"" bshawise: Great Expectations

Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Expectations

My mind was opened yesterday. I had a matrix experience and it happened watching the Vineyard Boy Band. I had heard a lot about this video since coming on staff. For some it's the flagship of Vineyard humor and for others it's the abomination. Isaac and I experienced it yesterday, and in that moment, everything made sense. The previous three-ish years kind of flashed before my eyes.

When I first came on staff, I heard A LOT about how funny the Vineyard was. People would tell me about the guy who had my position and all the funny, great stuff he did. The word "creative" and "funny" were synonymous. I would be introduced as the new creative director and people would joke around, "Oh, say something funny." They were kidding, but not really.

So after awhile, when people realized that my creativity didn't translate into "funny" videos, they'd say things like, "We used to do such funny videos, they were so effective, I miss those videos. We should do more funny videos." There was some serious disconnect between my style and the Vineyard's modus operandi.

Watching that Boy Band video made me realize the importance of expectations. I don't think I ever really understood how much of the vineyard vibe was goofy humor. Because it was such a part of the culture/vibe that people spent 20+ years creating, I was expected to maintain the vibe.

There are three options when dealing with folks' expectations. You can meet them, exceed them, or defy them. Before you can do any of those, however, you have to really understand the what and why behind their expectations. This is critical because it's impossible to meet or exceed expectations without true understanding.

And on the flipside, it's disrespectful to defy expectations if you haven't really heard them and took them into consideration. Defying expectations can translate into meeting or exceeding expectations if you're clear in your communications. When I first started at the Vineyard I was not clear. I didn't have an elevator speech that explained why I did things the way that I did them. When people shared that they missed the funny videos they were saying that their expectations weren't being met. I should've been able to articulate why in certain situations I'd rather do this video (the first thing I did at vcc) than something funny.

The bottom line is that we all have expectations laid upon us. We have to react to those in ways that we can live with. For example, I could've met the funny video expectation by producing their brand of funny. Those folks would've been satisfied but I wouldn't have been. I think lots of people are showing up to work every day and doing a "good" job meeting everyone's expectations but their own. We can figure out how to meet both, it just requires communication and understanding.


Steve Fuller said...

Dude, what are you talking about? That video is hilarious!

Sidney said...

Great post bshawise...

John Arns said...

Ditto what Steve Fuller and Sidney said.

Brad Wise brand humor is hilarious. What matters is what God puts on your heart to reach others for Him, for your "funny" is splendid in it's own right.

The brilliant mind God created for Brad Wise couldn't be finer. From it comes a splash of refreshment that turns ordinary on its heels.

Dan said...


As part of that prior Vineyard culture of “goofy” we did goofy because “goofy” seemed to be in at the time. Or maybe that was all we were capable of creating? (We did some serious production stuff, but very rarely.) Top Ten lists were unheard of in churches and we did them on a regular basis. Playing Beatle songs in church was unheard of, we played Beatle songs. Coffee in church? By the gallons. Bags for the offering instead of simulated gold plates? We even used baskets for a while! Auditorium instead of a sanctuary? Program instead of a bulletin? We were cool…But cool marches on.

That was then and this is now. Top tens got old, half the Beatles are dead, and everyone drinks coffee in churches now. (I think) But to steal a line from an old Ricky Nelson song (You will probably have to look him up, he’s dead too.) “If memories were all I sang I’d rather drive a truck.” (With all due respect to truck drivers...) You are and have been a breath of fresh air. I think we were culturally current back then, but the culture changes and as a church we must change with it or become the churches people like me fled to become part of the Vineyard.
Lamentations 3:22-24 (New American Standard Bible)
22 The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
23 They are NEW every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Brad, you are that “new”! I am so glad you decided to create as God has gifted you with all of your unique talents and didn’t try to meet other’s expectations. You probably would have failed and when you fail doing things in ways you don’t believe in it is the worst kind of failure. You I am sure are not here accidentally, God put you here, and in my opinion you are in lock step with cool and God. That is an awesome place to be!

As part of the team that created the old goofy stuff, I am very proud of what we did then but would not want us as a church to be still doing things the way we did then. Yuck! And I am just as proud of my church now for what you and your team are doing as I ever have been! In fact I believe the entire Production Team, videos, staging, atmosphere, worship, etc. is better than ever. Hands down.

So go forth young Brad Wise and do what you do the way you do it. If there are still any old timers bugging you about how it used to be tell them that I said you are “Far out and solid! Right on? “


P.S. Maybe just one old Beatle song for a walk out once in a great while? Okay, never mind…

Anonymous said...

Dan has articulated it in the most excellent way, he is dead on. We love you and your breath of what is relevant today. Seems it is harder to be creative than goofy. You go guy, we love you

Anonymous said...

Loved the video...lived the video...ok, living the video.

You have a gift...use it...often...however you feel the need to use it.

Thanks for sharing it.