How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Page (Part 2)

Turn A Photograph Into A Coloring Book (Part 2)

This past year I had a lot of fun creating the Color Me Redlands coloring book. Learning how to create the coloring pages was a 12-month journey. I hope to save you the learning curve and show you step-by-step how to make your own. For the foundational concepts, please read Part 1.

* Zentangle is a specific method of pattern drawing that has been adopted to describe a certain type of “Zen” coloring book design.

I found that the best images for coloring pages are simple silhouettes. This eliminated several of the photos I had considered using.

This is what I used: iPad with the Adobe Draw App, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, digital stylus optional (I use the pencil from FiftyThree). You’ll also need a “Zentangle” type image for the background. Click Here to download sample Adobe Stock #130780658.

Adobe Draw

  1. Place a photo onto the image Layer of Adobe Draw.
    bird-1
  2. Bring the opacity of the Image Layer down to about 50%
    bird-2
  3. Using the stylus (or your finger), manually trace the image* on the “draw layer.” One of the nice things about this app is that you can zoom in on the part of the image you want to trace.
    bird-3

    * If your original is something more architectural, the app has a full set of tools to make straight lines and curves. It may be easier to use these than hand tracing with a stylus.

    img_0550
  4. You don’t want too many details when you trace, as they will only get lost in your final image. When you’re done, the image will look something like this. You can completely hide the picture to see the final trace.

    Samples from my Color Me Redlands coloring book.
    sample

  5. Transfer the traced image to Illustrator.img_0549

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Once the file is in Illustrator, If you need to “thicken” the tracing line, it’s easiest if you do it now. Select All and select a stroke.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-29-31-pm
  2. The idea of this next part is to create a mask and remove only the parts of the image where the “Zentangle” graphic will show through. The easiest way I found to do this is to export the image, insert the image back into Adobe Illustrator and let the computer trace it.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-17-48-pm
    I use a 600 “PPI” (pixels per inch) for a high-resolution export.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-18-54-pm
  3. Personally, I find working in Adobe Illustrator confusing and it’s sometimes easier to “clean up” the image in Photoshop and remove any unintended lines. Also, check that that there are no “open ends.”  If you find one, manually close it.
    close-end
  4. Open up a blank 8.5×11 Illustrator Document and place the finished .jpg onto the page. Scale the image proportionally (by holding the shift key) so it is centered on the page.
    place-the-picture-into-illustrator
  5. Use the “Image Trace” with the “Sketched Art” option.
    sketched-art
  6. * VERY IMPORTANT * Find the “Image Trace” options and look at the “Advanced Settings.” Make sure the box “Ignore White” option is NOT checked.
    trace
  7. When the computer is finished tracing, select the “Expand” button.
    expand
  8. Even out the edges by using the white arrow and drag each handle to the corner of the page.
    clean-edges
  9. Place the “Zentangle” image into the document, resize it to the full page and send it to the back. If you haven’t already, save the file.
    place-zen
  10. Use the white arrow to select and delete the parts of the image you don’t need. Resize and move the background image around till you have an image you’re happy with.
    delete

If you delete too many parts, you have the saved version to revert to.

That’s it! Save the file, Export and you’re done.

artboard-12x

Advertisements

How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Book (Part 1)

How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Book (Part 1)

This past year I had a lot of fun turning my photos into the Color Me Redlands coloring book. I’m super-pleased with how it turned out. But learning how to the create the coloring pages was a 12-month journey. I hope to save you the learning curve, and show you step-by-step how to make your own. Some background first:

To start, I tried over a dozen iPhone Apps, computer programs, services, and read several blog articles that would show how to turn a photograph into a coloring page. I even hired several artists from Fiver.com to create my coloring pages. While there are many talented artists, I wasn’t able to get the quality, consistency or the “look” that I was after. Plus, at $25-$30 an illustration, with the 25 images I wanted to include, it was going to cost a lot of money to have this project outsourced.

I then tried creating my own iPad App and Illustrator workflow. I was happy with it, but after getting some feedback from a friend and actually trying to color the images, I found that most of the ends did not “close”, which is a MUST for a coloring book. I found myself going back to the drawing board.

