbook on ideas of how to heavy people come together, whether that's a virtual small group, whether that is, you know, finding out with needs of their people are people are shut in their quarantine. Maybe they don't have access to the grocery delivery or you medical needs, whatever the thing is Or, you know, some people were wanting with their families, right, that could be a struggle. But people are very lonely. And so it's really just giving the semi, you know, pastors ideas of how to use our software on one hand to meet needs. But then, on the other hand, how to fitting just practically and spiritually and reflectively how to lead and serve in the crisis.
Yeah, it's easy get bogged down in the technical aspects and the realities and neglect unintentionally the human factor. The reaching out and the, you know, goes we're so used, Teoh. I'll just see him next Sunday,
right? That's about right. Yeah. So we think we with at that instant connection point on Sundays. And the truth is, is that, you know, obviously most of life is lived outside of the first building, right? and so we think I like what you said. Sometimes it's over. It's easy to overly rely on the digit or get get bogged down our focus with the technical aspect on and that's the truth. And that's really what are suffers designed to do. So obviously it's a software. It involves technology, but it's very user friendly, and it's it is solving problems so that you can. You being the pastor administrator, could be freed up to really do. But you what you're called to do, and so that works in a pandemic and outside of a pandemic and normal life, whatever that looks like going forward.
So as we think. And we've got kind of a series of three questions we've been, we've been asking our special guests. Here is the 1st 1 is you know, speaking of the technology and kind of focusing in on that a little bit when you think of it as a company and personally kind as his pandemic. Aziz, the reality was setting in what, what tech prep, you know, Have you all been doing? Have you been seeing an increase in usage, things like that and what would you kind of advise the churches, You know, what kind of technical improvements should they be looking at for not only working during this time, but then being better prepared for the next potential issue?
Yeah, for sure. I think I think that, you know, obviously, pastors are on a on A on a spectrum on a range of, you know, ease of use, like technical adeptness, if you will. But sometimes, you know, we're operating under the assumption that sometimes pastors all they have at their disposal was making their therefore the smart phone in their pocket or full text set up or anywhere in between. So I think some of the advice, you know, we started off at the beginning of the crisis saying, Whatever. Whatever you're starting, whatever you're starting with, start there doesn't have to be perfect, right? We all we all of us in light of this or sort of extending a bit more grace if things are buttoned up or perfect, If we get some rough edges right on, that acquires, too, to a Sunday morning service that applies to a prayer meeting. Anything that church may be doing right now. So if you haven't your smartphone and stack of books leans against do that, right? What, We sort of you know, course. Rip the band. Aid off, if you will. You know, what can we be thinking about To apply more things. So, you know, we started with simple by some you know, how can you Where's the natural light coming from? You know, people see, do right, solve the basic problems Can they see when they hear you? And maybe you could up a pastor's upgrade to a camera or to, you know, just a few simple lights for literally just a few 100 bucks, right? So how can you add to this repertoire? You know, and we gave some. We have some guys on our on our software news log of how to think about how to think about using a software so including ours, obviously things that Exume or Slack, which is a messaging app, you know, happened. Those things bring you together. So they're really they're really just a few simple things that churches can do Teoh to improve. And that's you know, and I think anybody who's willing to sit down and read an article and take a slight risk can go from rough and ready. Teoh polished in a weekend over with a couple hours. Eso way kind of lay some of that out and the guys, so that, you know, we could weaken. You know, listeners could go there to dive in deeper.
Yeah, and I like what you you mentioned it. Start with wherever you're at and it doesn't have to be polished. Um, you know, even us doing this podcast and things like that. I started with a thought. Read a couple blog's, and I was using software that I got free when I purchased my camera. I used for other parts of the work, Okay. With video editing software, which allows me to layer in multiple tracks, learned e pulled up the pdf. The user guide said, OK, where's the where's the, you know, written in crayon instructions for me?
