Showing all posts tagged #stewardship:


GTD Delegation = Leadership Context

Posted on September 7th, 2020

Getting things done is perhaps the greatest context for leadership development.

A couple weeks ago we put up our new design. It’s the first time that most of my team has ever used LED panels. It was also the first time that many of them had hung a new plot using traditional paperwork and lighting design theory. I have a person on my team with a lot of potential as both a leader and a designer.

This individual had the chance to run point in project managing the turn. Many successes as well as some challenges and learning opportunities along the way. The now have been figuring out how to lead making the most of it with weekend designs. They have some experience in the programming chair, however this is a larger plot than they are used to.

It’s great to see what learning in the deep end does to people. It prompts great questions and yields some fantastic epiphanies. The growth and development is encouraging. Pretty cool to to see them not only develop as a leader and designer on their own, but also with their volunteer team!

Here’s a really lovely walk-in look from yesterday:


The Value of the Queen

Posted on May 2nd, 2020

A friend of mine shared a thought about the lesson some of us learned in our study of chess. A wise instructor will sometimes use the strategy of making us play without the queen. How frustrating it is to play without such a powerful piece on the board.

However, without relying on the queen and her significant power, we gain appreciation for the capacity, capabilities, and strategic value of our other pieces. Once the queen is re-introduced, we realize that our game has risen to a new level.

May we as leaders make the most of the season as we learn to maximize other resources and strategies. If we can learn to thrive without in person gatherings, then when we finally reintroduce such, imagine our capacity!

Greatest Intersection of Stewardship and Creativity

Posted on September 15th, 2019

Excellence is not to be confused with perfection. Excellence is beautifully imperfect; as it recognizes the continued pursuit of improvement. The iterations will always continue; so make the most of the time and resources we have. Recognize when it’s better to leave one project at good and refocus by encouraging each other and developing another project until it’s time to call that one great. (Even though we have such high standards that we know what we wish we could keep tinkering further...) Then celebrate! Especially after big projects, remember that "We get to be a part of this!" Then next week, begin working on v2.0!

I used to struggle with perfectionism. I remember in high school when I couldn’t understand my best friend who could just rip through homework and turn in something that was barely 80% effort. Instead I wouldn’t turn something in because it wasn’t worthy of what I knew it should be. I’ve come a long way since then. I now can present something if it’s the best I believe it can be with the recourses justifiably allocated. I can reconcile that. It has actually become a core value for me. A Maximizer shall get greatest value out of resources…. I still want for perfection, but I also find beauty in excellent. I can coach that now. I’ve come a long way.

I just read a Forbes article written by Victor Lipman that included five tips for taming perfectionism. I thought I’d share.


These five tips may not be perfect, but then again, what is? Guess that’s part of the story here…
Pursue excellence, not perfection – There’s a vast difference if you’re able to frame the endeavor this way. Excellence is attainable, perfection isn’t. Excellence is an admirable goal, perfection a potentially destructive one. As the definition in Psychology Today notes, perfectionists view life "as an endless report card on accomplishments."
Try seeing yourself through the eyes of others – The irony is that the accomplishments of many perfectionists, from the uniquely talented Ms. Kearney to many C-Suiters, are exceptional by any objective standards. Easier said than done I know, but if you can find the perspective to view yourself as others do, it will be a constructive lens to look through.
Step back and take (well-deserved) pride in what you’ve accomplished – And where exactly do you want that lens to focus? Instead of dwelling on outcomes and projects that haven’t gone perfectly, step back and spend some time reflecting on past accomplishments you’re genuinely pleased with. No doubt if you’re a CEO, there have been more than a few to bring you to this point in your career. Compared to what most of us mere mortals have, a bronze medal at the Olympics, let’s say, seems a pretty pleasant outcome. (Wouldn’t mind having one myself – would look quite nice on the wall in my study.)
If you feel perfectionism has become seriously debilitating, you may want to consider counseling or therapy – BTW, I completely understand if your reaction to this suggestion is, Hey, I’m a high-functioning hard-edged executive and I have neither time nor inclination for this sort of thing. Fair enough, totally get it. But just in case you’re interested in this level of introspection to better understand the roots of the behavior and find additional ways to address it, I’ve included a link to Psychology Today’s database of therapists. (Full disclosure: I also write for Psychology Today, which is why I’m familiar with their offerings.)
Laugh - Cliche though it is, laughter is good medicine, a natural mood changer. Find time if you can to not take yourself too seriously and remember to laugh. We’re all on the same ski slope so to speak, all just passing through the great bumpy freestyle mogul of life, and if you can find a little more time to see the humor and "enjoy the ride" – well, that’s only a positive thing.
"Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good." It’s derived from a similar phrase in the writing of Voltaire and it’s a sentiment I always felt had real relevance when I was in the business world… about the need to keep the wheels of commerce turning rather than being concerned with getting everything absolutely right.