In researching the adult coloring pages, I was trying to describe the “look” that I liked and came to discover it was called Zentangle. * Zentangle is a specific method of pattern drawing that has been adopted to describe a certain type of “Zen” coloring book design. I’m not an illustrator and I can’t draw…but I knew I could purchase the images on Shutterstock or Adobe Stock.

Months had gone by with no progress and I was getting frustrated. Thinking I would never figure out how to turn my photos into a coloring page I happened to be visit to my parents, thumbing through my mother’s Food Network Magazine when I had a “lightbulb” moment.

All I needed to do was create the outline of a picture (silhouette shapes work best), then insert the zentagle image behind it.

squashOnce I had the concept, I was off to the races. I’m going to demonstrate this technique twice…once using a simple shape to show you the concept, and again with the exact method and tools I used to turn a photograph into a Zentangle adult coloring book.

Example 1 – A Simple Shape Coloring Page.

Needed: Adobe Illustrator, background image. (Click Here to download sample Adobe Stock #130780658)

    1. Draw A Star
      star gif.gif
    2. Draw a Rectangle covering the entire page.
      create-rectangle
    3. Make sure the rectangle is filled white, then send it to the back, behind the star.
      send to back.png
    4. You want the page to be a mask and the star to be “see-through” with the Zentagle image showing through the star. (ie. subtract the star shape from the larger rectangle.) “Select All” to make sure you have both shapes selected, then use the Pathfinder option in Adobe Illustrator and select “minus front.”
      minus-front
    5. Give the selected image a stroke of 5 pts. If you move the newly created shape, you will see that you now have a rectangle with a star shape missing in the middle.
      Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 6.29.17 PM.png
    6. Place the Zentangle image into your Illustrator file and send it to the back.
      place-zentangle-gif
    7. You can now move and/or resize the background image until you are happy with how it looks.
      resize-gif

That’s it! You now have a coloring page of a simple image. This technique also works great with text that has been converted to outlines.

color-me-redlands-free-coloring-pages2

Click Here to read my next blog post where I’ll show how to turn a photograph into a coloring page.

Bruce Herwig Resume

As the Pastor of Communications for a Southern California megachurch, I direct the design and implementation of all marketing, PR and communications to our congregation and community. At our peak, we had 17 Pastors, 22 ministries, and eight admins. I am responsible for design, print, mailings, PowerPoints, brochures, and our all church monthly magazine.

I also oversee our internet strategy, including weekly e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, iTunes and podcasts. These enhance our current member’s engagement with the church, and more effectively communicate to our global internet audience. By leveraging several SEO techniques, Trinity Church is nearly always at or near the top when someone searches for us on Google, Yahoo or Bing. I oversaw the redesign and launch of our WordPress based website www.trinityonline.org and recently made the transition to a mobile compatible design. I also led the charge on our live-streaming and online giving strategies.

After two years without a pastor, a failed senior pastor search, with giving and attendance numbers shrinking, a few weeks ago I found out the elders have eliminated my position.

While personally disappointed about the decision, it has been a privilege to serve Trinity Church for these past nine years. I take comfort in the fact that it was the Lord who opened the door here at Trinity…and it is the Lord who is closing it.  Which means, there must be something else He has for me!

Here’s Where You Come In…
  • Do you have a contact or two that you can forward this web page?
  • A job opening that I might apply?
  • Do you know of a church, parachurch or other ministry that is in need a top notch communicator?
  • Will you pray for me and my family during this time of transition?

Thank you for your readership and support. This won’t be the last you’ll hear from me. As I wrap up my responsibilities here at Trinity, I know I have a few blog posts up my sleeve. Plus, I’ll let you know where I land.

God Bless,

Bruce II - Signature B&W

Click HereTo Download My Resume

View Bruce Herwig's profile on LinkedIn
How about a LinkedIn endorsement for blogging, marketing, and social media?