Exactly. Let me let me, I want to be with you. You put the blisters and easier, like, you know, I work for obviously suffer company and, you know, it was a lot of technology, but, you know, like if I could figure it out, you know, anybody can so like it's one of those things square people who are creating the technology when it came with a software, whether it's audio recording, they want you to succeed. So it's always scarier before you open the locker, download the app or whatever it's on Syria before you jump into than it ever is when you're actually doing it. So that's my person is like, You can't break it Even if you do, there's somebody there fixed for you So you know, some somebody exactly. Don't be afraid to, you know, take a step forward anyway.
And it kind of upsets, I think redirects us on. We talked about for other folks of This is pulling back, you know? Yes, we're relying on technology because we have to. But a lot of us, a lot of folks becoming content creators who don't have the skill set that typically they would have. So it's it's really it's allowing us to focusing on the polished presentation and get back to the basics, which would be like the work, you know, and the message, the message being the focal point, not to the presentation, and I want him to see that
Yeah, me too. I think that I think what you're describing really characterizes in a small way. But what's happening globally is that at the end of the day, you know, when we are experiencing trauma and fear and the pandemic, you know, it has in God's beautiful sort of almost paradoxical way. The tragedy, you know, drives us closer together. You know, needs toe like if you were just a lot of bad news, so much death, you know, our hearts go out there. There's a lot of sadness and prayer and where we're supporting and connecting with people as best we can, you know, in our whether that's wonder one you know, you know in our environments are globally. But the beautiful thing is, is that technology is getting us back to that elemental or essential thing, which is human connection, and it comes back to two people talk to each other. That just happens to be through through the computer, right? It goes back to the word it goes back to the basic elements of human connection of communication, and so that's never gonna go away. And it's our job both at church community builder and at our respective churches and as individuals. It's our job overcome obstacles to get back to that basic connection. That's really all we're doing way. Wanna be creative? But we never want to forget Or we never would have made a mistake to think that the technology replaces that. It's just it's a vehicle with a conduit for that connection
way. Never want to confuse that. The tool for the message. That's right. Exactly tools how we get out there. So as we think about this, a lot of changes, a lot of things that we're doing now, you know, obviously we're never going to go back to exactly the way it was prior toe. You know, January this year, it's break the world. There's gonna be some changes. We we've done it. I know my boss wrote water bog on at that picture of a lane shift that you see when highways were being built. You know the shift, Elaine, so they can fix this. Then they shifted back. But, you know, they never shifted back exactly where the old one waas because they made it wider. That made it better. They may, you know, or here in Texas because they completely went a different direction because that's what they do. Uh, it's like, yeah, you want
what? You go Construction season. You're never the same, right?
It is just like year round. You know it like places. But we always joke, you know, When will I 35 be finished? You know, returns. I mean, always, Yes, just we're done. Hope. Now we're gonna add another lane. Really? That's
that way. Put the final patch of pavement down the field,
but but we know we are going to return in the general direction. So out of all these things that you've been doing personally, professionally and again, we always have to copy out. We're not gonna hold you to it. We're not liking a writing down and saying on this day, Adam said this, but what do you What do you think's gonna be sticky? You know? What do you see? Kind of a trend wise. What do you think? And feel that you're going to see churches continuing and people continuing to take advantage of to utilize?