Genius in Teamwork

Posted on November 5th, 2018

Be openhanded. Practice awareness and humility and know the one who knows. Such teamwork is where magical breakthrough and creativity occurs - at the nexus of conventionality and novelty.

My friend Michael shared this article. I find it both fascinating and encouraging.


Unique Version of Fruit

Posted on December 14th, 2016

So I was taking a creative break while trying to work the diagram for Easter’s production design concept (I have a deadline to present this morning - I know, it’s not like I have a Troy Midweek to lead, or a Christmas Premier to have to get to late this evening, or Troy’s Christmas load in this Sunday to prepare for, or a big funeral to help provide coverage for, or our CT building project with a key meeting to prep for, or this weekend to think about making sure is covered while I have to be away on Saturday, or that fact that I’m still a position short and have the stress of ensuring coverage and praying through making a wise hire. No, not anything like that LOL - Anyway, sometimes the 1:1::input:output satisfaction of organizing helps me think creatively with the other side of my brain on the back burner…) and I came across this old half-written blog post I wrote over 5 years ago:

Boxes vs. Puzzle Pieces or Low Hanging Fruit vs. Potential Bounty of a Well Pruned Vine
Knowing the right boxes is good. It's prudent and orderly. However it's not necessarily creative.
It's the right place to start but it's not John 10:10
Life on the edge is a magical place where much fruit is produced.
Boxes are orderly, but not beautiful. Puzzle prices don't have a clean place to fit; but when the big complex picture is assembled.
Marking a checkbox can be quite satisfying, however, it's nothing compared to the euphoria of fitting puzzle pieces together.
The Creator's vision has been revealed. Pride of the Steward is a treasure.
The best manager sees all the pieces and realizes how they might fit to reflect the true heaven.
Pray for the workers.
See from the master Gardner's perspective; don't look from the field hand's position.
Don't just pull low hanging fruit; look for what produces fruit. Look for fruit producers. Fruit producers, partnering with other fruit producers will produce far greater crop through their beautiful partnerships.
Graft the ones who at a fractal level display their unique jagged version of fruit. Those fractal parts if put together will begin to reveal what the vine looks like...



FILO 2016 Production Design

Posted on May 23rd, 2016

One week ago, we were finishing load in and initial programming for 2016’s edition of the FILO Conference. It was an honor and privilege to be the Production Designer (responsible for Scenic and Lighting Design) for the conference. It was a scurry of a few days so I never really had time to post anything. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the event:



Some of you took my Scenic Design Concepts breakout class. For the rest of you, here’s the story behind how I landed on the final version of the design. These are the notes from the slide where I talked about "Branding (and the iterative process of design) …and Metaphor"

The O in FILO seemed to be the best part of the brand to play off of…
PlexiDiscs (something that I have in storage that’s not being used)
They set up easily enough (tie-line and zip-ties)
They can give depth to a shallow stage
They easily fit in my hatchback!
We concept designed about building a pretty cool set piece that we chose to say no to. (the builder, time, money, space on stage, etc.)
The iterative process - never settle for the first idea, if you stay disciplined to the process, the best idea will eventually be revealed. (certainly the idea at the greatest intersection of creativity and stewardship)
Metaphor
The 40 O’s represents each of us who are FILOs. Some of us are lone guys, some of us are part of teams. Coming together we can encourage each other with our beauty as we come together. Together we can find a chorus of a "new song" (Psalm 40) to carry with us as we go back to support and enhance the sharing of the good news that Jesus loves us.

