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Author: Jonathan Malm

Start Thinking Like an Entrepreneur, Not a Designer

I used to consider myself a designer. Then I met real designers like Joe Cavazos and a few others – they have talent that made me want to give up that label. Of course, that left me in a bit of a pickle. If I wasn’t a designer, what was I? Sure, I could design. But I didn’t have the finesse they did. Fortunately, I discovered a better term that described me: entrepreneur. Sure, I still designed stuff. And I’m frankly pretty good at design. But this new term has changed the way I view myself and the way...

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What Can Your Service Do that Nothing Else Can Do?

I’m grateful I don’t live in the Dark Ages. I love reading the Bible for myself and learning about God. And I love having a pastor who can help me understand some of the more difficult things that might not make sense at first. In the Dark Ages, that wasn’t an option. If I could even read at all, I probably wouldn’t have had access to a Bible on my own – much less in my own language. My only way to learn about God was to visit a church and hear a man – verbally – tell me...

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Social Media [Easter at Champions Centre]

At the time of Easter 2015, Champions Centre was still learning a lot about effective social media usage. Back then, they were mostly just creating some events they could invite people to on Facebook and sharing a lot of their promo videos. Jen Mueller did, however, try something new to encourage people to invite their friends. They wanted to highlight people who did and perhaps inspire others to do the same. So they created an “I invited” campaign. They created stickers that looked like the “I voted” ones. Then they asked people to wear the sticker and tell the...

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Tech Team [Easter at Champions Centre]

Catalina Mahon is the TV and Media Productions Director at Champions Centre. You’d imagine, being in that role, that she’s a techie to the core. But she went to school for psychology and behavioral sciences. She instead is into empowering and relying on other leaders who can do the technical work necessary in this ministry. Of course, she’s grown to love what technology can do for their church. She can dabble. She can fill in. But really her role on the team is to organize and lead those she works alongside. One traditionally techy thing she has brought to...

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On-Stage Energy [Easter at Champions Centre]

Paul Burton stepped into the worship role at Champions Centre five years ago. One of the things their pastor, Kevin Gerald, had requested of Paul was that there be young people involved and a lot of energy. So Paul was tasked with figuring that out. This was at the time when Hillsong United was getting huge. So the team took their cue from that. They essentially went to school. They watched tons of videos of worship, trying to figure out what energy in worship looked like. They then did the hard work of introducing it to their team. In the beginning, there were a...

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Stage Design [Easter at Champions Centre]

The pastor of Champions Centre, Kevin Gerald, is adamant about having the cross on stage for Easter. It has to be the focus. So that presents a unique challenge each year to the creative team. They want each year to be special and eye-catching. For Easter 2013, they created a cross out of box trussing. They rigged it on motors so it would come down from the ceiling during one of the worship songs. The next year, they created a structurally hollow cross out of plywood.  They held it together with airplane wire and heavy iron on the corners. This...

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Preview Night [Easter at Champions Centre]

A few years back, Elevation Church tried something before Easter. They created a preview night for their staff. It was a way to let all the staff who might have not been involved in the preparation see what it would look like. It also gave them an opportunity to give feedback on the presentation. When the team at Champions Centre heard about the idea, they latched onto it. Essentially, about ten days before the Easter weekend hits, they have a full dress rehearsal for the service. They run through the creative elements as if it was the real deal....

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Advertising [Easter at Champions Centre]

Champions Centre has traditionally used a variety of advertising methods to promote their Easter services. Most of the times they advertise in their community via their local newspaper – the Tacoma News Tribune – via billboards, through TV commercials, and even some direct mail postcards. They also are intentional with search engine optimization to make sure they have a strong web presence so people can find their Easter services. The Ads/Looks To advertise the Easter services in 2015, they created several different designs and looks. They used Facebook to target different demographics and modeled different looks for each of their...

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Lighting Design [Easter at Champions Centre]

Andy Mueller is in charge of lighting (as well as a few other areas) at Champions Centre. He sees the lighting team as an extension of the worship team. He never wants to look at it as its own identity. The lights are solely there to usher people into worship. Not to be a distraction. Not to elicit “oohs” and “ahs”. Frankly, he doesn’t want people to notice that the lights are even there. Instead, he wants the lights to create an inviting setting where God can show up. He and Nathaniel Buck, their lead lighting designer, work to make...

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Volunteers [Easter at Champions Centre]

Like any church experiences, Easter weekend in 2015 for Champions Centre was sort of crazy. They had two Good Friday services, five weekend services, and a community Easter egg hunt. That’s at both their Tacoma campus and their Bellevue campus. And just like any church experiences, that means needing a whole bunch of volunteers on their A-game. Previously, they’ve done their huge community Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning. But they found that they were mostly catering to the neighborhood instead of their own people. And most of those from the neighborhood wouldn’t be coming on Sunday to their...

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Songs and Worship [Easter at Champions Centre]

The song list for the 2015 Easter services at Champions Centre was: Glory in the Highest – Fellowship Creative This is Living – Hillsong Young and Free The Same Power – Worship Central Alive – Hillsong Young and Free The worship team puts a large emphasis on how they build their worship sets. Instead of just choosing three songs they like and putting them together, they focus a lot of time and energy on thinking through transitions and the whole experience it will create for the person worshiping. Because of this, they’ve made a unique decision to limit how...

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Video Design [Easter at Champions Centre]

Aaron Latimer was tasked with designing the video element for the projection mapped cross. The goal of the design was to move and transform the cross stylistically, through geometric shapes. This project was an interesting one for Aaron. He’s a video editor. Not a designer. Here he was, never having designed something in his life, now tasked with designing the centerpiece for Easter. The idea was simple. But the execution was technical and meticulous. Plus, some of the equipment they used made it harder on themselves than it could have been. The idea was simple. But the execution was...

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