Yeah, absolutely. So I look at this from a couple different angles. I like this question. I think we're all thinking about it implicitly, if not explicitly. And so I'm thinking about it personally on then, like what this church community voted on and what I think, What I think you know operative were there. We'll stick with the church so you know, personally in I definitely have been amazed. It's sort of a lot of people made the joke that it's taken a global pandemic for, says individuals to go outside and take a wall. It really has shown us and that's that's funny because it's true on some level, you know, like people were like, Oh yeah, my bike off Because I have done that in years and it's been so fulfilling for me and and so the simple pleasures of life or taking a walk and get some fresh air being outdoors for a little bit or chronic card game with with the family or something, you know, just really simple, beautiful moments. I think that it would be a real shame if that didn't stick around. So after we go back to court, normal, whatever the new normalised you know, I think folks are going to have a more appreciation for the simple pleasures of life, and I could say personally, mine, you know, my wife I married my wife. Actually, she's lovely and we have a little girl. So have a three year old. And so we have been taking walks and it's been so special. You know, we're talking about the plants and what you hear in all these beautiful moments and eso that's gonna be hopefully sticky for us personally. And I think you know. So it's interesting because the church meeting voter we had a lot of requests for certain software updates or improvements. Or, you know, any new features that we didn't have before because we have new problems to saw, right? Right, So there's some of the best things that are just gonna be around forever. I mean, one of the things that people are using our software reduced to identify beats within their within the church, right? And so, typically the needs feature. You know, the administrator of the software or the pastor, whomever, accessing it to the individual with needs. And it's been kind of a one. The one thing, but people like, yeah, but I need to get this need public. How do how do I have an access to the other people so that the whole church can come together and fulfill needs. So way added a feature that it's pretty simple. You talk about and make this need could be their private or public like, you know, maybe there's a elderly person that your chair if you see me every Sunday and you assume they're fine, but it's a distant they probably needs. They have things that they get older than their most in some case of the most at risk looks. And so if we could just simple feature to make a public eso and we have, you know, a dozen things like that they were trying to sound like it's highlighted how we can better serve churches in simple ways and sometimes in bigger ways this is a good thing will stick around. You know, we're gonna be adding features, applying in any situation, thinking, too, about how is the church writ large going to what's going to stick around after after we get back to ah, more normal situation and by the way, I'm saying a new normal or above normal, like the blood you mentioned that he knows on your smart situations. Let's the temporary normal, you know, I think that's a great way to say it. And I like that image of the lane shift, you know, because we're we're gonna dio forward, always just look a little different. And so I think I can speak for my created at our church. You know, we we have acknowledged that outside of Sunday morning, like so small groups or creator meetings are just hanging out. You know, just just just a moment for maybe two grills slash women's group or amends meeting more. You know, families just get together and chatting over over a zoom meeting. Those things have been incredibly beneficial, you know. And so I think, And you know, we use slack now, which is way easier than email thread. If you've ever, you know, go back and review like 15 emails deep, you know? So there's things going to stick around for us, you know, they're not going to replace what were you doing before? But they're going to enhance, I think. I think I hope that churches are seeing how they can use technology. Teoh again better serve what we're really trying to do. Kind of excited, which is built this connections and keep people together and let them, because that like like you were saying earlier, actually before recording. But, you know, we were chatting kind of with Mark for our vocal cords here. And we're talking about, you know, that the decisions we make his believers and have we follow our consciousness and all these things. And I think that it reminds us that conversation reminded me that we as believers, should look different than the rest of world. So if we can use the technology night, all truth is, God's true. You know, these things concert his purposes, right? It wouldn't use that. It's a little different, but they connected remind each other the truth of the gospel that beautiful, and I and I suspect we'll see a lot of that happening. You know, hopefully the pendulum doesn't swing too far in that direction. Where we, you know, for sake, meeting together. I don't think that will happen, you know? Yeah, on a large scale. But do you think there are a lot of, uh, there's a lot in the plus category?
I see it as is We've We've all been exposed and reminded in one way of there's no more excuses are not a part on for not reaching out. We've shown that you can stay connected in the middle of a pandemic. So when we're not in the middle of this storm, there's really no excuse to say Oh, yeah, I haven't haven't reached out to so and so I'll see him whenever they show back up to church. No, no, You got options now.