The lights, I selected for a few reasons.
First, the B-EYEs are a light that every church tech nerd has seen the videos of and dreamt about having in their venue. I thought that giving a chance to see could be beneficial.
The opportunity to have access to the use some great hybrid fixtures in the Mythos was an amazing bonus.
Finally, the Aura XBs had a primary use of lighting the scenic. However the bonus of such a great light is that we created a number of presets to give us several bonus looks!

For the whole design I played with clusters that followed the Fibonacci sequence. I wanted to have the thought of each part of the design to have a beauty on its own and contribute to the beauty of the whole in a way that felt like it fit...

Thank you to Ryan and ILC for providing the amazing lighting gear. Thanks Jeff and Brian CCC for being perhaps the most hospitable hosts an any venue I’ve ever had the chance to work with. Thanks Nate and Chelsea for the logistics, leadership, and vision. Thanks to Michael and Nic for helping us set it all up, troubleshoot issues, and Nic especially for that great catch with the B-EYEs' profile issue. Thanks Alex (whom I met as we were both on the LD panel discussion breakout) for guest designing Session 3 as I was putting finishing touches on the Keynote presentation for my breakout.

Special thanks to Patrick for being my partner in the project. Having a guy on the console who knows how to interpret the ideas of my mind almost even before I say them is the dream for an LD. A good friend with me for the journey to and from Chicago is a bonus.

Thanks most of all to Todd for inviting me to play a small role in your vision. It was a privilege and an honor.


My Professional Vision & Personal Values

Posted on December 31st, 2015

May this next season be a year of flourishing in commitment and execution.

VISION (This is my professional vision. Any "tentmaking" responsibilities I commit to should support my vision)
maximizing ideation and strategy
coaching and revealing beauty to enhance story
achieving the greatest intersection of stewardship and creativity


VALUES (a sketch of my personal values that I realize is a filter for me in all I do)
  • Believe in the one who is sent … remember Jesus’ authority; be one who is surrendered … be courageous and without worry
    • John 6:29
    • Matt. 28 ... Gal. 2:19-20 ... John 15
    • Luke 12:31

  • Love with 100% - live with passion & peace … be salt & give grace … The Church Universal - ecclesial community at the fractal level … disciple (and humbly study) in every possible context
    • 1 John 2 ... John 10:10
    • Eph. 1:23 ... I John 1
    • John 16 ... Luke 2:22 ... Titus 2 ... Matt 9:38 pray for the workers

  • Pioneer; be a first follower of the Lord - every new day commune constantly; prayer without ceasing ... be authentic
    • Gal 1:10 ... Psalms 33,40, etc. ... Is. 42 ... Rev. 5
    • Romans 8:26-28 ... I Thess. 5:17

  • Maximize every context and opportunity … stewardship with the purpose of reconciliationinnovate reveal beauty (even if only to the subconscious) with the purpose of redemption
    • Romans 8:6 ... Col. 1
    • John 1 ... John 4:23-24 ... 2 Cor 12:7-10


My Production Design Algorithm

Posted on May 17th, 2015

A stream of thought listing things I consider with every design:

