We use a team concept to preparing messages here at CapCity. Technology makes this easier to collaborate for sure. [Like all things, the process below is the ideal and when everything is flowing well. This happens much of the time, but there are exceptions.] 😉
Before we get into the technology used, let me say a couple of things up front.
- Each person speaking must “feel” the message and be absolutely passionate about what they are speaking.
- An effective message must be born out of prayer and the Word of God. There is no substitute for this.
- No speaker here at CapCity will “perform” someone else’s sermon or message like an actor reading a script. The person speaking is the main writer and editor of the message.
We use a team to make our messages better because no one person will ever be able to have all the ideas to best communicate anything. Creativity is enhanced when a team of individuals with a unified purpose and strong relationship come together and contribute their ideas and thoughts. Scripture has much to say about synergy among people (Deut 32:30; Eccl 4:12; Prov. 27:17; Matt 18:20; 1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Rom. 16:9, 21; 1 Cor. 16:16; 2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25; Col. 4:11; Philemon 1:24; 3 John 1:8 just to name a few).
That brings us to how.
We start “old school”. This means we begin in prayer and reflection and then meet together in a room with a whiteboard (well, it’s not totally old school as we also have iPads and laptops…). For a set time we brainstorm and throw ideas on the table and draw things out on the whiteboard. As we talk through each idea, we begin to narrow down to the best ones. We leave that meeting with the series topics and dates in place along with some assignments to do research and follow up on some of the ideas to see if we can pull them off.
After the meeting, each one continues to pray as we begin the preparations for each series. We have a form we will fill out for each series that we adapted from another church. This form is then emailed to the teaching team and the creative team. The teaching team uses the form to begin to put together illustration ideas and video ideas fro that series. The creative team uses the form to put together the graphics and any other promo materials that will be used.
All of this info is put into a Google Wave. Google stopped updating Wave at the end of 2010, but it is still available. We still find it to be the best free resource for this process.
Each series becomes its own Wave (as noted in the image below with the 3 current series we are working on) and those that are involved in that series are added as contributors. Of course, this requires each member of the team to have a Google account. But since we already handle our calendar on Google, that is already in place. This tool allows us to have instant updates when someone makes an edit or suggestion to the Wave. The advantage this has over a Google doc is how it is set up. Each Wave is a forum style conversation that can be edited, commented on, added to, and even have media embedded directly. It is simple and intuitive. It is online and can be accessed from anywhere. Because each series is its own Wave, we can work on multiple series at once and still keep track. Switching between each one is a simple click in the left column (which can be hidden for more room when working). There is even an iPad app for added convenience of access.
We are working on the message in Wave up till a day or two before the message is spoken. Once in a while, an idea will hit the day before and someone will post then. Of course, not every idea is implemented for a variety of reasons. We are continuing to improve our process and build our teams.
Google Wave is a valuable resource in helping us to prepare and enhance the messages we are giving each week here at CapCity.