Strength Finder Signature Themes
  • LEARNER – You love to learn. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one.
  • STRATEGIC – The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity.
  • INPUT – You are inquisitive. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity.
  • ACTIVATOR – “When can we start? You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning.
  • ACHIEVER – Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment.
What Others Are Saying…

ohanalogo“I have known Bruce to be a talented creative person who loves to use his skills to communicate…all with a smile and a “Let’s do this!” attitude. I highly recommend Bruce Herwig for his skill, integrity, and creativity.”
– Jeanie Osterberg, Director | OHANA Global

Micah House Logo“As a Project Manager, Bruce seamlessly juggles the promotion and printing needs of over 22 departments at Trinity Church.  He excels in establishing and maintaining an online presence, creating a brand and managing projects. Bruce seeks excellence in all he does and takes the time to teach and explain what needs to be implemented.”
– Alison Anderson, Communication, Outreach & Development | Micah House

ventureChurch_logo_square“In my years of knowing Bruce, I have always respected his loyalty. He was passionately loyal to the organization, his family, co-workers, and friends. This was evident in his desire to support every ministry at Trinity Church through communications, as well as his investment into personal relationships with his team and church attendees. Bruce is a man of his word, of high character and a person that lives a life consistent with his faith. Bruce is very savvy with communications, using various platforms to communicate important church information. He uses a good balance of weekly and monthly print publications as well as internet and social media.”
– Mark Brown, Teaching Pastor | Venture Church


thrive“I have worked creatively with hundreds of churches and non-profits nationally and internationally. Bruce has one of the greatest marketing and communications minds that I’ve ever come across. He has a great knack for not only crafting a correct message for his church in its current state but keeps his eyes focused on “big picture” items that will help move the church forward. He is clear and concise and is highly efficient in GTD (Getting Things Done) and FIO (Figuring It Out). It’s been a true pleasure working with him for many years and I hope to continue in the future.”

 – Chris Petinak, President | Thrive Studios

hands of mercy logo“Bruce saw a need to develop a picture book that would tell the story of our loft house-building ministry. Unsolicited he prepared this book and gave a copy to me to use on both sides of the border to chronicle our ministry. It is an amazing collection of his award winning quality photography. It has been an invaluable tool to me. He saw a need and met it.”
– Rick CarterPresident/US Director | Hands of Mercy International

mainstreetopen“Having run MinistryCOM and worked with hundreds of churches communication professionals across the country, Trinity is the only church I know of that was successfully able to maintain a distributed model of online posting through various admins. The amount of work, coordination and leadership that Bruce Herwig used to make this consistently happen is beyond words.”
– Terrell Sanders, President | MainStreet Enterprises

Image Source-comp231058“Not only does Bruce know his numbers, he knows his equipment as well. Of all the many churches we work with, Bruce Herwig has truly taken advantage of the cost savings our digital printing equipment has provided. By redesigning their workflow and the sizes they print, Bruce has saved the church thousands of dollars each year. Bruce has a rare combination of business savvy and communications skills that will allow him to be a huge asset to any organization.”
– Gabe Grijalva, Director of Dealer Operations | ImageSource

Atomic Media WorksI’ve known and worked with Bruce for many years and on countless projects and events. He has consistently produced quality, super-creative work delivered with a personal touch and always with impeccable integrity and character. Bruce is not only professional but one of those people that are just enjoyable to work with. He’s also a brilliant problem solver with a creative mind. I’m not only happy to recommend him but proud to call him a friend.”
– Tony Wilcox, President | The Atomic Group

Mt. Gilead Bible Camp“Bruce has a teaching/mentoring gift and thrives on sharing knowledge with those around him. I am a better man and more accomplished designer because of those gifts. The sheer volume and quality of the projects his department creates is nothing short of amazing.”
– Jamie M. Sensenig, Program Director | Mt. Gilead Bible Camp