  • Context of organization
  • Context of event
  • What are the "budget" parameters?
    • Cost for the event?
    • Budget for series? for year?
  • Who is on stage?
    • who’s the teacher
    • who’s the worship leader
    • play to their style
  • Topic of the day…series
  • Branding...
    • How do the visuals identify with the mission?
    • Achieve continuity with the rest of communication
  • What are my resources?
    • existing materials?
    • budget for new?
      • I suppose I ought to ask about rental budget; however I’m rarely a fan of such...
    • lighting inventory?
  • What is the rep plot?
    • How do we play to the strengths of the lighting system?
    • A good rep plot is arguably the most important asset to your venue.
    • Certainly right up there with a good PA.
    • The good news is that that it costs way less...
  • What are video requirements?
    • IMAG
    • broadcast
    • camera positions
  • What are audio’s needs? What will help them succeed?
  • who is the producer?
    • What are their visual preferences?
    • what "lens" is the story told?
  • Who is on lights? Maximize their strengths...
  • What is the timeline for setup? for strike?
    • Is it a stage turn situation? If so, what is the design that precedes and follows?
    • How do you design in the timeline of multiple turns?
      • Hang the rig points 2 weeks out
      • hang the truss 1.5 weeks out
      • hang the lights 1 week out and use as backlight for the Midweek stage
      • Finally, hang hard goods and refocus lights in the turn for the target event
      • then hang a screen and soft goods from the same truss in an upcoming design.
  • What are transportation and storage logistical considerations?
  • Who is the crew? What are their strengths and experiences?
    • Artists vs. engineers
  • Materials
    • What materials have been used recently?
    • What materials will the upcoming holiday be using?
    • Use something different than either of these.
  • Mood
    • Honestly more important than materials is the mood.
    • It’s possible to create multiple moods with the same materials.
      • That’s what we do in a series: I brand a series with a palette of materials, and then craft the set for each day to support the unique story of that specific event...
  • Inspiration
    • What is inspiring me recently?
      • Architecture
      • Nature
      • Window displays
      • Trade magazines
      • Cinema
      • Renaissance paintings
      • Industrial dumpster
      • Pinterest
    • What's an archived idea that I might finally have the chance to try?
      • Evernote
        • Anything that inspires me tends to end up in Evernote
        • I use tags such as "design ideas"
    • I hate copying (plagiarism) and go to great lengths to make sure my art is authenticity mine. However, I think being inspired by other designers is completely appropriate.
    • Who can you connect with to bounce ideas off of one another? #ctln
  • Passion
    • I want people to pull their phones out.
    • I take pride in my discipline - the pursuit of creating something beautiful.
    • A design certainly should look good
      • Visual interest, shapes, patterns, textures, Layers, Depth behind every camera angle, etc.
      • However I suggest there are transcendent considerations that can be woven into the scene - metaphor, symbols, numerology, etc. Hide "Easter eggs" - it's fun and it will inspire someone, I promise.
        • break the 4th wall - immerse them in the story
        • target people’s subconscious

Love others

Posted on February 18th, 2015

Look upon people with the eyes of potential and hope rather than cynicism and judgment.


Thoughts to Remember When Creating a Space for Worship

Posted on September 30th, 2014

I rattled off a stream of thought in response to my friend asking me what things I think about when designing. He took that email and compiled it into this list; which his organization now uses this as part of their planing meetings. Perhaps it is a helpful guide for you to consider as well...


Thoughts to Remember When Creating a Space for Worship

  • The end goal of the services that happens in the space.
  • The vibe/feeling you want to help communicate.
  • Who is the target demographic?
  • Who in the audience will be reached regardless of the branding, environment, and artistry? These are not people to design for. Do not be influenced by them.
  • Who might only be opened up to the communication by the environment you present? This is who you must go after.
  • How might you use resources you already have available to support your vision?
  • What alternative ideas might convey such themes with increased beauty/power/depth?
  • What ideas might work well because of how clear the symbolism might be?
  • What of those ideas would be so cliché that it would actually turn off the artist in the audience?
  • What metaphors can you weave into the design to add depth of beauty (and meaning) ...even if only for you?
  • How long do you want to live in the look? A series? A season? A weekend? Indefinitely?
  • How will you light the set? How will you light the art and communication? Will the lighting on both feel unified?
  • Make sure to design scenic elements that will be enhanced with the lighting tools available. Also, design scenic with consideration of who is designing/operating lights. Try to play to their strengths.
  • It needs to look good in the room, to be certain. Are you broadcasting ever - stream, IMAG, record for later release?
  • Lighting for video requires thinking beyond what looks good to the naked eye; and lighting for both video and still having everything look good in the room requires some real finesse…
  • Think through positioning of each person who will be on stage. Where they stand/sit/dance should feel like it connects with the scenic elements and help visually connect the guests with the communication on stage. Break the 4th wall.
  • What scenic and/or lighting might be considered in the room? In the lobby? Before and after the event with advertising, social media, etc. How does the branding transcend the stage experience?
  • Think through everything that people might see. Certainly do not let anything be a distraction; also push into every opportunity to help enhance the story...

Eric G Wolfe

Process Architect. Design Strategist. Leadership Coach.