Removing the Information Crevice Between Staff & Volunteers

Sometimes it can be difficult to build an organization of people who are unavailable. Not unavailable in a negative sense but unavailable as in, they wear many hats, and volunteering on your team is only one of them. That very often means they aren’t available for staff meetings or planning meetings or many meetings at all…but they are still committed.

So what do you do?

How do you remove the information crevice between staff and volunteers? 

This hole unintentionally exists and it’s a problem we deal with on a regular basis. For our church this was especially complicated when we transitioned to becoming a multi campus church. How would we ensure that each campus had the information it needed to create a fantastic weekend experience every single weekend

An email wouldn’t cut it. 

So, we introduced a conference call into the mix.


This allowed us to clearly communicate our game plan EVERY weekend without being in the same room. Here are the four simple steps we took to implementing this new tool with our team. 

1. Sign up for

Uberconference is an online conference call service that really is conference calling of the 21st century. It has a visual interface that allows you to see who is speaking (in case you don’t recognize their voice), a powerful per-caller control to mute the guy with all the background noise (sorry Max) and you can even turn on pin-less access so no one has to remember some random pin number to get access. I seriously love this service, and that don't pay me to say that either. 

2. Turn on Auto-Dial

By entering everyone’s number ahead of time we can allow the system to auto dial everyone at the same time so there is no waiting for that one person to finally get on the call (or forget about it for that matter). 

3. Hit Record

By recording the call we can share the entire conversation, or in this case, the entire "worship service walk through" with anyone not present on the call (aka the rest of the team that has other day jobs). This allows them to hear what otherwise would be difficult to explain in email. 

4. Share It All

Once the call is finished we share the call recording, the script and the service plan with the entire team via Azendoo. This allows our volunteer and part time staff to review the material and ask questions before Sunday. 

Sharing information in an organization like the church creates trust and communicates value.
— StevenJBarker

Ultimately sharing information in an organization like the church creates trust and communicates value. For us, conference calls have been one of the those tools that’s helped us stay flexible and on the same page, no matter where we are. 

Question of the day: What tools do you use to stay on the same page with your staff and volunteers? 

Step By Step Guide to Using an iPad For Preaching

Some people prefer paper, some prefer technology. I’m guessing you prefer technology. If you’re deciding to try preaching from your iPad for the first time here are a few tips to help get you started. 

  1. Format
    1. Shrink your margins. When it comes to reading from your iPad margins are wasted space. Leave enough white space to add time stamps and last minute notes, but there is no need to leave an inch of whitespace around the border. 
    2. Increase your font size. You’re not reading a book here so don’t forget to increase your font size by a couple points. If your using an iPad Mini, increase it 1 or 2 more points. 
  2. Settings
    1. Turn "Do Not Disturb" ON. Last thing you want is a text message or email alert popping up in the middle of preaching. Forget to turn that on and you can almost guarantee your Student Ministry Pastor will send you something to throw you off your game. (Support Article)
    2. Turn your “Auto-Lock” off. Nothing worse than your screen going black and stumbling through entering your unlock code. (Support Article)
    3. Turn on “Find My iPhone”. In the event that you misplace your iPad on "Game Day” you will thank me. (Support Article)
    4. Turn down your brightness enough so that you can still clearly read your text, but not so bright that it leaves a glow on your shirt/chin. (Support Article)
  3. App
    1. Use whatever tool you prefer to write your speaking notes but when you’re done, export them to a PDF. Then use an app (next on the list) to finalize your notes. 
    2. The best preaching app so far is GoodReader (paid app) for two important reasons:
      1. First, it includes some fantastic mark up/annotation tools--everything from the ability to add time stamps, to highlighting sentences, to crossing out text. You can add last minute ideas or scratch thoughts that no longer seem to flow. This is a powerful feature. Use it! Highlight important sentences, add reminders, take full advantage of these tools. (Macworld App Review)
      2. Second, GoodReader stands above the rest is it’s ability to get out of the way. Once you are ready to take the stage there is no way to accidentally start marking up your text. Tapping the screen allows you to move the page just as you would any pdf. Because the annotation tools require you to tap multiple times to implement there is not risk of you accidentally modifying the text. Seriously, it’s a great tool. Download it. It's worth every penny. 

And just to make sure you don't miss a step come "Game Day", be sure to download the iPad Preaching checklist by filling out the form below. Let powerful life changing communication be your focus, not the tool you use to make it happen. 

IPAD Checklist
Name *

Azendoo Will Flatten Your Volunteer Organization [Tool Review]

Flatter is faster, further reaching and most effective in a growing organization.

We know that in order for this organization to grow we need more people. We need more people owning the vision and moving us forward. As a leader this is invigorating and frightening. We want to climb the next hill, but the more we people involve the more "chefs we have in the kitchen". We fear that leaders will start off misaligned and eventually go rogue. We fear that eventually all we will be doing is fixing other people's mistakes and putting out fires. Not very exciting for you and me. Not really what we signed up for.

So here is the trick to going faster, further and being most effective when your organization is growing: flatness.

The secret to flatness is information and boundaries. As you've probably already experienced, one of the difficulties in running a volunteer organization is the balance between control and speed. We feel responsible for excellence in our organizations but how do we accomplish that promptly and appropriately? Over the last number of months I've been experimenting with a tool to help flatten our volunteer organization structure and it's working.  It's called Azendoo (link).



Azendoo groups all your teamwork in one place so that you can plan, share and get organized, together.




Azendoo has proven to be a fantastic tool for sharing information and engaging our volunteer teams. We've put information in the hands of high capacity volunteers so that they can make the best decision on the ground. There is one essential ingredient necessary when you push decision making to the lowest possible level in your organization. You've got to be absolutely sure you are playing from the same playbook. 


Azendoo also won Evernote's Best Multi-Platform App 



In Patrick Lencioni's book "The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business" [Link], he mentions 6 questions a team must answer:
  1. Why do we exist?

  2. How do we behave?

  3. What do we do?

  4. How will we succeed?

  5. What is most important, right now?

  6. Who must do what?

All 6 questions are important, but most important to what we are trying to accomplish is number 5. As a leader, you need to be able to point back to what is most important right now. In fact, as you manage a team, your most important job is to engage and energize you team to accomplish what's most important right now. 

Give you team the information they need to be the fastest, furthest reaching, most efficient team they can be. Then, get out of the way...

To get you started, I've put together a list of 5 tips to getting the most out Azendoo. You can download it for free below.