Interview with Dave Clark of Fellowship Church

Back in 2005, I had a great opportunity to attend Fellowship Church’s C3 conference.  I had never been to a church conference before, and what ensued was a sensory overload of awesomeness.  I had never seen “church” media done that well.

Dave Clark is a Creative Director of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX.  And his church is absolutely getting it done with media.  He was kind enough to hang out via email & talk about his team & their creative process.

The questions were framed to help as broad a group of people as possible.  Churches come in all shapes and sizes.  Our churches are as diverse as the people that fill them.

Craig Groeschel said once,

“If someone’s farther along than us, we don’t want to just know what they do every single day.

We want to know how they think.”

I learned a lot from Dave’s answers, and my hope is that there will be some content that you can apply to your team as well.

1.  Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew going into your job?

I think the biggest thing that I know now, that I wish I knew starting out in media ministry is that I can’t do it all myself. Early on I tried to put everything on my back and wear too many hats. You are not Superman!

At some point you are going to be at max capacity and tapped out. No matter how skilled you are, how masterful an audio engineer, how great an editor, how elite your HTML ninja skills or how Chuck Norris-esque your IT knowledge is, at some point you will be maxed out.

The best thing you can do is to pour yourself and your knowledge and skills in to others around you. Share your knowledge and train others. In order to survive, thrive and grow you must replicate yourself and find skilled people to fill in areas where you are lacking in skill and knowledge.

It doesn’t matter whether you are surrounded by other church staff or volunteers; in order to be successful and grow you must reproduce yourself.

2.  You serve with a team insanely creative people.  What books, talks, ideas or people have been instrumental in helping you reach your current level of leadership?

I have had the honor of having some phenomenal Godly men pour into my life. First and foremost of all, my father, but also my grandfather, my father-in-law, my previous boss/pastor have all invested in me, taught me how to lead, poured into my life and given me great council.

I also am extremely blessed to have the opportunity to work under some AMAZING leadership here at Fellowship Church. I serve under Pastor Ed Young and Pace Hartfield, who are both phenomenally creative leaders, teachers and men of God. I take lots of notes and soak up as much as I possibly can from them. A dull pencil is still sharper than the sharpest of minds. Take notes! Never stop being a student.

Some of my favorite books have been “Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley, “The Creative Leader” by Ed Young, “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels, “The Big Idea” by Dave Ferguson, and “In A Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson.

3.  How do you keep fresh eyes?  What do you do for inspiration?

You definitely have to break away from your usual rhythm and routine in order to gain fresh perspective and fresh eyes for whatever you are doing regularly. So many times we get caught up in our day to day and week to week tasks that we get tunnel vision and it’s hard to see outside of our rhythm and things start to look the same.

I enjoy checking out other churches and conferences to see what God is doing through other ministries. I also try to keep a pulse on music, movies, magazines, YouTube, Websites, blogs, etc… One of the biggest things I do to stay fresh is just to do something totally different; to totally unplug myself. Play with my kids, go to the zoo, go on a date with my wife, play video games, watch a movie, go for a run, hit the gym… Just do something totally different than what I do everyday. Sometimes even mowing the lawn can be refreshing. =) Just make sure you are taking time to get away from work regularly.

The most important thing though is to make sure that you stay grounded in God’s word and in prayer. It has to be part of your spiritual diet. You have to make sure that you are getting fed and that you are eating right. Don’t neglect spending time with God. That is the number one way that you will stay refreshed.

4.  How does a typical brainstorming session look for your team?  (Who’s involved, How long does it last, etc.)

We meet every Wednesday afternoon for a “creative brainstorm” meeting.  The meeting is usually comprised of a mix of people from within our “Fellowship Creative” department. A few staff people from worship, tech, video, design and others come together and dream up ways that we can come alongside the weekend message and create an experience where people can meet Jesus Christ.

We try to plan at least a couple of weeks ahead but we are always flexible and open to whatever needs to be done to make church happen week in and week out.  It’s awesome to be apart of and watch how God uses us as a team.

We throw all kinds of ideas at the wall and then see what sticks. No idea is too crazy and we dream big. We do bring it down to the question of “what can we pull off with the time we have?” as we try to nail things down. The meeting usually lasts 2 to 3 hours after all is said and done and then we all head out to our various departments and make it happen.

5.  What advice would you have for churches just starting to incorporate media / visual arts in their services?

The one piece of advice I would give to churches that are trying to start using media is try to maximize what you have. Often churches get caught up in the… “we don’t have the best this or that,” or “we don’t have the latest tech.” That is a never ending pit trap that you can fall into.

When you are starting off instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Leverage, scrape, borrow, twist wires together and make it happen! Use the tools you have at your dispense to their fullest extent. Make things look as good as they can with what you have. If you are faithful with what you do have, God will bring the increase.

BONUS FUN: Let’s say you’re headed to a desert island for life, and can only bring one electronic device.  What do you bring & why?

This was a tough one… If I could take a non-electronic device with me then it would definitely be Gaffers Tape or Duct Tape and a whole bunch of it.  I mean what can’t you build with that stuff. But as far as an electronic device… I would have to go with an iPhone that could be charged via solar energy of course.

Nice to have your tunes handy, a GPS and compass for mapping out the island, a video camera to capture a documentary on my life on the desert island and of course a few games to pass the time. :)