Mansion Memories“Bruce always had a willing and creative heart, and the quality of his work was superb. I see Bruce as an asset to any employer or organization which he works and associates with. He has the right attitude and leadership skills to guide and provide a quality service. I would recommend him without reservations.”
– Dianna Lawson, Executive Director | Mansion Memories

header_01“Our weekly worship folders are top notch and the monthly Connections magazine is timely, accurate and well laid out. Throughout the many times we worked together, I always felt that everything in Bruce’s area of responsibility was covered. He made sure we made our decisions early enough so that things ran smoothly.”
– Bruce Humphrey, President | Caseworx

nm-logo2“Bruce is a hardworking, top-preforming communications expert. His regular attention to detail with Trinity’s digital assets has lead to increased functionality and bettered user experiences. He has my highest recommendation.”
– Steve Carroll, Web and Media Developer | New Machine

“I have watched Bruce work for seven years while at Trinity Church. He showed high-quality content in print and on screen. He mentored “above and beyond” one of my family members who interned in the Communications Department. His happy, upbeat character added enthusiasm to what he was doing. He was willing to give of his ‘outside’ time to help further his mission. He’s an overall terrific guy and it would be a plus to any Company or Nonprofit to have him on their team.”
– Rick Rogers | Moody Bible Institute

“Bruce is one the hardest working people I know. He is committed to doing a thorough and complete effort for any task he undertakes. He is honest in his work ethic and creative in his problem solving. Bruce’s output is consistently excellent, timely, reliable and professional.”
– Glenda Marks, Bookkeeper | Trinity Church

“I have had the privilege of working directly with Bruce Herwig in his role as Pastor of Communications at Trinity Church for over seven and a half years. In that time, I have observed Bruce as someone who strives for excellence in everything he does and oversees.  Bruce is a godly man of sterling character and extraordinary loyalty.”
– Ken Pierce, Pastor – Singles and Support Groups | Trinity Church

“Bruce is an authentic follower of Jesus Christ, reflecting the character of God, and growing in the qualities that reflect the Lord in his life. He is a man of integrity, highly respected as a husband, father, and pastor. He is committed to excellence in all he does, reflecting beauty and quality in everything that passes through his hands. As a member of a team, Bruce can see the big picture, helping to clarify issues and bring ideas together toward making a main point of action.”
– Bill Born, Pastor of Worship Ministries | Trinity Church

“I have worked with Bruce over the last 7 years and have partnered with him, learned from him, and valued what he has contributed to the organization. Bruce has a mind that is going to benefit whatever he gets involved in because he is able to see paths and gaps in a system or process. I have watched Bruce focus on areas that he wants to improve and he has approached that area of growth with humility and willingness to use those around him to help him develop.”
– James Woolard, Pastor Men’s Ministres | Trinity Church

“Bruce is an innovator, problem solver, always looking for ways to improve strategies, systems, and processes. On a personal level, I know Bruce to be a man of strong and godly character. He is honest, thoughtful, cares for people who need encouragement, and can be counted on to step in and help almost anyone who asks him for help – whether it be in his area of responsibility or not.”
– Larry Shoemaker, Pastor of Family Ministries | Trinity Church

“Without question, Bruce is a highly gifted communicator through his writings, photography, social media, graphic design and other artistic forms. However, his mastery does not come from the finished product, but through the way he plans, designs and executes his work.”
– Dave Wilson, Mission Pastor | Trinity Church

“Bruce has done an incredible job here at Trinity. Our communications, print and digital presence have vastly improved with Bruce at the helm. His passion and work ethic were clearly visible to everyone in the congregation.”
– Mark Bernhardt MD, Elder | Trinity Church

“Bruce Herwig has served for nine years as the Pastor of Communications here at Trinity Church. During this time, our scope and quality of communication increased significantly in print, the web, photography and social media. We are justifiably very pleased with the professional branding of our church that he established. Any employer gaining his services will be well served.”
– Mike Lawrence MD, Elder Chairman | Trinity Church

By The Numbers…

IMG_4417
104 Connections Magazines
473 Worship Folders
291 Weekly eNews emails
668 Instagram photos
1,752 Facebook and Twitter posts
1,195 Sermons online (almost 23 years worth!)
801 YouTube videos with 300,000+ views (including Elizabeth Inrig’s post on Modesty that went viral with over 59,000 views!)
100,000+ photos of Trinity events, mission trips and more!
2,100,000+ million hits on the Trinity website

Click Here To View My Design Portfolio

Herwig 2015 Portfolio

Two Pieces of Advice for Generation Z

A colleague of mine and I were having a conversation this morning about some of the challenges we’ve seen with a new generation of young people entering the workforce. It got me thinking about two pieces of advise that I would give anyone who wanted to volunteer, intern or work with our organization.

