October 31, 2006

Network World article on church IT

Jason mentioned that Network World featured him extensively in an article on church IT. Jason also gave the reporter my name and I was quoted too (on pages 2 and 4). This is the first time I've been quoted in a national trade publication. Thankfully, I have Brian to keep me humble!

October 29, 2006

Thanks Frank, Alfred, Steve, Joe, and Mark

I had the privilege of spending the day Friday with Alfred Johnson, Steve Pruitt, and their teams at Shelby Systems. Frank Canady also joined us for lunch. We had deep discussions about the Church Management System (ChMS) market, and specifically the soon-to-be-released Arena ChMS.

I first met Alfred at the IT Roundtable. He arranged the day and introduced me to the senior management team of Shelby. Alfred, you are a gentleman and a great host. The warmth of your hospitality made my time there special.

Shelby has been around a long time and has been a leader in the ChMS market for many years. During my time there, I gained a lot of insight into Shelby's history, how they see the marketplace, and their product plans going forward. Some of those things I was asked to keep to myself, but many of them are open and I will be commenting on them in the coming days.

We had a frank discussion about our concerns as a Shelby customer, and everyone was gracious enough to really listen and take my concerns seriously. At the same time, I was surprised to learn that my impressions of Shelby's customer base and target market were incorrect in several respects. Like the Fellowship Tech team before them, they also indulged me an extensive discussion of strategic considerations without insisting on jumping right to a product demo. There will be plenty of time for that.

The Shelby senior management team is seasoned and humble. They have a good understanding of what the marketplace is asking of them. Regardless of whether we become an Arena customer, I'm glad to say I have new friends in Memphis who care about the local church as much as I do.

I will continue to post about my trip and my impressions as we make budget plans for 2007 over the next few weeks.

October 25, 2006

Thanks Jeff, Jeff, Curtis, Curtis, and Scott

No, it's not an obscure law firm. I'm referring to Jeff Hook and his team at Fellowship Technologies.

Today I flew to Dallas for a tour and discussions to help me decide whether Fellowship One will be our next church management system. Jeff, Jeff, Curtis, Curtis, and Scott were awesome hosts and I enjoyed my time with them very much. The team is impressive (even those whose names aren't Jeff or Curtis!) and their passion for the local church came through loud and clear. I particularly appreciated the openness of our conversation. Church management system selection can be complex (it certainly is in our case) and the issues often can't be articulated in bullet points or sound bites. So they indulged me by taking the time to fully air the issues and explore them from multiple angles. It definitely sharpened my thinking. I love serious, deep conversations with smart people.

Thanks again Jeff, Jeff, Curtis, Curtis, and Scott!

October 15, 2006

Rez West office

Chuck posted back in August regarding the launch of our first satellite campus, Resurrection West (affectionately known as "Rez West"). The staff of Rez West includes a campus pastor, campus associate pastor, operations director, children's director, music people, etc. - 7 or 8 people altogether. They have been officing in a temporary space on the central campus since June.

Meanwhile, our Facilities folks found some space for lease near the junior high school where Rez West worships. For the last couple of months they have been working on tenant finish to turn it into usable office space plus a large general purpose meeting room and a garage for the A/V equipment trailer. Last week, while the tenant finish was nearing completion, it was our turn to come in and start assembling the technology: phone system, voice mail, Internet connection, firewall, network switch, file and print server, printers, and computers.

Everything but the printers and computers are being installed into one cabinet. Here's Ian terminating the voice station wires into the patch panel (the guy on the right is our new desktop support guy, Jeremy, who doesn't even start until November 13 but came out to help):

Me with Ian and Jeremy:

Me testing the jacks by plugging in my laptop. (Meter? We don't need no stinking meter!)

October 13, 2006

Thanks for coming

A big "thank you" to everyone who came to Church of the Resurrection for Leadership Institute and/or any of the other conferences we had going on last week. My friend Jim posted his final thoughts here.

October 12, 2006

Leadership Institute blog posts

A number of attendees at this year's Leadership Institute blogged about their experiences. Here are all the posts I've found so far:

Jim Walton

Jay Vorhees

Jonathon Norman

Steven Fife

Gavin Richardson

Jason Woolever

Susan Cox Johnson

Joel Betow

Gordon Pruitt

Paul Kethley

Josh Tinley