Yeah, it's true that I think you, uh you're really out of excuses at this
point for sure. You pretty much got options, so yeah, and I think that I don't never want to forsake the in person meetings. Obviously, I hope people do it safely when were allowed to return. You know, there's there's benefit in and being careful because the last thing the church wants to be known for is, you know, the place of resurgence. Oh, or anything like that. Because we didn't take the time to open back up intentionally and carefully.
Exactly. There's attention there, right? Way had his desire to be back together. And, you know, for example, celebrating the Eucharist taking key, celebrating Lord's supper, You know, by whatever name, you know it. Yeah, that's a really, really important part of our work. So we desire to be do that yet again. But like you said to do, to meet together prematurely is is not the best way to a lot of our brothers and sisters or the world.
And we've got technology that we can leverage to. You know, we're even working on just some thoughts of, you know, what would it take the simulcast to different parts of your building? So if we all can't meet together in one venue in our facility, why not simulcast it two or three other areas and take advantage of Oh, I don't know, registration through software. So we know how many people are gonna be in each area. You know, it's just just reasonable stuff. Being more aware, I'm hoping that'll be sticky. You know, it is really thinking through, Okay, what being intentional about every action and how we set things up. So But I'm facility centric. So
when I work in perspective and that's really not something to write, let's I mean, when you were just describing simulcasting to different parts of a building, you know how often we've still come to the church building the place right and be coming together, but not still make the physical distance right. But that's another. That's another way I love. I love that you are wired to think that way and that, you know, that's smart Church solutions through East Base, which I think it was probably. No. But, you know, we have an integration. There were parts together, and so it was. Those things function incredibly well together. I love that you're thinking that way because there are creative solutions, right? Like, you know we can We can figure this out, and that's and that's I think really is gonna be going forward is gonna be small steps, right? Baby steps to getting back together. And I think if we can all be patient and just in the Lord's provision way, we'll get back together eventually and in a safe way. So I like I like your thinking.
Yeah, and it's from a believer from a standpoint to it's it's a glimpse. And what our brothers and sisters across the world in areas that that can't worship freely experience. You know, we're worried about this, this viral thing, but they worry about secret police or mine, Um, and humbling thing right? Yeah. Way Get upset. Way. We can't have coffee together this morning. I'm like, Oh, they risk having their in Tyler family killed. Okay.
Yeah. Yeah. These people are what you know is something some you world parts of Central Africa, right? People would walk three hours. One way to get a worship service at risk of their life, right? Yeah. We're like, Yeah, I mean, Newman bleaching again. It's like, Well, let's take that back here for a
moment. But what? But let's keep
in any kind of, you know, the the truth is still
keeping the main thing. The main thing. That s o B. That. You know, you mentioned going on walks with with family, and so it kind of that vein kind of that last question we like to ask is how we're in addition to that. How are you keeping yourself? Your family, your team work. How are you keeping positive? Keeping healthy. Where you going to stay? Well, and you know, maybe there's some of what you're doing Can inspire smother folks if they they need some better self care.
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I think at work one of the things one of things that's really touching is that, you know, there are it really goes to show how great a company work for. I'm gonna go to church meatballs born here a little bit because it happened, you know, way show up on West. Greatest place to work in Colorado or, you know, companies with the heart. Yeah, because that's true. And that really what people say that we care about our associates. We care about our employees. But, you know, community builder really does that. And so I actually relatively new with the company been here less than a year, and so I can be a little bit more objective and say that is true. And so, for example, you know, we created again on our starts black, which is, you know, messaging the way we stay connected pretty pretty much all day. Uh, just a channel for people to come together And be honest about what? Struggling with whether that's loneliness, whether it's anxiety or fear or depression or what we're celebrating, you know. So, like, there's a dedicated space for us to show our care concern for one another and offers some encouragement. You know we can't solve your problems. But I can tell you that we love you were praying for you. All right, well, we can't solve your problems. Maybe there is a genuine Eden and our community within CCB and come together, meet those needs. I mean, we utilize aspect of our somewhere just like churches to you, frankly, to meet these and, you know, So that's a really beautiful thing. And also, you know, I think I think one of the ways to stay positive is Don't be afraid to let your human side share when you're on a, you know, a virtual meeting space, that's your dog is her nose into this The shot there or you have kids running by. You know it as much as you can be human and let everyone else know that they're human. Humanity and dignity is important in regardless of the circumstances. I think I think that always helps. And so we have no problems letting I have a great day. And so I have no problems letting Winslow's steal the show on my seven calls for at least one or two minutes. I mean, like that, You know, I think again it got kind of affected the low fly. Don't be afraid to do you to be yourself and sort of let down a little bit of pretense. And I think that builds human can, actually, in a small way. So stay positive in that way. We do it internal landed with the family, you know, Like I said, you know, being also to each other and letting the crucible of of the quarantines out of a We're not some impurities and hopefully we'll grow closer together as a family. And I think that's happening for us.