1) Ask questions when you don’t know the answer.

People have always been afraid of looking “dumb”. In the information age, it’s easy to think every answer can be found on Google. It’s simply not true…especially when others are counting on you and it’s about something you’ve committed to do.

I have tremendous respect for someone who says “I don’t know.” (In many cases you’ll be the only honest person in the room.) Everybody has to learn something the first time and you not fooling anyone if you come across that you know it all and don’t need any help.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

You need a organizational “Sherpa”, a counselor….someone that can guide and direct you. Hopefully it’s your boss or supervisor. If not, intentionally seek out a more experienced coworker. Better to ask for help early, then try to fix a mess later. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

2) Write down the answer when you get it.

It’s OK to not know the answer the first time. But still goofing something up after you’ve been shown multiple times is a no no.

It is sign of respect when you pay attention, take notes and ask clarifying questions. 

TIP: Don’t try to take notes on your phone. It looks like you are texting. Always have a pen and paper handy.

Commit to mastering your craft. Put in the time and the hours. Don’t be the last to arrive and the first to leave. Read the manual. Go to the conference. Take the extra training.

Rarely are things cookie cutter. Ask for feedback and input down the road. There will be things you missed the first time around and you’ll learn the subtle nuances that a true professional will be able to identity.

Count Syllables not Words

Part of making something memorable is making it short. This is especially true when it comes to the “bulleted version” of your mission statement. I use to think you had to limit the number of concepts. But as I looked at and interacted ours (I didn’t write it) I got to thinking there was something more.

Loving God
Loving People
Sharing the Gospel (and)
Serving the Word

As I was breaking it down, here’s what I discovered…

4 concepts
11 words
16 syllables

No wonder it feels like a mouthful!

Here’s one I heard recently that is much simpler. 

Rescue
Raise
Release

3 concepts
3 words
5 syllables

While it’s much easier to say (the the R’s give it a nice ring), as a mission statement, it’s has some “interpretation” challenges. For example, we don’t rescue….the Lord does. Our job is to be a faithful witness. So “Rescue” really means be a witness. Raise really means to disciple someone (like you raise a child to maturity. And lastly, it’s not our job to release someone for service. While may need to exhort someone to “love and good works“, we can’t release someone to do something that’s a command for every believer.

This next one is one of my favorite examples.
Not only is is simple to understand, it’s directional as to what behaviors we’re looking for someone to do (pray for someone, look for ways to show genuine acts of caring kindness, then be prepared to share with them the hope we have in Jesus.)

Prayer
Care
Share

3 concepts
3 words
3 syllables

While it’s a bit weak as being inspirational as a mission statement ie “Make Champions for Christ” its great for easily sharing strategy and methodology.

All this to say, the best mission is the one that’s used. And the more that its easier to communicate and remember, the more likely it’s going to get used.

PS. While we’re on the subject, mission statements are by far one of the easiest things to poke fun at. Here are a few comics that do just that.

Facebook Pages – Why You Need Two Admins ASAP

I lost admin privileges to my Facebook page.

Now What?

Yes, that was me. Very sad.

How it happened? I have no clue. Zero. Nada. None.

All I know is that as the person in charge of our social media and event promotion, I had two weeks of sheer frustration trying to get it back. I spent hours on Google looking for a solution. Nothing.

Facebook has no tech support whatsoever. No phone number to call, no email to ask for assistance and their “help” area isn’t so helpful. In desperation, I even contacted Facebook Ad support. While I got an email acknowledging the problem, they never solved it.

