All posts in Leadership

Clark Continues Expansion, Adding New Staffmember Ed Crippen


Yesterday, we began a two-part series highlighting the latest members to join our team as part of the ongoing expansion happening at Clark these days.

Yesterday, we interviewed Kerry Shouldeen, Clark’s new Director of Business. Today, we’re pleased to introduce you to Ed Crippen, who coordinates audio installations. Continue reading →

Clark Continues Expansion, Adding New Staff member Kerry Shouldeen


You may have picked up that momentum has been building at Clark the last couple months.

On March 4th, we christened four new church renovations on seven campuses on one Sunday. Then just two weeks later, we launched our Dallas office with a presentation on the future of the church by Gabe Lyons and Houston Clark. And, finally, last month, we added two new staff members, Kerry Shouldeen and Ed Crippen.

This week, we’re devoting a two-blog series to introducing the latest members of our team to celebrate what they bring to the Clark community.

Today’s interview is with Kerry Shouldeen, Clark’s new Director of Business. Continue reading →

Creative Collective Launches New Site

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The Creative Collective launched a new website recently. It’s crisp and clean, with a redefined focus on publishing the best resources for creative leaders.
For 2012 looks to be an exciting year for the collective with new titles already announced and an iPad app in the works.





Sunday| Magazine


Creating something amazing is hard. Creating something amazing every week is nearly impossible. Sometimes church workers find themselves stuck. They sit down to plan the service. They type “Sunday”. Then they sit there with the text indicator blinking at them – taunting them. “What are you going to do?”

Let me introduce you to Sunday| magazine. Sunday| is a free online magazine about the creative process of Sunday mornings.

There are plenty of great tutorial and technology magazines out there. But very few teach you the philosophy behind the tutorials and tech.

I (and my friends at Clark) have seen a growing copy-paste mentality in our churches. Church creatives see something that works in another church and they apply it without tailoring it to their community. Consequently that leads to ineffective creativity. The Message we have is far too important to be satisfied with distracting and ineffective creative endeavors.

Although it’s a bit ambitious for a single magazine to change that phenomena, I  hope it’ll be a step in the right direction.

So in each article I’m getting a group of church leaders together to talk about great creativity. We’ll be talking about the whole Sunday morning package and how each part works together to create an atmosphere – an atmosphere where people can experience the living God.

What We Need From Our Pastors

I believe that there are 5 things  every creative team needs from their pastor. Today I would love to unpack them with you and get your opinion on what we might be missing:

1. Permission to fail.

No one enjoys failure, but the reality is if we want amazing and really creative experiences there is a very solid chance that at times we are going to fail. Real art is not safe. Safe stuff is created in the middle, but really amazing stuff, the stuff people remember and can’t ignore is created on the edges. Sometimes when we are creating on these edges, we may fall in the ditch. Knowing that we are allowed to fail from time to time creates the safety to really experiment. That does not give creative teams permission to be lazy, but really places a healthy pressure on us as creative teams to create unforgettable vehicles for the amazing content that pastors are communicating. We have the greatest story of all time to tell, we should utilize the greatest vehicles for that story.

2. Communication.

Never be afraid to communicate what you like and what you dislike. Be clear and very candid. Being aware of expectations helps to create clarity for what should and should not be created inside your organization. Another key in communication is the ability to articulate where you are headed with your content. Give as much info as you can, as early as you can, so that the creative team can dig in and find the best tools to help share the amazing content God is placing on your heart. When a team has a week to execute your vision they will not create as great of an experience as they would if they had a month.

Also key in healthy communication is to celebrate victories publicly and criticize in private. Creative teams by nature are going to be emotional and get attached to their creations. Besides you as a communicator, no other department in your church leaves as much personal DNA on a weekend as your creative team. Criticism is healthy and necessary, but protect your team and it will build an amazing amount of equity between both parties. Communication will make or break your creative process.

3. Trust.

We have to trust each other. There is a song that we had in our rotation that was not my pastor, Pete Wilson’s  favorite. I love the fact that he trusts us to continue to try to work the song and he trusts that we have a purpose behind why we are trying to make the song work. Pete also trusts that if the song does not work, we are going to pull it and not risk negatively impacting the momentum that God is building around Cross Point. Trust goes beyond music. It is also vital to external communication, creation of vehicles for content, and the hustle both parties are putting into what is being created. Trust is also necessary in the creative meetings. In our meetings we need to make sure the playing field is level and everyone is trusting, not focusing on titles or position. If that trust is not there people will be afraid to communicate their true feelings about ideas, concepts, and impact.

4. Inclusion.

Keep creative arts included in the conversation. Knowing what is going on and eliminating surprises as much as possible helps everyone plan, be prepared, and create our best stuff.

5. Space to create.

As a Pastor and a boss, be as involved as you can be in the process, but once you feel you have contributed to the process, allow the team to create. If you walk by the creative suite and wonder why half the team is laying on the floor with Hillsong music playing and the other half of the team is playing ping pong, understand that may be part of their process. When expectations are set and clear, allow the process to be worked out in the methods that allow creative teams to be their most creative. What works for one person may not work best for the next.

Pastors, what are some of the things that you need from your creative team?
Creative teams, what have I missed from this list?

Future of Church


Special Live Event
On Friday, March 16th, influencers from around Texas are invited to join guest speaker Gabe Lyons along with host Houston Clark for a look at challenges and opportunities of ministry in America. This exclusive event will feature interaction with other leaders followed by an interactive dialogue about the future of the Church.

The Future of Church

March 16, 2012
9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Park Cities Baptist Church
3933 Northwest Parkway
Dallas, TX 75225

Register Today!

First 100 people to register receive a free copy of Gabe’s new book The Next Christians

Internet Censorship and the Church

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Today, as you browse the internet, you may see a handful of websites shut down or install new pop-up banners in protest of something called SOPA.

SOPA, some of you may recall from 9th grade language class, is Spanish for soup. But as you might guess, the internet is up in arms about something more than a bowl of Tortilla Soup. SOPA, in this case, stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill also goes by it’s more official name from the House of Representatives, H.R. 3261.

While many of us may skip over legislation in the news, since it rarely has a direct connection to our lives, this piece could be unintentionally damaging to the way churches conduct their ministries. As a result, while Clark doesn’t officially support or oppose legislation, we are strongly suggesting you familiarize yourself with this bill. [Click here for a link to H.R. 3261].

Continue reading →

O, Pioneers


I wrote an article on pioneering culture over at the ECHO Hub. Go check it out!
Be sure to support the site too by visiting the store section. The Echo guys are doings some great things for the media world in the church.

Getting the Most Out of Your Creative Team

Creatives can appear disinterested and unwilling to help–especially if they’ve been burned or felt unappreciated in the past. But creatives are actually super eager to help if the environment is right. Here are a few ways you can craft a creative-friendly environment and evoke their excitement: Continue reading →

Making Sense of the Creative Mind

Creatives can seem emotionally unstable and hard to work with. As a member of the creative class, I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t always accept criticism or correction very well. This makes it pretty tough for leadership to get things done—having to tip-toe around my seemingly fragile emotions.

But working with the creative temperament doesn’t have to be dreadful. It can actually be delightful. Some of the greatest leaders in the world have corralled creatives and accomplished wonders—without suffering ulcers and heartburn. Continue reading →