I think for a lot of people find it is yeah, way mentioned. It's beginning. No, I wrote her a deal about, you know, it's amazing. I've had dinner, You know, we've actually sat down for dinner more often than way, you know, we started Ah, family workout. Just, you know, to be active, because we know we have to. Um but I like what you said about, you know, about being riel about, you know, sharing. You know, kind of the same thing. We allow the before this, we allowed the capabilities of technology toe polish and make things seem better. Writer and shiny er then they might really be in it, you know, way you hear about that. A lot of churches, like, Oh, I can't go there because they're all perfect and I'm not, You know, this is definitely the time for all of us to just take off the masks, if you will, to take off the makeup and to say, This is real. This is real life. And you know, if I'm not doing good, it's it's healthy to tell somebody.
That's why I think next. Great way to say anything because really, what we're doing with these virtual meetings is worth sort of inviting people into our homes into our lives, right in a way that maybe we had not done before. And, you know, that's scary, obviously. But I think we've learned that we could do that. We could open the door maybe a little wider. Then we did before, and we're coming out unscathed, by and large. So that's putting courage and goes back to the earlier right. You know, there's, you know, it's always scarier, you know, a great this fears a lot in anticipation. All right, so I didn't cross over that threshold, and I think it will be not as scary as you think it is. And, you know, for those who are listening to like Oh, yeah, this all sounds great injury, you know, fluffy and nice taking walks with kids and all that. You know, I don't make no mistake. No one's perfect here. We've screamed a lot more Netflix than before. So, like, the Lord is gracious in many ways said, Don't feel
like you gotta dio, right? And some days, even when the sun is shining, you don't feel like walking outside the door, you know? That's it, right? Some day. Great for that. Some days you spend more times open in that pantry door than you do the outside door. Okay? Yeah. So yeah, we So, Yeah, you're absolutely right. Thank for for just reinforcing. That is, You hear things were staying positive. We want you to stay positive with the caveat that it ain't easy. It ain't easy. Every day there's something and but grace, as believers, we can extend. You know, that grace that has been extended us. So we'll Adam, I thank you again for spending this this moment in times with us and just having this discussion. Thank you. for being on the show and for what you do at church. Community builder and folks remember, we're gonna put a link there to that to that e book in the description. So definitely check that out. But, Adam, thank you again for being here. Oh,
Nathan, thank you so much for having me. It was a privilege not appreciate what you do and how you do it. So thanks for everything you're doing. And hopefully what talks in?
Alright. Sounds great. You have a blessed rest of the week and everybody listening. We're praying for you. We're here for you. And if we can ever do anything, we're serious. Let us know. Thank you all. And we'll see you all next episode. We hope you enjoy this facilities five and dime. Brought to you by Smart Solutions. The conversation we just had with Adam Stephens from Church Community Building. For more information, head on over and check us out at smart church solutions dot com. We appreciate your time with us, and you can always subscribe to receive notifications from their newest content drops. We're here for you. And you can always
reach us at info at smart church solutions dot com