Fortunately, after almost two weeks of lost access (missing Easter in the process), I remembered and old login using a different email. Using that, I was able reestablish myself as an admin.

This experience reminded me of this verse…

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV

After gaining control, I immediately made a trusted friend of mine a second-page admin.

This is a great reminder to make sure you have a backup plan for all your social media activities. Who, besides you knows your passwords? What if you die? What if a trusted employee leaves? Believe me, the last thing you want is to be left in the dark with no access. Better a little preventative effort NOW, then great regret LATER.

What NOT To Wear On Video

photo

Dear Pastor ________________ ,

I have a few guidelines of what NOT to wear when you know you are going to be on camera. These guidelines are not intended to crush your style or creativity. We want to partner with you to help eliminate unnecessary distractions and we want you to look your best on camera (IMAG, livestream, DVD and digital recordings).

Please DO NOT wear:

  1. White or cream. (it makes you glow on screen)
  2. Plaid or thin stripes. (it freaks out the camera with a rainbow moiré effect)
  3. Black or dark navy blue. (it makes you look like a floating head)

What should you wear?

Solid colors or large prints works best. Warm colors like muted oranges or reds, green, brown or even a medium blue would be wonderful. If you have any questions (or you want to bring in a shirt to see if it gets a thumbs up) you know where to find me.

Thank you,

Media Team

What it Really Takes To Succeed In Church Communications

overnight-success

When most people think of what it takes to succeed in the role of church communications, they think you need a “creative type” that has a good eye for design. While that is part of it, after 8 years of being in the church communications drivers seat, there is much more to it than making pretty graphics. Here is a list that I came up with…no particular order. Please note, some of these I have in my current role, some of these I wish I had. But I know from experience, ALL would be helpful.

Be In The Meeting – Not every meeting…but the one where big decisions are being made. If you are not in these meetings, you’ll always be getting information second hand. As a trusted member of the team you need to be a good sounding board and help influence the decisions that are being made. When you know both the what and the why a decision is being made, you’ll be able to better communicate to your team what the goals and expectations are.

Support From The Top – This is true especially when you are trying something new or changing a long-held practice. You need an advocate who will help keep things calm as you are busy making waves. Eventually, as  people get use to the “new normal” things will subside. In the meantime, someone that can give you the permission to try new things and hold the hounds at bay, while you get the kinks out, is a tremendous gift.

Adequate Funding – It was the Israelites, as slaves in Egypt, who were asked to make bricks with no straw. It shouldn’t be you. While it will never be as big as you like, you do need an adequate budget to get what you need done. It’s hard to make a silk purse of a sow’s ear. Never forget…what is a priority gets funded. Period. People can talk a good game about how important good church communication is, look at the ones that do it well and you will see churches that put their money where their mouth is.

Responsibility AND Authority – If you have been given the responsibility for church communications, you need to make sure you have been given permission to say NO when things are not right or don’t meet your standards. Of all the people on staff, You should never be the one surprised because you should be on the “inside” information loop and one of the first ones to know about big decisions that are going to be announced.

Tools & Technology – While tools don’t dictate your creativity, they can help improve your productivity. Having access to industry standard hardware and software is non-negotiable. In this day and age, a smartphone & tablet has to be considered standard gear for the creative professional. You may not need the latest and greatest to do well, but you can’t afford to lag too behind if you want to attract good talent.

Talented Team – Whether the work is being done by you, a paid staff person or a volunteer, you will rise and fall on the material you create and distribute. The job of your graphic designer, photographer, videographer, writer/editor, production coordinator, etc is to make you and your church look good, without having to pull teeth or loose your sanity in the process. Having a team that that has talent, that trusts you and has good working dynamics is a big step in the right direction.

brain123Relational Smarts – In this position you are going to be dealing with a cross section of the entire church, from the Senior Pastor, volunteers, ministry assistants, etc. You have to learn to  communicate ideas and vision with grace and humility. Not everyone will “get it” at the same time…some people will need to taught and be brought along gently.

Clear Vision and Direction – It’s not the Communication Department’s job to set vision. We can help craft and polish the verbiage once it has been determined, but it is critical that Senior Leadership (especially the Senior Pastor) buys in. Communications is the megaphone of the church…we amplify what is being said by leadership. The saying is still true, “If it’s foggy from the pulpit, it’s cloudy in the pew.” The last thing you want is the Communications Department blowing smoke.

Reasonable Explanations – You need to develop a philosophy of communication that helps people understand why you are saying yes or no to a certain promotional requests. It can be as simple as an “A, B, C” priority list or whatever your calendaring system dictates. You don’t want to be seen as unreasonable or giving favoritism. Over time your people and pastors should learn to trust that you are there to support them and that they will get what they need to succeed.

Cultivated Curiosity – The world we live in is constantly changing. What worked five years ago, might not work today. While you don’t  need to be on the bleeding edge, you should be looking at the cutting edge to see what’s going on…and what’s coming down the pike. This way you won’t be caught flat-footed. You’ll be ahead of the curve and have a much better idea when it’s a good time to try something new.

The Ability to Prioritize – Things will be coming at you fast and furious. Deadlines are looming. Sunday is coming week after week. Don’t let your department be the bottleneck. Get things out of your court as soon as you can.

An Objective “Big Picture” View – Because it’s so people-centric, in this role there will be lots of opportunities for you to get distracted. It’s easy to get bogged down is politics and petty decision making. You are a professional and don’t have time for this. As long as you keep the forest in view and you will do what’s best for the trees.

Small / Medium / Large

Small / Medium / Large is my “shorthand” for recognizing diversity, categorizing and gaining perspective on many aspects of life and communications.

Photography (and Videography)Establishing / Medium / Close-up Shots
Pace: Slow / Medium / Fast
Volume: Soft / Medium / Loud
Size: Small / Medium / Large
Weight: Light / Average / Heavy
Distance: Close/ Reasonable / Far
Temperature: Cold / Room Temperature / Hot
Preference: Like It / Love It / Gotta Have It
Illumination: Dark / Medium / Bright
Money: Cheap / Average / Expensive
GTD Perspectives  (Getting Things Done): 0 feet (runway) / 20,000 feet (goals) / 50,000 ft (purpose)

Just like Goldilocks And The Three Bears, you will find there is some combination that feels “just right” for you. But, you have to recognize (and learn to appreciate) that different people have different preferences. You may like going fast, but someone else might like going slow. You like the lights bright, but someone else likes them dim. It’s this diversity and differences that keeps life interesting….and makes the world go round.

When you find yourself stuck or in a rut or you feel uninspired, try taking inventory and look at where you are at…small / medium / large. Then try mentally moving categories. What if you made it bigger, brighter and louder? What if you made it smaller, quieter and lighter? Often you’ll find this change of perspective is just what you need to keep things moving and bring new energies to your efforts.

See It Big – Keep It Simple

One of my favorite motivational speakers, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, has an acronym he uses called “SIB-KIS.” It stands for:

See It Big – Keep It Simple

The problem with the human condition is that we tend to see things small to start with…and complicate what’s left.

The reminder to “see it big” help us keep our eyes off of the day-to-day minutia, and dream a little about how things can be. You want to set high expectations and get excited about the potential of what is possible before you bring the full weight of reality into the situation. You want to nurture new ideas, not kill them….at least not yet.

It’s amazing how hard its to keep things simple, especially in a team environment. Everybody want to “participate” and add in their two cents. Before you know it, you are sidetracked down all kinds of rabbit trails and have added unnecessary layers of management and complexity. As Woodie Gutheri says “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” It takes real leadership and clarity about what you are trying to accomplish to keep things simple. 

This video has some great reminders about the power of keeping things simple.

When it come to explaining things to others, a good measure of simplicity is the “will your mother understand it” test. Really…if she is available give her a call…if not, borrow someone else’s mother. If you can’t explain it so she understands what you are talking about, it’s not simple enough. Use pictures. Get to the essence of the idea. Drop the jargon. Keep it simple.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein